The wiki entry for vocal register lists 5 factors that contribute to it:

vocal break

However, isn't vocal break the same as resonance?

1 Answer 1


The term "vocal register" is not a linguistic one, but there is a linguistic concept of "register" that is somewhat related. You would need to consult with speech & hearing scientists to get proper terminological use outside of linguistics.

In its linguistic use, it primarily refers to local pitch range, i.e. the pitch of the highest and lowest tone at a particular subpart of the utterance. Pitch range can go up or down, for paralinguistic, pragmatic and grammatical purposes. In its grammatical manifestation, change in register refers to upstep, downstep, and downdrift (non-contrastive downstep). However, it can also refer to subdivisions within the tonal space, in languages with 3 or more tone levels. For example, Anlo Ewe has 4 tone levels, R, H, M, L, and they group together phonologically as {R,H} versus {M,L} where R is the higher tone of the upper register and M is the higher tone of the lower register.

In a number of Southeast Asian languages such as Burmese and Hmong, the tones of the language are a complex of pitch and phonatory differences (among other things), the latter including creaky vs. breathy voice. Given the inseparability of the phonetic factors defining "tone" in these languages, the package is often referred to as "register". In Mon, the distinction is apparently only phonatory (modal vs. breathy), but it is still called "register". Outside of SE Asian languages, breathy / creaky distinctions are usually referred to as related to phonation type, and are not referred to the term "register".

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