A simple, low‐dimensional model of the body‐cover vocal‐fold structure is proposed as a research tool to study both normal and pathological vocal‐fold vibration. It maintains the simplicity of a two‐mass model but allows for physiologically relevant adjustments and separate vibration of the body and the cover. The classic two‐mass model of the vocal folds [K. Ishizaka and J. L. Flanagan, Bell Syst. Tech. J. 51, 1233–1268 (1972)] has been extended to a three‐mass model in order to more realistically represent the body‐cover vocal‐fold structure [M. Hirano, Folia Phoniar. 26, 89–94 (1974)]. The model consists of two ‘‘cover’’ masses coupled laterally to a ‘‘body’’ mass by nonlinear springs and viscous damping elements. The body mass, which represents muscle tissue, is further coupled laterally to a rigid wall (assumed to represent the thyroid cartilage) by a nonlinear spring and a damping element. The two cover springs are intended to represent the elastic properties of the epithelium and the lamina propria while the body spring simulates the tension produced by contraction of the thyroarytenoid muscle. Thus contractions of the cricothyroid and thyroarytenoid muscles are incorporated in the values used for the stiffness parameters of the body and cover springs. Additionally, the two cover masses are coupled to each other through a linear spring which can represent vertical mucosal wave propagation. Simulations show reasonable similarity to observed vocal‐fold motion, measured vertical phase difference, and mucosal wave velocity, as well as experimentally obtained intraglottal pressure.

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