Beatboxers can make some pretty wild sounds, from deep bass thumps to snare drum cracks. How they do it is very much a mystery because the vocal chords and everything around them is hidden behind layers of tissue. Researchers at University of Southern California are using an MRI scanner to study this matter with the help of real beatboxers.
The investigators are able to identify various markers of different sound types on MRI scans and see how the anatomy affects the sounds that are produced. The research is being presented this week at the ongoing Acoustical Society of America’s 176th Meeting in Victoria, Canada.
The team looks at the vocal tracts of the beatboxers before sounds are produced and compare how the movement differs from normal speech. They use real-time imaging techniques to see the dynamics of this movement in details previously unstudied.
Here’s an example video from one of the studies: