Pauline Oliveros and all the Mouthsounds
In the depths of some strange spotify wormhole I find this track composed by Pauline Oliveros and performed by the The Brandeis University Chamber Chorus. It’s wacky — almost cartoonish. Behold, four minutes of vocal sounds sans words.
I love making mouthsounds. They’re expressive. They’re whimsical. Hearing a group do them together like this… it’s so playful and encouraging. The piece was surprisingly deliberate, with little improvisation, and influenced by Oliveros’ interest in electronic music:
White noise is created vocally through the initial consonant “sh” and variations such as s, z, wh, p, t, h, ct, d, ch, th, k, and sw. Ring modulation is imitated through rapidly changing the vowel content, percussive envelopes through “lip pops,” “tongue clicks,” “snap fingers,” and “flutter lips”, and filtering through muting such as by covering the mouth with one’s hand, sounding the consonant “M” through tightly closed lips, or singing through clenched teeth.
We speak every day, but how often does your mouth move outside the boundaries of words? How often do you explore the nuance and dynamics we can produce, in such expansive ways?
Anyway, here’s a fun post from KK featuring a guide to mouthsounds!
Not everyone appreciates the thrill of making weird, silly or rude sounds with your mouth. All the better, then, if you know how to throw up a fake a cell phone ring, or present a first-rate chicken cluck. This great book teaches you how to create those and 200 other special sound effects with your mouth only.