Vox Humana: Alfred Wolfsohn's Experiments in Extension of Human Vocal Range

Various Artists FW06123 / FX 6123

Have you ever considered what the full range of tone and pitch the human voice is? Have you wondered if there was some latent singing ability that all people were capable of achieving?

Alfred Wolfsohn was inspired to explore such questions about vocal range after serving in the World War I. Haunted by cries on the battlefield and suffering from post-traumatic stress, he began experiments as a form of therapy. Alternating between vocal and instrumental (including piano, violin, viola, cello, and double bass) exercises, Vox Humana not only showcases the potential vocal range of the human voice, but also the various expressive timbres and tone qualities that can be utilized. His experiments push the range of the human voice to nine octaves (two more than the piano!) and demonstrate an impressive, avant-garde flexibility. Liner notes include an introduction and track notes.

Year Released 1956
Record Label Folkways Records
Source Archive Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage

Copyright 2004 Smithsonian Folkways Recordings / 1956 Folkways Records

Genre(s) Contemporary & Electronic; Science & Nature; Sounds
Country(s) United Kingdom
Instrument(s) Flute; Viola; Violin; Violoncello
Subject(s) Nature; Science; Sound effects
Credits

Download Liner Notes


101 Lend Me Your Ears!: Phonation of Words Marita G√ľnther 0:54
102 Duet in New Vocal Sound Range: Arpeggios Marita Günther, Jenny Johnson 0:15
103 Boy's Voice: The Word "Bella" / Short Coloratura Duet in New Vocal Sound Range: Arpeggios 1:10
104 Four & Five Octave Leaps on the word "Viola": Boy / Female Voice / Male Voice Michael Faraday, Jenny Johnson, Roy Hart 0:51
105 Double & Multiple Stopping by the Voice: Female Voice (Multiple) / Female Voice (Double) Marita Günther, Jenny Johnson 0:48
106 Demonstration of Different Colorations on Same Notes: Four Male Voices Ernest Cole, Roy Hart, Thomas Faraday, Julian Keeble 1:26
107 Demonstration of Different Colorations on Same Notes: Five Female Voices Avis Cole, Gil Johnson, Jenny Johnson, Marita Günther, Irmgard Wersaner 1:27
108 Combination Singing of "Chanson Trieste" (Tchaikovsky): Male and Female Voices Ernest Cole, Roy Hart, Thomas Faraday, Julian Keeble, Avis Cole, Gil Johnson, Jenny Johnson, Marita 1:27
109 New Registers: Male Voice / Female Voice Ernest Cole, Gil Johnson 0:45
110 Nine Octaves: Male Voice / Female Voice Thomas Faraday, Marita Günther 3:36
201 String Quartet for Four Female Voices Jenny Johnson, Gil Johnson, Avis Cole, Marita Günther 1:11
202 Examples in Single Voice: Violin, Viola, Cello; Double-Bass / Violin (excerpt from Brahms 'Hungarian Dance') / Coloratura of 4 1/2 octaves (excerpt from 'Villanelle' (Eva dell'Acqua)) / "Water Boy" / "Nightingale" Jenny Johnson 7:46
203 Duets (Voice and Instruments): Female Voice and Viola n/a 0:36
204 Duets (Voice and Instruments): Male Voice and Cello n/a 0:36
205 Duets (Voice and Instruments): Female Voice and Violin n/a 2:08
206 Duets (Voice and Instruments): Female Voice and Flute n/a 0:34
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