The human voice can be thought of as the ultimate melodic instrument, because it is capable of instant expression with no instrument required to translate thoughts and feelings into sound.

The voice is capable of a huge variety and depth of expressions. With the human voice, thought almost equals sound. As a baby begins to communicate with its parents and relatives, the body instinctively learns how to reproduce all the sounds of language heard by the ears and processed by the brain. Later, when the child begins to learn about language at school, vowels, consonants, words, phrases, sentences, etc. are all analysed and classified and this natural learning expands into a whole world of communication. With singing it is largely the same process.

There are many different sounds used in various styles of singing, including slides, dips, growls, pure bell like tones, etc. These can all be learned simply by imitating the sounds you hear and then working at perfecting them. Many times in music, instruments imitate the human voice because of its pure expression and feeling.

A classic example of this is in African American music such as Blues or Gospel, where an instrument or group of instruments answers a vocalist in a “call and response” style. This is demonstrated in the following example, where the voice is answered by the guitar. Because the human voice was used for expression before the invention of instruments and because all melodic instruments learn from the human voice, it can be said that all music is comes from vocal music.

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