Spatio-temporal analysis of irregular vocal fold oscillations: Biphonation due to desynchronization of spatial modes

Jürgen Neubauer, Patrick Mergell, Ulrich Eysholdt, Hanspeter Herzel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

110 Scopus citations


This report is on direct observation and modal analysis of irregular spatio-temporal vibration patterns of vocal fold pathologies in vivo. The observed oscillation patterns are described quantitatively with multiline kymograms, spectral analysis, and spatio-temporal plots. The complex spatio-temporal vibration patterns are decomposed by empirical orthogonal functions into independent vibratory modes. It is shown quantitatively that biphonation can be induced either by left-right asymmetry or by desynchronized anterior-posterior vibratory modes, and the term "AP (anterior-posterior) biphonation" is introduced. The presented phonation examples show that for normal phonation the first two modes sufficiently explain the glottal dynamics. The spatio-temporal oscillation pattern associated with biphonation due to left-right asymmetry can be explained by the first three modes. Higher-order modes are required to describe the pattern for biphonation induced by anterior-posterior vibrations. Spatial irregularity is quantified by an entropy measure, which is significantly higher for irregular phonation than for normal phonation. Two asymmetry measures are introduced: the left-right asymmetry and the anterior-posterior asymmetry, as the ratios of the fundamental frequencies of left and right vocal fold and of anterior-posterior modes, respectively. These quantities clearly differentiate between left-right biphonation and anterior-posterior biphonation. This paper proposes methods to analyze quantitatively irregular vocal fold contour patterns in vivo and complements previous findings of desynchronization of vibration modes in computer modes and in in vitro experiments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3179-3192
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of the Acoustical Society of America
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Acoustics and Ultrasonics


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