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Voice Disorders - a Focus of Clinical Speech Science (in German)

Currently FREE: Voice Disorders – a Focus of Clinical Speech Science

As the Federal Association of German Clinical Speech Scientists announced today, the jubilee volume on the occasion of the DBKS’s 25th anniversary, Voice Disorders – a Focus of Clinical Speech Science, is currently available free of charge in Open Access. “This is a reminiscence of our wonderful colleague and former DBKS board member Anke Bergt, who died far too early and who had acted as co-editor,” said the spokeswoman of the Department of Speech Science and Phonetics and director of the Institute of Music, Media and Speech Sciences, Prof. Dr. phil. habil. Susanne Voigt-Zimmermann.

I contributed a short text on the control of formants to the volume. You can read the volume online and download it as PDF.

→Voice Disorders – a Focus of Clinical Speech Science (in German)

Why Does Choral Music Sound So Good?

I was very happy about this video from Barnaby Martin. It is a wonderful introduction to the basics of my → Choral Phonetics. In this video he shows why formants are so important for intonation.

Choral phonetics uses our hidden ability to perceive resonances in the vocal tract as pitches (→ hearing test). And it trains a special fine motoricity of the tongue to control these resonances and to adapt the timbre to chords. This know-how enables singers to tune resonances just as precisely as their vocal tones. This turns timbre into a musical instrument. Choir sounds, as they can be heard in the video, become controllable.

What otherwise requires many years of experience and voice training for choristers can be achieved much faster with the knowledge of choral phonetics. Choir singers and conductors usually learn the necessary vocal techniques in just a few days and can develop them into a retrievable skill set within half a year. This refines not only intonation and homogeneity in the ensemble, but also the carrying capacity and lightness of the voice.

Besides, Barnaby Martin has a great talent to explain complex musical phenomena in a simple and entertaining way. Be sure to subscribe to his YouTube channel “Listening In”, there are a lot of first-class videos about the effects of musical sounds.Among other things I recommend his video about the completely crazy intonation movements that Jacob Collier uses in his choir pieces. Guys, choral phonetics is slowly becoming mainstream :)!

Spectacular MRI Video of the Tongue while Singing Overtones

“Ode to Joy”, overtone singing by Wolfgang Saus inside an MRI.

This spectacular dynamic MRI video shows how the tongue moves during overtone singing. The melody of Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy” is created by double resonances which are shaped by the tongue in the mouth and throat. Overtone singing is based on the combination of the second and third resonance frequencies of the vocal tract on a single frequency to increase the volume of a single overtone from the vocal sound.

The second resonance frequency is controlled by the base of the tongue along with the epiglottis. The third resonance frequency is regulated by the space under the tongue, which is larger than it appears in the video, because it also spreads to the side of the tongue frenulum, which covers the space in the image. Overtone singing requires constant fine tuning of the two resonance chambers.

It is not easy to sing in the very loud magnetic resonance tomograph and even record the sound. The noise level is so high that I had to wear hearing protection and couldn’t hear my own overtones. I had to sing by feeling. That the right melody came out is spectacular in itself. It shows that it is possible to develop a body feeling for the exact pitch of the resonances that also works without acoustic control through the ear.

The team in Freiburg has developed highly specialized equipment for recording and filtering. Of course the sound is not HiFi.

MRT footage with kind permission and a big thank you to:
University Hospital Freiburg
Clinic for Radiology – Medical Physics & Institute for Music Medicine
https://fim.mh-freiburg.de/
Prof. Dr. Bernhard Richter
Prof. Dr. Dr. Jürgen Hennig
Prof. Dr. Matthias Echternach
(c) 2015

Almost overtone singing… a genius beatboxer

Gene Shinozaki voice-performes his own composition Home in YouTube Space New York. The new generation of beatboxers starts using the formats purposefully – the art of western overtone singinger of the 2nd generation.

Two overtone melodies at the same time – Cosmicbow

Christopher Vila is the inventor and manufacturer of this ravishing music instrument, that leads you in a deep self-forgetfulness when you play it, what you can still feel as a listener:  Cosmicbow.

In the video, he demonstrates an incredible control of the first and second formant, by playing two independent melodies simultaneously with both resonances. He controls the deeper overtone with the anterior mouth, the high harmonics are determined mainly by the position of the epiglottis and the root of the tongue.

This skill is an example of how much music is yet to be discovered in our vocal resonance cavities alone. A reference to the vocal Phonetics is interesting, in which also a control of the formants is required to enable the brilliance and load-bearing capacity of the voice, which is required for classical singing. I can recommend any classical singer to play around with the Cosmicbow for a while.

Portfolio Items

Events

Gesangsphonetik und Obertongesang als Werkzeuge zur Optimierung von Resonanz und Intonation – Wolfgang Saus – (AT) Wien

Die Teilnehmer lernen in diesem Seminar, ihren Stimmklang auf einem völlig neuen Niveau zu kontrollieren und zu veredeln. Sie lernen, das enorme Potenzial der Resonanz mit einem neuen Verfahren für sich gezielt zu nutzen, um entspannt Lautstärke zu produzieren und optimal zu artikulieren. Darüber hinaus lernen sie eine Möglichkeit kennen, mittels ausgewählter Vokale die Intonation zu verbessern und zu entscheiden, ob sie in einem Ensemble homogen zu einem Chorklang verschmelzen oder als Solisten herausklingen möchten.

Eine gute Resonanz ist entscheidend, um die Gefahr des Forcierens zu minimieren. Bisher wird Resonanz überwiegend durch Bildsprache und subjektive Wahrnehmung vermittelt. In dem Seminar wird ein neues Vokal-Resonanz-Diagramm eingeführt, dass den komplexen Zusammenhang zwischen Tonhöhe, Vokalklang und Resonanz übersichtlich veranschaulicht. Mithilfe des Diagramm wird unmittelbar klar, warum manche Vokale bei bestimmen Tönen nicht “funktionieren”. Dieses Wissen kann den Lernprozess enorm beschleunigen.

Voraussetzung für diese neue Methode der Gesangsphonetik ist das Erlernen der sogenannten Obertonhörens, einer Hörweise, die Informationen des auditiven Cortex der rechten Gehirnhälfte aktiviert. Erstaunlicherweise ist das Obertonhören nur wenigen Musikern vertraut ist. Erstaunlich deshalb, weil es in nur wenigen Minuten erlernt werden kann und fortan das Hören erheblich vertieft. Wer sich optimal auf das Seminar vorbereiten möchte, kann vorab diesen spannenden Hörtest auf der Website des Referenten machen: https://www.oberton.org/hoertest-saus/

Die Teilnehmer lernen, wie sie die Resonanzen mit den Vokaltraktartikulatoren Zunge, Lippenöffnung und Kehlposition wesentlich präziser als bisher kontrollieren können. Es wird dann sogar möglich, Vokale so gezielt einzusetzen, dass im Ensembleklang reine Intonation völlig natürlich und entspannt entsteht. Ensemblesänger werden Homogenität und Zusammenklang auf einer neuen Ebene erleben.

Wolfgang Saus ist freiberuflicher Musiker, Gesangspädagoge und Stimmforscher. Als Experte für Obertongesang mit den Wurzeln im Klassischen Gesang und mit Diplom in physikalischer Chemie hat er eine besondere Art, die Faszination des Stimmklangs zu vermitteln. Der Klühstiftung-Preisträger und Erfinder einiger Patente stieg vor 25 Jahren chemischen Industrieforschung aus, um sich völlig den Obertönen der Stimme, deren Erforschung und Weiterentwicklung zu widmen. Er ist Mitentwickler der Klanganalysesoftware “Overtone Analyzer” und “VoceVistaVideo”, Fachautor, Gründer des Europa-Obertonchores und seit 2015 Vorsitzender der deutschen Gesellschaft für Gesangswissenschaft.