Pink Trombone

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AuthorNeil Thapen (Institute of Mathematics, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic)

Pink trombone is a model of the human vocal tract that synthesizes human voice from scratch, controllable with your fingers.

Your voice is the oldest and most likely the most complex musical instrument. By interacting with this model, you can discover how the human voice works.

The voice system consists of two components: sound production and sound articulation. The sound is produced with the vocal cords and the vocal folds, were we can control its pitch and loudness. The articulation is what makes our voice sound like a recognizable speech sound (vowels, consonants…). This happens in the vocal tract, a tube where the sound wave travels and bounces back and forth. Using the tongue, lips and nose, we can change the profile of the tube, affecting how the sound bounces on its interior. The final wave that comes out of the lips is the sound we hear. This program is based on a simplified model of the voice tract and a discrete solution to the wave equation (discrete d’Alembert solution).

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