Tuesday, April 11, 2017

I is for Instrumental Voice

Most of the time, when people are speaking of musicians, they rarely consider a vocalist one. Why, because they don’t carry big amps and set up a physical instrument? I sis because they do not play a man-made stringed, wind, or percussive instrument that they have to load in the car and set-up hours before a musical engagement?

When a jazz event is being spoken of, it often says quartet, excluding the singer which if included would be a quintet.  So why isn’t the singer considered a musician when a singer actually is one?

The vocal cords are the only hand-made by God instrument on this earth. It is internal and is carried around inside of the human body.

The vocal cords are “a pair of folds of tissue that extend across the inside of the larynx and that produce the voice when air exhaled from the lungs causes them to tighten and vibrate” (Merriam Webster).  They are primarily responsible for voice production.

“The vocal cords are shorter and thinner in women and children, accounting in part for their higher-pitched voices” (Britannica). In men, the vocal cord is the size of a nickel and in woman, the vocal cord is the size of a dime.

The human voice is one of the most powerful instruments. It produces speech and enables communication. If you have a voice to speak, you have power to create change. If you have the ability to use your voice in other ways like singing, you have the ability to affect the ears of listeners with your word usage and the outpouring of emotion that you release when you free your voice.

It uses air to release sound, so like a horn, the human voice is a wind instrument. It can run scales in different keys of the solfege or other musical scales like a piano, so it can also be considered a stringed instrument. And there are times when the human voice makes you feel all warm and tingly inside, producing that thump that drives your heartbeat, which can make the human voice percussive.

Now here is a big difference between a physical instrument and the vocals. If dust falls in between each key of a piano or one of the keys go out of tune, you either spray it with dust remover or get it retuned and it is fine. Pull a string on a guitar or bass, and you simply unplug and restring it. Should a piece of dust get on the vocal chords, now you have limited usage of your voice because you now have an upper respiratory infection. Should you pull a string on your vocal cords, you may have to consult an ENT physician and consider surgery to remove nodes on your cords.

So though, the vocal cords might very well be inside of a human body, it is very much an instrument which makes a vocalist a musician. The human voice is the only instrument that God made by hand. It is the most powerful instrument in the world. And it is the one easiest to let a message out musically that can affect thought.  


Perhaps my song, “Breakthrough” which was originally written and produced by Stephanie Jeannot and Armand Collins, will affect your day positively. It is an inspirational tune and it was performed live at Resorts World Casinos in Queens, NY. Here is the link: https://youtu.be/B4fJ-8SswqQ

26 comments:

  1. It is true the vocal cords are the most beautiful instrument made by nature. I am always in awe of singers as they make such beautiful music with just a single voice.

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  2. I love how you explained vocal cords and how they produce sound. This would make a great children's book by the way!

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    1. I will consider that. Great idea Thank you for the inspiration.

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  3. You have such an amazing voice!!! Such an interesting article, I had no idea about a lot of this!

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  4. Your perspective of how vocal chords are truly an instrument and one that takes not only natural talent, but practice and study is so true. It really doesn't make any sense that people don't consider singers as musicians when in fact they are such an integral part of it!

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  5. I've always listened to a vocalist as another instrument. To me, the lyrics are meaningless and a distraction. I'm more interested in the voice, the instrument. It helps when the music is in a language I don't understand; I can still enjoy the tune. Might not be what a vocalist or lyricist wants to hear, but the words are unimportant. Case in point: Ella Fitzgerald's "Mack The Knife." She forgot the lyrics and still won a Grammy because of her voice. She didn't have to sing lyrics (correct or not) for people to enjoy her voice. Ditto Astrud Gilberto and Beverly Sills. No idea what they're singing, but I don't need to know to appreciate the voice.

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    1. So true. It is amazing how music can affect people even when they do not understand the language. They listen and are moved. You are absolutely right about Miss Ella. She was amazing.

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  6. I love how you said that the human voice is the only instrument God made by hand. I have a terrible voice...so he must have been brushing over me quickly that day- haha! This is really informative about vocals. Thanks :)

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  7. Wow! I definitely learned a lot about vocal cords and I love how you explained it! You have a beautiful voice. I loved listening to your song.

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  8. This is so true. Many of times folks don't refer to singers as musicians but as entertainers. Singers have the most expensive instrument ever: vocal chords. Thanks for the reminder.

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  9. Yes vocal chords are instruments. I hated when people would put down my performances because I don't "play" an instrument!

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    1. Girl. I love that you could identify with me on this. Thank you so much.

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  10. Breakthrough is a fantastic song. I have always admired people that have the God given gift to song so beautifully.

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  11. So true! I have always admired those who could sing. This was a great reminder

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  12. I love the idea of vocal cords as instruments and never thought of them that way. A great singer's voice can take your breath away.

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  13. This was such an interesting read. I'd never really thought of the vocal chords as being an instrument before, but now you've mentioned it it makes perfect sense!

    Louise :)

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    1. Thanks for that Louise. Happy Wednesday. :)

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