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, 133 (2), 1043-54

Paralinguistic Mechanisms of Production in Human "Beatboxing": A Real-Time Magnetic Resonance Imaging Study

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Paralinguistic Mechanisms of Production in Human "Beatboxing": A Real-Time Magnetic Resonance Imaging Study

Michael Proctor et al. J Acoust Soc Am.

Abstract

Real-time magnetic resonance imaging (rtMRI) was used to examine mechanisms of sound production by an American male beatbox artist. rtMRI was found to be a useful modality with which to study this form of sound production, providing a global dynamic view of the midsagittal vocal tract at frame rates sufficient to observe the movement and coordination of critical articulators. The subject's repertoire included percussion elements generated using a wide range of articulatory and airstream mechanisms. Many of the same mechanisms observed in human speech production were exploited for musical effect, including patterns of articulation that do not occur in the phonologies of the artist's native languages: ejectives and clicks. The data offer insights into the paralinguistic use of phonetic primitives and the ways in which they are coordinated in this style of musical performance. A unified formalism for describing both musical and phonetic dimensions of human vocal percussion performance is proposed. Audio and video data illustrating production and orchestration of beatboxing sound effects are provided in a companion annotated corpus.

Figures

Figure 1
Figure 1
Articulation of a “punchy” kick drum effect as an affricated labial ejective [pf'ːΛ°]. Frame 92: starting posture; f97: lingual lowering, velic closure; f98: fully lowered larynx, glottalic closure; f100: rapid laryngeal raising accompanied by lingual raising; f101: glottis remains closed during laryngeal raising; f103: glottal abduction; final lingual posture remains lowered.
Figure 2
Figure 2
Articulation of a “thud” kick drum effect as an bilabial ejective [p'I°]. Frame 84: starting posture; f89: glottal lowering, lingual retraction; f93: fully lowered larynx, sealing of glottalic, velic and labial ports; f95: rapid laryngeal raising accompanied by lingual raising; f97: glottis remains closed during laryngeal raising and lingual advancement; f98: final lingual posture raised and advanced.
Figure 3
Figure 3
Articulation of an “808” kick drum effect as an bilabial ejective [p'°]. Frame 75: starting posture; f78: lingual lowering, velic closure; f80: fully lowered larynx, glottalic and labial closure; f82: rapid laryngeal raising, with tongue remaining retracted; f83: glottis remains closed during laryngeal raising; f87: glottal abduction; final lingual posture midhigh and back.
Figure 4
Figure 4
Articulation of a rim shot effect as a dorsal ejective [k']. Frame 80: dorsal closure; f83: laryngeal lowering, velic raising; f84: velic closure, larynx fully lowered; f86: glottal closure; f87: rapid laryngeal raising; f90: glottis remains closed through completion of ejective and release of dorsal constriction.
Figure 5
Figure 5
Articulation of a “side K” rim shot effect as a lateral click [N°||]. Frame 283: starting posture; f286: lingual raising and advancement towards palate; f289: completion of lingual seal between alveolar ridge and soft palate; f290: beginning of lingual retraction to initiate rarefaction of palatal cavity; f291: lateral influx produced by lowering of tongue body while retaining anterior and posterior lingual seals; f293: final lingual posture. Note that the velum remains lowered throughout click production.
Figure 6
Figure 6
Articulation of a rim shot effect as an alveolar click [N°!]. Frame 13: starting posture; f15: lingual raising and advancement towards palate; f17: completion of lingual seal between alveolar ridge and soft palate; f20–22: rarefaction of palatal cavity; f22: final lingual posture after alveolar release. Note that the velum remains lowered throughout click production.
Figure 7
Figure 7
Articulation of a “clap” snare drum effect as a labialized dental click [N°|w]. Frame 390: tongue pressed into palate; f391–392: initiation of downward lingual motion; f393: rarefaction of palatal cavity; f394–395: dental-alveolar influx resulting from coronal lenition while retaining posterior lingual seal; Note that the velum remains lowered throughout click production.
Figure 8
Figure 8
Articulation of an “open K” hi-hat [ksː]. Frame 205: initial lingual posture; f206–209: dorsal stop production; f209–211: coronal fricative production.
Figure 9
Figure 9
Articulation of an “closed kiss” hi-hat effect [wN°|]. Frame 94: initial lingual posture; f98: constriction formed against teeth, alveolar ridge and hard palate; f99–101: partial glottal constriction, lowering of tongue and larynx; f102: final lingual posture.
Figure 10
Figure 10
Broad transcription of beatboxing performance using standard percussion notation: repeated one-bar, two-element groove entitled “Audio 2.” Phonetic realization of each percussion element is indicated beneath each voice in the score using broad transcription IPA “lyrics.”
Figure 11
Figure 11
Fine transcription of beatboxing groove: two-bar, three-element groove entitled “Tried by Twelve” (88 b.p.m.). Detailed mechanisms of production are indicated for each percussion element—“open hat” [ts], “no mesh snare” [p'fː], and “808 kick” [p']—using fine transcription IPA lyrics.

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