Voices, Accent and Vocal Cords

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  • #1
seazal
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How much are vocal cords and brain a factor in a person accent and voices? Let's take the example of Avril Lavigne. If her brain would be iimplanted into another body (for sake of illustration). How much would the new body voices sound? Would it be like Avril original voices/accent. What would change?

If I want to sound like her. What must I do to my brain or vocal cords?
 

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  • #2
Drakkith
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How much are vocal cords and brain a factor in a person accent and voices? Let's take the example of Avril Lavigne. If her brain would be iimplanted into another body (for sake of illustration). How much would the new body voices sound? Would it be like Avril original voices/accent. What would change?

It would sound entirely different since the entire structure of her vocal system is now different.

If I want to sound like her. What must I do to my brain or vocal cords?

You'd need to have her exact vocal chord and throat structure and then learn the exact way she uses her vocal chords, throat, tongue, mouth, and lips while singing.
 
  • #3
seazal
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It would sound entirely different since the entire structure of her vocal system is now different.



You'd need to have her exact vocal chord and throat structure and then learn the exact way she uses her vocal chords, throat, tongue, mouth, and lips while singing.

But if the exact way Avril uses her vocal chords, throat, tongue, mouth, and lips while singing is stored in the brain. Then if her brain implanted to new body. She should still be able sound good, won't she?
 
  • #4
Drakkith
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But if the exact way Avril uses her vocal chords, throat, tongue, mouth, and lips while singing is stored in the brain. Then if her brain implanted to new body. She should still be able sound good, won't she?

No, not if the rest of the vocal system isn't structured in such a way as to be able to sing well. As far as I know at least.
 
  • #5
seazal
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No, not if the rest of the vocal system isn't structured in such a way as to be able to sing well. As far as I know at least.

You mean people singing abilities are inborn?
 
  • #6
Drakkith
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You mean people singing abilities are inborn?

To some extent. Think about how many people train to be singers but just aren't very good. It's not really any different than any other ability. Some of your ability is inborn, some is due to practice and training.
 
  • #7
seazal
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To some extent. Think about how many people train to be singers but just aren't very good. It's not really any different than any other ability. Some of your ability is inborn, some is due to practice and training.

To sing a good song, how many variations and combinations of pitches, tones, etc. in the vocal cords, tongues, mouth, etc. is required. Can't a singing robot be constructed?
 
  • #8
Drakkith
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To sing a good song, how many variations and combinations of pitches, tones, etc. in the vocal cords, tongues, mouth, etc. is required.

Many. No idea on a more exact number though.

Can't a singing robot be constructed?

That depends on what you mean by 'singing robot'. It's trivial if you include something like an MP3 player and speaker. But if you mean something that mimics the physical way that people sing... well that's far more complicated.
 
  • #9
seazal
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Many. No idea on a more exact number though.



That depends on what you mean by 'singing robot'. It's trivial if you include something like an MP3 player and speaker. But if you mean something that mimics the physical way that people sing... well that's far more complicated.

Let's just talk about accent now. Accent is not inborn right? Any person on Earth (from Bangladesh people to china natives) who would be raised in America would have American accent?

But if a native Chinese is already middle age. How can he get to develop American accent?
 
  • #10
Bandersnatch
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But if a native Chinese is already middle age. How can he get to develop American accent?
Foreign accents are just mispronunciations that weren't corrected for so long, that they became habitual. Correcting accent to sound like one of native dialects requires first learning the correct way to pronounce (correct placement of the tongue, correct shape of the lips, and whatever else is needed for a particular sound), then re-training your muscles to perform those sounds by practising.
Any good phonetics handbook gives detailed instructions on how to do the former, and provides handy exercises for doing the latter.
 
  • #11
Borek
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Some things are limited by anatomy. Someone myopic won't ever see well from the distance (not without glasses), that's pure physics. Why do you think different build of vocal tract will allow singing of the same vocal range?
 
  • #12
jtbell
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Let's take the example of Avril Lavigne.

Are you asking about singing well enough that other people enjoy listening to you, or about speaking a language well enough to at least sort of pass for a native speaker in conversation? Those seem to be rather different things.
 
  • #13
Rive
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If I want to sound like her. What must I do to my brain or vocal cords?
Tried to think on this part a bit and it was a straight way down to some 'masterpieces' of plastic surgery like living Ken&Barbie imitations... :eek:
At the end I've decided to not link any o0)

But if a native Chinese is already middle age. How can he get to develop American accent?
I think accent can be defined as something like 'you could by anatomy but misled by habits'. Old habits are hard to modify and requires lot of work for partial success. Unless it is about an exceptional talent I don't think such project can be excepted to have really thorough success.
 
  • #14
jtbell
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Old habits are hard to modify and requires lot of work for partial success.
Right. People learn their native language unconsciously at a very young age, and use it every day. The mechanics of producing the sounds that make up the language's characteristic accent become so deeply ingrained that it's difficult to learn to do them differently. For most people, it takes intensive coaching, practice and reinforcement. I think the best person to serve as a "coach" is (somewhat counterintuitively) often not a native speaker, but a non-native speaker who has learned a good accent, knows the challenges from personal experience, and is able to describe and teach how to overcome them.

When I was studying German in college, after the usual introductory sequence I took a course called something like "Advanced Conversation and Phonetics". We used a textbook that had a lot of detail about vocal anatomy, details of lip and tongue placement, patterns of intonation (pitch) in different kinds of sentences, etc.

With Chinese, you have additional problems caused by its intonation (pitch) patterns. It's hard for non-native speakers to learn them and use them fluently, and it's hard for native speakers to lose those intonation patterns when learning English, etc.
 
  • #15
seazal
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Are you asking about singing well enough that other people enjoy listening to you, or about speaking a language well enough to at least sort of pass for a native speaker in conversation? Those seem to be rather different things.

But to sing well, you need good accent. I ponder this after hearing Avril Lavigne singing O Holy Night.



She sounds so good. First she is native English speaker. If you let a china singer sings the same song. The accent may be off.

I can't find anyone who can match her voice. Let's say you have a china native singer age 30 years old who has Chinese accent (who knows English and doesn't speak about it much). How many years training before she can learn the accent of Avril?
 
  • #16
Drakkith
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I can't find anyone who can match her voice. Let's say you have a china native singer age 30 years old who has Chinese accent (who knows English and doesn't speak about it much). How many years training before she can learn the accent of Avril?

They will probably never learn the accent as well as someone who acquired it growing up. Learning an accent well enough to pass as a native speaker of that accent is extremely difficult. More so for someone who also has had to learn the native language of said accent in their 30's.
 
  • #17
seazal
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They will probably never learn the accent as well as someone who acquired it growing up. Learning an accent well enough to pass as a native speaker of that accent is extremely difficult. More so for someone who also has had to learn the native language of said accent in their 30's.

So the accent is deeply engraved in the brain. But is it not the brain has plasticity? Is it plastic enough that a 30 year old native china speaker can learn the American accent and speak like one? What plasticity (and what brain regions involved) would it take to do this?
 
  • #18
Drakkith
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Is it plastic enough that a 30 year old native china speaker can learn the American accent and speak like one?

For a small number of people, probably. For most, probably not. It's difficult to give any accurate answer.

What plasticity (and what brain regions involved) would it take to do this?

I'm not certain. I'm not an expert in this area.
 
  • #19
BillTre
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But is it not the brain has plasticity? Is it plastic enough that a 30 year old native china speaker can learn the American accent and speak like one?
There are critical periods in development when certain behaviors can be learned or learned more easily.
Speech patterns are one of these.
It probably has to do with when particular connections in the brain are being formed or formed in large amounts.
 

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