During today’s session, my speech therapist had me experiment with using a character voice as a way of getting out of my usual speech patterns.
I broke out the “Southern belle” voice that I’d developed for m y stage persona — and I do declare that my voice improved dramatically!
The slower pace of a Southern accent helped me avoid pitch drops that occur when I’m speaking faster. It improved the legato between syllables and words (which women typically use more of). Most surprisingly, I was able to raise my pitch almost an octave without straining — taking my voice from the top end of the typical male pitch range, solidly into the typical female pitch range.
(I’ve been frustrated in recent months because my pitch had dropped back down as I was focusing on the other vocal characteristics that typically differentiate women’s voices from men’s. Pitch and resonance are the big ones, and the only ones that are physiological, but there’s half a dozen others, most notably, huge differences in inflection.)
My homework is to practice switching into my Southern belle voice and dialing it back into my normal California-accent voice, while retaining the vocal improvements.
So if y’all hear me slipping into a drawl, now you’ll know why.