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Vocal Characterisation

A workshop for developing character voices and improving vocal work in Drama

Lindsey McAndrews

on 12 July 2016

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Transcript of Vocal Characterisation

Vocal Characterization
A workshop on Developing character voices
To be able to understand the individual
elements of effective vocal characterization.

To be able to apply these to the characters
to a duologue in a pair.
Learning Objectives:
In pairs, quickly discuss how you think we can change our voices to create a

Think about the way you use your
Is there a 'Generic' character voice
that you use each time you perform?
The pitch of your voice is how
High or how Low your voice is.

In a space practice the vocal scale from
low to high. Where does your voice feel
most comfortable?


What kind of character would have a
Low/Deep voice? Who would have a
higher pitch vocal range?
The tone of your voice shows the
emotion or personality of your

Changing the tone of your voice can
help you to show what kind of person
your character is, or what mood they
are in during a particular scene.
In pairs, you are going to have a conversation, playing with the TONE of your voice.
You are a couple on a blind date.

A- You are feeling paranoid
B- You are feeling flirty.

A- You are an aggressive person
B- You are a relaxed, laid-back person.

A- You are excited about something
B- Your beloved pet just died.

How did your voice change to match these personalities/moods?
Formal Register is
when you speak
with RP (received

What kind of character
speaks with a Formal Register?
Informal Register is when you speak in a relaxed form.
Informal register can include slang & colloquial terminology
In a different pair,
you are going to create a conversation between two characters:
One is using Formal Register, the other is using Informal Register.
Some examples:
A- The Queen
B- A famous Rap star

A- A Police Officer
B- A criminal
Accent is one of the hardest vocal techniques to master, but can very effective in creating a vocal character which is different to your own.

What accents can you already do?
Demonstrate them.

How can you improve your own accent skills?
In pairs, write a short duologue between your 2 characters.
Try and change AT LEAST one element in your vocal characterization to create a voice which is different to your own.
Change either your Pitch, Pace, Tone, Accent, Register
or one of the additional elements (lisp, volume, speed etc)
Match the voice to the character.
Do these characters have the same voice?
What else can we change?
Add a speech impediment (lisp, stammer, inability to pronounce R's)
See these & Evaluate
An effective scene will have both performers changing their voices to suit the character that they are playing.
They should include at least ONE vocal element change.
The more vocal elements that can be included to change the voice, the more effective & more advanced the vocal characterization is.

ALL performers should be able to change one element in their vocal characterization.
MOST performers should be able to change their voice to suit the character that they are playing.
SOME performers should be able to use two or more vocal elements in their scene.
Think of a Character.
Decide if they are:


Practice introducing your character first with a HIGH pitched voice, and then a LOW pitched voice.
Which voice suits your character best?
Now, with the same character, change the pace in which they speak.
Start SLOW, then SPEED UP. Which Pace suits your character more?
Find a Partner & Introduce yourself.
What voices might they have & why?
Vocal Warm Up

Long words
Tongue Twisters
Moving your Mouth to say all the letters
Chew the language!
Stand in a Circle!
Full transcript