Roll Over

In this blog post we’re talking about oscillations, and discover why lip rolls aren’t lip rolls and inward drags aren’t inward drags. Hold on tight, you’re in for a bumpy (or should that be oscillating) ride!

Why terminology is important!

I realise it’s probably too late. In English we have a phrase – “shutting the barn door after the horse has bolted.” In other words, if everyone calls a beatboxing sound by the wrong name then there’s nothing I or anyone else can do about it. Does it matter? Yes! As a mad beatbox scientist, it matters a great deal. If beatboxing is going to be taught in schools and colleges, then it needs to be taught correctly. Perhaps, if enough of us start using the correct terms then we can convince millions of beatboxers to do the same…? Yeah, right.

You are not making lip rolls…

When you make a lip roll or an inward drag, like this…

or this…

You are NOT making a roll or a drag (whatever that is). You are making an OSCILLATION.

What is an oscillation?

An oscillation is when a plosive sound (like ‘b’ or ‘p’) is vibrated with a continuous flow of air.

To show that a sound is oscillated we use this special symbol. It’s the OSCILLATION EFFECTOR.

Oscillation Effector

The oscillation effector can be applied to any plosive sound.

An example

If we force a bilabial plosive, it becomes our Classic Kick Drum.

It looks like this…

And it sounds like this…

If we add the oscillation effector it looks like this…

And sounds like this…

But why isn’t it a roll?

When a drummer makes a drum roll she makes a short pattern of two or more individual sounds. So a roll is not a single continuous sound.

Rolls are one thing. Oscillations are another thing.

You can oscillate all sorts!

Although lip oscillations are the most commonly used oscillation in beatboxing, giving us those lush bass sounds, you can oscillate other plosives, fricatives and even the vocal chords!

If you vocalise and oscillate a labiodental fricative like this…

Then you get a siren sound like this…

And if you oscillate a ulvular plosive like this…

You get to sound like Predator!

Or vocalise it to become a Dalek!

And finally….

Promise Uncle TyTe you will all be good boys and girls and start using the word oscillation from now on?

You can find all the sounds used in this blog post on BZZKTT. Have fun!

BZZKTT Version 8.2 • © 2015-2020 Gavin ‘Beatbox’ Tyte (aka TyTe) • All Rights Reserved

BZZKTT is kindly hosted by Alex Tearse from Reefnet.

Special thanks to Alex Tearse, Paul Arnett, Michael Wyatt, Tyler Thompson, Helen Tyte, David ‘Goznet’ Gosnell, and Jerusalem Productions.