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The human voice as a musical instrument combines a non-uniform acoustic tube resonator (the vocal tract) with a forced, ``lip-like'' excitation mechanism (the vocal folds). Unlike the brass player's lips, however, the vocal folds are little affected by acoustic feedback from the vocal tract. A singer trains to control his/her vocal cord mechanism for accurate pitch specification as well as to control his/her vocal tract shape to modify formant structure for better projection.

Tuvan music incorporates a particularly interesting style of singing, the study of which can help us better understand the acoustics of the singing voice and the flexibility of our vocal mechanism. An online article from Scientific American offers an excellent starting point for further exploration on this topic.

Formants and Pitch

Spoken vs. Sung Vowels

Formant Tuning by Sopranos

Registers, Voices, and Muscles

Dynamics vs. Spectra

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