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  • Translator: Ludovica Harley Reviewer: Cristina Santana Darias

  • Tom Thum: (Beatboxing)

  • Yo, what up?

  • My name is Tom Thum,

  • and I've got to say it's a pleasure to be back at TEDx.

  • When I first stepped upon the Sydney stage in 2013

  • as a starry-eyed boy from Brisbane,

  • I had no idea that I was about to deliver the most watched TEDx presentation ever.

  • (Laughter)

  • (Applause)

  • But you know, I was stoked because it was completely unexpected.

  • However, standing before you today

  • as a slightly inflated, time-battered version of myself five years later,

  • I'm very confident.

  • (Laughter)

  • Confident that I'm about to deliver

  • the most instantly switched-off

  • and walked-out-on,

  • vomit-inducing talk of all time.

  • (Laughter)

  • For those unfamiliar with what I do,

  • I guess if you distilled it right down to its essence,

  • you would call me a beatboxer.

  • (Beatboxing)

  • Yo, for example ...

  • (Beatboxing)

  • here's a sample:

  • (Beatboxing)

  • (Rhythm changes)

  • (Hums a tune)

  • (Applause and cheers)

  • Thank you.

  • (Applause)

  • And being a beatboxer,

  • it means that, professionally, I am 100 percent reliant on the -

  • (Beatboxing)

  • flexibility of the unfiltered human voice.

  • And for years, my contemporaries and I have been fielding questions like,

  • "Oh my God, that's so cool.

  • When did you figure out you could do that?"

  • After I practiced for thousands and thousands of hours.

  • (Laughter)

  • "And what do you do for a real job?"

  • "I'm a full-time beatboxer, Your Honor."

  • But there is one question that I get quite a lot

  • that's a little bit more difficult to answer.

  • And that is, How are you doing it,

  • how are you making those noises?

  • And, I mean, I know muscle memory dictates where I position my lips

  • in order to -

  • (Beatboxing)

  • But I have no idea about the inner mechanics of everything.

  • You know, all the flappy bits and kind of dangly things

  • and how they interact in a way that allows me to -

  • (Beatboxing)

  • To put it metaphorically,

  • I know how to drive,

  • I just don't know what's under the hood.

  • So, I decided to find out and invite 5,000 captive strangers,

  • a few uncomfortable cameras,

  • everybody watching online and their browser history

  • into a place where not even the most intimate of encounters have been:

  • my throat.

  • And to help me do that,

  • I'd like to introduce to the stage a very specialist guest,

  • from the Queensland Voice Center,

  • a man that's been in my mouth more times than I'd care to admit,

  • a legend of the larynx,

  • ENT doctor and laryngeal surgeon,

  • Matthew Broadhurst.

  • (Applause and cheers)

  • Matthew Broadhurst: Thank you, Tom. Thank you.

  • And a very good evening, everyone.

  • It is a pleasure to be here on the TEDx stage tonight.

  • (Laughter)

  • Whoo!

  • (Laughter)

  • TT: He's not warming up his hands.

  • It doesn't get that intimate.

  • (Laughter)

  • MB: We set out a little while ago to try to go deep into the world -

  • and the throat -

  • of this beatboxer extraordinaire

  • to try to understand how such a vast array of sounds is humanly possible.

  • So this will be a world first.

  • TT: Oh, yes.

  • This will be the world first,

  • live on-stage,

  • naso-pharyngo-laryngoscopic analysis of a beatboxer.

  • (Laughter)

  • MB: So when we make sound,

  • we use the vocal cords to take air from the lungs,

  • and then turn it into a vibrating air column

  • in the throat.

  • If you think of it like a trumpet,

  • we've got the mouthpiece - that's the vocal folds -

  • and then the horn section is the throat.

  • If we took your head off,

  • took a bit of your neck off,

  • and left you as a torso with just your vocal folds vibrating,

  • this is what you'd sound like.

  • (Flatulent sound)

  • Pretty hard to communicate, but fortunately we've got a throat.

  • We've got all the soft tissues,

  • and that actually gives you all the incredible dynamics of sound

  • that you'll hear tonight.

  • Now, this is a rigid laryngoscope.

  • TT: Spicy boy.

  • MB: I know, I know.

  • (Laughter)

  • Ten millimeters in diameter,

  • it gives us the highest resolution image of the larynx we can get.

  • Alright, you ready?

  • (Laughter)

  • TT: (Singing) E

  • MB: So that's the vibrating vocal folds -

  • about 120 hertz.

  • Means they've collided 120 times a second

  • just to make that sound.

  • And we can also see that they're absolutely, perfectly normal.

  • So all his beatboxing,

  • all those sounds for years with Tom's way of doing it -

  • absolutely no damage whatsoever.

  • That's really remarkable.

  • Well done.

  • Okay.

  • TT: (High pitch)

  • I've got this.

  • MB: So watch now as the vocal cords go from high pitch to low pitch.

  • You'll see them go from long and skinny to short and fat.

  • TT: (High to low pitch)

  • MB: Right.

  • TT: (High to low pitch)

  • MB: And what you can see is that his vocal range is so extreme -

  • much more extreme than any other performer I've worked with -

  • the machine actually can't capture the really high pitches.

  • So now, we're going to swap over to the flexible laryngoscope.

  • So hold onto the stomachs, and let's see what we can do.

  • (Audience gasps)

  • So we're going to the back of the nose,

  • and there you can see the soft palate.

  • A lot of the sounds we make from day to day,

  • even the simple ones,

  • are incredibly complex.

  • The sound "kh" for example.

  • It's the soft palate sealing up precisely against the back of the nose.

  • So if you say it loudly five times,

  • feel your own soft palate snapping against the back of the throat,

  • Kh, kh, kh, kh, kh.

  • Alright, so this is what it looks like when Tom does it.

  • TT: Kh, kh, kh, kh, kh.

  • A cacophony of cackling kookaburras and cockatoos in Kakadu

  • couldn't quite quit ketamine.

  • (Laughter)

  • (Applause)

  • MB: Alright, now in the beatboxing world,

  • of course, they can use that for all sorts of different effects.

  • TT: (Beatboxing)

  • MB: Alright.

  • (Cheers)

  • (Applause)

  • Now we're going to slide down a little further.

  • So, what you can see there, that's the base of the tongue.

  • The side walls of the screen,

  • that's the pharynx.

  • All muscle walls,

  • and in the deep, dark decks is the larynx.

  • It's just his unique use of all the muscles and soft tissues

  • which lets him do all these amazing sounds that you're going to hear.

  • So, we will dissect some of these sounds for you now.

  • (High-pitched sounds)

  • So what he's doing

  • is he's changing the shape and length of the vibrating air column,

  • using rhythmic contractions of all the muscles

  • to generate all those sounds that you're hearing.

  • TT: (Beatboxing)

  • MB: And now there's rhythmic movements of the -

  • they're the arytenoid cartilages way down there,

  • rocking back and forth to create that different sound.

  • TT: (Low-pitched sound)

  • MB: And we like to call this "sphincter bass."

  • (Laughter)

  • And what you can see is that collapsing all the tissue down

  • (Laughter)

  • allows a different kind of really deep bass note.

  • Alright, so with some local anesthetic on board, a big black hose in the nose,

  • we're going to let loose a sliver of his repertoire

  • and see all this in play.

  • TT: (Beatboxing)

  • (Applause)

  • We start from the basics and build from scratch.

  • (Beatboxing)

  • Yeah, like that.

  • (Beatboxing)

  • (Trumpet sounds)

  • (Beatboxing) Yeah, we're getting back to basics.

  • Make some noise!

  • (Cheers)

  • (Applause)

  • Thank you so much TEDx for enduring that.

  • I want to give a massive, massive shout-out

  • to Dr. Matthew Broadhurst from the Queensland Voice Center

  • for donating his time and his expertise.

  • I also want to give a massive shout-out to Pentax

  • for all this cutting-edge equipment that made this possible.

  • And for you guys, thank you so much for sitting through it.

  • If you need a hug, I'll be crying in the shower.

  • (Laughter)

  • Next time a performer asks you to make some noise,

  • I hope you have an intimate understanding of how to do it.

  • Thank you so much!

  • (Applause and cheers)

Translator: Ludovica Harley Reviewer: Cristina Santana Darias

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What happens in your throat when you beatbox? | Tom Thum & Dr Matthew Broadhurst | TEDxSydney

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    謝采揚 posted on 2021/04/08
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