I sound like Taylor Swift to myself, but like a crying whale on recording. So, really, how do I sound?
We’ve all got the same apparatus for making sound, i.e. the vocal cords, and yet, every single one of us sounds different from the other. Voices are unique to the point of being classified into various vocal types. Some of us go on to become singers and use our beautiful voices professionally, while the rest of us content ourselves with our own personal shower-concerts. No matter what, we try to get a grasp on what we actually sound like, right? However, it’s not that simple. Our own voice falling on our ears and on those of others sounds more different than you can imagine.
Why do we hear our own voice differently?
Why do you sound immaculate when singing in the bathroom but the same song recorded in your voice makes you embarrassed?
To understand this, we need ro understand how sound travels and how hearing it works When we hear our own voice, we not only hear the sound produced by our mouth, but also the vibrations that travel through our head from our vocal cords. The bones in our skull tend to enhance the lower-frequency vibrations, which is why you think you have a deep and husky voice when you really don’t. On the other hand, when hearing our voice from an external source like a recording, the sound waves travel through air and reach our ears, unaccompanied by vibrations, making the voice sound sharp. This change from bone conduction to air conduction makes all the difference!
Chris Beatty’s life hack to answer what you sound like
With so many of us constantly asking “what do I sound like?” or “how do I should?”, Chris Beatty has finally come up with a solution to find our voices
Chris Beatty is an accomplished singer and songwriter, and the co-founder of The Vocal Coach with his wife Carole Beatty. They coach and develop the voices of singers across all categories, with Beatty’s highly trained and experienced ear and a deep knowledge of the vocal instrument. With their help, you can find your vocal range.
Now while you can always pick up your phone and record a snippet of your voice to check what it sounds like, technology can’t always replicate the intricacies that make up our voice, so you may not get the right idea unless you use a very high quality recorder and headphones. But there’s an easier, more natural way to do it. All you need are two file folders, or alternatively, a couple of magazines or pieces of paper. Place them in front of your ears so they are sticking out from the side of your head (like flappy elephant ears). This makes your voice go out in front of you instead of coming to the sides with a preview. What you hear now will be affected by temperature, humidity, the number of people in the room, etc.- the variables that affect the sound that others also hear.
A little tip- If you’re too lazy to get up and get the file folders, you can also similarly hold the sides of your hands by your ears, and the output should be roughly the same!
You can count from 1-5 and keep speaking as you remove the folders and replace them by your ears to track just how drastically your voice changes. Your initial reaction may be, “Eww! THAT’S what I sound like?”, but don’t be so hard on yourself. Other people don’t find it so weird because they are used to hearing this version of your voice, and once you become accustomed to it, you might start liking it too!
Now that you know what you sound like, try it with your friends, too!
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