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Thu. Jul 18th, 2024

Research reveals how heavy metal singers scream and squeal

By Vaseline May31,2024

Collecting high-quality audio recordings was the first step in the process. By recording each note in the absence of background noise or instrumental accompaniment, the researchers were able to define the precise acoustic differences between, for example, a “moose scream” and a “pterodactyl scream.”

They could also begin to predict which parts of the vocal anatomy, from the larynx to the lips, control different aspects of each sound. But especially in cases like Ramos’s, whose singing style is understudied in vocal science, understanding how the sounds were produced (and whether they caused damage) required a look at the complex internal workings of the throat.

This is where the expertise of the Voice, Airway, Swallowing Translational (VAST) research laboratory came to the fore, as techniques routinely used for patients with voice disorders were repurposed to understand Ramos’ unique sound. The research team looked at Ramos’ vocal cords with an internal camera and used a technique called electromyography to measure the activity of his throat muscles. Finally, they captured a real-time video of his internal vocal acrobatics using dynamic MRI. Together, this panel of tests provided a comprehensive picture of how Ramos sings, screams and squeaks.

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