Beatbox wouldn’t hurt the voice.
An American scientist investigated the effect of the beatbox on vocal chords .
It was believed that beatboxing - imitation of rhythmic patterns (beats) and melodies with the help of the vocal apparatus ? is much more dangerous for the vocal chords than, say, an operatic aria for sopranos. Voice expert Dr. Stephen Sims from the University of Illinois claims otherwise. His recent research was published in late December 2013 in the online journal Journal of Voice.
“A huge amount of data has been accumulated on various voice techniques and damage to the voice, but the impact of beatboxing on the vocal chords is still poorly understood,” Sims writes.
Beatboxing techniques have been used for a long time, for example, in the first Soviet musical comedy “Jolly Guys”, shot in 1934, but the real popularity of beatboxing gained only in the 80’s, when Western performers began to imitate the drum machines with their voices, accompanying singers or rappers. The number of amateur performers participating in regional and even international competitions has been steadily increasing since then.
Simms used a fibro-optic endoscope to film the voice path of four beatbox performers, which led through the nasal cavity directly to the voice machine. Another camera captured the artists themselves while emitting individual sounds or their combinations. The video shows how the singer’s vocal chords move during the performance.
According to Simms’ observations, the beatboxers use their whole voice box, distributing energy to several places and thus reducing the pressure on each of them. They also keep a glottis, the laryngeal opening between the ligaments, mostly open during the performance. “An open laryngeal opening in singers usually better protects the vocal apparatus,” explains Simms.
Beatboxers have also often used laryngeal muscles to stretch the vocal tract and make sounds at high frequencies. In doing so, the vocal chords relaxed.
This technique could well be used, for example, Broadway stars, sometimes giving eight performances a week, the researcher believes. If they learn the technique of stretching laryngeal muscles when performing high notes, it will relieve tension from the vocal chords and avoid dangerous damage.!