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What am I?

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  • Many different parts are required to work together before I make a sound
  • I am essentially a reed instrument
  • I am the most unique of all musical instruments

    What am I?

    The human voice!

    You use it every day, but have you ever thought about how your voice works?

    When you talk, you expel air from your lungs and push it across the larynx, also known as the voice box. This exhale makes the vocal cords vibrate, producing sound. Try humming while touching your Adam’s apple – you can usually feel the vibration. Other parts of the body such as the nose, mouth, and throat reverberate the sound, creating your unique human voice.

    Comparable to guitar strings, the length and tension of your vocal cords determines how high or low you speak. When we’re children, we typically have a similar range to sopranos. During puberty, we experience a lengthening and thickening of the vocal cords that alters our range.

    The widest recorded vocal range was achieved by singer Tim Storms, at a full ten octaves – about twice that of Mariah Carey’s famous range! Storms also holds the Guinness World record for the lowest note ever sung (eight octaves below the lowest G on a piano). The note is so low it had to be verified via equipment, as it can’t even be heard by the human ear.