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Re: How do I measure resonance?

Dear Mike,

The skull has a number of open air-filled chambers, which could in principle act as resonators: the paranasal sinuses in the bones surrounding the nasal cavity; two large maxillary sinuses in the cheek area;  two frontal sinuses just above the orbits; several small sinuses between the orbits; and two sphenoid sinuses at the base of the skull.  Certainly professional singers report resonant-like sensations in the frontal sinuses when they are producing a note with maximum carrying power.

If you know the volume of these chambers (from MRI scans), then it is easy to calculate what the respective resonant frequencies are; however, note that they are mostly all lined with a mucosal layer, and also prone to filling as a result of various infectious agents; thus, to be certain, you would probably have to rule out factors such as sinusitis and fungal infections.

I doubt that you'll cause anyone's head to explode, but you would obviously have to use bone-conducted signals, and this will rule out relatively low frequencies at levels greater than about 50-60 dB (HL), as vibrotactile cues will confound any reports of resonance you might get.

Cheers, José

On 12 Mar 2012, at 17:55, Gordon, Michael wrote:

Dear List,
I’m hoping some of you might have a few ideas about how one can measure the resonant characteristics of the human body? Specifically I’m trying to figure out what the resonant frequencies of a person’s head/skull might be. Is there a way or established methods to do this? Are there any dangers to playing the resonant frequency of a person’s head to them?
I’m hoping to do some investigations into whether the resonant characteristics of a person’s body might interact with various acoustic perceptual judgments. Many thanks in advance for your responses.
You are welcome to email me directly and I will post a summary of responses to the list next week.
Dr. Michael S. Gordon
Department of Psychology
William Paterson University

Dr José Ignacio Alcántara

Department of Experimental Psychology
University of Cambridge
Downing Street
Cambridge, UK
Phone: 44 (0)1223 764412
Fax: 44 (0)1223 333564

Fellow of Fitzwilliam College
Cambridge, UK
Phone: 44 (0)1223 332026