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How To Develop Your Speaking Voice

Oct 12, 2007
There are many simple exercises which can be undertaken by anyone willing to spend the time to develop a pleasing speaking voice. Below are exercises designed to increase the purity, flexibility and compass and brilliancy of the voice.


To secure purity of voice, no particle of breath must be allowed to escape unvocalized. A persistent effort should be made to produce this quality, at first "feeding" the breath very gently to the vocal cords and increasing the volume only after long practice. "He is the best speaker," says Lennox Browne, "who can control the expiration, that the least possible amount of air sufficient to cause vibration is poured with continuous effect upon the vocal organs."

Sing oo in gentle, smooth voice, avoiding unnecessary muscular effort.

Sing ah, with mouth well opened, aiming at purity, depth and smoothness. Sustain and repeat on various pitches.

Repeat with o.

Gradually change singing o to ah, maintaining a uniform quality throughout.

Repeat with oo-o-ah.

Practice various musical scales.

Pronounce e, a, aw, ah, 6, do, prolonging each ten or more seconds.

Repeat with rising, falling, and circumflex inflection.

Practice shock of the glottis in gup, ge, ga, gaw, gah, go, goo.

Repeat in hup, he, ha, haw, hah, ho, hoo.

Repeat with rising slide and with falling slide, aiming at great clearness.

Count very deliberately one to fifty, inhaling after each number.

Count to fifty, ten to each breath.
Repeat last two exercises in loud whisper.

Project by slight waves of sound woo-woo-woo-woo.

Toss the sounds e, a, aw, ah, oh, oo.

With mouth closed hum a mental maw. The vibration should be felt on the lips and in the facial resonators.

Repeat with bright and with sad vibrations.

Repeat in very low pitch.


Flexibility means vocal responsiveness, or the ability to produce any tone or variation that may be required.

Sing e, a, aw, ah, o, oo in chromatic scale, from the lowest to the highest pitch. The use of a piano in these exercises is desirable.

Repeat with trill.

Repeat with tremolo.

Repeat in speaking voice, with short, medium, long and very long rising inflection. Repeat in falling and circumflex inflection.

Repeat with gradually increasing force, and with gradually diminishing force.

Repeat with swell, one pitch at a time, then combined with change of inflection both rising and falling.

Commence the following upon a low pitch, reading each successive line in the next highest pitch:
O thou that roll'st above,
Round as the shield of my fathers!
Whence are thy beams, O sun!
Thy everlasting light?


To secure brilliancy or a musical quality of voice, practice daily upon exercises containing long vowel sounds.

1. Hear the mellow wedding bells Golden bells!

What a world of happiness their harmony foretells! Through the balmy air of night How they ring out their delight From the molten-golden notes,

And all in tune! Oh, from out the sounding cells, What a gush of euphony voluminously wells! How it swells! How it dwells On the future! how it tells Of the rapture that impels To the swinging and the ringing Of the bells, bells, bells, bells,

Bells, bells, bells To the rhyming and the chiming of the bells!

2. Inhale deeply, force the breath against the closed lips until they burst open on the word "bell," prolonging the "1" as long as possible and allowing the tone to gradually die away in imitation of bell vibrations. Repeat with variations.

3. Laughing exercises will add brilliancy and strength to the voice.

Practice m-m-m-m-m-m-hoo-hoo-hoo-hoo-hoo-hoo-ho-ho-ho-ho-ho-ho-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha. Aim to produce a hearty, spontaneous laugh. Practice with varied feeling, such as merry, rippling, polite, silly, angry, appreciative, sad, scornful, etc.

4. Practice the following with great freedom:

Hurrah! Hurrah!
Hurrah! Hurrah!
Hurrah! Hurrah!

Practiced regularly, you can be sure to greatly enhance the quality of your speaking voice, and it will be well worth the time and effort spent.
About the Author
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