Why can't animals talk like us? Some have speculated that a structural distinction exists between other animals and humans that allows us to shape words, but recent research has shown that to be unsubstantiated. Animals certainly communicate, but they don't create words because the words have no meaning to them. Of course it's a little more complicated than that, but that's the gist. This ScienceABC article explains a few of the important neurological elements essential for the creation of language, with a few teasers about what researchers have considered potential influences on the development of human speech. A big take-away....look to the brain!
Researchers Malinda J. McPherson and Josh H. McDermott wanted to know how critical the relationship with upper harmonics is to the fundamental to our ability to decipher sounds. It's a fascinating study that opens doors to other questions about the fine tuned capacity of human ears and the auditory cortex. Check out the article: Diversity in Pitch Perception Revealed by Task Dependence
Laurel's 2016 presentation at the Pan-American Vocology Association that poses the question - how can the voice community engage with demographics that are constantly attacked for how they use their voices?
The diaphragm, as we all know, plays a key role in respiration. Its unique structure and location within the body makes it one of the more fascinating muscles to consider. Even with only thinking of it as a respiratory giant, the diaphragm has captured people's imagination, and been the focus of countless hypothesis about singing, acting, and voice use in general. Body movement specialists have begun to focus on the diaphragm as well, not only for its use in breathing, but also for its unique placement in the body, and the influence it has on centering and balance.
Until recently, though, few have considered the diaphragm's role as a gastrointestinal structure in the body. Mark Pickering's and James FT Jones' article The Diaphragm: Two Physiological Muscles In One explores the complexity of the muscle, and how an understanding of the portion of the diaphragm that helps to regulate the fluids that pass through it going from the top of our bodies to the bottom can influence conditions like acid reflux.
Sign language innovators explain how they visualize rhythms and rhymes through American Sign Language.
A beautiful and short video on Mandy Harvey, a singer-songwriter working on her fourth album. Mandy was studying music in college when she lost her hearing. She sings by feeling vibrations in the floor, and by using the muscle memory from the first part of her life.
"....NSynth.. will provide musicians with an entirely new range of tools for making music. Critic Marc Weidenbaum points out that the approach isn’t very far removed from what orchestral conductors have done for ages—“the blending of instruments is nothing new,” he says—but he also believes that Google’s technology could push this age-old practice into new places. “Artistically, it could yield some cool stuff, and because it’s Google, people will follow their lead..."
After the release of his industry-changing dissertation (link here), Ian Howell has taken to offering the concepts and constructs that he developed in more bite-sized chunks, combining them into pedagogically-enticing threads. This recent article Necessary Roughness In The Voice Pedagogy Classroom in the NYSTA magazine "VoicePrints" carefully takes the reader through several key psychoacoustic phenomena, helping us understand more closely how we perceive sound, and how that perception profoundly impacts the sounds that we make. Howell continues to show why he is one of the more important pedagogues and researchers working in vocology today, not to mention his moving and inspiring countertenor voice.
"A team of researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison grew a pair of vocal cords that appear to be able to produce sound. Dr. Nathan Welham, who lead the project, said they could someday help the millions of people who have lost their ability to speak. He said the vocal cords his team created functioned phenomenally well, adding that they were comparable to..."