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"Beatbox" and "Beat box" redirect here. For other uses, see Beatbox (disambiguation).
An example of modern beatboxing
Biz Markie beatboxing

Beatboxing (also beatbox, beat box or b-box) is a form of vocal percussion primarily involving the art of producing drum beats, rhythm, and musical sounds using one's mouth, lips, tongue, and voice. It may also involve singing, vocal imitation of turntablism, and the simulation of horns, strings, and other musical instruments. Beatboxing today is connected with hip-hop culture, being one of "the elements", although it is not limited to hip-hop music.[1][2] The term "beatboxing" is sometimes used to refer to vocal percussion in general (see vocal percussion for details).



Techniques similar to beatboxing have been present in many American musical genres since the 19th century, such as early rural music, both black and white, religious songs, blues, ragtime, vaudeville, and hokum. One example is the Appalachian technique of eefing.

Additional influences may perhaps include forms of African traditional music, in which performers utilize their bodies (e.g., by clapping or stomping) as percussion instruments and produce sounds with their mouths by breathing loudly in and out, a technique used in beatboxing today.[citation needed]

Many well-known performers used vocal percussion occasionally,even though this was not directly connected to the cultural tradition that came to be known as "beatboxing". Paul McCartney's "That Would Be Something" (1969) includes vocal percussion. Michael Jackson was known to record himself beat-boxing on a dictation tape recorder as a demo and scratch recording to compose several of his songs, including "Billie Jean", "The Girl Is Mine", and others.[3] Gert Fröbe, a German actor most widely known for playing Auric Goldfinger in the James Bond film Goldfinger, "beatboxes" as Colonel Manfred von Holstein (simultaneously vocalizing horned and percussive instruments) in Those Magnificent Men in their Flying Machines, a 1965 British comedy film.

Origins in hip hop[edit]

The term "beatboxing" is derived from the mimicry of the first generation of drum machines, then known as beatboxes. "Human beatboxing" in hip-hop originated in 1980s. Its early pioneers include Doug E. Fresh, the self-proclaimed first "human beatbox",[4] Swifty, the first to implement the inhale sound technique[citation needed], Buffy, who helped perfect many beatboxing techniques[citation needed] and Wise, who contributed significantly to beat boxing's proliferation.[citation needed] Wise inspired an entire new fan base of human beatboxers with his human turntable technique.

Modern beatboxing[edit]

Beatboxing's current popularity is due in part to releases from artists such as Reeps one and Alem.[5]

The Internet has played a large part in the popularity of modern beatboxing. Alex Tew (aka A-Plus) started the first online community of beatboxers in 2000 under the banner of HUMANBEATBOX.COM. In 2001, Gavin Tyte, a member of this community created the world's first tutorials and video tutorials on beatboxing. In 2003, the community held the world's first Human Beatbox Convention in London featuring beatbox artists from all over the world.

Sometimes, beatboxers will use their hand or another part of their body to extend the spectrum of sound effects and rhythm. Some have developed a technique that involves blowing and sucking air around their fingers to produce a very realistic record scratching noise, which is commonly known as the 'crab scratch'. Another hand technique includes the 'throat tap' which involves the beatboxer tapping their fingers against their throat as they throat sing or hum.

Common sounds and imitations[edit]

Using beatboxing techniques, a skilled beat boxer has the ability to imitate many types of sounds including those of a classic drum set, turn table, electronic/dubstep effect, trumpet, and electric guitar. Some of these sounds have two different iterations: one used while exhaling air while the other used while inhaling air. These two different iterations of these sounds are used in order for advanced beatboxers to rotate sounds in order to continue beatboxing without having to stop the beat in order to take an actual breath.

Classic drum set sounds[edit]

Turntable effects[edit]

  • Record Scratch (crab scratch)
  • Vocal Record Scratch
  • Sped Up Vocal Record
  • Slowed Down Vocal Record

Electronic effects[edit]

  • Siren
  • Dubstep Wobble Bass
  • Synthesizer


  • Trumpet/Trombone
  • Electric Guitar


As with other musical disciplines, some form of musical notation or transcription may sometimes be useful in order to describe beatbox patterns or performances. Sometimes this takes the form of ad hoc phonetic approximations, but is occasionally more formal.

Standard Beatbox Notation (SBN) was created by Mark Splinter and Gavin Tyte[6] of in 2006[7] as an alternative to International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) transcription, which had been used sparingly before then.

In a research study published in 2013 and based on real-time MRI imaging of a beatboxer, the authors propose a notation system which combines the International Phonetic Alphabet with musical staff notation, in part motivated by their observation that many beatboxing sounds can be adequately represented by the IPA.[8]

World records[edit]

According to the Guinness World Records, the current record for the largest human beatbox ensemble was set by employees. The record involved 4,659 participants and was achieved by employees together with beatboxers at the RAI Amsterdam in Amsterdam, Netherlands, on 10 December 2013 during their annual company meeting.[9]

Best beat boxers[edit]

In the world of beat boxing, there is technically not a best beat boxer because of the genres and styles of beat boxing. If you want to rate the best beat boxers as in technicality, style, rhythm, new school, old school, there are top beat boxers that are highly ranked in these categories.

Technicality and Speed[edit]

Technicality and speed in beatboxing is very important if you want to be the best. Adding technicality and speed to your beatboxing routine is one of the hardest things to do and it gives you the upper hand in a battle. People such as Skiller and Alem use technicality and speed no other beat boxer can do and pushes beat boxing to a whole other level. That's why they are known for some of the best beat boxers.

New Age of Beatboxing[edit]

One of the most known beabtoxers in the category of new age beatboxing is known as Reeps One. He is considered one of the most respected solo beat boxers of all time because of his organic and unique music by just using his own mouth.


If you want to see and observe all of the top beat boxers throughout the world then the swissbeatbox channel and website is the perfect place for you. Swissbeatbox provides clips of beat boxing from all around the world. Swissbeatbox provided clips of beat boxing from all around the world. They film beat boxing events, competition and also film dedicated videos from solo beat boxers or teams of beat boxers. Overall, their aim is to make beat boxing an intergraded part of the peoples music appreciation. Swissbeatbox is trying to make beat boxing more then just a hip hop thing and wants to make a musical movement through all genres, countries, languages and ethnicities. With the support of its fans, it will continue to make videos, news, merchandise, and huge international events to reach their main goal, which is share the love of beat boxing and bump it up to the next level.

History was founded by someone named Kilian S aka Kilan in 2006 who is from Switzerland. When it first started, the plan was to create a German speaking community to share the beat box passion among other Swiss beat boxers , but then it turned into something worldwide.

Swissbeatboxing YouTube Channel

The swissbeatbox channel probably has the most variety of beat boxing videos from old school all the way too the new age. They film professional beat boxers and new talents from all over the world on battles, concerts and conventions or when they are just messing around. They organize tons of international events with the best beat boxers from the planet. In conclusion, they have over millions of views and thousands of fans that bring beat boxers together.

The previous largest human beatbox ensemble involved 2,081 participants and was achieved by Google (Ireland), Shlomo (UK) and Testament (UK) at The Convention Centre, Dublin, Ireland on 14 November 2011.[10]

Before Shlomo's record, the previous record for the largest human beatbox ensemble involved 1,246 participants and was achieved by Vineeth Vincent and Christ University (India) in Bangalore, Karnataka, India, on 5 February 2011..[11]

Selected discography[edit]

This list is a selected discography of commercial releases which are mostly/entirely beatbox-based or are otherwise notable/influential records in the history of beatboxing and its popularisation.





See also[edit]


  1. ^ The History of Beatboxing,
  2. ^ D. Stowell and M. D. Plumbley, Characteristics of the beatboxing vocal style. Technical Report C4DM-TR-08-01. 2008.
  3. ^ "Michael Jackson BeatBoxing" (Youtube video, 4:58 min). Jackson beatboxes while explaining how he composed "Tabloid Junkie", "The Girl Is Mine", "Who Is It", "Billie Jean", and "Streetwalker" (song on the Bad album 2001 Special Edition). 2008-03-27. Retrieved 2011-01-13. 
  4. ^ Doug E. Fresh | Music Artist | Videos, News, Photos & Ringtones | MTV
  5. ^ Garfield, J. Breath Control: The History Of The Human Beat Box at the Internet Movie Database. 2002. A documentary on the history of the art form, including interviews with Doug E. Fresh, Emanon, Biz Markie, Marie Daulne of Zap Mama, Kyle Faustino, and others.
  6. ^ TyTe. "Standard Beatbox Notation".
  7. ^ Liu, Marian (2007-01-04). "Beatboxing: An oral history; Hip-Hoppers Turn to Voice-Based Rhythms". San Jose Mercury News. (California).
  8. ^ Proctor, M.I. and Bresch, E. and Byrd, D. and Nayak, K. and Narayanan, S. (2013). "Para-Linguistic Mechanisms of Production in Human "Beatboxing": a Real-time Magnetic Resonance Imaging Study". Journal of the Acoustical Society of America 133 (2): 1043–1054. doi:10.1121/1.4773865. 
  9. ^ "Guinness World Records". Guinness World Records. Retrieved 16 January 2014. 
  10. ^ Guinness World Records Retrieved 30 December 2013.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  11. ^ "Largest human beatbox ensemble". Retrieved 2012-03-27. 

External links[edit]