The unsteady two-dimensional flow through fixed rigid in vitro models of the glottis is studied in some detail to validate a more accurate model based on the prediction of boundary-layer separation. The study is restricted to the flow phenomena occurring within the glottis and does not include effects of vocal-fold movement on the flow. Pressure measurements have been carried out for a transient flow through a rigid scale model of the glottis. The rigid model with a fixed geometry driven by an unsteady pressure is used in order to achieve a high accuracy in the specification of the geometry of the glottis. The experimental study is focused on flow phenomena as they might occur in the glottis, such as the asymmetry of the flow due to the Coanda effect and the transition to turbulent flow. It was found that both effects need a relatively long time to establish themselves and are therefore unlikely to occur during the production of normal voiced speech when the glottis closes completely during part of the oscillation cycle. It is shown that when the flow is still laminar and symmetric the prediction of the boundary-layer model and the measurement of the pressure drop from the throat of the glottis to the exit of the glottis agree within 40%. Results of the boundary-layer model are compared with a two-dimensional vortex-blob method for viscous flow. The difference between the results of the simpiflied boundary-layer model and the experimental results is explained by an additional pressure difference between the separation point and the far field within the jet downstream of the separation point. The influence of the movement of the vocal folds on our conclusions is still unclear. © 2003 Acoustical Society of America.