Voice and Diction
To develop a more effective speaking
voice through relaxation, proper breathing,
and good posture
 To learn habits of good diction in order to
develop distinctive, effective voices
 To use voice quality, pitch, volume, pause,
and rate effectively in interpreting
character, mood, and meaning.
Basics and expectations of
Effective communication of intended
 Delivery style that creates a connection
with the intended target audience
 Effective and/or pleasing vocal qualities
Basics and expectations of
Delivery style that matches the content
and message intent
 Attention-getting style of voice and/or
 Accomplishes goal(s) of talent and/or
client and/or supervisor
 Communicator personality,
 and ..... ?
Voice and delivery basics
Accent vs. dialect
 Correct pronunciation (phonetics?
compare foreign language issues)
 Projection, rate, resonance, articulation,
vocal variety, inflection and emphasis,
tone / timbre / pitch, nasality, hoarseness,
breathing through your diaphragm,
optimum pitch
Voice and delivery basics
Singing comparison -- can everyone sing?
Can anyone be talent?
The technology: Correct use of
microphones, addressing the camera in
video productions.
Focus Activity
Who’s on first?
Proper sounds are made through vowel
sounds and vowel sounds are made
through a relaxed and open throat, jaw
and lips.
tense or tight throat will cause hoarseness
when you try to project your voice in practice
or performance.
Warm Ups
Breath Control
What is the difference between regular breathing
and breathing for speech?
 Regular
 The
inhalation and exhalation periods are of equal
 Breathing
for speech
 Requires
a very brief inhalation period and a slow,
controlled exhalation period.
 In breathing for speech, you should inhale through the
mouth since this allows for more rapid intake of breath
than through the nose.
Controlled breathing is more important to a
performer than deep breathing.
Breathe from diaphragm?
What does that mean?
Means that the chest cavity stays relatively
still, while the lower ribs rise and fall
Requires less chest breathing
Allows you to breathe more deeply
Provides the control you need to project long
passages without running out of breath.
Practice this daily t be a good performer!
Four characteristics of the Voice
Must be used for effective voice:
Individual sound of your voice
You CAN learn to make the most of what you’ve got by
keeping your throat open and controlling your breath.
If your voice sounds harsh or raspy, it usually is the result of a
closed throat.
If your voice sounds breathy, you are probably using more
breath than you need.
Voice quality may also be affected by emotion
Depends on the shape and size of your vocal mechanism, which
you will not be able to change
Tone is the vocal element you use to create different emotional
colors when you speak or sing.
Tone Exercises
Relative highness or lowness of the voice at any given
Pitch is determined by the rapidity with which the vocal
folds vibrate
Most persons use only four or five notes in ordinary speaking, but a
good speaker can use two octaves or more
Pitch gives meaning to speech.
Excited, interested, enthusiastic = higher pitch on important words to
emphasize them and lower pitch on unimportant words to subordinate
Conflict increases, excitement stirs, comedy builds = higher pitch
Variety in pitch is called INFLECTION
Without variety in pitch, speakers are unable to hold the attention
of their audiences.
Overcome this by practice and conscious attention
As a performer, you must learn to control the number, length, and
direction of your pitch changes.
Observe others – notice what different emotions do to the pitch of their
The relative strength, force, or intensity with
which sound is made
NOT loudness!
Depends upon the pressure with which the air from
the lungs strikes the vocal folds.
Explosive and Expulsive
What is the difference?
Explosive – sudden sharp breath pressure –
commands, shouts, loud laughter, screams
Expulsive – pressure held steady, breath released
gradually – used for reading long passages without
loss of breath and in building to a dramatic climax
Volume is used in combination with other voice
characteristics to express various feelings
Pause and Rate
Use the punctuation in your speech for help
in determining pauses.
Logical and dramatic pauses demand thought
and feeling on your part or you will not have
your audience thinking and feeling with you.
The speed at which words are spoken is
called RATE
Steadily increasing speed creates a feeling of
tension and excitement
Slow, deliberate delivery impresses the hearer
with their significance.
Diction refers to the selection and pronunciation
of words
Proper breathing technique, great tone, and
perfect pitch will make no difference at all if you
have poor diction
Poor articulation is generally the result of
carelessness and sluggish speech
 In
performance, every word counts, unlike in everyday
 If your speech is to be an asset in your daily usage,
you must use clear, correct, pleasing speech that
carries well.
Practice reading aloud daily
Record and analyze your speech and the speech of others
Vowel Sounds
Spelling is not reliable for pronunciation
Letter A
IPA (International Phonetic Alphabet)
Created to represent the sounds found in all
Helpful when working with dialects
Confusing Vowel Sounds
Each word should sound different!!!
Consonant Sounds
Voiceless consonant – no vibration
 Voiced consonant – vibration
 Plosive, Fricative, Nasal
– air is stopped and suddenly
 Fricative – air passage is narrowed
 Nasal – mouth is completely closed; air
through nose
 Plosive
Avoid these common habits of
sloppy speech:
“Didn’t you?”, “Wouldn’t you?” and “Did you?”
should be separated to avoid saying “Didncha?”,
“Wouldnja?”, and “Didja?”
 Mumbling,
muttering, or dropping words at the end of
sentences and letters at the end of words
 Using the vocal apparatus, especially the tongue, in a
lazy manner, resulting from indistinctness
 Being too meticulous, artificial, or theatrical
Voice and Diction in Performance
 It
is an performer’s responsibility to avoid spoiling
lines by blurring pronunciation, muffling enunciation or
speaking with a nervous rhythm
Five Principles to Guide You:
Vowels are the sounds performers can work with in
interpretation. Vowels can be lengthened, shortened,
and inflected.
Verbs are the strongest words in the language. Except
for forms of be, verbs should be stressed.
Look for “color words” in your copy – those that are
vividly descriptive. Look especially for those words
whose sounds suggest their meaning (onomatopoeias)
such as crash, stab, grunt, splash.
Rarely stress negative, pronouns, and articles.
When a word or phrase is repeated, stress each
repetition more than the preceding repetition.
Tongue Twisters
Rubber baby buggy bumpers
To make the bitter batter better, Betty bought better
butter, beating the better butter into the batter to make
the batter better.
The dedicated doctor diagnosed the dreaded disease as
December dithers.
Fickle fortune framed a fine finale for a fancy finish.
Could a creeping cat keep crafty claws clear of kitchen
Many mortals miss mighty moments more from meager
minds than major mistakes.
Some people say I lisp when I say soup, soft soap, or
something similar, but I don’t perceive it myself.
Round and round the ragged rock the rugged rascal ran.
Which is the witch that wished the wicked wishes?

Chapter 3