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One Two Training

Lungs And Tongues

how your body produces sound

YOU WILL sing better, you will discipline your left hand, you will understand strings. You will do all these things in the next 12 pages of One Two, the only magazine that jogs alongside you on the running track of musicianship.

THIS MONTH we have for your greater awareness - OUTSIDE OF C, a course in niftier left hand keyboard tricks (P28) - WHEN IS A COMPUTER? asks how useful today's micros are to practising musicians, and do dedicated sequencers make a better bargain? (P32) - LETTERS Dr Spliff answers your instrumental enquiries (P35) - VOCALS exercises to magnify the throat (P38) - STRINGS how they're made, how to fit, how to make them last longer (P36). However.

SCREAMING your head off into a microphone is a strange way to behave at the best of times — have you wondered how the poor old body feels about it? Because there's a whole complex of bits and pieces at work when you sing. First, the air has to come from somewhere — it's supplied by the LUNGS, two spongy items behind your ribcage that start life pink and get more blue as you go round inhaling all that nasty stuff in the air. Breathe in, and muscles contract, pushing out your ribs and raising the diaphragm below the lungs. Breathe out and the elastic lungs return to rest, the diaphragm curved up into the base of the lungs. Breathe out, too, and you'll send air up into the strange sounding oesophagus and trachea, tubes that guide the windy business up towards your mouth.

Before it gets there, however, is the crucial LARYNX, often called the voice-box but nothing to do with mid-Seventies effects boxes hoisted into the studio by the likes of Jeff Beck ("She's A Woman"). Nope, this larynx has plenty of cartilage floating around (including the thyroid cartilage, or ADAM'S APPLE, which should help you work out where it is in your throat). The all-important vocal chords are stretched between this thyroid cartilage and the pyramid-shaped arytenoid cartilages. The vocal chords, thin strips of fibrous tissue, make your dreaded singing noise when air passes between them — and all the air funnelled through the larynx must pass through the two chords. Muscles control the position and tension of the chords and therefore the resulting note of your soulful voice.

A flap called the EPIGLOTTIS fortunately keeps McDonalds and other food-like substances out of your larynx, while something called the glottis seems to be there principally to make the "click" when you hiccup. What a life. Finally, remember that when you hear your own voice, you're hearing it principally through the bones in your head. Other people hear it on the air. Now there's an excuse. "Oh, it sounds much better if you hear it through my head... " Try it for size.

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