This Is A Voice

What's your pitch pattern? Exercises from This Is A Voice & our Warmup App

November 14, 2022 Jeremy Fisher and Dr Gillyanne Kayes Season 6 Episode 11
This Is A Voice
What's your pitch pattern? Exercises from This Is A Voice & our Warmup App
Show Notes Transcript

No? Yes!
What makes a voice more interesting to listen to? Tone? Volume?

Pitch patterns help your listeners understand your emotions and meaning. In this episode, expert vocal trainers Dr Gillyanne Kayes and Jeremy Fisher riff on pitch patterns and meaning in speaking voice.

Exercise 26 on page 84 of our This Is A Voice book is a brilliant vocal technique exercise for improving your speaking (and singing). We go step by step through the instructions and demonstrate how the exercise works in both male and female voice.

Jeremy demonstrates monotonous voice, a very boring version of the test sentences. And both Gillyanne and Jeremy speak with extreme pitch changes, giving a totally different meaning to the same words.

And we walk you through a pitching exercise in our One Minute Voice Warmup app too.

It's a cracking episode, one of our best so far.

If you want to discover how to increase your speaking range, improve your voice use and get your listeners more interested in what you're saying, tune in to this episode!

Get the This Is A Voice book here https://amzn.to/3A9steN

Get the One Minute Voice Warmup app here, it's got a 4.9star rating
Appstore https://apps.apple.com/gb/app/one-minute-voice-warmup/id1212802251
Google Play https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=co.speechtools.warmup&hl=en_GB&pli=1

Sam and Garry at Speechtools are here https://speechtools.co/

Anne Leatherland of Vocal Intuition is here https://anneleatherland.co.uk/

Susie Millen of MyVocalFitness is here https://www.myvocalfitness.com/

We've also got this! ↓
The 5 Days to Better Singing Teaching course online, with voice coaching techniques, vocal articulation exercises and a LOT more for the up-to-date singing teacher is here https://vocal-process-hub.teachable.com/p/5-days-to-better-singing-teaching

For the best self-guided learning check out the Vocal Process Learning Lounge - 16 years of vocal coaching resources (over 600 videos) for less than the price of one private singing lesson. Click and scroll down the page for the free previews
https://vocal-process-hub.teachable.com/p/the-vocal-technique-learning-lounge

For real 1-1 attention on your own voice, book a voice coaching session in the singing studio with Jeremy or Gillyanne
https://drgillyannekayesjeremyfisherinspirationsession.as.me/schedule.php

If you want to discover if our singing teacher training programme works for YOU, message us - we can share the process for joining Cohort23.

Sign up for the Vocal Process newsletter https://vocalprocess.co.uk/build-your-own-tilting-larynx/


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https://www.rayvox.co.uk/products/voice-journal

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Gillyanne:

No.

Jeremy:

Yes.

Gillyanne:

No.

Jeremy:

Yes.

Gillyanne:

No.

Jeremy:

Yes. What are we talking about? This is a voice. A podcast with Dr Gillyanne Kayes and Jeremy Fisher. Hello and welcome to This Is A Voice, Season 6, episode 11.

Gillyanne:

The podcast where we get Vocal about voice.

Jeremy:

I'm Jeremy Fisher.

Gillyanne:

And I'm Dr Gillyanne Kayes.

Jeremy:

What are we talking about? Okay, this is What's Your Pitch Pattern? And this is one of the exercises from This is a voice book number 26, page 84.

Gillyanne:

The goal really is to discover the melody in your voice, isn't it?

Jeremy:

It is, yeah. What melodies do you use? How wide are they? What's your pitch range? Where does your voice sit? There's all sorts of things that you can discover

Gillyanne:

from this. And it's super important in spoken voice and not just in singing voice, to have this awareness of different notes in your voice because it helps you with your Vocal loading.

Jeremy:

Yes.

Gillyanne:

And it also helps you with interest.

Jeremy:

Yes.

Gillyanne:

And by Vocal loading, I mean, suppose you are in a situation where you need to make quite a lot of sound. You're working with five and six year olds, and that what you do is you start speaking at the same pitch all the time and at the same loudness. By the end of that morning, you're gonna be vocally tired.

Jeremy:

Yes. Interestingly, I just gave a coaching session to somebody who was doing exactly that. Um, and what we explored was pitch range, but we'll go into that a little later. Hmm. Okay. We're gonna, we're gonna actually take you through, uh, exercise 26 on page 84 of This Is A Voice. What's your pitch pattern? And I'm gonna read a few things and then Gillyanne's gonna do them, and we're gonna sort of go backwards and forwards.

Gillyanne:

Oh, am I? Okay.

Jeremy:

Yes. Uh, anything you say has a pitch pattern, rather like a group of notes in music that you speak on for each phrase. If you use the same pattern repeatedly, it'll sound monotonous. In these two exercises you are going to explore using different pitch patterns known as intonation. These will change the stress of the syllables and can give different meanings to the same phrase.

Gillyanne:

It's the meanings that are so important, isn't it? Yes.

Jeremy:

Uh, so step one, use a sentence that you might say during your daily routine.

Gillyanne:

I'd like a cup of tea with milk and one sugar.

Jeremy:

I've got to run to catch the train.

Gillyanne:

I need you to feed the dog. I forgot to do it this morning.

Jeremy:

Two, say the sentence as you normally would. Then repeat it with your lips held closed. What will come out is the series of mm sounds that follow the pitch pattern you just used. The mm sound not only allows you to focus on the pitch pattern rather than the words, it also helps you to listen internally to your own sound. So take the first sentence.

Gillyanne:

So can I just clarify so I'm mentally reading and saying the words, but I'm doing an Mm,

Jeremy:

No, you're not mentally well. You, you sort of are. Mm. Um, tell you what to do. Read the sentence as you would normally say it. Yeah. And then repeat it just using Mm.

Gillyanne:

Okay. I'd like a cup of tea with milk and one sugar. Hmm. Hmm. Mm-hmm. Hm.

Jeremy:

I've got to run. Catch the train. Hmm.

Gillyanne:

Well this is a challenge. I need you to feed the dog. I forgot to do it this morning. Mm-hmm. Hm mm-hmm.

Jeremy:

Three. Repeat. Repeat the lips, closed version, and then exaggerate it by making the higher note. The high notes higher and the low notes lower.

Gillyanne:

Do you want me to go straight into the closed lip version or, Yeah. Yeah. Mm-hmm. . Hmm mm-hmm. Hmm, hmm.

Jeremy:

Anybody listening to this who just joined us, we'll just think we are completely insane. Um, okay, number four, now open your lips and repeat. Speak the sentence again with the words using the more exaggerated pitch patterns. Oh my Lord. So whatever pitch pattern you just did, speak it with those notes.

Gillyanne:

This is a, a, a brain F as well, isn't it? I've gotta try and remember what I did. Yeah. Okay. Fingers crossed.

Jeremy:

Well, do you wanna do, do the exaggerated mm again, and then speak it straight away?

Gillyanne:

Okay. So I can map it?

Jeremy:

Yeah.

Gillyanne:

Hmm. ? Mm-hmm. . Hmm. Hm Hmm. I'd like a cup of tea with milk and one

Jeremy:

sugar. Bless you. Right. . I've got to run to catch the train. Mm-hmm.

Gillyanne:

I need you to feed the dog. I forgot to do it this morning.

Jeremy:

I love that.

Gillyanne:

Oh, that's such a different meaning, isn't it?

Jeremy:

Yeah, it is. Yeah. But yeah, Also, what's interesting, if you're watching this on YouTube, I'm an md, you will watch me conduct myself on where the notes are. I am doing the whole riff finger thing.

Gillyanne:

I just want to go back to the thing about meaning and how we, we often, I mean, I think

Jeremy:

I like a riff finger.

Gillyanne:

I think it depends. Very, Yes. I like a riff finger too. Um. I think it depends very much on what kind of, you know, language culture you come from. Yes. But certainly, um, in, you know, general British with me doing, I need you to feed the dog. It's like really, um, quite histrionic. It's like maybe it's the third time I've said it this morning.

Jeremy:

Yes. And then, and I'm not listening, clearly.

Gillyanne:

I felt that there was a bit of guilt. I forgot to do it this morning. Um, and I, it just makes me think about how we assign meaning to pitch.

Jeremy:

Well, I think it's really interesting if we just take the second sentence and I'm, I'm gonna just basically use the same pitch shape, the same pitch pattern, but exaggerate it. So if I say it three times, I've gotta run to catch the train. I've gotta run to catch the train. I've gotta run to catch the train. I get more and more anxious, or more and more irritated, and I'm actually using pretty much the same pattern. I'm just exaggerating the shape of it. Mmm. Okay. And back to the book, The intonation,

Gillyanne:

We were so geeking out there.

Jeremy:

Absolutely. The intonation will indicate your emotional state or the intention behind the words. You may find that your pitch pattern differs with context. For example, conversational speech, reading aloud or work presentations. So we're going on to the second half of this exercise. This is one exercise

Gillyanne:

still. Can I just say context is really important.

Jeremy:

Context is everything. Yeah. You'll hear me say that a lot.

Gillyanne:

Um, so for example, if you are, um, you coach people, don't you sort of do presentations for work?

Jeremy:

Yes. Yes.

Gillyanne:

You need a degree of interest, but you also need that sense of solidity and reliability

Jeremy:

Yes.

Gillyanne:

So that people can feel that, um, you are on top of your information and they can trust you.

Jeremy:

Yes.

Gillyanne:

If you sound too excitable, depending on your audience, then they might think what are they trying to sell me? What are they not completely convinced about?

Jeremy:

I, I don't know that I would fully agree with that. I think if you're working to a basic UK audience, then yes, if you get too, if your pitch range gets too extreme, then people start to feel a bit suspicious. If you're working to an audience that is absolutely used to that level of hype, you have to do that pitch range in order to even have credibility. Yeah. And again, we are in context.

Gillyanne:

And I know I'm just sort of, um, you know, sidetracking a little bit as well, but I want to say you've done work with, uh, financial people Yep. And with bankers. Yep. Um, as well as people who are having to sort of present, um, you know, talking about the environment and so on. Yep. As well as a preacher.

Jeremy:

Yes. And it was very interesting because I ended up using slightly different pitch patterns because, because of their job, because of the role that they were carrying. Uh, even within specific meetings. I recently did a presentation for, uh, I coached somebody in a presentation for a financial meeting in New York and we actually made it little more human, which was very interesting considering it was deeply financial. Mm. Um, and that meant slightly more pitch patterns. And when we started he had quite a monotone voice, so that was really interesting doing these exercises with him.

Gillyanne:

Yeah. Okay.

Jeremy:

And going back to part two of this exercise, this is exercise 26, page 84, um, of this is a voice number one. So now look at the first sentence of this exercise. Anything you say has a pitch pattern and read it aloud.

Gillyanne:

Anything you say has a pitch pattern, rather like a group of notes in music that you speak on for each phrase.

Jeremy:

Okay. Now that was quite interesting because Gillyanne was, was lifting the pitch. She was raising her voice for certain syllables or certain words that were more important. Can you do that again?

Gillyanne:

Anything you say has a pitch pattern. Rather like a group of notes in music that you speak on for each phrase.

Jeremy:

Very good. If we just take the context of that first section, anything you say has a pitch pattern. Can you say it again?

Gillyanne:

Anything you say has a pitch pattern.

Jeremy:

Anything you say has a pitch pattern. So we're starting on this at the top of the ski slope. We're coming down. There's a little hump in the middle of it, and then you come down to the bottom. Anything you say has a pitch pattern.

Gillyanne:

So that is a statement. Yes.

Jeremy:

And we know it's a statement because it goes down at the end. Mm. Um, so repeat that with your lips held closed and used, um, as before,

Gillyanne:

Dunno about closing the lips, I'm closing my eyes.

Jeremy:

Closing everything

Gillyanne:

thinking about what I just did.

Jeremy:

Repeat the lips closed version and exaggerate the pitch patterns. Okay. I think to exaggerate, you have to start higher.

Gillyanne:

Mm.

Jeremy:

Very good.

Gillyanne:

Did you see the eyebrows? He does the riffing.

Jeremy:

I do the riffing, Gillyanne does the eyebrows. Now open your lips and speak the sentence again, using the more exaggerated pitch patterns.

Gillyanne:

Anything you say has a pitch pattern.

Jeremy:

Very good. Excellent. It's so interesting, this whole pitch contour thing, which is it's not just the shape that you speak. Anything you say, anything you say has a pitch pattern. It's not just the up and down shape, but it's also the extreme of up and down shape. I could still do that shape. Anything you say has a pitch pattern. My pitching is now much smaller. The pitch range is much smaller, so then my notes are closer together. I'm hoping you're getting this cuz it's really interesting topic.

Gillyanne:

Can I have another little mini geek about the, um, intention, which is, you know, something you, you've, we've spoken about in this exercise in the book. Yes. One of the reasons, if you're watching on YouTube, one of the reasons why I closed my eyes because was because I had to go back into what was my intention. Yes. And so this is about communication. What is it that you want to say? Yes. And what is it that you want people to take away from what it is that you have to say?

Jeremy:

It is about communication. Yes.

Gillyanne:

And it's, that's not just about acting. It's everyday life, isn't it?

Jeremy:

Yeah. Um, interestingly, one of our accredited trainers is teaching voice trains, spoken voice, and um, fitness trainers. And it was very interesting cuz she came up with a problem, uh, where she said one of her people didn't really get the whole pitching thing.

Gillyanne:

Can we just say, Shout out to MyVocalFitness? Yes. And the work that she's doing and how she, having trained as a musical theater performer, identified the need for melody in fitness trainers.

Jeremy:

I mean, actually the first time she, she talked to us about it, I thought, this is so good and so obvious and yet so revolutionary. Mm-hmm. So she does some great work teaching people about pitch patterns and pitch ranges. Mm-hmm. And it was very interesting because some people just don't get the context of pitch in speaking voice.

Gillyanne:

Because it's so instinctive. Yeah. That they're not aware of it.

Jeremy:

So I want to go now to, we're gonna come away from this exercise cause we're actually gonna split this exercise into two episodes. It's so detailed. We're gonna come away from that part of the exercise now, and we're gonna go to the app, which is the One Minute Voice Warmup App.

Gillyanne:

And can we give a big shout out to our partners on the app? Speechtools. Speechtools. Do check them out.

Jeremy:

Garry and Sam. Hi Garry and Sam. In the One Minute Voice Warmup App. These are one minute exercises that you can. and we have an explanation, like a tutorial, which is maybe three minutes per exercise. And then the exercise itself is one minute and we have a whole set of exercises under a thing called Interesting Voice. Um, I'm holding that up to the screen at the moment, that's on my phone. Um, interesting voice has speaking pace, changing pitch and volume control. And we're gonna go to the changing pitch exercise. The exercise in the app, and we use, I'll have a tea, please, not a coffee. So here is the exercise and I'm gonna take Gillyanne through it. It's a little slide up on an Mm. And then you say the, the sentence. Mm. I'll have a tea, please. Mm-hmm.

Gillyanne:

I'll have a tea, please.

Jeremy:

Very nice. So you say the sentence starting on the note you end on. Now do a slightly bigger slide.

Gillyanne:

I'd like a tea, please.

Jeremy:

Thank you. And then go higher.

Gillyanne:

I'd like a tea, please.

Jeremy:

Thank you. And of course you've got the wording right according to the app it is I'd like a tea please. Thank you. Um,

Gillyanne:

I'm so polite.

Jeremy:

Very good. So can you do the, the larger one again?

Gillyanne:

I'd like a tea, please.

Jeremy:

Very good. The reason that we do this, and it sort of sounds a bit ridiculous when you first do it, but this is to help you find a speaking voice in a higher range and, uh, not a coffee slides downwards so you can do small one. Mm. Not a coffee.

Gillyanne:

Hmm, Not a coffee.

Jeremy:

Slightly bigger, please.

Gillyanne:

Mm. Not

Jeremy:

a coffee and a very big one, please. Oh, this could be challenging.

Gillyanne:

Mm. Not a coffee

Jeremy:

Okay. No.

Gillyanne:

Put them together. I should have done voiceovers. You know, . Jeremy: Go put them together. Slide up for the tea. Slide down for the coffee. The big, the big one in each case?

Jeremy:

The big one in each case.

Gillyanne:

Oh have pity on me.

Jeremy:

Yeah, Yeah, yeah.

Gillyanne:

I'd like a tea please. Not a coffee.

Jeremy:

Very good. I think that last one is a little extreme.

Gillyanne:

scary voice.

Jeremy:

So now take the umms out and just do the words.

Gillyanne:

I'd like a tea please, Not a coffee.

Jeremy:

Okay, so that's the extreme version. That's at least an octave and a half.

Gillyanne:

That's the manic version!

Jeremy:

Can we, can we do bring it to the medium version so that you are higher and lower?

Gillyanne:

I'd like a tea, please. Not a coffee.

Jeremy:

Okay. To me, that's the smaller version. Oh, no, no, that's medium. Okay. Do the small version.

Gillyanne:

I'd like a tea, please. Not a coffee.

Jeremy:

Okay. I see where you're going. Good, good. Um, so let me do it as well.

Gillyanne:

Don't make me do it again.

Jeremy:

No, no, no. It's fine. So if I do, if I do the same thing, uh uh, I'd like a tea, please. Hmm. I'd like a tea, please. Hmm. Not a coffee. I'd like a tea, please. Not a coffee. Mm. I'd like a tea, please. Mm, Not a coffee. I'd like a tea, please. Not a coffee.

Gillyanne:

It's quite sexy actually.

Jeremy:

I must remember that

Gillyanne:

I do love a bass.

Jeremy:

So we're gonna go now to the Learning Lounge, where we're on webinar 11, which is called Pitch, Pace and Power. And this is for your speaking voice to again, to bring more interest in what you're doing. And we're gonna go to an exercise in there called Pitch and Meaning. And here it goes. Say Yes, using these three meanings "I won". "Sort of". "Definitely". So let's do, Yes, I won.

Gillyanne:

Yes.

Jeremy:

Yes. Sort of.

Gillyanne:

Yes.

Jeremy:

Yes, definitely.

Gillyanne:

Yes.

Jeremy:

So not only do you get three different pitches, but you also get three different pitch patterns. One of them is very, very def. The definite one is, is just a single note and quite short and quite strong. Mm. The sort of is a little pitch contour and that's sort of in the middle of your voice and the I won is starting higher and then coming down. Mm. So really interest. This is the same word. So if we then go to No. The three meanings are, no, you cannot be serious. Uh, which is no. Oh my God, my hamster just died. No, and stop that right now. No.

Gillyanne:

And you can see how nicely we've ended where we started, and now I hope you get it.

Jeremy:

So I hope you have a lovely time.

Gillyanne:

Jeremy, before we finish, I'd like to give a shout out as well to our Associate Trainer.

Jeremy:

Yes.

Gillyanne:

Anne Leatherland of Vocal Intuition, who also does a lot of work on spoken voice. Confidence in communication in particular, um, gaining that confidence and feeling authentic in your workplace. Do check her out because she does some lovely work sort of building on this.

Jeremy:

So we'll give you all the links in the show notes. So, um, we will actually do part two next time. There is more to this exercise. There's quite a lot more. So we'll see you next time. Bye. Bye

Gillyanne:

bye. Bye bye

Jeremy:

bye now. Bye, bye. This is a Voice podcast with Dr. Gillyanne Kayes and Jeremy Fisher.