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136 OVERTONES OF THE HUMAN VOICE. [V. § 69.
the quality of the sounds produced by the vocal chords.
The complete analysis of the sounds of the human voice into their separate partial-tones presents peculiar difficulties to the unassisted ear, and can hardly be effected without the help of resonators such as those described in § 42. By their aid we can detect in the lower notes of a bass voice, when vigorously produced, shrill overtones reaching as far as No. 16, which is four Octaves above the fundamental-tone. Under certain conditions these high overtones can be readily heard without recourse to resonators. When a body of voices are singing foi'tissimo without any instrumental accompaniment, a peculiar shrill tremulous sound is heard which is obviously far above the pitch of any note professedly being sung. This sound is, to my ears, so intensely shrill and piercing as to be often quite painful. I have also observed it when listening to the lower notes of a powerful contralto voice. The reason why these acute sounds are tremulous will be given later.
69. We close this discussion by describing a mode of submitting Helmholtz's general theory of musical quality to a further and very severe test.
The sounds of tuning-forks mounted on their appropriate resonance-boxes are, as we know, very