Measuring Sound and Your Voice

Yes, you produce sound or noise every day!

The difference between your sounds is caused by intensity, pitch, and tone.

What is Intensity?

Your sound is a wave and waves have amplitude, or height. Amplitude is a measure of energy, how much oomph you put into it! The more oomph you give the higher the amplitude.

When energy increases, Intensity increases. Simple, hey?

The smaller the space the less energy is required to achieve the same Intensity. We tend to call higher intensity sounds, louder. Loudness cannot be assigned a specific number, but intensity can.

Intensity is measured in decibels.

The human ear is more sensitive to high sounds, so the next time you are stranded, twist your knickers and make the highest sound you can. You will be heard as this type of sound will travel further. That is why we scream for help when in trouble as  a natural reflex that is effective in getting attention! REEEEEEEEEEE……

Decibels and intensity, however, do not depend on the ear. They can be measured with an instruments. A whisper is about 10 decibels while thunder is 100 decibels.

Listening to loud sounds, sounds with intensities above 85 decibels, may damage your ears. If a noise is loud enough, over 120 decibels, it can be painful to listen to. One hundred and twenty decibels is the threshold of pain but thebuddha may dissagree on this.

Sounds and their Decibels

Source of SoundDecibels

Boeing 747

140
Civil Defense Siren130
Jack Hammer120
Rock Concert110
Lawn Mower100
Motorcycle90
Garbage Disposal80
Vacuum Cleaner70
Normal Conversation60
Light Traffic50
Background Noise40
Whisper30

What is Pitch

Pitch helps us distinguish between low and high sounds.

Pitch depends on the frequency of a sound wave. Frequency is the number of wavelengths that fit into one unit of time. Remember that a wavelength is equal to one compression and one rarefaction. Frequencies are measured in hertz. One hertz is equal to one cycle of compression and rarefaction per second.

High sounds have high frequencies and low sounds have low frequencies. Thunder has a frequency of only 50 hertz, while a whistle can have a frequency of 1,000 hertz.

The human ear is able to hear frequencies of 20 to 20,000 hertz. Some animals can hear sounds at even higher frequencies. Sounds that are too high for us to hear are called ultrasonic.

What is Tone & Harmonics ?

When a source vibrates, it actually vibrates with many frequencies at the same time. Each of those frequencies produces a wave. Sound quality depends on the combination of different frequencies of sound waves.

How is this knowledge useful in everyday life?

The more harmonics a sound has, the fuller the quality the sound is. All the different overtones of a sound help give it a unique pattern. This is especially true for a person’s voice. Everybody in the world has a different voice print, or pattern of overtones within a certain range.

What specific voice type or vocal range do I have?

If you do not know what your range is then you need to find out. It is important to know what range your voice is in to perform songs confidently.

It’s best use a five-note scale, singing up and down the entire scale until your voice cracks or you cannot hit a note. It is recommended that you sing the scale with a vowel sound — try “ah” — making sure to pick a comfortable middle pitch to start the scale on. From there, move your voice up a pitch. It is generally recommended to scale up in half notes — a small step musically — so you can ascertain exactly which notes you can and can no longer hit. 

Here is a Two Minute Video on how to find your range.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9IejHKpfHso

The famous French vocal teacher Tarneaud defines the typical ranges of the four voice types as follows: Sopranos can typically sing B3 to F6
A
ltos perform D3 to A5
Tenors belt A2 to A5
Bass singers rumble out B1 to G5.

Basically, Sopranos and Tenors Sing High — Altos and Basses Sing Low, simples

Congratulations you have now discovered your Range and how we measure sound!

So keep the sound alive within your range and watch your intensity while delivering good pitch! You all are such good students here… 🙂

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Why do I play guitar? (And some shit I’m going to pretend you asked.)

I have shit for energy. I feel like ass. My throat is pretty much on fire still, though that is marginally better.

Yesterday, Nadeshda was kind enough to write us a wonderful article about Mongolian throat singing. Today, I was not so lucky. Today, I must pound the keyboard, or my streak ends.

It’s okay. I can cheat.

I’m pretty sure I can answer these questions and the results will be different every time. I’m pretty sure that I don’t always have the same answer. I’m pretty sure it’s too generic a question, but it’s one that I get with some regularity. So, I’m going to answer it and answer some other questions.

Why do you play guitar?

Well, this morning I played it because I need to practice and I had the time. I needed to practice because I must keep my skills at their peak, so that I can fill my obligations to my bandmates and the audience.

Why did you learn to play guitar?

I’m still learning. I initially picked up the guitar because I thought it was cool and figured it’d be easy enough to learn. It was neither, really. Sadly, beginning guitarists don’t get laid often and it’s not easy to learn. Worse, my earliest tutelage was quite specifically classical guitar – which is both complicated and anti-sex-appealing. Learning to play ate up a lot of my youthful fun and sex time.

Why did you stick with it?

I liked the challenge and I really enjoy the versatility of the instrument. The wide variety of tones that can be produced, even from an acoustic guitar, are fantastically interesting. I’m nearing the five decade mark and I’m still learning. I’m still improving. I still don’t see myself as a master.

Will you ever stop performing?

Damned right, I will. For a while, I was pretty much retired and I’d just sit a few sets with friends, or do some gigging with them. I’d go jam with other musicians. I enjoyed that and I’m getting old enough to see that I’ll eventually be slowing down and unable to give a satisfactory performance due to physical limitations caused by age. I will stop before then.

Will you ever stop privately playing?

No, probably not. I expect the quality to deteriorate, but I’m sort of at a peak right now. I’ve had the past decade to really, really put in a lot of hours. I’m actually probably at about the peak of my ability. I might, if I stretch it, be able to pull it off for another decade. Dexterity will go down as will my speed. I can increase efficiency of movement, but that only accounts for so much.

What is your favorite color?

Green. Specifically forest green. There will be a quiz.

Do you actually like playing guitar?

Not always. Nope. Sometimes, it’s a pain in the ass and I’d really like to do something else. However, it’s not going to learn to play itself and I’m kind of obsessed with it. I enjoy the challenges it offers and I like the feelings of accomplishment that it gives me. The thought isn’t my own, but I’ll be forever chasing sound.

Tell me more about chasing sound?

No. That’s more work than I’m putting into this article.

Do you take anything serious?

Yup.

Are you going to take this article serious?

Nope.

Are you just fucking with me?

Nope. In fact, I’m done. Until next time…

Shut up and play us a song!

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TheBuddha Approves #6

I don’t really have much time or energy today. I’m going to be prone for much of the day, which limits me to a tablet. I have my daughter rolling in today, and that’s going to be enjoyable.

I suspect she’ll be in bed not long after getting here. It’s a dreadfully long drive. She has to stop along the way and will be getting the material needed to give me a second opinion.

She’s a pediatrician and my regular is not. She’s seen far more cases of mono than my regular doctor has, and she’s still pretty young. So, she can give me a second opinion. Mostly, I’m just glad she’s coming – even if she’s only going to be able to be here for a couple of days.

Seeing as nobody has stepped up to write an article, you’re just getting a short TheBuddha Approves article.

If you want something better, you’ll have to wait or write it yourself. I don’t really have much time and I’m not feeling that energetic.

This next one is actually not good – from my perspective. But, we don’t always have to look at things from my perspective. Instead, we can look at things with a different outlook. We can look at things with a different goal in mind.

My personal goal (and job) is 100% faithful replication. It is my task to make music that is exactly like what you heard from the original artist’s studio session. It goes beyond that. My goal is for other musicians to say, “That sounds just like the studio work!”

That’s not something everyone has to do. That’s not even something that I recommend most people do. The expense of getting the official tab and sheet music is not something everyone needs to undertake. The need to get someone to transcribe it to tab from ear is also not a task that you need to undertake.

It’s not only perfectly okay, it’s sometimes better to just play it how you want or just to use whatever tab you find that sounds good and that you can play. You don’t have to try to get perfect replication – nor should you, unless that’s your very specific goal.

My goals aren’t your goals.

This next site is not completely accurate. However, it will do. The tab is “close enough” and the results will be acceptable to even professional musicians. I’ve gone through and looked at a few songs that I know are often transposed wrong and they do have errors – and that’s okay.

It’s perfectly acceptable to use a site such as this one. You don’t have to be exact. You also don’t have to buy all the pedals. You don’t have to buy an amp profiler. You don’t have to spend a ton of money. You can do just fine without those things and you can do just fine with the tab that’s on this site.

This site also has some great features. You can play along with the audio and play it at a variety of speeds. There are a ton of different features and it’s not up to me to decide how you use them. It’s an excellent learning tool that will enable you to play ‘close enough’ to the original artists. They even include multiple tracks, so that your whole band (should you go that route) will have access to the same material.

In other words, it’s ‘good enough.’ You really don’t need more than this.

Without further ado:

Songsterr.com.

If you want an example of ‘close enough’ then you can see this link:

Songester.com’s tab for Metallica – Nothing Else Matters.

There… Now you have no excuses to not go learn a new song. There’s the music notation. It’s free. There’s a very good chance that they’ll have something there that you want to learn. The interface is easy to use, though I’d suggest they add a delay so that you can push play and then get setup and have it start playing like 10, 20, or 30 seconds later. (If they have such a delay, I have not found it. I don’t actually use the site, I just know it exists and have given it a once-over.)

Add that one to your list of resources, folks. It’s well worth looking into. No, it’s not perfect – as there are some errors in the tab. However, you don’t really need perfect and it’s good enough for the needs of most everyone. Until next time…

Shut up and play us a song!

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TheBuddha Approves #5

I’m exhausted. I usually sleep from 4 to 6 hours per night. Last night, I slept for like 10 or 11 hours. Dunno how long I slept exactly, ’cause I was sleeping!

Yesterday’s show went went well and was productive for the eldest hoodlum. I tried to get her to write a damned article, but she was having none of it. None.

It’s hard to get good help these days!

Because I’m tired and really not feeling well, I’m just gonna do a “TheBuddha Approves.” So, you’re not getting a novella today. Nope… You can’t make me. ‘Snot like you can fire me!

Y’all do know that I have no idea how most of these are going to end, right? I just smash the keyboard and words come out. I don’t actually have a plan, no. ‘Snot like I have outlines, an editor, or even high publication standards.

Oh! I’d like to thank the folks that knew I had a show yesterday and stepped up to write today’s articles. Their names are ‘nobody’ ‘not me’ and ‘ask someone else!’ They get the TheBuddha Award of Appreciation. You’re gonna miss me when I’m dead. You’ll see!

Anyhow… You’re not even getting a damned intro today. Well, either that or you’re not getting an article. You’re just getting some stuff crammed together. Like I said, you can’t actually fire me!

I know y’all do drugs and drink. You’re fooling nobody! Well, if you’ve ever been trashed and poking around on the fretboard, you’ve probably come up with a chord you thought was brand new and didn’t know the name.

Sure, you can unpack it and figure out all the notes, or you can just cheat and look it up! Seeing as not a damned one of you is going to learn any music theory, you might just as well cheat!

Yup… Just click this here link and you’ll go to a ‘reverse chord finder.’ The whole site is pretty good, actually. If you can’t figure out how to use that layout, you can ask – but it’s really simple – so you can even figure it out when you’re stoned!

See? Told you that I’m a big helper.

You’re not getting anything better than that today. Sitting up hurts like hell and the damned opiates don’t appear to be kicking in yet. Until next time…

Shut up and play us a song!

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Unofficial View From The Stage and A Video.

When you’re a performer, you’ll often interact with large numbers of people. Seeing as they are people, it’s pretty safe to assume that they carry the plague.

I’m not sure if I have the plague or cancer. Either way, I’m dying at a slightly more rapid pace than usual. Everyone keeps telling me that I’ll get better, but I’m pretty sure they’re just trying to cheer me up.

I love getting to spend time with the people, but they’re disease carriers. Sometimes, you get strange women (not necessarily attractive) who will want to hug and kiss you. They don’t know my name, or anything. I’m in a cover band. They’re just drunk. It’s probably one in a series of regrettable choices they’re going to make that evening!

In ye olden days, it was a pretty good way to get nookie. However, I’m not in a position to take advantage of that job perk. Either way, I digress and, seeing as I’m nearing the end of my life, I don’t want to waste time on trivialities! (I suspect nobody is gonna believe that trivialities bit.)

Someone, probably the drummer, has infected me with their plague.

So, there’s a view from the stage:

Humans are just the tool things like typhoid use to survive. We humans are covered in all manner of disgusting things. You will catch the plague.

I’m not even sharing this article, like I didn’t yesterday. Don’t care. Got the plague. Nobody even offered to fill in for me. Nobody. So, I’ll do it myself!

Alright, I have a video for you.

I’ve realized my attempt to turn ‘pipe organ’ into a scientific unit of measurement is not going to be effective. There’s just too many damned variations in pipe organs!

(Also, I found a pipe organ in Massachusetts! I don’t have time to visit them yet, but I’m gonna email ’em and ask if they’ll let me play their pipe organ – with supervision, of course.)

I don’t know how to play a pipe organ. Nope. Don’t care, either. I’m pretty sure playing a pipe organ, skilled or not, is just about the most awesome thing you can do. Pipe organs players have more in common with a conductor than they do a pianist.

In my effort to find more information about pipe organ air movement quantities, I found some pretty sweet pipe organs! Some of ’em have pedals that you can stomp on – and they mechanically ring bells, bang drums, and all sorts of awesome shit.

HOLY BALLS! I previously did not know about the bells! I’m pretty sure you can understand my excitement! If you can’t understand my excitement, you’re on the wrong site.

And, yeah… I have no idea how to play a pipe organ – nor do I care. I don’t even think my ineptitude will diminish the sheer joy of playing a pipe organ. An instrument of that magnitude has no choice but to be awesome.

Man, my feet would be flying like horses and my fingers would rip out somber notes that reverberated through the audience I’ll probably have had to chain into the building. I’m pretty sure at least one of us in that group of people is gonna be having the best day ever. Pretty sure…

Alright, enough nonsense. I have the damned plague and I’m going back to my couch and tablet. If you want me, you know where to find me. If I don’t answer, I’m dead.

Here’s the damned video. It’s pretty awesome!

Now, the narrator is a little stupid – but it’s not their fault. They don’t realize that they’re listening to a very complex bitchin’ solo!

Seriously… Turn your volume up and listen carefully! They’re bitchin’ solos!

Damned right – and, unless I die of the plague, until next time…

Play quietly and somewhere else.

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Just a sort of FAQ thing today.

I’ve done these before. I get a lot of the same types of questions.

Sometimes, these are questions of fact and many are actually questions about opinions. “What do you think of …”

Because of some time constraints, I’m going to try to answer just one of ’em. It’s a pretty long answer. I’m hoping I don’t make it too long.

A common question is something like, “What is the best guitar?”

I also get variations such as, “What guitars do you prefer?” (People think they’re being clever with that one!)

And, that’s what I’m gonna answer. Because I get asked with so many variations, it might be a longer answer than I think it’ll be. I never actually know how long these will be when I start them.
Continue reading “Just a sort of FAQ thing today.”

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Today, I shall introduce you to Paul.

I could probably start a ‘Reader’s Gear’ category, with all the questions I get ’bout things people have.

This probably doesn’t make sense to most normal people, but I’ve explained it before. We’re hoarders, possibly in need of an intervention. Try as we might, we just keep amassing stuff.

I’ve had my hands on a lot of guitar related stuff, so I often know something about it. If not, I ain’t scared. I’ll go find someone who does.

This particular stuff is something @mustard_of_puppets appeared with and said he’d acquired at a garage (or lawn) sale – at like $25. That’s probably Canadian dollars, so like $5.45 USD!

This particular lump of stuff is a guitar amplifier – if you can call it that. It does, technically, amplify a guitar. I’m going to tell you about his new amp.
Continue reading “Today, I shall introduce you to Paul.”

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Cyclops’ story.

I’m sitting here and wracking my brains – trying to figure out how to share a story (with permission) that’s just so awesome that it has to be shared. The problem is, I usually try to make (often bizarre) connections between what I feel like writing about and music. It happens when you write this much!

The people that I ask to quote sometimes wonder how, exactly, I’m going to turn their story into something to do with music. Me too! I’m glad we’re on the same page! The last time this happened, it was a ‘crazy_eyes story’ and when he asked how I’d turn it into an article, I said, “Trust me, I’m a doctor!”

This story, however…

Hmm… I’m not sure how to tell you this, but I don’t think I can tie it into music – unless I really cheat. I’m going to have to cheat and, frankly, the excuse is to simply tell you this story. This story is that awesome.

If you’ll allow me some artistic license, I can do it. Stand back, for we shall try literature! It’s a little weak, but it’s all I can come up with. I have complete faith that you’ll understand the situation that I’m faced with, once you’ve read the story.

~*makes mysterious eerie sound-effects*~ (Ed. Note: Must someday write about theremin.)

(This is so cheesy.)

In the past, I’ve written about a few things – with some consistency. I’ve often mentioned that playing a musical instrument, specifically a guitar, will expose you to interesting people.

I have also taken the time to write about people who have overcome obstacles and made works of art. For instance, one of our guitarists better than Hendrix played that shit with just two fingers – Django Reinhardt.

I can’t say that being a cyclops is actually any specific obstacle to playing a guitar. I can’t say that it imposes any serious limitation on one’s ability to create music with a guitar.

But, we have a new participant in our guitar threads and he’s a fucking cyclops!

If you don’t think that’s fucking awesome, you’re on the wrong site!

Damned right, I’m gonna ask that person some questions!

Way back at the start, I was under the impression that their story was even more awesome than it really was. Well, I was really hopeful. Oh, man… I was sure hopeful! Initially, they indicated that they ripped an eyeball out of their own face – in a fit of (I think) rage and anguish. My very first thought was, “Wait, what?”

I can’t really think of anything more metal than ripping your own eye out of your face because you’re angry at it. I can’t condone that behavior, but I can certainly be curious! (Please don’t rip your own eyeball out of your face. My lawyer would want me to add that. Please don’t rip your eye out and then sue me, thanks.)

So, I learned all about how Cyclops really became a cyclops. There were a bunch of unfamiliar names in this week’s guitar thread, and Ol’ Cyclops was one of them. Like I’ve said, you’ll be exposed to some interesting people! That’s justification enough to share this tale.

It is with his permission that I retell this story. Like normal, I’ll do some editing but only for readability and grammar reasons. They did a very, very good job of giving me text to work with and they were gracious enough to let me give their story a wider audience.

Without further ado, the story of Cyclops:

Continue reading “Cyclops’ story.”

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Resonating Sound and the Voice – Part Deux

(Ed. Note: This is submitted by Nadeshda. Be sure to give her a rousing round of applause and express your gratitude! It’s much better than the article you were gonna get today!)

SO here we are again, singing and chilling like we mean it , well you better be. Get your favorite beverage, take a couple of sips and let us start talking about this singing business again.

You may wonder how I got involved in all of this, it was through a regular Friday night meet-up discussion about instruments and all things musical. One day I bravely shared some of my vocals and people enjoyed it. This started my involvement with sharing, teaching and learning about ‘How to Sing’ on playguitar. Also, theBuddha asked me too and he is very inspiring and good at getting people busy with all sorts of fun stuff while being excellent at what he does ! (Ed. Note: Damned right!)

Let me get another cup of coffee and while I do that listen to a song I wrote and shared with some of my friends. Shhh, I didn’t warm-up properly for the song but still managed some good tone, I wonder why?

Another Day by Nadeshda

So this phone recording came out okay and I think that years of proper training and proper breathing allowed me to do the sneaky recordings. I shouldn’t but some of these things we will be working through will become second nature to you and sometimes when you are caught in a last minute affair you will sound okay but let’s learn the basics first before cutting any corners, m’kay.

I have sung  in choirs since being a wee lass and swimming since I have been three years old, so breathing properly has always been drilled into me somehow and singing lessons to wazoo has filled my brain with endless information that honestly, sometimes I forget.

I am hoping this series helps me to remember and blesses you in the process.
We really shouldn’t sing without warming up our voices correctly so let’s get on with the lesson.
So without further waffling let us look at:

Resonance

What is it and how can I get it to sound good? This is the question today.

We know it when we hear it and sometimes we feel it on the inside but what is it really ?
I can safely say that it is volume of sound, easy listening and it lingers. We find it in ALL instruments.

What part of our body does the resonating? 

The Vocal Tract which is a container of air and has an opening called the mouth. We know the power source of singing is the ribs, diaphragm and the lungs which in turn push the air through the vocal fold into the Vocal Tract to form sweet, sweet sounds when all things are working together beautifully.

SILLY FACT: The average length of a vocal tract for males is about 17 cm and 14 cm for females.

The shape of the tract helps to solidly the sound and tone and the following video illustrates it perfectly while synthesizing vowels on a 3D MRI. The stereolithography (Rapid Prototyping) produces glottal waves using a Rosenberg-Klatt waveform with 1/f fluctuation of its cycle. Male and female models were used to produce the vowels.

Vocal Tract Model Synthesis Video

So how do I get better Resonance?

I am so glad you ask these wonderful questions as I am going to give you some homework and you will enjoy the results.

Let’s wake up that sweet, sweet sound!

Try the following exercise and repeat until you notice a difference. When you are done, sing a song you are comfortable with.

  • Open your mouth and take a breath through your nose and with a basic speaking volume, sustain a comfortable mid-range pitch, through an “NG” tongue position.

To help you find this tongue position, say the word “Sing” and maintain the tongue position of the “NG”. The back of your tongue will lightly close with your soft palate. Keep the tip of your tongue resting against the back of your bottom teeth. Feel the sound vibration vibrate along the roof of your mouth and under your nose.

2) Do this a couple of times using medium volume and try producing different sounds after your beautiful “NG” sound. Here we go…!

  1. NG-EE (Mean)
  2. NG-EH (Hen)
  3. NG-UH (The)
  4. NG-I (Him)
  5. NG-A (Same)
  6. NG-AA (Apple)During the last two vowels (below), DO NOT shape your lips for the sound. Your mouth should only move a wee bit, just let it flow and let the sound naturally resonate in your mouth. Try these too…
  • NG-OH (Moan)
  • NG-Ooo (Moon)

You are doing great! Congratulations you have completed your second singing lesson; now shut up and go sing me a song!

Comment if you notice a difference in resonance, tone and sound.

Happy Singing!

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Oh, man… I just learned something new.

I don’t have much time today, and I like to share the articles when I have time to also sit and respond to any questions and comments about them. So, wherever I share an article, I also answer comments.

It’s a rule that I impose on myself. I need to keep this short to do that.

Another rule is that I write something – every day. I impose that obligation on myself. I’m pretty sure I’m eventually gonna miss some days, unless I go back to scheduling them.

After I finished my morning tasks, I went to write today’s article – but couldn’t think of what to write about. A little bit more herbal inspiration found me several pages deep on a dozen sites and pretty distracted.

Which was when I learned something not just new – but new enough to tell you about. Trust me, it’s awesome!
Continue reading “Oh, man… I just learned something new.”

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