A reflex mechanism with a long latency (>40 ms) is implicated as a plausible cause of vocal vibrato. At least one pair of agonist–antagonist muscles that can change vocal-fold length is needed, such as the cricothyroid muscle paired with the thyroarytenoid muscle, or the cricothyroid muscle paired with the lateral cricoarytenoid muscle or a strap muscle. Such an agonist–antagonist muscle pair can produce negative feedback instability in vocal-fold length with this long reflex latency, producing oscillations on the order of 5–7 Hz. It is shown that singers appear to increase the gain in the reflex loop to cultivate the vibrato, which grows out of a spectrum of 0–15-Hz physiologic tremors in raw form.

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