The term voice quality refers to the long-term vocal setting of a speaker. As such, it is a suprasegmental aspect of speech. Although a particular voice quality may be a speaker’s usual setting, it is possible for a speaker to change voice qualities (e.g., when using whisper for purposes of secrecy). This entry provides an overview of the Voice Quality Symbols (VoQS) system of voice quality categories: voice quality dependent on airstream, phonation, and supralaryngeal settings, as well as the transcription conventions of the VoQS system.


While most voice quality types are based on a pulmonic egressive airstream (vocalizing on exhalation), some types encountered in disorders of voice may use other airstreams. These include a pulmonic ingressive airstream (vocalizing on exhalation), esophageal and tracheoesophageal speech (in ...

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