Changing your vocal register, the quality or range of the voice, is the simplest way to change your voice. This is the key to voice training to change your voice. To start doing it, you first need to be aware of it. Once aware, you can start experimenting with moving it up and down.
This is a subdivision of the How You Say It Pillar of public speaking. What we say can be divided into the words we use and how we vocalize those words. This section looks at the vocalization of the words.
While we change our register subconsciously in every day conversation, it can be a learned skill. Mastering this skill will enable you to add a dramatic range to your public speaking skills.
Voice training starts with understanding the various vibration patterns of the human voice.
Definition: a particular part or quality of the range of your voice. It is obtained from the voice coming from the upper, middle or lower registers. These registers or vibration patterns are attained when the voice comes from the chest, the throat or head.
There are differing views as to what register means. Here, we will only focus on the vocal registers as they pertain to public speaking.
Your vocal register comes from the ability to create different vibration patterns in the vocal cords. You may not be consciously aware of it but you probably are unaware of how you use your different registers. Not everyone can use all four.
The commonly recognized registers or vibratory forms include our natural voice (also called modal voice), vocal fry, falsetto, and whistle. Each register has a unique vocal cord vibratory pattern and produce their own pitch. Note that we sing, it is believed that there are up to seven different potential registers exist. We are only concerned with the ones we use as public speakers.
A simpler way of explaining and defining the registers within ourselves is to divide the voice into three registers.
Guys are divided into chest middle and falsetto. Women are divided into chest, middle and head. There is a fourth we will add, hyper-nasality.
Note While not universally accepted as a designation, it is considered that Men's voices are chest, head and falsetto.Women's voices are chest, middle and head.
In terms of speaking quality, one of the head resonances is hyprnasality. This is most often noted in deaf public speakers. Some people naturally have a nasal voice. It can be changed with practice and effort.While the terms for register are debated, using these terms can help you visually and mentally tap into your unique voice qualities.
The various registers can be felt as a resonance. This is how you will identify where they are coming from.
Within these resonances we can adjust our pitch. Some speakers are able to switch between registers freely and easily. It is a learned process.
Some speakers switch between registers unintentionally.
When excited, stressed or under pressure, some speakers voices go to a higher pitch. This switch may happen within the register or be a move from a lower register to a higher register.
Falsetto voices, can be annoying as are hyper nasality voices. We vote for politicians with lower voices. We associate depth of voice with power and authority. Successful women in business and politics often have lower voices.
As a simple exercise, say the word low. Extend the vocalization so that it becomes looooooooow.
Note where the resonance is coming from, your chest, throat or head.
As you move through the registers, you my note the pitch increasing. Try to readjust the pitch so that it is the same for each register.
If you have difficulty in identifying the register, put a fat plastic pen in your mouth between your teeth as you speak. While it may be harder to get to the higher registers, this will enable you to better identify and switch between the two lower ones.
Fry Vocal Register
This is the lowest register and corresponds with the chest register and is produced through a relaxed glottal closure and is a coarse, raspy low frequency sound. If controlled, it can provide a dramatic change in your voice. Women mastering it use it to increase their authority and power of position.
Modal Voice Register
Modal is the register where most speaking takes place. Pitch increases with an increase in the tension of the vocal cords. Better speakers can produce up to two octaves in the modal register.
On mastering the modal register, you will find a freedom in the use of your voice. You will eventually be able to use a dynamic variety of pitches within this register.
Think of the change in pitch as changing note by note or as a flow from low to high.
Do it Yourself NowIn your modal voice, start talking from a low pitch to a high pitch and back down to a low pitch. Most go very fast and there is little or no blending. Keep doing it but slow down and try to raise it as high as possible while maintaining the same register.
Falsetto Voice Register
Falsetto is an octave above the modal register. Falsetto is the highest voicing with a breathy quality. Men and women can voice in the falsetto register. There is a lack of dynamic range and quality.
Some men when stressed, anxious our excited my experience their voices uncontrollably going into falsetto. This happens subconsciously and unless someone points it out to them, they will not know they are in this voice.
Whistle Voice Register
This is the highest register of the human voice. The sound is so high, it sounds like a whistle. It works similar to the upper notes played on a flute.
Almost all women voices can use the whistle register. With training, most women can develop this part of their voice.
Men with tenor voices can develop this vocal quality as well.