Acting "Voice Inflections"

September 13, 2020

When it comes to acting a scene, there are so many factors. Yet the biggest thing is making sure that the student understands the importance of voice inflection. I mean, making sure that student knows what the scene is about and how to make their voice go up or down, based on the emotions of the scenes. Webster defines voice inflection as: a rise or fall in the sound of a person's voice : a change in the pitch or tone of a person's voice.

 

This Fall season our students are working on how to make their voices ascend or descend based on their lines and the scenes. We're focusing on some lines from The Nightmare Before Christmas, as favorite of many of our students. The story line is creative as Jack Skellington decides to take over Christmas, instead of focusing on what he's good at, being the Pumpkin King. The characteristics of Jack very dramatic. He has highs, lows and mundane moments (as we experience), yet his voice changes based on the scenes. During the song Jack's Lament, he sings in despair over his recent realization that he will always be the Pumpkin King and how unsatisfied he is over his calling. (We can act like this also). Yet when he sings What's This, he sings with such curiosity and wonder as he enters Christmas Town. He is elated with joy of the new sites and sounds he's experiencing. So of course his voice is higher. He's sharing his "kid at a candy store" ideals.

 

Those seem obvious in the musical scores, yet what about the speaking parts? How is voice inflection suppose to happen? What type of warm ups could a person use to help with this? The techniques I'll share are implemented in singing. I always start students doing lip trills or those who can roll their tongue. Lip trills are great to warm up the voice from higher to lower or other ways, which sound like horse. Start by soundings like a horse getting the lips ready to sing. If you need examples look for YouTubes of those doing lip trills.  Also another exercise are sirens, making an ah sound with an open mouth going up and down with their voices. These two exercises are beneficial to expand a students range with higher and lower sounds that are more fluent than ever.

 

Other ways are having students say silly phrases in falsetto (higher range for men) and head voice for women or in their chest voice. Perhaps you might say really high or lower: "Hey you!"  Last school year I worked at a Middle School as an accompanist and the teacher would make this statement: (insert teachers name) "Get away from my car." in a high and low voice to help students understand that they can reach sounds they didn't think possible reach. These types of exercises will help students read their lines better, when it comes to emotions that are happening in the scene. If the person has to be hyper, panics, elated they will use higher tones or if they are feeling self confidence, confused, they are more likely to use lower tones. A line must be said with emotions and voice inflection, for the audience to relate to.

 

Hope these techniques give you a better idea of how to read lines better in a scene. Know what the scene is about and then reflect on how you would handle the situation in reality. After inner reflecting, share the lines based on that the scene is about. What are some of your favorite techniques that will help with voice inflections? Would enjoy hearing what you use.

 

Thanks for your support. Blessings. 

 

 

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