Sound files from the instrument/lip-reed/vocal tract project

This research project is mainly the result of work by Alex Tarnopolsky, in a project in collaboration with Neville Fletcher, Lloyd Hollenberg, John Smith and Joe Wolfe.

For some background about the instrument in which the vocal tract has the most spectracular coupling between vocal tract and instrument, see our didjeridu site.

Phyl's files. These are sound files of Phyl (Plyl stands for Physicsts' Lips). Phyl is our favourite artificial player: she has a simple cantilever spring as a lip--so she is more easily modelled by physicists. However, this introduces a lot of turbulent air noise around the edge of the valve--Phyl has a rather breathy sound. We have therefore filtered these files with a low pass filter (unfiltered files are below). Here she is playing a series of didjeridus of different lengths, and then a trombone whose length is successively reduced using the slide. Note the changes in pitch produced only by changing the tongue height. There are also clear changes in timbre.

sketch of Phyl

In each of the following two sound files, the sounds come in successive pairs: the first sound is produced with a vocal tract representing the 'low tongue' embouchure (roughly corresponding to the vowel in the English word 'heard'). In the second of each pair, the sound is made using a vocal tract corresponding to the 'high tongue' embouchure (roughly corresponding to the vowel in the English word 'heed'.) So what you hear is Phyl playing 'heard', 'hid' (change to new note), heard', 'hid' (change to new note) etc.

    File of Phyl playing didjeridus (filtered) 80 k.

    mp3 file 234k File of Phyl playing the trombone (filtered) 60 k.

Lloyd's files. A stroboscopic movie of Lloyd Hollenberg's lips playing the didjeridu (1.3Mbyte).

Al's files. Al stands for Artificial Lips) Al has water-filled latex lips. This is a sound file of Al playing a cylindrical didjeridu while the resonances of his vocal tract are smoothly varied by changing the position of an internal discontinuity. Note the changes in pitch as well as the changes in timbre.

    sound file Al plays the didjeridu.

More detailed information on didjeridu acoustics (reproduced with kind permission of the editors).

Alex Tarnopolsky [1].Neville Fletcher[2], Lloyd Hollenberg [3], John Smith [1] and Joe Wolfe [1].

[1] The University of New South Wales, [2]The Australian National University and [3] The University of Melbourne.

This project is supported by the Australian Research Council.


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File of Phyl playing didjeridus (unfiltered). mp3 file 234k File of Phyl playing the trombone (unfiltered).
Music Acoustics Homepage What is a decibel? Didjeridu acoustics