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It was really nice working with you on the sound of your voice. Hopefully you are a bit more aware of what you can do by changing your lips, larynx or vocal tract. You can find the recap of the lesson below. Enjoy!

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1) Every person has his or her own voice, with its own characteristics. That's because of the way we are built. The size of our vocal tract, nasal cavity, mouth, tongue, lips, velum, etcetera determine how we sound. But we are able to manipulate this by changing the spaces above our vocal folds.

2) The sound of your voice (or colour) can vary from dark and warm to light and bright. Other characteristics could be: sharp, breathy, soft, nasal, and every other word you could find to describe what you hear.


Christopher Lee

Kristen Schaal

Michael Jackson

3) Before you can change  your voice you need to be able to recognise the different aspects of it. You can analyse this by paying close attention to things like general pitch, volume, intonation, clearness, onset, articulation,  colour and rhythm. As an exercise you could focus on these things while listening to people talking in podcasts, interviews, series and compare their voices.

4) How is the sound created? It's a natural automated process. You don't have to think about it, but this is how it works:

You breathe in, your vocal folds close and air pressure in your lungs builds up. Your vocal folds open just a little bit to release the pressure and some air comes through. By releasing the air your vocal folds start to move and vibrate. This vibration creates sound waves - the source of your voice. Up until this point you've only created sound waves, but you need a soundbox for the waves to resonate and make it recognisable as your voice. Your vocal tract serves as a soundbox and amplifies and manipulates the source into your unique voice. 

5) If you want to change the colour of your voice there are several ways to do this. In this case we look at four methods:

a) Position of the lips
The rounder your lips are (like you're going to kiss somebody), the darker the sound of your voice will be. The broader your lips are (like when you're smiling with your teeth bare), the lighter the colour will be. 

b) Amount of nasality
You can redirect the sound waves from the source in 3 ways: only through the mouth with your nasal cavity closed (with vowels like in 'wait' or 'know'), only through the nose with your velum and tongue touching (with consonants like 'ng', 'm' or 'n'), or a combination of both, in which case you get a bit of a sharper sound. Some people might describe it as listening to someone who has a cold.


c) Twang
By contracting the muscles right above your vocal folds and closing the epiglottis a little bit you can create a very sharp sound that we perceive as very loud. 

d) Position of the larynx
If you move your larynx down (yawning position) you create a lot of space in your vocal tract that results in a darker and warmer sound. With your larynx high up (swallowing position) you reduce the space and your voice will sound small and almost like a little girl. 

Of course it's important to keep in mind that these exercises and examples are very extreme in comparison to what you would normally use, but training this in the extreme form makes you aware of the possibilities and lets you decide how much of the chosen sound you're going to use yourself. If you have any questions, feel free to email me on