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Technical breakdown of Steven Tyler's voice.

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Hey everyone,

I'm really interested in getting an analysis from you guys about the voice of Steven Tyler.

To be specific, about the techniques used in the Aerosmith song "I Don't Wanna Miss A Thing".

The scream during the bridge seems to be a signature move of his. In layman's terms, it almost sounds like all the sound is going up the back of his throat in a very airy fashion. Like a nasily, airy, falsetto-ish sound. Correct me if I'm wrong.

Thanks!

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Hey everyone,

I'm really interested in getting an analysis from you guys about the voice of Steven Tyler.

To be specific, about the techniques used in the Aerosmith song "I Don't Wanna Miss A Thing".

The scream during the bridge seems to be a signature move of his. In layman's terms, it almost sounds like all the sound is going up the back of his throat in a very airy fashion. Like a nasily, airy, falsetto-ish sound. Correct me if I'm wrong.

Thanks!

Mr.stevenbradley: Check out the video of Steven Tyler at

At about 1:10 in this video, which was made with a combination of performance and ENT's office stroboscopic laryngeoscopy, you can see some very interesting things. Right at that time, (with the strobe on) you see the cords vibrating slowly and hear his tone quality in the ENT's office. There are a couple things to note:

1) Right before the narrator cuts back in, Steven sustains the Ab he is screaming for a moment in the ENT office. The vocal fold motion does not show regular opening/closing motions along their length, but only motion toward the 'upper' part of the picture, which is the posterior section of the vocal bands.

2) The motion of the vocal bands is not uniform during the scream, but can be seen to have some irregularities of motion, too. This results in extra complexity in the glottal pulse wave, which will be resonated by the vocal tract if some of the frequencies are close to vocal formants. Open the following link to the spectragraph, and then follow along with the description.

The first peak on the left is the sung fundamental (also called the first harmonic, or H1) , the Ab that Steven is singing (at 820 Hz, for those interested). It is a very narrow peak, indicating that he is singing it with no vibrato. The highest peak on the chart is at 1640, and is the 2nd harmonic, H2. The 3rd narrow peak is his 3rd harmonic (H3), at 2460 Hz.

Between the H1 and H2 peaks is another one. This represents non-harmonic sound energy in Steven's scream, due to the irregular motions of his vocal bands during the scream. Its like a bit of pink noise in the middle of his phonated tone, and the part of it that matches with one of his vowel formants (centering on 1218 Hz) is amplified to the point that it is as almost as loud as H1. In formal acoustic lingo, this frequency content in the vocal sound is nonharmonic partials.

Now, look at the way the sound energy ramps up to that peak, and then away from it afterwards. The top of that white line traces the shape of the formant which is causing the amplification.

The effect of the combination of 3 strong sung harmonics, with loud nonharmonic partials too, gives us the 'Steven Tyler Scream'.

Because this is such interesting stuff, I am going to make a blog of this, and invite our ENTs to comment. Its possible that I have mis-interpreted what I am seeing, to confirm or correct it.

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Mr.stevenbradley: Check out the video of Steven Tyler at

At about 1:10 in this video, which was made with a combination of performance and ENT's office stroboscopic laryngeoscopy, you can see some very interesting things. Right at that time, (with the strobe on) you see the cords vibrating slowly and hear his tone quality in the ENT's office. There are a couple things to note:

1) Right before the narrator cuts back in, Steven sustains the Ab he is screaming for a moment in the ENT office. The vocal fold motion does not show regular opening/closing motions along their length, but only motion toward the 'upper' part of the picture, which is the posterior section of the vocal bands.

2) The motion of the vocal bands is not uniform during the scream, but can be seen to have some irregularities of motion, too. This results in extra complexity in the glottal pulse wave, which will be resonated by the vocal tract if some of the frequencies are close to vocal formants. Open the following link to the spectragraph, and then follow along with the description.

The first peak on the left is the sung fundamental (also called the first harmonic, or H1) , the Ab that Steven is singing (at 820 Hz, for those interested). It is a very narrow peak, indicating that he is singing it with no vibrato. The highest peak on the chart is at 1640, and is the 2nd harmonic, H2. The 3rd narrow peak is his 3rd harmonic (H3), at 2460 Hz.

Between the H1 and H2 peaks is another one. This represents non-harmonic sound energy in Steven's scream, due to the irregular motions of his vocal bands during the scream. Its like a bit of pink noise in the middle of his phonated tone, and the part of it that matches with one of his vowel formants (centering on 1218 Hz) is amplified to the point that it is as almost as loud as H1. In formal acoustic lingo, this frequency content in the vocal sound is nonharmonic partials.

Now, look at the way the sound energy ramps up to that peak, and then away from it afterwards. The top of that white line traces the shape of the formant which is causing the amplification.

The effect of the combination of 3 strong sung harmonics, with loud nonharmonic partials too, gives us the 'Steven Tyler Scream'.

Because this is such interesting stuff, I am going to make a blog of this, and invite our ENTs to comment. Its possible that I have mis-interpreted what I am seeing, to confirm or correct it.

This is incredible, Steven. I appreciate it so much that you would put the effort into producing this post.

The human voice is such an incredible machine, praise God for it!

Have you started your blog yet of this research?

Thanks again,

-Steven-

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Have you started your blog yet of this research?

Steven - Yes, I just posted it about 15 mins ago. I think the language is much more easily followed, but all the same ideas. Also, with the blog, I could incorporate the spectragraph right into the text smoothly. The youtube clip... that's a different story. I've not learned how to do that with the blog yet, though here in the Forum it is trivial.

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