A piano player doesn't really need to care about how the hammers and dampers and soundboard in their instrument work. Guitar players need to change their strings but they don't have to know much more than that about guitars.
We singers are in a different position. Every time we sing we are 'creating' - or more accurately 'lining up' our instrument. So we need to know in some detail how our instruments work.
We refer to the entirety of 'the instrument' and the Vocal Tract. We must not forget that the vocal tract is entirely part of the body and that the posture and general condition of the body has a very great impact on the proper functioning of the vocal tract.
The vocal tract begins at the diaphragm, which is a sheet of muscle extending across the bottom of the rib cage. The diaphragm is the main muscle of normal breathing and plays a major part in the control of air pressure for singing. When the lower (floating) ribs move forward, the abdominal wall moves forward with it, and the diaphragm moves downward into the created space. This lowers pressure in the lungs, drawing air in.
During singing, as the lower breathing exhale muscles act together on the bottom of the lungs, the lungs form a large reservoir of pressurised air.
The tracheal tree is an upside-down Y shaped pipe leading from the lungs up to start of the throat. It carries the air.
At the top of the trachea is the larynx. This is a cartilage box containing the vocal cords (glottis) and its operating muscles. The vocal cords are more properly in science referred to as the Vocal Folds (they aren't cords...). They are a pair of muscular folds, lined with mucous membrane, located inside the Larynx, one on either side. They can fold away to allow air to pass unrestricted to and from the lungs, or can be closed together (adducted) to either completely seal the opening to the trachea (as in swallowing, to prevent food entering the lungs) or slightly less firmly for the purpose of making sound - 'Phonation'.
During phonation the vocal folds are closed together and
This air, trapped in the lungs by the closure of the glottis
The lungs contain the air, and in singing form a nice big reservoir of air
Singing is a conscious adaptation and extension of the body's inherited ability to make strongly resonant pitched cries.
The pure strong sound produced by this mechanism is recognisable to us as the singing voice.
The singing voice is a broad psychoacoustic channel which carries information about emotion and feelings.
To allow the body to produce the singing voice, we must learn to allow the throat to relax, and not allow speech habits involving throat tension or movement to interfere.
The overall singing mechanism involves the abdominal muscles and diaphragm, the larynx and vocal cords, and the upper vocal tract generally.
The function of these components is as follows: