I've been suffering from a mix of allergies and a cold over the past few days, and woke up this morning to find that overnight, my normal singing range of about F2 to G4 had been reduced and lowered to about Db2 to Ab2. I can breathe in and out through my nose, but I have a fair bit of sinus congestion elsewhere.

From the perspective of singing technique, mechanics, and physiology, what has happened to have this drastic of an effect on my range?

1 Answer 1



What inflammation is is the engorgement of tissue with blood in response to that issue releasing a signaling chemical (histamine) that dilates blood vessels. That is why inflamed tissue is redder than usual. Theory is that the body has this response to rush additional white blood cells to the site of a lesion. (An allergic reaction is one where the tissue releases histamines in confused response to something innocuous.)

Tissue that is full of blood is thicker, heavier, and stiffer. Since vocal sound production is actuated by vibrating tissue (the vocal cords), when that tissue is inflamed, the vibrating apparatus is thicker, heavier, and stiffer. In the same way a thicker, heavier, stiffer guitar string sounds lower than a thinner, lighter, more flexible one, vocal cords which are afflicted with inflammation will sound lower than they otherwise do.

P.S. Singing on inflamed vocal cords will make the inflammation worse, by irritating them further.

  • 7
    Agreed with Codeswitcher here - drink lots of water and rest, and don't sing. Singing with inflamed vocal cords can damage them (even though it is awesome to sing the really low notes...). Jun 1, 2014 at 4:34

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