is it possible to change the sound of your voice?
November 4, 2008 3:44 PM   Subscribe

is it possible to change the sound of your voice?

I'm curious if there is a way to influence the sound of your voice -- to go from a keith olbermann voice to an ed rendell or clint eastwood voice. this is not about pronunciation or intonation to me but about the sound their vocal chords produce before they put any twang onto it. is this a question of drinking too much whiskey, sheer good or bad luck or is this something one could influence?

this is a theoretical question. I sound awesome.
posted by krautland to Health & Fitness (11 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
You can get surgery to move stuff around and put pressure on/take pressure off of the vocal cords. Or blast them with lasers.
posted by phunniemee at 4:01 PM on November 4, 2008

Previous related question.
posted by tomcooke at 4:03 PM on November 4, 2008

Must be.

Listen to people from different areas, countries - accents in other words. There seems to be a big difference not just in 'twang' but in pitch and tone that I figure must be trained, rather than inborn.

Like, in some accents, women seem to pitch their voice a lot higher or lower than in other accents.

But y'know, it seems like it'd inevitably be a combination of nature + nurture, and some people have a bigger natural range to work with.
posted by Elysum at 4:12 PM on November 4, 2008

that related post really does cover it doesn't it?

but learning to breath from the diaphragm really did it for me. practice making long vowel sounds and bouncing them off your belly when you do. sustaining a long 'ah' or an 'oh' is perfect. your belly should vibrate when you do and that's how you know that you've hit your diaphragm.

put your hand on your belly and breathing in make your belly rise and fall through your breath. that's the indicator that your on the right track. you'll probably find the sound is pretty quiet when you first try, but it should be easier to achieve some volume with regular practice.

early in the morning always seems the right time as your generally more relaxed at that hour anyway. and booze doesn't hurt, either.
posted by artof.mulata at 4:17 PM on November 4, 2008

Of course it is possible.

David Niven's voice in his last movie had to be dubbed by Rich Little. Supposedly part of the contract was that Little never admit to doing it, but by this point it's pretty much an open secret.
posted by Class Goat at 4:21 PM on November 4, 2008

A data point: there are more Simpsons characters than the show has voice actors.
posted by flabdablet at 4:34 PM on November 4, 2008

Margaret Thatcher did it with very expensive voice coaches. Listen to her; at some times she's very shrill and high. Most of the time, during her speeches she deliberately pitched her voice low.

I think I remember an interview with Kathleen Turner, who said she did it by smoking and putting pencil erasers on her back teeth to force her projection back her throat.
posted by answergrape at 6:25 PM on November 4, 2008

Because voice is such a gender cue its something male to female transsexual do have to deal with, wikipedia has a nice overview and candiFLA on youtube has some more practical examples
posted by Z303 at 4:24 AM on November 5, 2008 [1 favorite]

I love that you referenced "Ed Rendell voice" - I take it you are a Philly guy?
posted by LilBucner at 7:05 AM on November 5, 2008

Of course it's possible! To continue with the cartoon example, listen to early episodes of Beavis and Butthead. Mike Judge did the voices for 80% of the characters before they got some serious money from MTV. It's still hysterical to me to hear a female character have the Judge undertone in her high pitched voice.

More personally, my husband is from Virginia and we're in LA. When he speaks to people out here, his voice takes on a lower, more muted register. When he speaks to people back in Virginia, the volume tends to go up and there's a slightly nasal quality typical of the regions accent. Same things happens with his parents.
posted by arishaun at 11:55 PM on November 5, 2008

Possibly apocryphal:

Richard Burton, the actor, was ashamed of his high-pitched "girly" voice growing up. So he went out to the countryside and shouted himself hoarse every day until he'd tore his vocal cords.

I don't recommend it.
posted by The Whelk at 5:54 AM on November 6, 2008

« Older Is the world watching the US elections?   |   Off the hook. Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.