Register (in phonetics)

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Term referring to voice quality caused by the particular length, thickness and tension of the vocal folds. These combined features determine whether a singing voice should be classified as soprano, tenor, bass etc., and these features also determine whether a person sings in head (falsetto) or chest register.

The term register has been used to describe perceptually distinct regions of vocal quality. Abrupt changes in register may occur voluntarily or involuntarily. Vocal quality appears to have plateaus that are conntected by abrupt transitions. The transitions are perceptually more salient than the plateaus (Titze, 1988).


Utrecht Lexicon of Linguistics


  • Titze, I.R. 1988. A framework for the study of vocal registers, Journal of Voice, vol. 2, nr. 3, 183-194