The 7 Dimensions of Singing (7DS) is a patented, anatomically based approach to vocal development, designed to simplify our understanding of the vocal-instrument and how each vocal-exercise can directly benefit us. Since no one muscle acts alone, the muscles used to describe the actions of each dimension (below) are dominant, but not exclusive. For example, the bicep muscles in your arm can be used to lift and hold a bag of groceries, but they require an antagonistic relationship with its counter part, the triceps, along with a myriad of other muscles that may engage to stabilize the weight resistance and the body’s posture in the process. In the same way that an athlete can isolate specific muscles with exercises in a gym (such as curling barbells to target the biceps), vocal exercises are designed to do the same for targeted areas of the voice. Knowing which exercises to spend your time on can make an overwhelming impact in creating balance and discovering your true vocal potential.

Please note that you can still fully benefit from the 7DS without having to understand all of the terminology used to describe the dimensions below! We included this information for those of you who are curious about the physiology and science behind the 7DS, and to help build both an awareness and appreciation for the complexity of this amazing instrument. Definitions for the muscles mentioned are available in the Vocal Vocabulary library.

1: Flexibility

DESCRIPTION: Flexibility refers to the elasticity of the vocal folds, located inside the larynx, which are needed to vibrate freely during phonation (speaking or singing).

RELATED PHYSIOLOGY: Thyroarytenoid muscle, vocalis muscle, and superficial lamina propria (outer layer of the folds).

2: Breathing

DESCRIPTION: Breathing refers to the coordination of the breathing muscles to create a balanced, or intentional, amount of air pressure under the vocal folds (subglottic pressure).

RELATED PHYSIOLOGYBreathing refers to the coordination of the breathing muscles to create a balanced, or intentional, amount of air pressure under the vocal folds (subglottic pressure).

3: Intonation

DESCRIPTION: Intonation refers to the control of vocal fold vibration at specific frequencies (also known as “pitch control”). This includes the ability to  accurately move from one intended pitch to another.

RELATED PHYSIOLOGYCricothyroid muscles (stretches the folds) and thyroarytenoid muscles (shortens the folds).

4: Range

DESCRIPTION: Range refers to the coordination and balance between the breathing muscles and the vibratory patterns of the vocal folds from lowest to highest note, including the transitions between the registers (passaggio).

RELATED PHYSIOLOGYVocalis, thyroarytenoid, cricothyroid, and arytenoid muscles (position of the folds). Internal and external intercostals, diaphragm and abdominals (breathing muscles).

5: Tone

DESCRIPTION: Tone refers to the resonant patterns (amplified frequencies) and vocal quality created by the shape of the spaces above the larynx known as the vocal tract.

RELATED PHYSIOLOGYLaryngopharynx, oropharynx, nasopharynx, oral cavity, and nasal cavities.

6: Articulation

DESCRIPTION:Articulation refers to the coordination and configurations of the muscles responsible for diction. In particular, the muscles related to the lips, tongue and jaw.

RELATED PHYSIOLOGYOrbicularis oris, levator labiis, zygomaticus, risorius, depressors, and mentalis (lip muscles). Tongue, palatoglossus, styloglossus, hyoglossus, genioglossus, and geniohyoid (tongue muscles). Temporalis, masseters, pterygoids, digastrics, mylohyoids, and platysmas (jaw muscles).

7: Strength

DESCRIPTION: Strength refers to the physical capacity, stability and coordination of the vocal folds and their relationship with the intrinsic muscles of the larynx.

RELATED PHYSIOLOGYVocalis muscle and transverse, lateral, oblique and posterior arytenoid muscles.