The human voice is comprised of a complex combination of minute muscles in the mouth, throat, nose, and nasal cavity. Every day, our brains and bodies coordinate all of these tiny muscles to make words and sounds, which allows us to interact with one another.
The three key primary components of creating sound are air, vibration, and resonance. The air comes from our lungs when we exhale — the stronger the airstream we create, the stronger the voice. This airstream passes between two vocal folds in the larynx, which causes them to vibrate very fast, 100 to 1000 times per second! Finally, the throat, nose, mouth, and nasal cavity make up the resonator that allows us to manipulate the vibration to create our own, unique, human sound!
Neil Thapen, a mathematician in Prague and video game designer, built a web app called Pink Trombone that mimics how our mouth, nasal cavity, and throat work together to create speech.
You can control the volume and pitch with the voice box control bar at the bottom. Try clicking on various parts of the mouth to manipulate its shape and change the sounds it makes. If you move around the tongue control you can create vowels and if you move the lips or oral cavity you can create consonants. What kind of cool sounds can you come up with?