Apr 132015
 

Have you ever sung a two octave slide?

Have you ever sung a two octave slide with your tongue out?

Have you ever sung a two octave slide in full voice with your tongue out as far as it will go being held by someone else, while a camera sits at the back of your throat?

Thought not.

Open wide - seeing the vocal folds from the inside

Open wide – seeing the vocal folds from the inside

But that’s what Jeremy had to do in the voice clinic. The video footage below ended up on Channel 4 as part of the World Voice Day 2015 celebration. (#WorldVoiceDay)

Dr Helena Daffern was being interviewed on how your voice works for Channel 4’s Sunday Brunch, and the programmers needed some footage of the inside of a larynx, so they contacted Vocal Process.

We’re well known for our endoscopy and stroboscopy voice training footage of people singing and speaking, so we went through our archives of voice clinic visits and found Jeremy being scoped.

Usually we film nasal endoscopy, so the camera is narrow and flexible, and is inserted into one nostril. The advantage of this is that the singer can still pronounce words and sing easily (although having a camera up your nose makes nasal consonants a bit trickier…)

But the disadvantage of standard nasal endoscopy is that you can’t see the actual movement of the vocal folds – they just move too fast. Even when a bass sings they’ll be moving at between 65 (low C) and 392 cycles (high G) per second.

So a stroboscopic camera is used to trick the eye into seeing a “slowed down” version of vocal fold movement. The stroboscopic camera used in the voice clinic that day was a rigid oral scope, so goes into the mouth and sits on the singer’s tongue (right at the back of the throat) to look downwards at the larynx. To get a really clear image, the mouth has to open wide and the tongue has to be pulled forwards as far as it will go. And that makes different vowels and consonants a little more difficult!

So the image you see here is Jeremy singing an Er vowel, half-way through a two octave slide, with the camera halfway down his throat and the surgeon gripping the tip of his tongue and pulling it forwards.

Hey, everyone needs a hobby

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