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The Brain and the Voice in Speech and Song
written by "Mott, F. W. (Frederick Walker), 1853-1926"
...kable that there are hardly any sensory nerve endings in the vocal cords and muscles of the larynx, consequently it is not surprising to find that the ear is the guiding sense for correct modulation of the loudness and pitch of the speaking as well as the singing voice. In reading music, visual symbols produced by one individual awakens in the mind of another mental auditory perceptions of sound varying in pitch, duration, and loudness. Complex neuro-muscular mechanisms preside over these two functions of the vocal instrument. The instrument is under the control of the will as regards the production of the notes in loudness and duration, but not so as regards pitch; for without the untaught instinctive sense of the mental perception of musical sounds correct intonation cannot be obtained by any effort of the will. The untaught ability of correct appreciation of variations in the pitch of notes and the memorising and producing of the same vocally are termed a musical ear. A gift even to a number of people of poor intelligence, it may or may not be associated with the sense of rhythm, which, as we have seen, is dependent upon the mental perception of successive movements associated with a sound. Both correct modulation and rhythm are essential for melody. The sense of hearing is the primary incitation to the voice. This accounts for the fact that children who have learnt to speak, and suffer in early life with ear disease, lose the use of their vocal instrument unless they are trained by lip language and imitation to speak. The remarkable case of Helen Keller, who was born blind and deaf, and yet learned by the tactile motor sensibility of the fingers to feel the vibrations of the vocal organ and translate the perceptions of these vibrations into movements of the lips and tongue necessary for articulation, is one of the most remarkable facts in physiological psychology. Her voice, however, was monotonous, and lacked the modulation in pitc...

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