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How we sound when we speak does influence others and I am not just talking about accents (although

those do give out an impression) but rather the tone of your voice, its clarity, its passion and
enthusiasm, its variances.

Think about how you talk to someone who is ill – gently and with compassion and understanding. Now
think about how you greet an old friend across the street, or prevent a child from running out into the
traffic. How do you sound when you scold someone or are short-tempered?

If you talk in a monotone you will sound dull and uninteresting; you will also lack credibility. The more
credible you are the more persuasive you will be. No one is going to do anything if you ask them in a
boring, quiet monotone!

So try varying the pitch and pace of your voice. Try enthusing it with some passion. A good way of
practising this is to read aloud to young children because then you have to put in all the different
voices or they very quickly get bored.

If you talk in a high pitched voice (mainly women) so that you sound like a little girl, you will also be
less credible. Try slowing your voice down, don’t talk so quickly, take a few more breaths in between
talking and lower your voice.

As a general rule speak with clarity, talk in a strong, steady voice neither shouting nor mumbling. If
talking to a group of people then let your eye contact reach the person the furthest distance from you
to ensure that you project it.

To build rapport with someone match the pace and tone of their voice. I don’t mean mimic them but if
they speak softly and slowly then lower your voice and slow it down. If the other person speaks
quickly, try and quicken up.

No matter what your message, present it in terms that are of interest to others. Think of who you are
communicating with and then decide how you should pitch your voice and what sort of words to use.
We are all aware of the person/people who talk jargon either to confuse us or to make us feel small,
so make sure you don’t fall into this trap and if you are on the receiving end of this then don’t
apologize, to them, for example: ‘I’m sorry, I don’t understand you’. It is their fault they are not
explaining to you correctly so simply say, ‘What do you mean?’ pleasantly and not aggressively.

Believe you are worth listening to and convey that belief to others. The more passionate you are about
your subject the more powerful your communication but beware you don’t get too carried away and
forget your listener, you could be too enthusiastic and alienate them. Which brings us to our next
chapter, listening.

in speech, the relative highness or lowness of a tone as perceived by the ear, which depends on
the number of vibrations per second produced by the vocal cords. Pitch is the main acoustic
correlate of tone and intonation.
Pitch is an auditory attribute of tones, and any tone is physically characterized by a frequency
(i.e., oscillations per second). As everyone knows, pitch is immediately dependent on frequency,
such that pitch ascends and descends monotonically with frequency. To build a model of pitch
perception one merely has to design a frequency meter for tones.

That property of voice which we call pitch is determined by the rate of vibration of the vocal cords. The
greater the number of vibrations per second, the higher the pitch. The rate of vibration, in turn, is
determined by the length and thickness of the vocal cords and by the tightening or relaxation of these

Normally, women's voices are pitched higher than men's because women's vocal cords are shorter.
Among individuals of each sex there are wide variations due to difference in physical structure. However,
the pitch of our voices, though partly determined by nature, is not entirely beyond our control.

Remember that voice control is dependent largely upon emotional control. When you are excited or
frightened, unconsciously the muscles around your voice box or larynx are tightened. The resulting
tension in the vocal cords, according to the science of sound, produces a greater frequency of vibration
and consequently a higher pitch. It is an indication of lack of mental poise if you habitually speak in a
voice pitched too high.

When we use our voices intelligently we do not allow ourselves to scream when angry or raise our voices
to too high a pitch when we are excited. We avoid irritation, which tightens and strains the vocal cords.
We refrain from an outburst of tears because it will tighten the throat; we refrain from too harsh laughter
because we know it will make us hoarse. In short, we exercise self-control. If you are subject to anger and
nerves and their consequent injury to your voice, learn to control the breath and relax. Self-control is not
repression but self-expression with restraint.


Inflection is a change of pitch. Naturally we do not speak on one pitch level alone. The voice slides up and
down the scale as we express various shades of thought and feeling.

Usually an upward slide or inflection expresses a question or an uncompleted thought, and a downward
inflection expresses a completed thought.

If you know anyone whose voice never rises or falls, who drones on and on in the same monotone, you
know how soon you lose interest in what he is saying. The voice that holds your attention conveys
emotion and interest by change of pitch or inflection.

In order to increase your pitch range, try the following exercises with a piano accompaniment. Starting
with the middle C count aloud from one to eight on the pitch of middle C. Drop down one note and repeat,
continuing until you have gone as low as you can without straining your throat muscles. Then, starting
again at middle C go up the scale, counting from one to eight on eight pitches. This exercise will help you
develop your consciousness of pitch, and if practiced regularly will enable you to increase your vocal

How humans control pitch

What's the difference between fundamental frequency and pitch? These terms are often used interchangeably,
although there is a subtle difference. Pitch is a perceptual measure; in other words, pitch must be heard and
measured by ears connected to a brain. Fundamental frequency, by definition, does not have to be sensorially
perceived. Rather it is a measurement of sound wave's base frequency that can be quantified by an instrument
such as a spectrograph. Thus, fundamental frequency - or Fo - is the more accurate scientific term and will be used
throughout this section.

Simply stated, Fo is controlled by:

• a change in length of the vocal folds;

• a change in the stress of the tissues of the vocal folds.

Tissue Composition & Characteristics
To fully understand the mechanisms of pitch control, it is helpful to first review the tissue composition of the vocal
folds and to recall that different tissues types have unique biomechanical properties. The epithelium, the thin skin
that covers the vocal fold, is a loose material that can't hold much tension. However, deeper vocal fold tissues -
collagen, elastin and muscle - exhibit some resistance to stretching, but can become quite stiff.

During soft talking or falsetto singing, only the highly pliable cover of the vocal fold - the epithelium and underlying
fatty tissue - is vibrating. Because only the properties of this superficial layer must be considered, scientists can
describe Fo control with a relatively simple model: the Cover Model of Fo Control. However, during speech at a
normal loudness or chest and head singing, deeper layers of the vocal folds are set into vibration. Because of the
involvement of multiple layers, a more complicated model of the vocal folds must be used: the Body-Cover Model
of Fo Control.

Roles of the TA and CT Muscles

The tension of the vocal fold is the primary determinant of Fo control. Just as a guitar string or a rubber band can be
stretched to produce a higher pitch when plucked, increased stress on vocal fold fibers produces an increase in Fo.
Recall from your background in vocal anatomy that the actions of the cricothyroid (CT) and thyroarytenoid (TA)
muscles shorten or lengthen the vocal folds. It may be helpful to remember:

• The TA muscles shorten the vocal folds;

• The CT muscles lengthen the vocal folds by pulling the thyroid cartilage forward.
It is also important to understand that these muscles can work independently of one another in regulating Fo. A
number of muscle activation studies conclude that speakers and singers - particularly trained vocalists - tend to
balance CT and TA muscle activity, utilizing neither to its maximum potential. Researchers theorize that humans
naturally are inclined to use all or none of a particular muscle. Training can help vocalists use just part of a
particular laryngeal muscle's capability.
Also, researchers have found that a rise in Fo is generally obtained by an increase in TA activity so long as CT
activity is not near its maximum. The following animation demonstrates how the CT and TA muscles move in an
excised human larynx.

The relationship between vocal fold length and Fo is non-linear. In other words, incremental increases in vocal fold
length do not produce similar step-wise increases in Fo. You can test this phonemenon yourself. Stretch a small
rubber band between your thumb and forefinger. The elasticity of a rubber band is similar to that of vocal fold tissue.
Pluck it while holding it loosely (little tension in the rubber). Now, stretch the rubber band a little more; do you hear
a discernable rise in pitch? Probably not. Next, elongate the rubber band to near its limit. You should hear a
significant rise in pitch. Scientists can quantitatively predict the upward shift in Fo, using this relationship: Fo will
rise only if the square root of stress increases with length more than the length itself increases. Equation 8.7
expresses this relationship quantitatively.

Cover Model of Fo control

The key concept of the cover model is this: in falsetto or soft phonation when vibrational amplitudes are small,
oscillation is primarily taking place in the cover. The tension of the vocal folds is determined by length only.
Scientists continue to study how much control singers and speakers have in regulating the depth of vibration of the
cover. They hypothesize that the vocal ligament (the area between the epithelium and the TA muscle) may play a
major role in absorbing stress, leaving the superficial layers loose for vibration at high fundamental frequencies.

A quantitative analysis of the cover model reveals that a positive change in TA muscle activity always causes a
decrease in Fo. Conversely, increasing CT activity increases Fo. The differential action between the TA and CT
muscles is also apparent in the vocal strain equation (8.6). In essence, the TA and CT have opposing effects on the
change of length.

Body-Cover Model of Fo control

The body-cover model involves more means of Fo control than does the cover model (where CT does everything).
These means or variables of control are 1) the depth or amount of tissue vibrating (into the vocal fold or away from
the surface), and 2) the activation of the TA muscle. As the depth of vibration increases, TA activation has a greater
positive correlation with Fo, and of course, if the TA isn't activated, the body-cover model is no different than the
cover model. These means of controlling Fo are all found in Equation 8.8.

It is probably beyond the scope of most vocologists to memorize the complexities of different, but adjacent, tissues
vibrating according to their biomechanical characteristics. However, the ability to quantify the relationship between
amount of muscle in vibration with stress and vocal fold length to predict Fo is essential to scientists modeling
various types of phonation.

Effect of Lung Pressure on Fo

As more air is pushed from the lungs past the vocal folds, Fo usually rises. This can easily be demonstrated. Make
an 'ah' sound at a low comfortable pitch, then press with your fingertips inwardly just below the sternum. Do you
hear the sharp rise in pitch? This phenomenon is more noticeable at lower frequencies (when the vocal fold lengths
are shorter) than at higher pitches.

Thus, humans have a number of strategies for controlling Fo:

• changes in activity of the TA muscle

• changes in activity of the CT muscle

• increasing or decreasing amounts of air from the lungs

Not surprisingly, speakers and singers are interested in optimal combinations of these strategies for Fo control. Let's
compare muscle activation plots (of the thyroarytenoid muscle and cricothyroid muscle) from a non-singer and a
trained singer:

Interestingly, the graphs are quite similar. Both the trained and the untrained vocalist tended to use the TA and CT
muscles equally, as seen by the dashed diagonal lines running at 45-degree angles through the graphs.

Finally, there are also some physical limitations of the system, for example, the size of an individual's cricothyroid
space. How does yours measure up? Keep your chin level and relax your neck muscles. Locate your larynx with
your fingertips. It should be fairly easy to palplate the thyroid notch at the top of the larynx (the upper edge of the
Adam's apple) at the top of larynx to locate the length of the thyroid cartilage. Move your fingertip downward. Is the
crycoid cartilage close in proximity to the bottom of the thryoid cartilage? If so, there may be limited room to rotate
the cricoid cartilage toward the thyroid cartilage. Clearly, this is a relative measurement, so it might be an interesting
experiment to feel not only your own, but the cricothyroid space among your VERY CLOSE friends.  

 The pitch of a sound is determined by the frequency of the sound. Normally we refer to
its pitch.   
Frequencies are grouped as ..  
• low (bass) - sounds of thunder and gunshots
• midrange - a telephone ringing
• high (treble) - small bells and cymbals
• Low frequencies make the sound powerful and warm
• Midrange frequencies give sound its energy. 
Humans are most sensitive to midrange frequencies.

• High frequencies give a sound its "presence" and life like quality.
Presence of a sound enables us to hear it clearly and gives us the feeling that we are
close to its origin
The human voice is a magical tool. It can be used to identify those we know and love; to create
wonderful music through singing; it allows people to communicate verbally; and, it can help in the
recognition of emotions. Everyone has a distinct voice, different from all others; almost like a fingerprint,
one's voice is unique and can act as an identifier. The human voice is composed of a multitude of
different components, making each voice different; namely, pitch, tone, and rate. The following article,
the first of a three part series on the voice, will discuss the pitch component of the voice. It will explore
what voice pitch is, how it is used and how it can be influential. The human voice has many components
and is created through a myriad of muscle movements. Pitch is an integral part of the human voice. The
pitch of the voice is defined as the "rate of vibration of the vocal folds" . The sound of the voice changes
as the rate of vibrations varies. As the number of vibrations per second increases, so does the pitch,
meaning the voice would sound higher. Faster rates form higher voices, or higher pitches, while slower
rates elicit deeper voices, or lower pitches. How are these vibrations and pitches created? The vibrations,
and the speed at which they vibrate, are dependent on the length and thickness of the vocal cords, as
well as the tightening and relaxation of the muscles surrounding them. This explains why women
generally have higher voices than men do; women tend to have higher voices because they have shorter
vocal cords. The length and thickness of the vocal cords, however, are not the only factors that affect
one's pitch. The pitch of someone's voice can also be affected by emotions, moods and inflection.
Interestingly, our emotions can also affect the pitch of our voices. When people become frightened or
excited, the muscles around the voice box (or larynx) unconsciously contract, putting strain on the vocal
cords, making the pitch higher. Again, not all pitch change is done unconsciously. A change in pitch is
known as inflection and humans exercise this naturally all the time. People tend to exercise conscious
control of the pitch of their voice when refraining from screaming, because it tightens and strains the
vocal cords, or changing the pitch of our voice to mimic someone, for instance. The voice tends to
change, sliding up and down the pitch scale, as we express different emotions, thoughts and feelings.
Pitch is not solely an objective component of voice; research has shown that pitch is associated with
attractiveness amongst men and women. Studies done by Collins & Missing and Feinberg et al
discovered that men deemed women with higher pitched voices more attractive. This may be because
higher pitched voices are associated with youth and fertility in women. Women, on the other hand, tend
to find men with lower pitched voices sexy and desirable. A study done by Putz found that women
associated low-pitched men's voices with uncommitted sex, making these men sexually preferred. Putz
also discovered that women's desire for men with lower pitched voices increased with fertility over the
ovulatory cycle. These findings may be shocking to many as so often it is men that are deemed those
who are searching for uncommitted sex while women are searching for a man offering fertility and
stability. Similar to the aforementioned studies, researchers from Harvard University, Florida State
University and McMaster discovered that pitch predicted reproductive success of males amongst hunter-
gatherers. These researchers, studying the reproductive patterns of the Hadza, a tribe in Tanzania, found
that men with lower pitched voices tended to have more children. This could be because the Hazda
women chose men with lower pitched voices because they believed them to be better providers. In
addition, studies have shown that low pitch voices are associated with higher levels of testosterone, so
women may have chosen these men because they perceived them to be better hunters. It seems voice
pitch, an arbitrary characteristic, can certainly have important impacts on human sexual preference and
mating, as well as what we find attractive in the opposite sex. The pitch of our voices is created through
vibrations of the vocal folds. The rate at which these folds vibrate changes the way our voices sound,
with faster rates equating higher pitches. Studies have shown that women tend to prefer men with lower
pitched voices and find these men more attractive. Furthermore, it has been discovered that men with
lower pitched voices seem to have more children, perhaps owing to the fact that more women are
attracted to them or that these men are viewed as stronger. The pitch of one's voice can help in
unconsciously divulging the feelings and emotions, but can also be consciously manipulated so as not to
put strain on the vocal cords or to create a certain sound. The voice and the way it is used are unique to
every individual.

Understanding the voice (3/4)

The control of the pitch
The pitch of the voice depends on four parameters:
• the air pressure,

• the stretching of the vocal cords,

• the vocal muscles stiffness,

• the joining strength of the vocal cords.

The air pressure is controlled by all the breathing muscles: diaphragm, abdominal
muscles, intercostal muscles, and to a lesser extent neck muscles.

The other parameters are controled by the larynx muscles: cricothyroid muscle,
thyroarytenoid muscle, lateral cricoarytenoid muscle and posterior cricoarytenoid
muscle. The effect of these muscles depends on the mechanism used.

The control of the pitch is therefore primarily a muscular control. His mastery is
a question of training, as in athletic training.
The audio-phonatory loops
Singing well supposes hearing well. The deaf have trouble controlling their voices.
Buildup of wax in the ear or some ear infections will disable the hearing of low-
pitched sounds, other deafness may affect high-pitched sounds.

The voice we produce reaches our ears

using three ways:
• by a short path from the mouth,

• after reflexion and modification by the

external acoustic,

• through the skull directly to the inner


The high-pitched sounds are poorly

transmitted through the direct path, so that
when you listen to your recorded voice, it is
difficult to recognize it, it seems too high-

In the long circuit, there is a feedback of the room that is variable depending on
the type of materials used and its dimensions. Some rooms are more attractive
than others, depending on whether the voice is properly returned or is lost in the

In the internal listening, the voice reaches the ear through vibrations of the
bones, tendons and muscles. The voice is distorted: the sounds do not spread the
same way in air and in the body tissues.

All these internal and external sounds mix, varied in quality and shifted over time,
it is an additional reason for not recognise his voice on a tape.
Singing in tune
Everybody can sing, with varying degrees of ease, but the singing out of tune can
generally be corrected quite well. Singing in tune involves three steps: to hear, to
remember, to reproduce. It is rare that the hearing or the memory is concerned.
In general, sing out of tune comes from a lack of learning.

Generally, when we sing out of tune, we

can hear that something is wrong and we
search at random how to correct that.
Canta responds to this research by showing
exactly how to correct our voice. Canta
creates a feedback loop which replaces the
deficient audio-phonatory loop and allows to
gradually strengthen it.

The regular repetition of these exercices

with Canta will develop the internal
representation of the right notes and also
the efficiency of the command circuits of
the muscles involved in the pitch control.
It's like a bodybuilding equipment which
would force you to make the right gesture
to develop certain muscles, the repetition of
these gestures will help you develop these
muscles with maximum efficiency.

The vibrato
The vibrato is a variation of frequency and amplitude of the voice around the note
the singer aim at. The pitch deviation is around one quarter to a half-ton, with a
frequency of 5 to 7 Hz.

It should not be confused with the trill, which is rapid alternation between two
adjacent notes, nor with the trillo which is the chopped repetition the same note.

Vibrato and trills by Whitney Houston

The whispered voice does not have vibrato nor a forced voice produced without
comfort and with muscle tension. The vibrato is involuntary. It is produced when
there is a position of balance between two antagonistic muscles of the larynx
thanks to a reflex loop. This is the same reflex mechanism that shook the knees of
some sitting when they put their feet on the edge.

The vibrato is significantly amplified by a resonance effect of the laryngeal

skeleton whose frequency is around 5 Hz.

To remove the vibrato of a voice is possible but requires energy and lowers the
efficiency of the voice.

The vibrato is a natural phenomenon, neurologycally programmed. It can not be

taught but is revealed when the rest of the vocal gesture is made under optimum

Back home Previous: (2) The voice mechanisms Next: (4) The voice timbre
Pointer 1: Vary your pitch, tone, volume and pace

The pitch of your voice is its "highness" or "lowness." Varying your pitch is a way to add color,
excitement, and emphasis to your speech. Nervous speakers sometimes have tension in their
vocal chords, resulting in an unintentionally higher pitch. Relaxation and breathing exercises
can help with this (see below).

The tone or quality of your voice says a lot to your audience that words can never convey. Does
your voice sound warm or cold? Does it sound conversational or formal? Do you sound friendly,
happy, angry, or nervous?

You've heard the word "monotone," right? That's what you sound like when you don't vary the
tone of your voice. When you adjust your tone to match the ideas and emotions in your
presentation, your audience receives a deeper level of understanding as well as a deeper
connection with you.

Volume is the loudness of your voice. Use varying volume for emphasis, and remember to
adjust your volume to the size of the venue you're speaking in.

One way to really grab your audience's attention is to drop the volume when you want to make
an important point. Lowering your volume forces the audience to give extra concentration to
what you're saying.

Use silence and pauses to maximize your message and to create drama. Silence gives you
and your audience a nice break - it allows them to process what you've been saying, because
it's hard for our brains to hold too much information at one time. It also gives them a break from
your voice. A pause can be used to emphasize a point, to really let something sink in.

One more thing to mention about volume: keep your sentences strong from start to finish. Some
people's voices fade out at the end of a sentence or idea, leaving the audience grasping to hear
the final few words. Make sure to punch the beginnings and endings of sentences so they don't
disappear and leave your audience in confusion.

Pace is the speed at which you speak. You can speed up or slow down for emphasis.
Sometimes nervous speakers will race through their talk, finishing too early, and leaving the
audience out of breath and lost, because they missed half of what was said. Breathing and
relaxation can help you control and moderate your pace. Slow down your pace when you have
something particularly important to say - you don't want to race through your critical points.

Pointer 2: Practice relaxation and breathing

Have I mentioned relaxation and breathing enough times? Relaxation and proper breathing
allow oxygen to circulate and your muscles to relax, rather than building tension around the
shoulders and chest, which can compress your lungs and make your voice sound weak from
lack of breath support.

Take some deep breaths before your presentation. Practice breathing deeply using your
diaphragm; you know you're doing it right when your stomach puffs out but your shoulders do
not rise. Search the Web for articles and books about "diaphragmatic breathing" or "belly

Do some warm-ups and stretches beforehand, especially stretches that involve your face, jaw,
neck, chest, and upper body. And don't forget to breathe during the presentation. Pausing to
breathe while you're speaking keeps you from speeding through the presentation - and the
audience doesn't even notice.

Pointer 3: Repeat back questions so your audience can also be heard

In a large room, repeat back your audience's questions. Unless there is someone in the
auditorium delivering a microphone to audience members, it's likely that some people in the
audience won't hear the questions posed to you. Repeating back the questions keeps everyone
on the same page and keeps the audience from feeling left out.

One way to practice the tips in this article is to read aloud from a book or newspaper. Even
better: read aloud from a children's book! Children's books are meant to be read with a variety
of vocal inflections, and this will allow you to try out all of the tips mentioned above.

Your voice is your most powerful public speaking tool. When your voice matches the emotion
and concepts in your presentation, you deliver to your audience deeper understanding of and
connection with your message.

When it comes to public speaking, the pitch of the speaker plays a vital role in making a speech a
successful one. This is what we will discuss in this article. Pitch can be defined as an attribute of
sound that changes with alterations in the frequency of vibration.
Speaking voices are high, medium, or low. Some people may pitch their voices too high, leading
to strain and unpleasantness, whereas others may pitch their voices too low, leading to growls
and gruffness. To secure a good pitch for the speaking voice, the normal natural pitch of usual
conversation should be found. Speech in that same pitch should be developed for larger
audiences. Lowering the voice can result in a better pitch for the speaker. If your natural pitch is
too low for clearness, you should consider raising it a little bit. However, don't amplify it to a
great extent.
If you want to be a good public speaker, never deliver a connected group of words in a
monotonous manner. Your voice must rise and fall. These changes must match intelligently with
the meaning of your spoken words. Such variations are called inflections. The most disagreeable
violations of required inflections are raising the voice where it should fall-as at the completion of
an idea, and letting it drop where it should remain up-as before the completion of an idea.
Finally, the pitch of your voice should also match with the desired emphasis of your words. You
may want to emphasize some points in your speech. Proper pitching of your voice is an ideal
way to reflect your emphasis. Never neglect the 'pitch factor' while delivering a public speech.
This will definitely make you an effective public speaker.
Visit and subscribe to Successful Public Speaking and get twenty public speaking tips. At
Successful Speaking you can also read more articles, product reviews and expert reviews, all
written by Christopher Carlin.

Pitch is the perceived fundamental frequency of a musical note or sound.

While the actual fundamental frequency can be determined through physical
measurement, it may differ from the perceived pitch because of overtones, or
partials, in the sound. The human auditory perception system may also have
trouble distinguishing pitch differences between notes under certain
Pitches may be described in various ways, including high or low, as discrete
or indiscrete, pitch that changes with time (chirping) and the manner in which
this change with time occurs: gliding; portamento; or vibrato, and as
determinate or indeterminate. Musically the frequency of specific pitches is not
as important as their relationships to other frequencies - the difference
between two pitches can be expressed by a ratio or measured in cents.
People with a sense of these relationships are said to have relative pitch while
people who have a sense of the actual frequencies independent of other
pitches are said to have absolute pitch, less accurately called perfect pitch.

Modulation. What is it?

The easy explanation is to say that the word when connected with speaking or indeed music
means a changing in the volume, timing or pitch. Modulation makes music or speech interesting
to listen to. With speech it is modulation that makes the words and phrases stand out and to be
more readily understood and remembered. It is important therefore that a public speaker masters
the art of modulation.
Modulation is made up of three elements. Let me explain each one in order.
The pitch is how high or low we speak just as there are higher or lower notes in music
represented by the notes on the stave when written down. By varying the level of our voice in
pitch we can create variety in our voice as well as use it to make certain words stand out. You
might for example use a higher pitch for excitement and a lower pitch for something serious.
People who speak on one level come across to an audience as quiet boring and so varying the
pitch is essential. There are also many of us that develop a bad habit of raising the pitch at the
beginning of a sentence and then gradually tapering downwards until the next one or those that
end every sentence on a higher pitch. Your public speaking coach will advise you if you are
doing this.
The pace or timing at which you speak also needs to be varied. There are occasions when quite
rapid speech is called for, other times for it to be slowed more than normal. Rapid or slow speech
should be used sparingly but there will be speeds that vary in between the very fast and the very
slow. Always be wary that if you go too fast your words may become slurred and unintelligible
and your listeners will not understand what you are saying. If you naturally speak fast even if the
words are clearly spoken a constant fast speed will wear out your audience mentally so learn to
slow down and speed up when necessary in short bursts. Likewise a naturally very slow speaker
causes people to lose concentration as their minds want to go faster than the speaker. Speaking at
a good pace and varying the pace does require practice and you will need feedback from your
coach to help you master it. It can also help if you record your presentations and listen to them
later and try and put yourself in the place of your audience.
The third and final element of modulation is the power and volume that we use when speaking.
Vary not just the loudness (volume) but also the power or intensity that we use in our voice. This
is perhaps the simplest area of modulation to master for many people.
To be able to use good modulation will take practice and more practice. It is good as with most
things in public speaking to try and use modulation in our everyday speech. You will find with
good coaching and practice that good modulation will become second nature to you.
Roland Millward
If you have any comments or suggestions please enter them in the box below
Posted in Public Speaking, presentations, speaking techniques, speeches, training | Tags:
coaching, presentation, Public Speaking, skills, training

The effects of variations in speaker rate and pitch on listener recall were studied. One hundred and twenty
participants listened to an audiotape of one of two individuals speaking in one of four different styles--low variation in
both rate and pitch, variation in rate but not in pitch, variation in pitch but not in rate, and variation in both rate and
pitch. After hearing the audiotape, listeners were tested on the information in the presentation; they also completed
questionnaires rating the speaker's benevolence and competence. Results indicated that the combined effect of pitch
and rate variety significantly increased listener recall over no variety or pitch variety increased attributions of speaker
competence over no variety or rate variety or rate variety alone. Additionally, pitch variety and combined pitch and
rate variety significantly increased attributions of speaker competence over no variety or rate variety alone, but
significantly decreased attributions of speaker benevolence

First, Screaming will not lower your voice. Do not try this! In fact,
screaming or yelling for prolonged periods of time can actually injure your
vocal chords. If you've ever yelled a lot at a sporting event and experienced
a sore throat the next day, you know what I mean.
All voices are beautiful when properly played. And some voices are just
naturally higher than others. But all of us have an optimal pitch.
Your optimal pitch is the speaking range that's healthiest for your particular
voice, the range within which you have the greatest amount of resonance,
comfort and vocal flexibility.
If you feel your voice is too high, you may be habitually speaking above your
optimal pitch. And if this is the case, you can definitely change it.
Here are the steps to take (from Chapter 6 of my book: "Speak To
Influence: How To Unlock The Hidden Power Of Your Voice" available at your
favorite bookstore or at our website.
Get a reality check - you may not have a problem at all!
Unless you are frequently mistaken for a child your voice may not be as high
as you think. Like body image, voice is one of those things where it's difficult
to be objective.
To find out if others share your opinion, tape record your voice speaking
normally to a friend or business associate. Then give the tape to a trusted
friend or colleague. Ask them to give you balanced feedback -positive and
If your friends agree that your voice is too high, proceed to step two.
Find your natural pitch
In order to appreciate your natural pitch, you must first learn where it is. Dr.
Morton Cooper, a Hollywood voice coach, says the best way to find your
natural pitch is to hum a few bars of a simple song like "Happy Birthday."
The pitch at which you naturally hum is the same pitch at which you should
Compare your speaking voice to your humming voice
Both should match in pitch. A tape recorder will make it easier to compare
the two.
Practice speaking at your humming pitch
In private, alternate humming and speaking until you get the hang of it. In
public, hum discreetly by saying"um hum" as if agreeing with the other
person you are talking to. This will keep you speaking at your optimal pitch
throughout the day.

Tension tends to make the voice rise. Muscles tighten and voices can
become shrill. For a better voice, breathe deeply and exhale stress
Speak from your body, not your head!
While speaking visualize that your voice is emanating from your chest or
your belly instead of your head. Now reverse the process and see if you can
notice the difference. A head voice sounds thinner, a chest voice deeper and
more resonant.
To test that your voice is properly placed, put your hand on your breast
bone. It should vibrate slightly when you speak.

The muscles of the larynx adjust the length and tension of the vocal folds to ‘fine tune’ pitch and tone
Habitual pitch- best functioning speech for u

Optimal pitch-easily prodused ,no strain on vocal cord

Variation of speech

Flexible speaking voice

Enhance ability to communicate

More interesting to hear

Avoids monotony

For emphasis use inflections

Oh can communicate sympathy,unconcern,surprise

Change emotions with inflections

In the voice we can recognize the properties noted in other kinds of sound. These are quality, pitch and

1. The quality of vocal sound is almost endless in variety, as is shown by the vocal capabilities of different
individuals. The quality of any musical sound depends upon the relative power of the fundamental tone,
and of the overtones that accompany it. The less the fundamental tone is disturbed by overtones, the
clearer and better is the voice. This difference in quality of the human voice depends upon the
perfectness of the elasticity, the relation of thickness to length, surface smoothness, and other physical
conditions of the cords themselves, and the exactitude with which the muscles can adapt the surfaces.
For "singing well, much more is necessary than good quality of tone, which is common enough. The
muscles of the larynx, thorax, and mouth must all be educated to an extraordinarily high degree.

2. The pitch of the notes produced in the larynx depends upon - first, the absolute length of the vocal
cords. This varies with age, particularly in males, whose vocal organs undergo rapid growth at puberty,
when vocalization is uncertain from the rapid changes going on in the part; hence the voice is said to
crack. The vocal cords of women have been found by measurement to be about one-third shorter than
those of men, and people with tenor voices have shorter cords than basses or baritones. Secondly, on the
tension of the cords: the tighter the vocal cords are drawn by the crico-thyroid muscles, the higher the
notes produced; and the well-known singer Garcia believed he observed with the laryngoscope the vocal
processes so tightly pressed together as to impede the vibration of the posterior part of the cords, and by
this means they could be voluntarily shortened.

3. Intensity or loudness of the voice depends on the strength of the current of air. The more powerful the
air blast the greater the amplitude of the vibrations, and hence the greater the sound produced. The
narrower the chink of the glottis, and the tighter the parallel cords are stretched, the less is the amount of
air and the weaker is the blast required to set them vibrating; and vice versa, the looser the cords and the
wider apart they are, the greater the volume and the force of the air current necessary for their complete
vibration. Hence it is that an intense vibration or loud note can be produced much more easily with notes
of a high pitch than with very low notes, and we find singers choosing for their telling crescendo some
note high up in the range of their voice.

The human voice, including every kind, extends over about three and a half octaves. -Of this wide range a
single individual can seldom sing more than two octaves. The soprano, alto, tenor, and bass forming a
descending series, the range of each one of which considerably overlaps the next in the scale.

During the ordinary vocal sounds, the air, both in the resonating tubes above the larynx and in the
windpipe coming from below, is set vibrating, so that the trachea and bronchi act as resonators as well as
the pharynx, mouth, etc. This may be recognized by placing the hand on the thorax, when a distinct
vibration is communicated from the chest wall. Such tones are, therefore, spoken of as chest notes.
Besides the chest tones of the ordinary voice, we can produce notes of a higher pitch and a different
quality, which are called head notes, since their production is not accompanied by any vibration of the
chest wall. The physical contrivance by means of which this falsetto voice is brought about is not very
clearly made out. The following are the more probable views: (i) It has been suggested that in falsetto
only the thin edges of the cord vibrate, the internal thyro-arytenoid muscles keeping the base of the cord
fixed; while with chest tones a greater surface of the cord is brought into play. (2) The cords are said to be
wider apart in falsetto than in chest notes, and hence the trachea, etc., ceases to act as a resonator. (3)
Or the cords may be arranged so that only one part of them, the anterior, can vibrate, and thus they act as
shortened cords, a "stop" being placed on the point where the vibrations cease, by the internal thyro-
arytenoid muscle.

The production of a falsetto voice is distinctly voluntary, and is probably dependent upon some muscular
action in immediate relation to the cords, for it is always associated with a sensation of muscular exertion
in the larynx, as well as with changes that take place in the conformation of the mouth and other
resonating tubes.
The average pitch depends on the voice family. The average pitch for a male voice is 120Hz, and for a female voice, it's 210Hz

Property Values
Value Description

frequency The average pitch of the speaking voice is specified in hertz

x-low Defines an extra low frequency (the value depend on the voice family)
low Defines a low frequency (the value depend on the voice family)

medium Default. Defines a medium frequency (the value depend on the voice family)

high Defines a high frequency (the value depend on the voice family)

x-high Defines an extra high frequency (the value depend on the voice family)

Vocal Pitch:
How high or low an individual's resting voice is. Bill Clinton has a relatively light voice; Meryl
Streep has a middle pitch, while Morgan Freeman has a very deep base voice. Every
speaker has a range of notes from which they can draw. Even a light voice can be powerful
if it resonates.

Many speakers automatically raise the pitch of their voice when

they confront a microphone or begin speaking in front of an audience. This habit is often
ingrained and may be caused by a combination of fear (stage fright) and the mistaken belief
that the voice must be raised when you speak to an audience. If you begin speaking at a
higher pitch, where are you going to go when you need to emphasise, or colour, your words
- further upward into falsetto? Modern microphones make it unnecessary to sound as if
you're conducting a Transatlantic conversation entirely without the aid of technology.

Other speakers drop their pitch and speak from the bottom end of
their range in the mistaken belief that they will deliver multiple 'eargasms' to their
audiences. Males are particular offenders in forcing the voice deeper into the throat and
chest. Some image advisers counsel their clients to drop their voice, but this is not the
answer to adding authority to the voice.

Contrary to some beliefs, faked deep voices do not necessarily advertise high sperm counts
and sexual prowess. If anything, they communicate sexual insecurity or gender
ambivalence. The key to finding your best voice is to make the pitch compatible with the
emotion being expressed and use tonal range to colour the words that need to be stressed

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