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Inside the Vocal Apparatus of an Emcee and a Soprano

Friday, June 4, 2010

MRI.jpegOne of my editors sent me this fascinating link to a video created by the University of Southern California's electrical engineering and linguistics department. Researchers at the university asked an opera singer and a beatbox emcee to sing and create beats respectively inside an MRI machine.

It's incredible to see how different the vocal apparatus works for the emcee versus the opera singer.

The soprano's tongue is fat, it doesn't move a lot. Her lips also remain fairly still. There's a huge space inside the mouth and the larynx is lowered. You can also see her vibrato going.

Meanwhile, the emcee's tongue and lips are working overtime. They actually look like drumsticks whacking skins and the cavity inside the mouth and throat are quite closed.

It would be interesting to see the technique applied to other forms of vocal artist such as Tuvan throat singer, blues singer, professional whistler, yodeller etc. The mind boggles.

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