Human Formant Manipulation—

Throat Singing, Trumping

Formant manipulation isn’t limited to just computer speech geeks—the famous Tuvan throat singers have been doing it for generations! By carefully controlling the shape of their vocal tracts, these singers are able to precisely pinpoint and emphasize certain formants in their voices.

Another example is the instrument known as the "jaw harp" or "trump" (as they call it in Scotland). By twanging a flexible steel (or in some cases bamboo) tine held in place between the teeth and moving the vocal cavity, folk musicians (actually, in Europe it’s a classical instrument as well) all over the world have been doing formant modulation for centuries. American musicians, like Mike Seeger, have been able to play complicated fiddle tunes on this tiny but amazing instrument that operates in more or less the same way (acoustically) as throat singing.

Soundfile 1

Tuvan throat singing

Soundfile 2

Jaw harp