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I have a dental crown and when I sing a particular high note, the metal post in the crown vibrates and becomes so intensely uncomfortable that I have to stop singing. Please explain what's happening.

  • Is it the same high note every time, or does it by some chance vary between days? – Dekkadeci Feb 17 at 7:49
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    I think you would need to go to the dentist and see if he can make some kind of change. Could be exchanging the metal crown with a ceramics type of crown. Well, it will probably be expensive, so it depends on what you can afford of course. But it does seem to me that a talk with your dentist would be a good idea. – Lars Peter Schultz Feb 17 at 12:54
  • You might try sticking something into the space between the crown and the adjacent tooth to dampen the sympathetic vibration. Changing the mass of the crown will change the frequency at which it vibrates, but that seems more likely to shift the problem to a different pitch than to eliminate it. – phoog Feb 18 at 5:20
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It's sympathetic vibration!

Most objects have a fundamental pitch. Flick a glass, and it rings at a certain frequency. Sing in a bathroom, and one pitch (a very low one) will sound louder and richer than others. Blow across the top of a bottle, you'll hear one note - its fundamental pitch.

Seems like your crown/post has that pitch on the note where it hurts. Your voice, mouth, tongue all vibrate at the frequency of the note you sing. When that matches that of your crown, it recognises it, and gets excited. And joins in!

There's not a lot you can do, except keep off that note. A note even a semitone higher or lower will be ignored, so you can choose a key that doesn't include it.

Could bring a whole new meaning to singing false-tto...

  • A friend of mine - he was the president of the national brass band reunion of Switzerland and one of the best Euphonium players - had the same problem with his teeth. There were only two solutions: to let to draw the teeth or stop playing Euphonium. He seld his instrument to me. You have to avoid singing the tone with that pitch! (The Queen of Night is dead. God save the Queen!) – Albrecht Hügli Feb 17 at 11:18
  • Blowing across the top of a bottle doesn't produce the resonant frequency of the bottle - it's a Helmholtz resonance (the air at the top of the bottle gets blown away, creating a small vacuum that sucks air in... which results in the air at the top of the bottle's neck vibrating rapidly up and down). You won't get that result from singing, because the lungs keep pushing air out. – Tom Serb Feb 17 at 21:15
  • @TomSerb - fair enough, but most people understand the simple concept. Whatever the scientific reasoning, the phenomenon produces one pitch (plus any available overtones). – Tim Feb 17 at 21:40
  • It's more the air that vibrates than the mouth or tongue. They're too soft to do much vibrating. Dental work is hard, however. – phoog Feb 18 at 5:17

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