VAM 121 | Q & A Session 23 – How to Expand Your Vocal Range & Change the Quality of Your Voice

VAM 121 | Q & A Session 23 – How to Expand Your Vocal Range & Change the Quality of Your Voice

Welcome to episode 121 of the Voice Acting Mastery podcast with yours truly, Crispin Freeman!

As always, you can listen to the podcast using the player above, or download the mp3 using the link at the bottom of this blog post. The podcast is also available via the iTunes Store online. Just follow this link to view the podcast in iTunes:

In this episode, I continue answering questions from my podcast audience! For those who may not be as familiar with the podcast, in past episodes, I’ve given out a phone number where you can call in and leave me a question about voice acting as a voicemail. From time to time, I’ll pick the most relevant questions I receive and answer them here on the podcast.

For this round of Q & A, I answer questions from Adam from Scranton, PA and Matthew from Flagstaff, AZ.

Adam wants to know how he can expand his vocal range.

His is a very common question. I’m often asked by aspiring voice actors how they can expand their vocal range. Usually the question comes from male performers who want to know what they can do to lower or deepen their voice. I’ve almost never been asked how someone can learn to pitch their voice higher while voice acting. Now I’m not sure if Adam is specifically asking for advice on how to speak in lower tones, but allow me to address vocal range from a technical standpoint first. Then I’ll touch on some psychological issues that may be informing why I get asked this question so frequently.

Matthew wants to know how to change the timbre or quality of his voice.

I thought Matthew’s question was a great follow up to Adam’s about vocal range. Matthew uses the word “timbre” which is a very specific term that usually describes the tonality of an instrument. For instance, a violin and a trumpet might be able to play the same note or pitch, but the timbre or sonic quality of each instrument is very different. The technical reason for this has to do with the types of overtones or resonances that each instrument produces which give them their characteristic sounds. This means that you’d never mistake the sound of a violin for that of a trumpet because of their different timbres.

If Matthew will permit me, I’d like to use the term vocal quality in place of timbre in order to address his question. Based on the kinds of sounds he’s trying produce, I believe vocal quality is a more accurate description. Matthew says that he has difficulty performing a raspy character without hurting his voice or throat. Raspiness is more of a vocal quality than a timbre because it has less to do with overtones and more to do with breathiness, sibilance and other vocal qualities.

I help explain my approach to changing the quality of my voice and the importance of avoiding vocal injury when doing so!

I also recommend Kristin Linklater’s book, Freeing the Natural Voice.

If any of my listeners would like to call in with your own thoughts, thank you’s or questions, the number is:


Please don’t forget to include your first name and what city in the world you’re calling from. I’m looking forward to hearing from you!

Thanks for listening!

Download Voice Acting Mastery Episode #121 Here (MP3)


2 Responses to “VAM 121 | Q & A Session 23 – How to Expand Your Vocal Range & Change the Quality of Your Voice”

  1. Eric Rivera says:

    Ever since I was a kid, my brother and I loved making fun of the way Vince McMahon sounds like when he gets angry. Years of mocking him has led me to find a way to add a gravelly texture to my voice without hurting my throat. Whichever way works I guess.

    Every time I look up another resource for learning voice acting, one of the first things I hear is the, “It doesn’t matter if you can do 200 voices” speech. I understand that people want to learn how to do 200 voices, but maybe you should start with the 1 first. Then when you got that one down you can move on to the next one.

    Thank you for your time and wisdom.

  2. Kalyn McCabe says:

    Brilliant episode with lots of great advice. When in doubt, support the air flow with your diaphragm. Then worry about the soft palette and hard palette and where you’re sending the sound.

    Can’t wait for the next one~!

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