Voice placement for correct speech is attained even as is placement in singing. Every tone must be covered, have its portion of head resonance, and in speech the rather low voice with a maximum of chest resonance is usually the most attractive.
A low, sonorous, though not affected, voice is effective for both men and women. In fact, most women could lower their voices three to four tones without any appreciable strain and the result would be delightful to hear. The average feminine voice is much too high and completely lacking in "focus," which makes it shrill.
Since the principles of voice placement are the same for both singing and speaking voices, a study of Chapters Three and Four will give the reader the rudiments of correct placement.
There are, of course, other faults in speaking that are unusual for singers.
Here are some of them:
Women are more prone to this type of error, although men also are occasionally guilty. Even though this type of speech is often
the result of a bad disposition, the voices can be helped if the speaker will talk several tones lower, relax the jaw, and enunciate clearly. Special practice stressing round vowel sounds in all words is helpful.
The Sweet and Gushy Voice
This type is almost always too high in pitch; the tones are thin and usually rather flat. Correct tone focus, lowering of the voice, and careful controlling of emphasis in statements are the only remedies.
The Hoarse and Husky Voice
If this type of voice is not the result of too much smoking, drinking, dissipation, laryngitis, or throat catarrh, it is caused by tightening of the throat muscles and undue forcing or effort in speaking. A maximum of head tone must be practiced and complete bodily relaxation realized.
The Monotonous Voice
Some people are tone deaf, even as others are color blind. This cannot be helped, and it is extremely difficult to get a tone-deaf person to talk on more than one or, at the most, two pitches. Since they do not hear the difference they can tell only by sensation and have thought little of it. In thirty-nine years of teaching, I have encountered only one individual who actually can be said to be tone deaf. In this instance several experimental lessons offered so little progress that I felt the case to be hopeless. The student could at first distinguish no difference whatever in the tones of a major scale, and only after several hours progressed to the stage where two tones could be differentiated occasionally. The improvement was so slight in comparison to the time and effort involved that singing was conceded a practical impossibility. But the average monotonous voice is not caused by deafness, but by lack of temperament and inspiration in the speaker.
Some speaking voices, even as singing ones, lack the correct amount of vibrato. The remedy is similar, relaxation and a legato freedom, plus correct tone focus and chest resonance.
Reading aloud poetry or some exciting tale that demands expression and a variety of tone pitches to give point to the story is good practice for the person with a monotonous voice type. Such practice may sound affected and unnatural at first, but some of the expression and emphasis will be carried over into everyday speech with good results.