A new method to explore the spectral impact of the piriform fossae on the singing voice: Benchmarking using MRI-based 3D-printed vocal tracts

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The piriform fossae are the 2 pear-shaped cavities lateral to the laryngeal vestibule at the lower end of the vocal tract. They act acoustically as side-branches to the main tract, resulting in a spectral zero in the output of the human voice. This study
investigates their spectral role by comparing numerical and experimental results of MRI-based 3D printed Vocal Tracts, for which a new experimental method (based on room acoustics) is introduced. The findings support results in the literature:
the piriform fossae create a spectral trough in the region 4–5 kHz and act as formants repellents. Moreover, this study extends those results by demonstrating numerically and perceptually the impact of having large piriform fossae on the sung output.
Original languageEnglish
Article number e102680
Number of pages15
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 21 Jul 2014

Bibliographical note

© 2014 Delvaux, Howard. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.


  • piriform fossae
  • singing analysis
  • singers formant cluster
  • SATB quartet

Cite this