Saturday, 18 December 2010

Learning to Speak

Last Thursday I had an appointment with a speech therapist for a voice assessment. To say it was fun doesn't do it justice.

Initially the therapist went through the usual form taking a case history. She asked all the usual personal and health questions. Eventually with all of the paperwork out of the way we go down to some actual tests.

Each of the tests is designed to determine the frequencies that your voice operates at and from there to work out how far up in frequency the voice needs to be shifted in order to be more feminine.

The first test was simply counting from 1 to 10 and gave one range of frequencies.
The second test was reading an extract from a magazine. Again this gave a second range of frequencies.
The final test was to simply talk about what I would be doing over the weekend. One last set of frequencies.

I work with computers so a lot of this was actually good fun and very geeky. For each test I had to simply speak while wearing a head-mic and a wonderful piece of hardware and computer software recorded what I was saying working out the frequency ranges and even told me what musical range I was hitting.

With the results in the therapist showed me the frequency I would be aiming for, 185Hz for the record. The top end of my speaking range was 150Hz so I just have to shift the top end of my speaking range up a bit which the therapist thinks will be easy enough to do.

As I'm not currently formally full time she didn't want to start regular sessions with me. The reason being that I would have to switch back to my male voice for every day use and so my new found female voice would end up being a bolt-on. Both the therapist and I agreed that we didn't want my voice to be a bolt-on but to replace my normal voice.

When I'm ready to go full time I can refer myself back to her and we can start sessions properly. In the meantime I simply need to practise humming and getting used to hitting that magical frequency of 185Hz.

To help me do that I've downloaded some software. A tone generator and a sound editor to check the frequencies I'm hitting.

I know that someone out in blog land was using something like computer oscilloscope software application to help with improving their voice. I've just got to find who it was! If anyone knows and can help save me searching through lots of blog posts in order to find who it was then pllllllllllllleeeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaaaaaasssseeee leave a comment letting me know who it was.

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