Singing this Note is IMPOSSIBLE! | Summary and Q&A

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May 2, 2019
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Physics Girl
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Singing this Note is IMPOSSIBLE!

TL;DR

Tube singing at its resonant frequency can lead to a total inability to hit certain notes due to the force exerted on the vocal folds and the change in phase relationship. Soprano singers, on the other hand, tune their vocal tracts to match the resonant frequency of the note they are singing.

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Key Insights

  • 🚜 Most objects have natural frequencies at which they resonate, including musical instruments and the human vocal tract.
  • 🥺 Singing into a tube at its resonant frequency should result in amplified sound, but it can also lead to the inability to hit certain notes due to vocal fold pressure.
  • 😘 Force and phase relationship play essential roles in the ability to sing certain notes, with the force being higher at resonance.

Transcript

  • Thanks to Curiosity Stream for supporting PBS Digital Studios. Hey, I'm Diana, and you're watching Physics Girl. So the other day I was holding a tube, and I thought to myself, I can find the resonant frequency of this tube by singing into it and sliding up the scale of frequencies like this. Ah until it resonated because physics but something su... Read More

Questions & Answers

Q: Why do some notes become impossible to sing when tube singing at its resonant frequency?

Singing at the resonant frequency of a tube creates a high force on the vocal folds, making certain notes impossible to hit. It is not a psychological phenomenon but rather a physical effect.

Q: How do soprano singers overcome difficulties with certain notes?

Soprano singers tune their vocal tracts to match the resonant frequency of the notes they are singing. By changing the shape of their mouth and throat, they optimize resonance and projection without using excessive energy.

Q: Why do tube singers experience vocal cracking and inability to hit notes?

The force exerted on the vocal folds changes below, at, and above the resonant frequency. This, combined with a different phase relationship between the air in the tube and the vocal folds, creates a challenging load for the vocal folds.

Q: Can experienced singers also encounter difficulties with tube singing?

Yes, even experienced singers can experience difficulties when tube singing, as the physical forces and load on the vocal folds remain the same.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • Tube singing involves singing into a tube at its resonant frequency, expecting it to resonate and amplify the sound. However, some notes become impossible to sing as the vocal chords crack.

  • The force exerted on the vocal folds below, at, and above the resonant frequency of the tube affects the ability to hit certain notes.

  • Soprano singers, unlike tube singers, tune their vocal tracts to match the resonant frequency of the notes they are singing, allowing for better projection and resonance.

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