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Every skill you would like to develop requires you to start with the fundamentals. Similarly, if you want to learn and eventually become an expert beatboxer, you need to know the essential sound list of beatboxing. Once you’ve learned the basic beatboxing sounds, you can then expand your repertoire of beatboxing sounds by learning the more difficult sounds.
Beatboxing, as an art, of course, is traceable to the 1980s among the hip-hop circles. It has quickly established itself as an art form with notable beatboxers like Doug E. Fresh, Buffy, Wise, Rahzel, Scratch, and Kenny Muhammad.
Basic Beatbox Sounds
Beatboxing is an art that tries to mimic drum machines. However, as an art form, it has also evolved its repertoire of sounds to include other instruments. Hence, many beatboxers nowadays can also produce other sounds aside from the drum machines’ basic sounds. Here are the basic beatbox sounds you can learn to advance your beatboxing skills:
The classic kick imitates the kick drum on the drum machine. This sound is easy to reproduce and is one of the fundamental sounds that a beatboxer should master. The kick drum is the bass drum or the large drum that you would often see in the drum kit, set on the floor.
The drummer activates it by stepping on the kick drum pedal. This causes the mallet to hit the drum skin. For this reason, the kick drum is called a kick drum.
Because of its large size, the kick drum produces a deep booming sound. To mimic the kick drum’s sound, you can completely close your lips and then release a burst of air through your lips. Because of the use of both lips, the kick drum’s sound is called a bilabial plosive. Moreover, the symbol B is often used to refer to the sound of the kick drum.
The snare drum is referred to likewise as the side drum. It produces a sharp staccato sound when you hit its head with your drum stick. Moreover, it comes with a series of stiff wires that are held under tension.
The sound of the snare drum is powerful, and if you want to produce its sound in beatboxing, you can do it in several ways. You can make the snare sound by clenching your teeth together as if you are to say the word charge but only pronounced the ch sound.
Then, force the air against your teeth to create the clap sound. There are other ways to make the snare drums sound, and you will learn different ways to create this sound as you gain more advanced beatboxing techniques.
For the closed hi-hat, you can say the simple t sound. Then, add a bit of hiss afterward if you want to make the open hi-hat sound. The closed hat is a part of the hat, staple kick, and snare that you utilize as your beats’ foundation.
It is worth practicing if you want to improve your beatboxing skill as a beginner to improve your accuracy and speed. You can do it in different ways with minimal variations for enhanced beats. Hi-hat, of course, is essential to any beat, for it fills in the gap between your snares and kick drums.
The Rimshot Sound
You can recreate the rimshot sound by making a “Kuh” sound with the back of your tongue. You can push your tongue toward your mouth’s top and then force air out of your throat. In doing so, you create a strangling sound. It will help if you make this sound a bit shorter to recreate the perfect rimshot sound.
Advanced Beatbox Sounds
Once you’ve learned and mastered the basic beatbox sounds, you can now level up by learning the more advanced beatbox sounds. Here are some of the more advanced beatbox sounds:
Vocal scratches are high-pitched changes in a sound produced by the scratching of the turntable. Famous beatboxers who often do vocal scratches include Rahzel, Scratch, and Kela. Vocal scratches, of course, are a more advanced beatboxing technique that you can learn to advance your beatboxing skill. There are several ways to do vocal scratches, and you can learn these various ways as you advance your skillset.
Another high-pitched sound characterized by rough scratching technique is throat scratching. You can mix the throat scratching technique with other scratching techniques to create more subtle and incredible beatboxing sounds. Throat scratching, of course, belongs to the simplest scratching techniques to use. You can sound it inwards or outwards.
Mouth trumpet is another vocal technique that mimics the trumpet sound. You can create it using your vocal cords. With the use of vocal cords, you can produce the desired trumpet pitch. Then, you let this sound pass through your lips as you hold your lips together with enough tension to let them vibrate at a similar frequency as that of the vocal cords.
Lip Trumpet or Lip Buzzing
Another trumpet-mimicking technique is the lip trumpet sound. It is also known as lip buzzing. You can produce this sound by blowing air through your squeezed lips to allow the sound to squeak like a real trumpet. In this way, you can make the trumpet tone without using your vocal cords. Moreover, you can control the pitch, using lip tension and positioning. You can also vary the timbre by altering the position of your tongue.
You may find it hard to control the pitch of the trumpet because your lips vary their humidity. Yet, you can combine this technique with the other trumpet technique so that you can produce two polyphonic notes.
The fart bass is another bass sound that you can create by positioning your upper lip over your bottom lip as you breath out air. The breathing out of air vibrates your lips, producing a fart-like resonant sound.
Inward Click Roll
The inward click roll is a typical Doug E. Fresh’s technique of clicking and rolling sound to produce multiple clicks. To create this sound, you can place your tongue’s tip at your mouth’s top and tighten your airway passage. Then, you can suck in the air to increase the pressure as you draw back your tongue. In doing so, you create an excellent clicking sound.
On the other hand, the click roll creates the same sound and makes use of a similar sound production method. Yet, you also use your tongue’s side instead of your tongue’s tip. Then, you slowly breathe in the air into your mouth while keeping your throat closed. Avoid breathing in. As you do this, you can create multiple clicks.
The dabble bass is another bass sound that you can produce in beatboxing. You can make this sound by vocalizing a mixture of lip oscillations from your mouth’s side. Moreover, you need excellent lip control to create the right notes using this technique. Your audience will surely appreciate this sound when you execute it well on the microphone.
You can create the liquid bass by combining the click roll and inward bass, while you bend at 90 degrees your tongue on your mouth’s right side.
The bass cannon combines three to four sounds depending on what you prefer. It includes cheek wobble, laser oscillation, and outward vocalization.
Beatboxing has quickly established itself as an art form at the turn of the century. The good thing about aspiring to learn the beatboxing sounds is that you have YouTube to know the different beatboxing techniques. Thus, everything that you need to know nowadays about beatboxing is readily accessible to you.
To become an expert beatboxer, however, you need to invest time and energy in learning new beatboxing sounds to expand your sonic repertoire. Without investing time and energy, you will remain a mediocre beatboxer who can’t seem to raise your beatboxing skills a notch higher.