Interesting Facts About Breathing

  • The average adult breathes 12 – 20 times a minute.

  • Tidal Volume:  the amount of air you breathe in and out during one respiratory cycle.

  • Vital Lung Capacity: the total volume of air exchanged from deepest inhalation to deepest exhalation which varies depending upon height, weight and age.

  • Total Lung Capacity in adults (normal, healthy) is 3 to 5 liters.

  • In an upright posture, most conversational speech occurs within 40-80% of vital lung capacities.

  • Singing long phrases may require all the reserve volume of the lungs.  Singing requires significantly more lung volume than conversational speaking.

  • When the vocal folds are adducted for singing or speaking, there is greater resistance to the airflow.  More lung pressure is necessary to expel the air effectively.

  • As the pitch goes higher, the vocal cords elongate and become stiffer, which requires more lung pressure to maintain the same amplitude of vibration.

  • Much of the speech breathing information reported here is extracted from Ingo R. Titze’s, Principles of Voice Production.


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Cover Photo by Robin Benzrihem