Experiments with the Human Voice: Max Mathews

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The voice is a crucial tool within the history of sound as it appears in so many different, interconnected forms and disguises. An experience of voice auditory within history generally can be experienced through different movements that can be observed with regards to the figure of voice. The voice in terms of presence and sound helps in understanding the voice also in terms of techniques and manipulations. These terms presented are influenced within countless vocal techniques and manipulations with properties of time and spatial aspects. How it effects the voice through these aspects can also give the reality or even illusion of times and space, and how it navigates through it. Spoken, screaming, growling, vocal tremolo, vocal trill, inhaling, ululation, overtones, undertones, multiphonics, glottal sounds, sprechgesang are just some of the most influential vocal techniques used within the history of the voice. But, to hear them in their purest forms it is best experienced through an Extended Vocal Technique. With the consideration of these techniques, it is crucial to note the effects of activation and spatial choreography. Within these techniques, the voice can be taken to different realms of experience when vocal/sound artists and musicians choose to exploit the acoustics of particular spaces as well. The voice is used to signify temporal structure in performances, adjusting volumes, tones and pitch where it can increase and decrease the space covered. A consideration to be made is also how the listener experiences all of these vocal techniques within particular spaces and executions of the voice after it has been manipulated. A connection can be made between extended vocal techniques and electronic recordings of the voice bec... ... middle of paper ... ...Bell" which was performed by a computer synthesised human voice. It used technology developed by John Kelly and others from Bell Labs. Stanley Kubrick was so impressed at what was going on at Bell Labs, that when he found out about this human-computer interaction he ended up using it in ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’. For this kind of technology to come out of the early 60s was very impressive. “Kubrick used it in the scene where the HAL 9000 computer sings while his cognitive functions are disabled.” ["Bell Labs: Where "HAL" First Spoke (Bell Labs Speech Synthesis Web Site]. The creation and discovery of digital synthesis had massive effects on the possibilities with not only music, but with voice. Years later The Pink Floyd and the BBC Radiophonic Workshop were using synths on a regular basis to create music, and to realise what this technology has brought is profound.

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