After last weeks glass shattering blog, I thought I would continue on thematically. This week we’ll have some fun with human vocal extremes.
The average human has a singing vocal range of between one octave and one octave and a half. And, by that, I mean an amateur voice, not someone professionally trained. Have you ever been playing guitar or piano for fun and tried to emulate your favorite singer only to realize that you can’t achieve that high or low note? Don’t fret because that’s normal. Now a professionally trained singer can range between 3 octaves and in rare cases 4.
Like everything in nature there are extremes and the singing world is no different.
Tim Storms from the USA holds a number of records and one of them is being able to hit the lowest note. He voice can produce sound as low as G7 which is 0.189 Hz. That note is so low, we fellow humans can’t hear it and the only animal that could hear it is the elephant, which communicates in subsonics. He also holds the record for the widest vocal range of 10 octaves, which has been recorded by the Guinness Book of World Records. He claims to have broken his own record and expanded his range to 12 octaves but as of August 2012 that has not been confirmed officially.
I’m sure you’ve heard the myth or story about the opera singer that could break a wine glass just using his or her voice. And then there was a television commercial in the 70’s where Ella Fitzgerald hits here final note and the wine glass in front of the speaker shatters. So what’s the deal? True or not?
As you now know from past blogs, everything has it’s own unique frequency that it vibrates at and last week you learned how tuning forks could heal the human body. Well wine glasses are no different and in fact have very pleasant sounding frequencies. You have probably flicked an empty wine glass (some of you, I’m sure, are trying to imagine what an empty wine glass looks like – ahem) with your finger and listened to its bright tone. You can even take it a step further and add liquid to the glass and adjust the pitch:
Ok, so we know that wine glasses have a specific pitch. So let’s start with Ella and the speaker. This is possible! Hooray! Although not without some tweaking. It seems that a pure tone like a sine wave cannot break the glass when played through a loudspeaker. The glass will begin to vibrate but not break. If you are interested in learning more on this there is an episode of Myth Busters on YouTube that is quite good and I’ll use a brief clip from that at the end of this blog. Anyway, researchers found that if they placed a board between the wine glass and speaker, that had a mouth shaped and sized hole in it, then they could break the glass. I suppose the hole focused the sound and altered the movement of the sound waves moving through it. Or it dirtied the sound up a bit by adding harmonic frequencies and making the sound complex instead of pure.
But on to the grand finale and can an unamplified human voice break glass?
And there you have it! Please try this at home but use eye protection and clear out any pets and small children. Until we meet again.
Ya, I stole the title from REO Speedwagon. So what! “ and I’m gonna keep on lovin you…”
A few years ago I created a meditation music cd entitled “ Soundala Vol. 1 “ in which I used singing bowls and special tuning forks. Tuning forks? You say! How odd. Well yes and this is the odd audio blog.
Tuning fork therapy has been around for quite some time and the principle is quite simple. We all vibrate at a certain frequency and in fact all things vibrate. The human body can be broken down into smaller vibrations and the organs vibrate at specific frequencies that have musical equivalents.
Some times, whether it be due to physical stress, mental stress, pollution etc, the organ come out of tune. In fact my liver is a little flat right now. So to help correct the flats and sharps, you can get a tune-up with special tuning forks. Basically the tuning fork is struck and placed near the organ or chakra in question and the detuned area starts to sympathetically vibrate with the tuning fork until it vibrates at the right pitch. Think of what Dr. Masaru Emoto has been doing with water. Simple huh? Or as my Mexican friends like to say, “ simple, no? “