This might be a basic question but I am confused about how mouth shapes for vowels, at a deeper level, are producing different sounds. Wanted to see if one could demonstrate with another instrument like a pipe, how you could create the vowel sounds.
For example, IPA divides the sounds into front and back of the mouth/tongue blocking airflow, and open/closed-ness of the air passage by the tongue. This produces the
/i/ sound, the
oo sound, the
ah sound, the
oh sound, and everything in between. But I'm wondering how it actually works. How the shape of the mouth actually produces these sounds. For example, I don't know if we can just hear a recording of an
ee in the middle of its pronunciation, and tell it's an
ee sound. Maybe we can only tell they are the vowel sounds because of their relative sound in relation to each other, I don't know.
To further demonstrate my confusion, take for example a hose. If you squeeze the hose, the water comes out faster. That makes sense. Because there is less space for the water to come out of. There is a complete explanation there. Likewise, when an ambulance passes by and you hear the doppler effect, that is because the sound waves are compressed as they come toward you, and expanded as they move away. That gives a complete explanation of why the sound changes as the ambulance passes by.
But a vowel sound like
/a/ doesn't make sense just by saying "the shape of the mouth is x". Why does the shape of the mouth produce that sound, and what is the sound it is producing. I'm wondering if it is because the mouth cavity is curved, or because the sound wave is a complex shape (would be nice to see what the vowel sound waves look like).
If I try to describe the "ah" sound, and say it's because the "mouth is shaped like x, and the tongue is placed here...", that doesn't explain why that is producing the "ah" sound vs. the "ee" sound. Something that would fully explain it is by saying "the open cavity in the mouth produces a sound wave that is shaped in what we hear as an "ah" sound ". Or "the ee" is two sine waves in this formation" sort of thing. Also, for the "oo" sound, I don't see how "rounding the lips" produces that sound. I'm wondering what it does to the sound waves to give it that "O" sound.
I'm wondering if one can describe how the basic vowel sounds get their distinct "sound", or what that sound even is.
As a reference, I understand how tone (musically) can be expressed, because it's defined by the sound waves. Same with loudness / amplitude. But vowel sounds, I don't fully get yet.