Do Raising Muscles Surrounding the Cheek Bones Also Raise the Soft Palate?

Voice teachers have consistently advocated for the “smiling position,”
or “raising the cheeks,” when one sings for the purpose of enhancing tonal balance or affecting chiaroscuro or color of the voice.
In the case of the position of the zygomatic musculature (muscles surrounding cheek bones) any amount of lift in most cases will result in increased acoustic intensity or certain increase in resonating qualities.
Leon Therman, Specialist Voice Educator and Founder of the Leon Thurman Voice Center in Minneapolis completed research that shows:
Zygomatic arches and soft palate raising ~ The zygomatic arches are part of the facial bone structures, specifically part of what are called the cheekbones, just under the eyes. We also have two muscles that are labelled Zygomatic Major and Zygomatic Minor. Z-Major is the primary muscle that moves the “lip corners” laterally when we smile Neither muscle has a direct interface with the soft palate or the muscles that move the soft palate up and back to close off the nasal cavity, or to arch the soft palate. However, neural networks that move the soft palate and the lips co-contract at the same time as part of a singer’s “habitual singing coordinations.”

Published by

Lynn Swanson

Executive Artistic Director Milwaukee Children's Choir

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