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date: 14 November 2019

Voice modifierlocked

  • Robert Reigle
  •  and Don Niles


Any acoustic device that alters the sound of the human voice, typically by amplification, distortion, or changing its apparent location. The only such implements appearing in the Hornbostel-Sachs classification are those with a vibrating membrane (e.g. Kazoo, Undaji , Comb-and-paper , and Eunuch-flute); however, many voice modifiers lack a membrane. Voice modifiers affect vocal sounds; they are distinguished from timbre modifiers that affect the sounds of instruments other than the voice. (Electronic modification is not considered here, neither is the use of the voice to modify the sound of an instrument.) The use of voice modifiers in heightened speech forms can shift listener’s focus from speech to music.

Voice modifiers may be grouped into four categories according to the manner in which the voice interacts with the device: deflected (for example, frame drums, vessels, or coconut shells); focused without obstruction (tubes, megaphones); focused through vibrating or filtering material (masks, kazoos, mirlitons, the singer’s hands); or altered by pressing or striking the throat (...

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