Friday, January 21, 2011

To Have A Voice

Jack Dikian
January 2011

Listening to a song while driving with a friend – she casually commented on the quality of the artist’s voice and how it might be to have a voice like that, if it’s possible to alter or improve our own voice. To develop a voice somewhat similar to the way an athlete condition their body and strength. I think my retort was that you probably need to be born with a gifted voice…or something such like – but got me thinking nevertheless.

Today I heard about a women who has spoken for the first time in more than ten years after surgeons at the University of California Davis Medical Centre replaced her larynx – only the second in its kind in the world.

Doctors performed the operation, only the second of its kind in the world, after assembling an international team of experts. The transplant took two years to plan.

According to Guardian News & Media and the SMH story, when the woman spoke for the first time, she said 'Hello' and then paused and it dawned on her she had spoken for the first time in years.

Martin Birchall, a professor of laryngology at University College London, was brought in to advise on the operation. Professor Birchall said, ''she will have the same accent, same intonation and pattern of speech that she had before,'' - although the patient is speaking with a transplanted larynx, her voice will not resemble the donor's. Speech is due to breathing patterns and the way we move our lips, palate and tongue.

So it seems, there much more to voice than the vocal chords within the laynax.

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