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What Makes You Sound Like You?

Janice and her glorious twanger

What makes you sound like you? Is the sound of your voice a thing that can change or is it set in stone?

Can we all learn to speak like Janice in Friends? I find it really easy to do an impression of Janice but I find it much harder to do certain other characters. Why is that?

This blog follows the recent blog –
What is Resonance

But really, what does make you sound like you?

Some elements of your resonance, (aka the way you sound), are to do with the shape or size of your mouth, the size of your larynx, (voice box/ Adam’s apple), or even the shape of your head. 

Other elements are things that we can play with and that you can train and change. 

I also think that there are psychosocial/ cultural elements to what the noises that we are happy making the way that we are happy to sound. I.e. I grew up doing singing at home, and when we visited wider family for Jewish meals and festivals there was loud, twangy singing. I grew up hearing the sound of Janice from Friends so it’s not hard for me to find it when I’m playing around.

This applies to singing as well as spoken voice.  

I was going to change the following example as I’m not a fan but she really is one of the most famous examples of someone who had voice training.

Think of the changes in Margaret Thatcher’s  voice after her speech training.  In this video you can hear that her voice sounds deeper, richer and therefore, to our ears, more authoritative. 

When your voice changes – deliberately or by accident.

Personally I have noticed how my voice changes in response to the way that I use it.  Running choirs for over a decade has left me with a very loud singing voice and my upper register, which used to sound very classical now instinctively goes towards a poppy sound as that is what I have spent years and years teaching. 

We really can reprogram our voices in the same way that we can reprogram our bodies in training.  There are things we change, qualities we can enhance.  There are, of course, things that we can change we and have to understand our own limits. 

Lockdown and the voice changes it may have lead to

Have you noticed any changes in your voice, the feel or sound of it, as a result of how you’ve used it during the Covid-19 time? 

Have you been speaking louder due to having more phone and online calls?  I know that my husband is speaking louder in these calls than he did pre-lock down. Or, have you gone days without speaking to anyone and your voice feels weaker? 

Have you noticed changes in your voice from any other reasons? from training?


Follow Up Blogs

Next blog will explore how to play with your voice safely. I look forward to hearing your thoughts.

Get in touch if this provokes any thoughts in you or you have any questions about this.

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1 Comment

  1. Pingback:What is Resonance? - Rebecca Schwarz Singing Lessons

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