Clips from Operation Ouch! Discovering how vocal chords, diaphragm and lungs work to allow you to sing.
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-Are you ready for our Ouch Snips?
Well, they all help you to sing!
SINGS LONG NOTE
First up, let's take a closer look at the vocal cords.
This is a nasal endoscope. It's a very small camera
that I'm going to put up my nose and look at my vocal cords.
The best way for doctors like us to access the vocal cords
is through the nose, because if the camera
went via the mouth, the patient would start to gag and feel sick.
So feel in your throat. You'll feel a hard, gristly bit at the front.
That's your voice box or your larynx,
and that's where your vocal cords sit.
What you can see now is Chris' vocal cords.
They look like flaps or webs
going across his windpipe.
What happens is, as your lungs force air up your windpipe,
these flaps start to vibrate
and it's the vibration that causes noise.
So let's see them in action.
So, Chris, can you hum a high note?
Now hum a low note.
So when Chris hums a high note,
what you see is the vocal cords tightening and that means
they vibrate faster and make a higher note,
and when he hums a low note, the vocal cords relax,
they're much floppier, they vibrate more slowly
and you get a lower note.
Your vocal cords may make the sound,
but there's another unsung hero of singing.
Now, Lucy and other opera singers can hold a note this long,
because she's trained a special muscle,
one which we all have
called the diaphragm.
Now, your diaphragm sits here
at the bottom of your ribcage.
Let's find out what the diaphragm looks like and how it works.
# We're going to sho-ow-ow-ow-ow-ow-ow-ow-ow... #
# Show you... #
Your diaphragm is the main muscle you use when you breathe,
which is something we all do all the time.
Now, to show you what a diaphragm looks like,
we've got a real one...
..from a pig.
This is the pig's voice box,
this is the trachea,
or the windpipe,
these bits are the lungs,
and then underneath the lungs
in a big muscular sheet,
that is the diaphragm.
You breathe in and out about 20,000-30,000 times a day,
and it's this,
the diaphragm, that makes it all happen.
So after your heart, it's the most important muscle in your body,
because it allows you to breathe.
To see how it works, I've got this nifty little model.
Now, the big bottle is your ribcage,
and these things inside represent your lungs.
Xand, those aren't lungs! Those are my party balloons!
We're using them for a very important scientific demonstration!
-OK. Well, I suppose if it's in the service of science...
And this at the bottom is your diaphragm.
Now, we tend to think that breathing is all about the lungs,
but the diaphragm is the unsung hero of breathing.
It's what makes it all happen,
and that's why the diaphragm is such an important muscle.
Now, when you breathe in, the diaphragm pulls downwards.
This lowers the pressure inside this chest cavity.
This creates extra space, a vacuum, and air has no option
but to rush in through your mouth and into your lungs
to fill this space.
And then you breathe out again.
Your lungs really are a bit like these balloons -
they have no muscles at all.
They're just like bags, really, and they don't do anything
without the diaphragm.
Which also helps Lucy project her voice.
We've shown you that your vocal cords make sounds by vibrating.
And your diaphragm is one of the most important muscles in your body,
enabling you to take 30,000 breaths a day
and help you hold those long notes.
Chris, I really want to sing now. Can I?
OK, Xand, since you love it so much,
but hold on just one second.
HE SINGS IN LUCY'S VOICE
-See you next time!