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Shannon Mowat

Performing Arts

Developing Voice for the Actor Unit 17


An actors voice is very important and it is also important to know how the voice works in order to develop it further. The Spoken Word To develop and improve their voice many actors go through stages and methods of learning, one of which is called the Spoken Word which stems from three components of voice production. The three components are: Voiced sound: The basic sound produced by vocal fold vibration. This is frequently described as a buzzy sound. Voiced sound for singing sounds significantly different from speech. Resonance: Voice sound is amplified and modified by the vocal track resonators (Throat, mouth cavity and nasal passages). The resonators produce a persons recognisable voice. In fact if the resonators didn't affect the voice everyone would sound exactly the same. Articulation: The vocal track articulators (Tongue, soft palate and lips) modify the voiced sounds. The articulators produce recognisable words. The Process of Voice (Phonation) in 3 Steps 1. A column of air pressure is moved towards the vocal folds: Air is moved out of the lungs and towards the vocal folds by coordinated actions of the diaphragm, abdominal muscles, chest muscles and rib cage (respiration). 2. Vocal fold vibration Sequence of vibratory cycles: Vocal folds are moved to midlines by voice box muscles, nerves and cartilages. The vibration cycle occurs repeatedly. This is one of the cycles: A column of air pressure opens the bottom of the vocal folds. The column of air continues to move upwards, now towards the top of the vocal folds and opens the top. The low pressure created behind the fast-moving are column produces a Bernoulli Effect which causes bottom to close, followed by the top. Closure of the vocal folds cut off the air column and releases a pulse of air. A new cycle repeats.

Shannon Mowat

Performing Arts

3. Vocal track Resonators and articulators: The nose, pharynx, and mouth amplify and modify sound allowing it to take on the distinctive qualities of the voice. Pitch and Volume The pitch of a voice - how high or how low we speak - depends on the frequency of vocal fold vibration. How loud or how soft a voice is depends on the amputation of vocal fold vibration. If a voice is high pitched the frequency will increase, while if a voice is low in pitch the frequency decreases. If a voice in loud the amplitude increases, where as a soft voice will decrease in amplitude. Voice Mechanism 3 Subsystems Speaking and singing involve a voice mechanism that is composed of three subsystems. Each subsystem is composed of different parts of the body and has specific roles in voice productions. The three subsystems are: Subsystem Air pressure System Voice Organs Role is Sound Production Diaphragm: A sheet-like, domeProvides and regulates air pressure to shaped muscle that sits just under cause vocal folds to vibrate. the lungs and separates them from the stomach. When the diaphragm contracts, it leaves a vacuum of space in your chest cavity. Air rushes into the lungs to fill the void and restore equilibrium. When the diaphragm relaxes, it expands, pushing your lungs upward and forcing the air out. Chest Muscles (Intercostal Muscles): These are found between the ribs and contract and relax with your breathing, allowing your chest to move in and out. Ribs: Bones that protect the bodys most vital organs such as the heart, lungs, and such. Abdominal Muscles: During strenuous exercise it is much more difficult to breathe out, and your lungs need added support. When you exercise, your abdominal muscles step in to pick up the slack. They contract frequently, depressing the thorax and forcing air out of the abdomen. Lungs: Your lungs are your body's main source of oxygen. Air flows into your lungs through your nose and mouth in a process called

Shannon Mowat
inspiration, or inhalation, and flows out through a process called respiration, or exhalation. Your lungs are attached to blood vessels, which filter the oxygen from the air you breathe in and carry it to every part of your body. Voice box (Larynx): The key function of the voice box is to open and close the space between the two vocal folds. Its role in breathing is that it open glottis. While its role in the voice is to close glottis and adjust vocal fold tension and additional functions for singing. Vocal folds: Vocal folds are moved to midlines by voice box muscles, nerves and cartilages. The vibration cycle occurs repeatedly.

Performing Arts

Vibratory System

Vocal folds vibrate, changing air pressure to sound waves producing voiced sound frequently described as a buzzy sound. It varies in pitch of sound.

Resonating System

Vocal Tract: It consists of the Throat, mouth and nose and they all function to produce speech and breath. Throat (Pharynx): The passage to the stomach and lungs; in the front part of the neck below the chin and above the collarbone Mouth (Oral Cavity): The mouth is the first portion of the alimentary canal that receives food and saliva. The oral mucosa is the mucous membrane epithelium lining the inside of the mouth. Nose (Nasal Passages): The upper part of airways that lead from your nose and mouth to your lungs. The nasal passages are the airways inside your nose and face, and include your sinuses.

Changes the buzzy sound into a persons recognizable voice.

Shannon Mowat

Performing Arts

Articulation & Resonance Articulation is the ability to speak fluently and eloquently. Expressions using clear and distinct syllables composed of several distinct parts or segments arranges into a unified whole, made to be distinct and clearly marked. Resonance is intensification of the voice tones during articulation, as by the air cavities of the mouth and nasal passages. Practicing tongue twisters is a good way to improve articulation and resonance. Posture In order to ensure that our voices are being produced in the most efficient way, the first thing to consider is out posture. If we are to learn to speak effectively and confidently we first need to be sure the eliminate two of the voices most powerful enemies: bad posture and tension. For optimal breathing and voice production posture and stance should be positioned to limit sway and contraction of the torso muscles of the back and abdomen, with the primary responsibility for balance falling on the leg muscles. Basic Tips for a Healthy Voice Avoid smoking: The irritants in tobacco cause damage to the voice. While you smoke, you are prone to infection and your voice will be less reliable. Stay well hydrated: Caffeine, alcohol and some drugs prevent the body retaining water and in order to perform at their best vocal folds need a lot of water to stay healthy. Monitoring vocal use: Loud and harsh talking does more damage to your voice than gentle voice use, so avoid prolonged voice use in loud environments. So dont be shouting if you dont have to be!

Shannon Mowat Vocal Warm Up

Performing Arts

Always warm up: Your vocal folds are made of muscle. Just like any other muscle activity it is important that you do a careful warm up before extensive use. Here are some examples: Gentle humming, Yawn, Stretch, Sigh, Groan, Tongue and lip exercises, Body warm ups.