What happens in your throat when you beatbox? | Tom Thum and Matthew Broadhurst | Summary and Q&A

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What happens in your throat when you beatbox? | Tom Thum and Matthew Broadhurst

TL;DR

Tom Thum introduces himself as a beatboxer and shares his journey from TEDx star to exploring the inner mechanics of beatboxing.

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Questions & Answers

Q: What is Tom Thum's profession?

Tom Thum is a beatboxer and it is his full-time profession. He relies on the flexibility of the unfiltered human voice to create various sounds and beats.

Q: How does Tom Thum make his beatboxing noises?

Tom Thum knows the muscle memory required to position his lips and create different sounds, but he does not understand the inner mechanics of how his vocal cords and other parts of his throat interact to produce those noises.

Q: Who did Tom Thum collaborate with for his exploration of beatboxing mechanics?

Tom Thum collaborated with Dr. Matthew Broadhurst, an ENT doctor and laryngeal surgeon from the Queensland Voice Center. Dr. Broadhurst has extensive knowledge of the human throat and worked with Tom to understand how his beatboxing is possible.

Q: What did the examination of Tom Thum's vocal cords reveal?

The examination of Tom Thum's vocal cords showed that they are perfectly normal and undamaged. Despite years of beatboxing and producing a wide range of sounds, there was no evidence of any harm to his vocal cords.

Q: What techniques did Tom Thum use to create different sounds in his beatboxing?

Tom Thum used rhythmic contractions of various muscles and soft tissues in his throat to generate different sounds. He could change the shape and length of the vibrating air column to produce a wide range of beatboxing noises, including deep bass notes and high-pitched sounds.

Q: What was the most extraordinary discovery made during Tom Thum's exploration of beatboxing mechanics?

The most extraordinary discovery was the extreme vocal range that Tom Thum possesses. The human ear and the recording equipment could not capture the highest pitches he can produce, indicating that his vocal cords are capable of vibrating at an incredibly fast rate, well over 2,000 times per second. This is a remarkable feat considering the vocal cords are only about 15 millimeters long.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • The speaker, Tom Thum, is a beatboxer and had the most watched TEDx presentation in 2013.

  • Thum is confident that his talk will be overwhelmingly disliked but proceeds to show the audience how he creates beatbox sounds using his vocal cords and other techniques.

  • Thum invites a specialist guest, Matthew Broadhurst, to demonstrate the inner mechanics of beatboxing using a laryngoscope to capture the vibrating tissues in his throat.

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