Friday, July 30, 2010

Speaking Of My Voice

I've been listening to myself talk lately. That is to say that I've been paying attention to the apparent quality of my voice as I speak to people, and sometimes as I speak aloud while alone just to hear how something sounds. I know I must sound somewhat different on the outside of my head than I do on the inside, but regrettably people are not volunteering description of it in the numbers that I would like. One exception came some time ago, when I spoke in passing about my voice. I thought now might be the time to consider it in some kind of depth.

I would certainly be derelict in my responsibilities if I did not first address volume. This is the one area on which I do receive feedback from people. It is not praise. At best, it's constructive criticism, and at worst frustrated venting. The way I always put it is that as a performer or public speaker, I have never personally been given the note of needing to speak louder or project better. In that realm of performance, my voice is entirely ideal, and is perhaps meritorious of praise. I must sadly observe, however, that I speak with much the same voice in situations calling for more discretion. I recall a Saturday Night Live character played by Will Ferrel who volunteers that he is afflicted with a condition described as "voice immodulation". I laughed, but wonder now about that.

A happier aspect of my voice would be its tonal qualities. Of course when I speak kindly of myself, I don't expect that to be taken at face value, but I would say that I have what fairly ought to be called a pleasing timbre. In that previous blog posting, I recalled being advised of suitability for on-air work in radio. That was a nice thing to hear. Something I have noted is the kind of reverence and admiration reserved for certain actors who possess a peerless set of pipes. The two who most seem to belong in that number as far as I'm concerned are Gregory Peck and George Takei (known to most as Star Trek's Sulu). Were I to have the kind of reputation vocally that they do, I would be most pleased. In either case, I suppose I'm biased. Now, singing is sort of a different thing. I don't think I have a great deal of range. The number of songs whose lead vocals I'm right for is probably small. Adding in those I can get away with if I really sell them with confidence makes for a somewhat larger set. It's probably not how I'll end up making my way in the world.

As far as the way I use that voice, I'll say for sure that it's improved. This is more a mental thing than a physical one. I become more comfortable all the time with silence in place of frantic stammering and stuttering when searching for the way to express myself in words or when especially excited. I can bear much improvement, but do think it's better. All things considered, I'd say that in the end my voice is likely to be considered a minor asset at the very least, and not any kind of liability. The things I use it to say may be something else.

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