Due to the First National Vocology Symposium organized by the Vocology Center, which will be on the 15th and 16th of August in Bogota, Colombia, I want to share the summary of the presentation that I’ll deliver as an invited speaker regarding the theme of the spoken voice. Some of the most distinguished professionals from all over the country within the scientific, medical, technical and artistic fields will be brought together by this event.
Here it is – the thought model in which I base all of my work as a voice artist and that the students I accompany in their journeys use. I hope you find as much insight in it as I do.
PHYSICAL, INTELLECTUAL AND EMOTIONAL VOICE.THE THREE BODIES OF THE HUMAN VOICE.
– By: Daniela Sierra
Understanding the human voice is like understanding the human condition.
We are surrounded by the voices of those who are often unheard, but the sound of their voice finds a way to stand out among those who often ignore it by using loud volumes or fast rhythms; there are also those who hide their voice by turning off their resonance with muscle tension and therefore cease to reveal the intimate aspects of their voice in settings where they can feel vulnerable and exposed; others place themselves in high pitch ranges or weak tones because their environment demands submission and complacency; and there are even others who choose a larger and deeper sound in order to reaffirm their authority and power in society. In the end, our sound, beyond the words it articulates, gives evidence of our own individual existence. The sound of our voice reveals just as much about us as what it tries to hide – either voluntarily or unconsciously.
In this manner, the voice that we carry actually carries us, and we only reach its maximum sound efficiency and expressiveness once we understand that it is the result of complex and marvelous links between its intellectual dimension (intellect and neurological abilities), its emotional dimension (intuition and sensory scope) and its physical dimension (instinct and biological traits) by which all of our natural communicative impulses generate either an authentic response or a suppression that is conditioned by our system of beliefs. The scope of our voice directly depends on the scope of our own conscious.
In my path of discovery on the potential of my spoken and sung voice as an instrument of artistic expression, I’ve found multiple methods and techniques that interpret my voice from complementary and sometimes contradictory perspectives. Nonetheless, they have led me, step by step, to keep what I consider useful and true regarding my own instrument and those of the students that I accompany through vocal training.
I’ve frequently noticed that the disciplines that study the voice through medicine, science and physical phenomena often transfer complex intellectual and emotional human dimensions, that directly affect the emission of the voice, to the background. I’ve strongly concluded that these dimensions reveal many of the causes of the voice’s qualities and conditions.
Likewise, I’ve seen disciplines that interpret the voice solely from an artistic level. There is a tendency towards vocal demands that manage to understand the mental and emotional requirements for a character and situation, but they overlook technique and the limits of the vocal apparatus.
What we think, imagine, fantasize, judge and remember, awaken an emotion in us – and each emotion unleashes different communicative mechanisms. Our use of these mechanisms is reflected in the corporal activity that accesses the mind and vice versa, but the bridge between these two is still an emotion that is motivated by our instinct to communicate. These emotions can’t always be accessed through the will, but via our imagination: the fundamental resource used by voice actors and singers and the main path to greater comprehension on an artistic level. The origin of the physical manifestation of the voice lies in this thought-emotion system. The more we understand about the inseparable relationship between the different parts that articulate the voice, the better the training will be in order to reach its maximum artistic potential, just as it would also enhance the precision of the focus of any medical procedure regarding the voice’s pathologies.
My professional and personal lives are driven by the desire to understand myself through my own voice in a process of deep self-awareness, discovering the inseparable link between my mind, mi emotionality and my body that directly affect my voice, and understanding the meaning of my job on a day to day basis through my desire to analyze a human being as a whole through their sound.
If we come to understand the voice as the maximum medium of human expression, beyond it simple being an instrument of communication, we would accomplish a greater approximation to self-awareness in order to have more efficient, expressive, healthier, honest and self-aware voices.