Do you remember the first time you heard your recorded voice? Remember the sheer horror that befell you and the inevitable question to follow: “Do I really sound like that?” Not to worry. Everyone has the same experience and the answer is found in the vibration of sound.
Hearing sound is an incredible process that takes place in the ear. When sound is created, vibrations travel through the air and hit your eardrum. The eardrum then sends the vibrations through three tiny bones called the Malleus, Incus and Stapes bones, commonly referred to as the Hammer, Anvil and Stirrup. These bones transmit the vibrations to the cochlea, a bone shaped like a snail shell. The cochlea contains fluid which carries the vibration along small hairs in the cochlea called cilia. The cilia then transfer the vibration to nerve endings which take the message to the brain. The brain interprets the vibration and voilà…we hear sound! If you’re not already snoring, keep in mind that this whole process takes place in less than a second. Amazing!!!
Why Does My Speaking Voice Sound So Different?
Sound can travel through any open air space. When your vocal chords vibrate inside your neck, the sound vibration travels up the space in your throat. Before it arrives at the eardrum, it passes a portion of bone from the skull. This area is located between the jaw joint and opening of the ear. When the vibration travels through the bone, the sound gets distorted and we hear a lower pitch. This is why our voice rings on a higher pitch when we hear a recording. It is pure sound traveling through air with no distortion.
Keep in mind that this is not the only sound we hear. This “bone conduction” process is also being mixed with the sound escaping our mouth and nose. These sound waves leave the body, hit objects around us and ricochet back to our ears, resulting in a pure tone. The final result is a mix between the “bone conduction” sound and pure air vibration sound. What we hear isn’t even close to the natural sound.
How Does This Affect My Voice Training?
Trying to create a great sounding voice in your head can lead to many vocal problems. Many of my students come to me with a “created” sound. What they perceive to be a pop sound in their head is actually a very thin sound. Creating this sound can also engage improper muscles which can lead to fatigue or permanent. The best way to make sure that you’re singing properly is to follow the rules for good vocal training. You can also record yourself and make slight changes until you’re happy with the recorded voice. At first, you won’t like the sound that is produced. Slowly, after conditioning the right muscles, your voice will start to sound more contemporary and will have more strength. Have faith and jump right in!!!
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