The Human Voice as Instrument

Source: Bandcamp Daily.

The human voice is the original instrument. Each of us is born with our own custom version that we’re uniquely equipped to play. It’s likely that before we turned conches into trumpets, bones into flutes, or even beat out rhythms on the walls of caves, we sang. It’s hard—maybe even impossible—to think of a culture in the world that doesn’t have a tradition of song. Charles Darwin even suggested in The Descent of Man that our distant ancestors sang love songs to each other, just as birds do, before we developed language. The vast majority of 20th century music treated the voice, primarily, as a vehicle for lyricism. But in recent years, an increasing number of artists have taken the opposite approach, approaching the voice as a singular instrument that defies written language entirely.