17: Speech Melody: The Rise, Fall, and Letter Stress of a ‘Sing-Talker.’

What does it mean to be a Sing-Talker? Your voice and speech pattern are integral to your unique tune. The goal of the RealTalkingTips speech communication series is to help people improve everyday speech and the retention and absorption of information in business presentations, interviews, podcasting, and voiceovers.

Rhythm and melody alter when the articulator is voiced or de-voiced. Musicality of vowels change based on the shape, position, and movement of the mouth. Tempo, Speed, Movement, Emotion, Location, Attitude, and how the sentence is Balanced makes a difference in speech musicality, too.

What does it mean to be a Sing-Talker?
So far in Real Talking Tips we worked on Resonators, Vowel Strengthening, Articulation, and Enunciation voice improvement exercises using this podcast and the Elaine Clark voice and diction app, Activate Your Voice. We discussed how to ‘Land The Message’, talk at a faster or slower pace, and the importance of specific body positions and movements to add attitude and emotion to the voice. Then, we worked on storytelling, creating a 3-D World, giving Verbs action, and Nouns a location. We then discussed how to deemphasize the word ‘AND’ and draw focus to the key words on either side of it to balance the sentence.

Your Voice and Speech Pattern = Your Unique TUNE.

There’s so much that can be attributed to Sing-Talking and Adding Melody to Your Voice. That’s why I created the Elaine Clark speech app! But we’ll get into the Word Emphasis techniques in that app later in this podcast. For now, let’s tie the first 16 Real Talking Tips episodes together so you can use them in your business and everyday Speech Communication, Business, Interviews, Podcasting, and Voice-Over recordings.

Adding Melody to your Voice

Presenting: What it takes to be a Sing-Talker.

RTT 17 Bumper 1 Sing Talker

The speech, rhythm, and melody alter when the articulator is voiced or de-voiced. For example, if the following statement is spoken with the final ‘t’ in the word ‘that’ left off, it sounds like this: Tha’ is correct. If the final ‘t’ is gently tapped to complete the ‘t’, the tune changes to this: That… is correct. In the first example with the dropped ‘t’, the mouth movements and sounds are trapped in a straight, semi-closed, lateral mouth position. The second example with the final ‘t’ voiced, the rhythm of the ‘t’ created a tiny space after that letter to give the tongue time to rise to the top of the mouth to hit the ‘t’ and lower to a central mouth location to say the word ‘is’.

Each articulator has a specific mouth placement, pitch, and sound: Tah Dah (high then low), Kah Gah (front then back), Puh Buh (up then down). Say these articulators as you feel the changes and listen to the different sound placements: Tah – Dah, Kah – Gah, Puh – Buh.

Vowels Have Shape and Musicality, too!

When the mouth is opened wide to say ‘Wow’ it has a stronger melody than if the mouth position is smaller and barely moves when the word ‘wow’ is spoken. And when the mouth movement is minimized, the final ‘w’ naturally has less value and drops off. Since dropping the final consonant and slurring words is common, the majority of sighted people read lips to fill in the audio dropouts. Not surprisingly, when someone records and listens back to the recording without seeing the visuals, the person may find that their diction is not as clear as they thought!

And… that little word that we discussed in Episode 16 that we want to deemphasize, may get overly truncated and ‘swallowed’ so it sounds like ‘unk’ rather than ‘and’.

When someone suggests that you “roll the words around in your mouth,” it means to use the entire inside mouth cavity… not just one mouth placement location. You roll the words around in the mouth so they hit the appropriate front, back, up, down, and center locations.

OH… and don’t forget Tempo, Speed, Movement, Emotion, Location, and Attitude!

Those crucial voice and speech elements that were previously discussed can dramatically impact the Sing-Talker’s Musical Speech Pattern. Let’s delve deeper in the speaking tune, now.

Practice: It’s your turn to try these Sing-Talker tips.

Woman Pointing to Words "Sing Talker" on a virtual dance floor.

Let’s experiment with tune and musicality by reading the following two sentences spoken by an announcer at the beginning of most car races.

Ladies and gentlemen.  Start your engines. 

  1. If the vowels are elongated the ‘Tune’ looks like this:

LAdEEs And gEntlemEn.  StArt yOUr EngInes. 

  1. If the articulators are tapped, the focus of the tune changes to this:

LaDies anD genTlemen.  StarT your enGines. 

  1. If the resonators are buzzed, it shifts to this:

LadieZ aNd geNtlLmeN.  Start your eNgiNeZ. 

  1. A combination of letter emphasis styles looks and sounds could be this:

LadiEZ aND geNtlemEN.  StARt your ENgiNes. 

  1. Each Sing-Talk ‘tune’ is different based on the speaker’s voice quality and letter-sound focus. Regionalisms and accents occur when individual sounds drop out, and the speech pattern changes. Example:

Ladies an’ gen’lemen.  Star’ your engines. 

Episode 17 Homework Assignment.

Record your voice reading these 5 Sing-Talk variations at 3 different speeds: slow, medium and fast. Listen back to the recordings. Did you hear any accents or regionalisms in any of the 15 versions you recorded? Were any of the readings similar to a speech cadence of someone you know or have seen or heard in the entertainment, sports, news, commercial, or podcast industry?

Your ‘Sing-Talk’ style is your voice imprint. Become familiar with your voice and how to change, improve, or alter it to fit the situation or expected outcome. You may be changing your ‘Sing-Talk’ tune subconsciously. Being aware of how you change your voice in different situations and relationships gives you the awareness of how to utilize the best voice approach.

Elaine Clark VO Real Talking Tips 01

I encourage you to keep improving your speech communication by watching, listening, and reading Real Talking Tips. Please take a moment to share this Episode using the purple bar below. It would be great if you’d add a positive review or comment on my youtube channel as well!. As part of the Real Talking Tips community, let’s work together to improve speech communication!