2ObjectivesTo develop a more effective speaking voice through relaxation, proper breathing, and good postureTo learn habits of good diction in order to develop distinctive, effective voicesTo use voice quality, pitch, volume, pause, and rate effectively in interpreting character, mood, and meaning.
3Focus Activity Who’s On First by Abbott and Costello Ask why the dialogue is so confusing. Have them name specific examples.Explain that the rate of delivery and emphasis placed on words contribute to the comic success of the scene.In this chapter they will learn to improve their diction and use their voices more effectively.
4RelaxationProper sounds are made through vowel sounds and vowel sounds are made through a relaxed and open throat, jaw and lips.A tense or tight throat will cause hoarseness when you try to project your voice in practice or performance.Warm UpsWarm Up ExercisesStretch your whole body as an animal does after a nap. Feel the big muscles of your back, lets, and arms ease first.Imagine that a warm, relaxing shower is falling over your head. Imagine it passing over your forehead and wiping out the frown lines. Imagine it releasing the tension of the little muscles around your eyes, nose, mouth, and especially your cheeks. Roll your head first to the left, then to the right, keeping the neck muscles relaxed.Imagine the shower pouring over your whole body, relaxing your arms and fingertips, your chest, lungs, diaphragm, and even your toes. You should be yawning by this time, and that is one of the best voice exercises.Relaxed Jaw – let your head fall forward onto your chest. Lift it up and back, letting your jaw remain loose. Drop it again and slowly roll your head over your right shoulder, back, over your left shoulder and forward.Open Throat – Yawn freely, getting the feeling of an open, relaxed throat.Best exercise for breathing because it comes from a relaxed body. Most of the time when people yawn, they breathe in air from the abdomen, not from the chest, exactly where the actor’s breath must come from. When actors feel nervous, their breathing becomes shorter and shallower. Therefore, actors must train themselves to take deep breaths.Flexible Lips 1 – Say oo-o-a-ah, opening your lips from a small circle to a large one. Then reverse, saying ah-a-o-oo. Keep the tongue flat with the tip at the lower teeth. Keep your throat open and your jaw relaxed.Flexible Lips 2 – Say “me-mo-me-mo-me-mo-me-mo.”Flexible Tongue 1 – Say rapidly: “fud-dud-dud-dud-dah-fud-dud-dud-dud-dah-fud-dud-dud-dud-dah-fril.” Trill the r in fril.Flexible Tongue 2 – Babble like a baby, saying “da-da-da-da-la-la-la-la” moving only the tip of the tongue.
5Breath ControlWhat is the difference between regular breathing and breathing for speech?Regular breathingThe inhalation and exhalation periods are of equal length.Breathing for speechRequires a very brief inhalation period and a slow, controlled exhalation period.In breathing for speech, you should inhale through the mouth since this allows for more rapid intake of breath than through the nose.Controlled breathing is more important to the actor than deep breathing.Example of Controlled breathing: Little Red Riding Hood from Into the Woods or singers
6Breathe from diaphragm? What does that mean?Means that the chest cavity stays relatively still, while the lower ribs rise and fall slightly.Requires less chest breathingAllows you to breathe more deeplyProvides the control you need to project long passages without running out of breath.Practice daily!!!
7Four characteristics of the Voice Must be used for effective voice:QualityPitchVolumeRate
8Quality/Tone Individual sound of your voice Depends on the shape and size of your vocal mechanism, which you will not be able to changeYou CAN learn to make the most of what you’ve got by keeping your throat open and controlling your breath.If your voice sounds harsh or raspy, it usually is the result of a closed throat.If your voice sounds breathy, you are probably using more breath than you need.Voice quality may also be affected by emotionTone is the vocal element you use to create different emotional colors when you speak or sing.Tone ExercisesTry these techniques to experiment with tone:Tone ExerciseSay each of these words – oh, yes, well, really, possibly – to convey each of these emotions or states of being:Happiness, Pride, Fatigue, Fright, Anger, Suspicion, Innocence, Pleading, SorrowReproduce the tone color of these words by making your voice sound like the word’s meaning:Bang, Crackle, Swish, Grunt, Tinkle, Roar, Coo,Thin, Wheeze, Bubble, Buzzy, Splash, Clang, Gurgle
9Pitch Relative highness or lowness of the voice at any given time Pitch is determined by the rapidity with which the vocal folds vibrateMost persons use only four or five notes in ordinary speaking, but a good speaker can use two octaves or morePitch gives meaning to speech.Excited, interested, enthusiastic = higher pitch on important words to emphasize them and lower pitch on unimportant words to subordinate themConflict increases, excitement stirs, comedy builds = higher pitchVariety in pitch is called INFLECTIONWithout variety in pitch, speakers are unable to hold the attention of their audiences.Overcome this by practice and conscious attentionAs an actor, you must learn to control the number, length, and direction of your pitch changes.Observe others – notice what different emotions do to the pitch of their voices
10VolumeThe relative strength, force, or intensity with which sound is madeNOT loudness!Depends upon the pressure with which the air from the lungs strikes the vocal folds.Explosive and ExpulsiveWhat is the difference?Explosive – sudden sharp breath pressure – commands, shouts, loud laughter, screamsExpulsive – pressure held steady, breath released gradually – used for reading long passages without loss of breath and in building to a dramatic climaxVolume is used in combination with other voice characteristics to express various feelings
11VolumeRemember that when you are onstage, it is important to remember that you must use more energy to convey impressions of all kinds than is necessary offstageThink about where your voice is to go and keep your throat relaxedExercise 1Greater force to emphasizeExercise 2Think about where your voice is to go and keep your throat relaxedEXERCISE 1: Say the sentence “I am going home” as though you were saying it to the following people:A friend sitting next to youA person ten feet awaySomeone across the roomSomeone in the back row of an auditoriumEXERCISE 2: Greater force to emphasize“I love you.”“I didn’t say that to her.”“You don’t think I ate the cake, do you?”“Nothing is too good for you.”“You gave the money to him.”
12Pause and RateUse the punctuation in your speech for help in determining pauses.Logical and dramatic pauses demand thought and feeling on your part or you will not have your audience thinking and feeling with you.Pause ChartThe speed at which words are spoken is called RATESteadily increasing speed creates a feeling of tension and excitementSlow, deliberate delivery impressed the hearer with their significance.Show/explain the Pause Chart“on the stage a half-second pause is significant; a full-second pause is emphatic; a two-second pause is dramatic; and, a three-second pause is usually catastrophic!”
13Diction/Articulation Diction refers to the selection and pronunciation of wordsProper breathing technique, great tone, and perfect pitch will make no difference at all if you have poor dictionPoor articulation is generally the result of carelessness and sluggish speechOn stage, every word counts, unlike in everyday speechIf your speech is to be an asset in your daily usage, you must use clear, correct, pleasing speech that carries well.Practice reading aloud dailyRecord and analyze your speech and the speech of others
14Vowel Sounds Spelling is not reliable for pronunciation Letter AFatherCatCameIPA (International Phonetic Alphabet) p. 85Created to represent the sounds found in all languagesHelpful when working with dialectsConfusing Vowel Sounds p. 86Each word should sound different!!!Confusing Vowel Sounds (each word should sound different!!!)Say: feel, fell, fail, foil, fill, fall, file, foulEmphasize “feel” and “fill”Say: teen, ten, ton, tune, tin, tan, turn, torn, townEmphasize “ten” and “tin”Say: eat, at, ate, it, oughtSay: peak, peck, puck, park, pork, pike, pick, pack, perk, pock, pokeSay: bee, been, bin, ban, barn, born, burn, bow, bone, book, boilSay: dill, dell, dale, deal, dial, doubt, downSay: me, men, man, mince, mile, muck, mark, mount, moon
15Consonant Sounds Voiceless consonant – no vibration Voiced consonant – vibrationPlosive, Fricative, NasalPlosive – air is stopped and suddenly releasedFricative – air passage is narrowedNasal – mouth is completely closed; air through noseVoiceless and Voiced ConsonantsPlace finger lightly on throat and feel vibrations of words:Sue – zooFail – veilThin – thenPlosive – air is stopped and suddenly releasedP as in pop; b as in bob; lip against lipT as in time; d as in dame; tip of tongue against upper gum ridgeK as in kick; g as in game; back of tongue against soft palateFricative – air passage is narrowedF as in fan; v as in van; upper teeth on lower lipS as in bus; z as in buzz; front of tongue against upper and lower teeth, which are almost closedSh as in sure; zh as in azure; tip of tongue turned toward hard palate; teeth almost closedTh as in breath; th as in breathe; tip of tongue against upper teethNasal – mouth is completely closed; air through noseM as in mommy; mouth closed by lip on lipNg as in sing; mouth closed by back of tongue on soft palateN as in nine; mouth closed by tip of tongue on upper gum
16Avoid these common habits of sloppy speech: “Didn’t you?”, “Wouldn’t you?” and “Did you?” should be separated to avoid saying “Didncha?”, “Wouldnja?”, and “Didja?”Mumbling, muttering, or dropping words at the end of sentences and letters at the end of wordsUsing the vocal apparatus, especially the tongue, in a lazy manner, resulting from indistinctnessBeing too meticulous, artificial, or theatricalVoice and Diction in ActingIt is an actor’s responsibility to avoid spoiling lines by blurring pronunciation, muffling enunciation or speaking with a nervous rhythm
17Five Principles to Guide You: Vowels are the sounds actors can work with in interpretation. Vowels can be lengthened, shortened, and inflected.Verbs are the strongest words in the language. Except for forms of be, verbs should be stressed.Look for “color words” – those that are vividly descriptive. Look especially for those words whose sounds suggest their meaning (onomatopoeias) such as crash, stab, grunt, splash.Rarely stress negative, pronouns, and articles.When a word or phrase is repeated, stress each repetition more than the preceding repetition.Forms of “be”:AmIsAreWasWere(Be, Being, Been)Examples in sentences:“And then bang, crash, the lightning flashed and well, that’s another story, never mind.”“I don’t want to.”“The key, the key!”“No, no, no!”
18Tongue Twisters Rubber baby buggy bumpers To make the bitter batter better, Betty bought better butter, beating the better butter into the batter to make the batter better.The dedicated doctor diagnosed the dreaded disease as December dithers.Fickle fortune framed a fine finale for a fancy finish.Could creeping cat keep crafty claws clear of kitchen curtains?Many mortals miss mighty moments more from meager minds than major mistakes.Some people say I lisp when I say soup, soft soap, or something similar, but I don’t perceive it myself.Round and round the ragged rock the rugged rascal ran.Which is the witch that wished the wicked wishes?