In this paper a mass–spring model is developed that is a hybrid of the two‐mass and the longitudinal string models, proposed by Ishizaka and Flanagan [Bell Sys. Tech. J. 51, 1233–1268 (1972)] and Titze [Phonetica 28, 129–170 (1973)], respectively. The model is used to simulate the vibratory motion of both the normal and asymmetric vocal folds. Mouth‐output pressure, lateral tissue displacement, phase plots, and energy diagrams are presented to demonstrate the interaction between vocal fold tissue and the aerodynamic flow between the folds. The results of the study suggest that this interaction is necessary for sustained large amplitude oscillation because the flow supplies the energy lost by the tissue damping. Tissue mass and stiffness were varied locally or uniformly. Decreased stress in the longitudinal string tension produced subharmonic and chaotic vibrations in the displacement, velocity and acceleration phase diagrams. Similar vibratory characteristics also appeared in pathological speech data analyzed using time domain jitter and shimmer measures and a harmonics‐to‐noise ratio metric. The subharmonics create an effect that has been perceptually described as diplophonia.

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