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Vocal Harmonics and Formants

Harmonics and Formants

Harmonics and Formants drive your singing.

Formants are the resulting resonances of the vocal tract between the glottis and the lips and nostrils. When we group the fundamental frequency together with its overtones we collectively call them a harmonic series.

Essentially, there is an interaction between the source and the tube that the source then must travel through. In this case, the vocal tract can either benefit and enhance the source harmonic, or equally, it can detract from the resonance of the source harmonic. And this is why we singing teachers bark on so much about vocal tract shapes such as tongue placement and pharyngeal space because we want to develop the formants, the resonance, of the pitch.

Without seeking to simplify the subject to the point of inaccuracy, it can be helpful to simply think of the harmonic and the harmonic series as being formed by the vocal folds, with the formants being developed by the vocal tract.

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