Vagus Nerve

Vagus Nerve: The Singing Nerve

The vagus nerve is the nerve that enervates the larynx. As it is the nerve that is responsible for prosody in the voice, we could very well call it the singing nerve.

Prosody is the ability to vary in pitch, tone, volume, and rhythm. It makes our voice expressive, communicating emotions and attitudes.

Depending on our vagal activation, the nervous system either promotes prosody or impedes it. A recognizable example for many is the “lump in the throat” that we experience when we are highly aroused, or when we are overwhelmed by emotion. But also more subtle stressors may cause changes in vocal function. The degree to which we feel like we are in control of our voices, and even whether or not we experience freedom, and joy in performing, are initiated in the nervous system.

To conclude, the condition of our nervous system matters for optimal vocal performance and artists’ wellbeing.

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