MRI will help scientists figure out how beatboxers create and imitate sounds

Previous studies in this area was limited to only one beatboxer and assumed that musicians can produce only those sounds that exist in known languages. In the new work are some of the beatboxers of different age, sex and nationality.

МРТ поможет ученым выяснить, как битбоксеры создают и имитируют звуки

Tricks, robberies and necromage

A team of researchers from the University of southern California under the guidance of Ph. D. Timothy Greer (Timothy Greer) used magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in real time, to learn how a beatboxer creates and mimics the musical sounds. The results of a study presented at the 176 meeting of the Acoustical society of America, which takes place in Canada from 5 to 9 November.

Using MRI data, the team focused on real-time monitoring for the vocal tracts of beatboxers for a moment to produce the sound to see, are their movement from the production of speech. MRI data in real time, showcase the work of the midsagittal vocal tract with a sufficient frame rate to observe the movement and coordination of critical articulators.

“We found that beatboxers can create sounds that do not occur in any known language, these musicians have the acrobatic ability to collect a variety of sounds in the world. For example, they can hear a sound like a snare drum, and then to understand what they need to do with your mouth to recreate it. Another good comparison could be how we learn to portray elephants — we compress the lips and blow the air. We learned it from the English language, and understand it through facial expressions,” — said Greer.

© Timothy Greer

According to the scientist, this work beatboxers can also learn something new in the process of creating sounds different from normal speech. The study will allow to understand the difference in creating music and working in different languages and see how people analyzes the music and human speech.

One of the main goals of researchers — development of the algorithms they used for quantitative motion estimation of the vocal tract of a beatboxer. Linguistics known to all parts of the vocal apparatus involved in the production of sounds such as tongue and palate, and the task of the algorithm will be real-time tracking of images of these different parts as their movements during sound creation.

“The vocal tract is amazing, but incredibly complex, because we need to continue to work on creating computer algorithms to understand how the process of sound production,” says Greer.

Beatbox is a musical form in which performers use their voice tract to create percussive sounds. Sometimes individual beatboxers act as part of an ensemble, using their vocal tracts to create the tempo for other musicians. In other cases, beatboxers stand alone where you can sing and beatbox at the same time or just create sounds without vocals.