Bobby McFerrin’s “Baby”: The Human Body as an Instrument

The American jazz vocalist Bobby McFerrin turns the human body into the ultimate instrument.

This live concert clip demonstrates the ten-time Grammy Award winning artist’s virtuosity. (At one point, you will hear a spectacular display of polyphonic overtone singing in which two musical lines can be heard simultaneously). McFerrin frequently draws on improvisation and the African musical tradition of call and response. This 1995 album with the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra features his vocal transcription of Bach’s A minor Violin Concerto.

Here is Baby, the second track from the 1990 album, Medicine Music. It’s a perfect marriage of recording technology and vibrant vocal overtones:

The voice gets to the soul of a person more than any other instrument. Because it’s the voice. It sings talks, it cries, it laughs, it squeals, it barks, it shouts it whispers, There is no other instrument that can do that. We’re born with it.

-Bobby McFerrin

Recordings

  • Bobby McFerrin: Medicine Music Amazon
  • Bobby McFerrin: Drive (Simple Pleasures album) Amazon
  • Paper Music: Bobby McFerrin, Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra Amazon

About Timothy Judd

A native of Upstate New York, Timothy Judd has been a member of the Richmond Symphony violin section since 2001. He is a graduate of the Eastman School of Music where he earned the degrees Bachelor of Music and Master of Music, studying with world renowned Ukrainian-American violinist Oleh Krysa.

The son of public school music educators, Timothy Judd began violin lessons at the age of four through Eastman’s Community Education Division. He was a student of Anastasia Jempelis, one of the earliest champions of the Suzuki method in the United States.

A passionate teacher, Mr. Judd has maintained a private violin studio in the Richmond area since 2002 and has been active coaching chamber music and numerous youth orchestra sectionals.

In his free time, Timothy Judd enjoys working out with Richmond’s popular SEAL Team Physical Training program.

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