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A piece of music technology: The human voice (singing)

What is its purpose: Humans value their voices highly. They serve as our primary means of communication with the outside world, including both our thoughts and our feelings and personalities.

How does it work to achieve that purpose: To produce sound, your vocal cords vibrate. Inside the voice box (larynx), the vocal cords are tiny bands of muscle and other tissues. When the margins of the vocal cords come together, the air from your lungs causes them to vibrate.

Are there any people that use this technology in a way that it wasn’t designed for: In general, the human voice was a form meant to be used as a way of communication; just to speak. So, if it is used in any other way, it would be considered abnormal, but as time went on, humans began to discover the different ways that their voices can be used. For example, singing, ventriloquism, etc. So as forms of voices began to develop, it was widely accepted that voices are something that can have multiple effects on the world. 

Do you have any experience with this technology: I do have experience with this kind of technology. I do sing, but not professionally. I grew up singing as I have a very musical family. It is something that I picked up and enjoy doing. I still get stage fright to perform in front of people, so many don’t know what my singing voice sounds like. I wish to grow in this aspect of myself in the future and better my voice by getting vocal training.  

Song: Lyrical: Mere Dholna | Bhool Bhulaiyaa | Vidya Balan | Shreya Ghoshal, M.G. Sreekumar | Pritam

How did the technology influence the music it helped to produce: The voices that sang this song, had a great role in the effect that it needed to produce in order to portray the correct stance and reflect what was happening in the movie at the same time. Shreya Ghosal is considered one of the best singers in the Bollywood Industry. It’s been said no one can do what she can. You’ll even notice that the singers as well go off in a “Sargam” in the middle of the musical piece. Every beat matched the voices. That takes talent and breath control to do. The song is focused on love with Indian Classical Elements intertwined with it as well. The Indian Classical part, specifically the Sargam, was placed in this song to fit into the role of the “old times” that was shown in the video. This was something that singers and classical dancers frequented at the time. It still is recognized today, but many countries have adapted the western style of music that many of us listen to in this age of time. The fact that both the male and female voices were light and airy, and had the runs at the end, illustrated the mood and vibe that is needed in a song that is about love. Voices can play a very important part in music because voices can imply many different emotions and textures to make a song go to the next level and make the listener feel the intent of the song. If the singers did not perform the way that they did in this song, it wouldn’t have been one of the veterans of Bollywood music.

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This course includes Open Educational Resources (OER), which are entirely cost-free and accessible online. Developed in the Open Knowledge Fellowship at The Graduate Center's Mina Rees Library, this work is made possible by state grant funding through the Office of Library Services.



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