# Breath management Breathing can be compared to a pair of bellows: there's a mechanism that pulls the handles apart (the external intercostal muscles and the diaphragm), a mechanism that pulls the handles together (the internal intercostals and other muscles), and a variable orifice (the glottis and and constrictions in the vocal tract). When breathing out, the vocal folds are adducted (closed) and [[Subglottic pressure]] pushes them apart.[^1] Thoracic, diaphragmatic, and abdominal forces are coordinated for good breath management.[^2] Ventilation is greater in the lower part of the lungs. This is why the upper chest doesn't move much with quiet breathing.[^3] This accords with what is taught in [[Appoggio]]. Clavicular breathing creates muscle tension. Some singers confuse this tension with the feeling of a "full" breath.[^4] The lungs should not feel overcrowded with air—this will result in a quicker rate of expiration.[^4] Breathing should be easy. Air flows from a region of higher pressure to a region of lower.[^3] I tell my students to let physics do the breathing for them—all we have to do is open the airway. Some breath management techniques encourage singers to move out the lower abdomen during inspiration or execution of the phrase. This is not so in appoggio.[^5] Though I find this technique helpful for expiration and phonation. Laryngeal efficiency depends upon proper [[Subglottic pressure]] and resonance.[^2] For more on this, see [[Appoggio]]. ## Exercises for breath management ### Exercises without phonation These can be used to train the breath without tiring the voice [^1]: [[The Structure of Singing]] pg. 22 [^2]: [[The Structure of Singing]] pg. 23 [^3]: [[The Structure of Singing]] pg. 20 [^4]: [[The Structure of Singing]] pg. 26-28 [^5]: [[The Structure of Singing]] pg. 25