LibriVox
Forums

* FAQ    * Search
* Login   * Register
It is currently October 23rd, 2017, 9:06 pm


Post new topic Reply to topic  Page 1 of 2  [ 25 posts ] 
Go to page 1, 2  Next


When listening to a book, do you prefer character voices or vanilla?
Poll ended at October 27th, 2015, 1:36 pm
I prefer character voices 36%  36%  [ 10 ]
I prefer a straight reading with no character voices 25%  25%  [ 7 ]
I enjoy both equally 39%  39%  [ 11 ]
Total votes : 28
Author Message
Offline
Post Posted:: October 20th, 2015, 12:32 pm 
LibriVox Admin Team

Joined: June 15th, 2008, 10:30 pm
Posts: 36546
Location: Toronto, ON (but Minnesotan to age 32)
When listening to a book, do you prefer character voices or vanilla (a straight reading with no character voices)?

Obviously, this is regarding regular projects and not dramatic readings. :)

Feel free to comment!

_________________
Original journals on the Exploration of the Mississippi: Here
Thoughts on the Death Penalty: Here
Watergate Report, Vol 1: Here
Fiction about jail atrocities: It Is Never too Late


Top
 Profile  
Offline
Post Posted:: October 20th, 2015, 12:34 pm 
LibriVox Admin Team

Joined: June 15th, 2008, 10:30 pm
Posts: 36546
Location: Toronto, ON (but Minnesotan to age 32)
OK, so I thought there was a way for admins to add a poll, but I cannot find it. If someone else discovers it, feel free to put it in for me. :roll:

-Voices
-Vanilla
-No preference

_________________
Original journals on the Exploration of the Mississippi: Here
Thoughts on the Death Penalty: Here
Watergate Report, Vol 1: Here
Fiction about jail atrocities: It Is Never too Late


Top
 Profile  
Offline
Post Posted:: October 20th, 2015, 1:30 pm 
LibriVox Admin Team

Joined: January 16th, 2007, 9:23 am
Posts: 13421
There is a pretty wide variation of what constitutes "character voices." It could mean anything from a very slight change in pitch to a completely different accent that sounds nothing like the reader's usual voice. Lots of readers who would call themselves vanilla still use small pitch inflections for characters of the opposite sex.

I suppose I prefer vanilla as the default. That's how I read books to myself (I don't imagine different voices in my head). Every now and then a "character voice" strikes me as wrong, and that interrupts the flow of the book. But I do like well-done character voices too, and I've gotten a lot of enjoyment from LV books read that way. The trouble is that "well-done" is too subjective to make any sort of blanket statement about. (Except one: fake Southern [US] accents drive me up the wall, since I am Southern myself. :))

_________________
Laurie Anne


Top
 Profile  
Offline
Post Posted:: October 20th, 2015, 5:04 pm 
LibriVox Admin Team

Joined: August 1st, 2009, 11:30 pm
Posts: 14256
Character voices only when they are well done, I second Laurie Anne here!

I have to say that I've come a long way myself: In my first solos I tried to do a wide variety of character voices, including pitch shifts which are difficult to do (unless you do them with software). I have since moved away from this a little and try to go more towards modifications in tempo to indicate a character. No idea if my readers like it, but at least they don't have to bear too much of it since I mostly do non-fiction anyway. :)

_________________
Cheers,
Ava.

--
AvailleAudio.com


Top
 Profile  
Offline
Post Posted:: October 20th, 2015, 5:24 pm 

Joined: January 17th, 2013, 9:16 pm
Posts: 2100
Location: Rochester, NY
When listening to extensive stretches of conversation in fiction, especially when change of speaker is hard to catch, I appreciate some subtle clue to tell the two speakers apart. But I mean subtle, not theatrical. Anything too "put-on" tends to put me off. Perhaps just one character speaking a bit quicker than the other, or very slightly higher or lower pitched. But other than that, I tend to like just a straight reading -- "vanilla" as you put it in the first post.

This preference for vanilla applies to novels and stories. Dramatic works, of course, are an entirely different matter. There, it's intended that all the dialogue should be in "character" voices, and some theatricality is expected and enjoyed.

Like Availle, I also read mostly non-fiction, where the issue never even arises!

_________________
Maria
My LibriVox Recordings

Thanks to everyone for your patience with my erratic presence here these past few months. I'm back again and ready to start recording!


Top
 Profile  
Offline
Post Posted:: October 21st, 2015, 8:44 pm 

Joined: December 20th, 2013, 1:14 am
Posts: 825
Location: Sydney, Australia
I think this can only be considered on a case-by-case basis.

That said, I think we may be able to suggest some loose guidelines.

1. As a general rule, the "hammier" the character, the more essential the need for a good character voice with which to ham it up. There's no point me using a "straight read" with the various members of the Rudd family in Steele Rudd's "On Our Selection". (For North American readers, the closest equivalents I can think of are the local yokels in "The Egg and I".)

2. When four or five people are all involved in a conversation, particularly when the writer stops using "X said", "Y said", etc, after each bit of speech, distinct character voices make it so much easier to concentrate on the plot, the give-and-take, etc, if you're hearing the story for the first time.

3. If the intended audience is young children, say, as in the Three Minute Stories Collection, I believe that good character voices are what make the story go for younger listeners. When my children were in primary school, I used to drop them off at school in the morning. And we always made a point of getting there about 20 or 30 minutes early so I could read them stories in the car while we waited for the gates to open. In the early years, the stories were obviously simple and short, but later on we worked through longer ones. The Narnia stories I always read straight, but other, more comical ones, I always made a point of trying to incorporate a good character voice or two. To this day, my take on the character of "The Old Man" (Shorty Bent's octogenarian father in Nino Culotta's "Gone Fishin'"), still cracks them up. "Hamateurs either works or pays! Hup th' lot of yez!".

So, to sum up, use your own best judgement, and let each individual character suggest to you itself whether and what characterisation is best.

_________________
"Sorry, my tongue got in the way of my eye-tooth, and I couldn't see what I was saying..."
_________________
My LV catalogue page
Son of the Exiles YouTube Channel


Top
 Profile  
Offline
Post Posted:: October 22nd, 2015, 2:40 am 
LibriVox Admin Team

Joined: April 17th, 2008, 8:41 am
Posts: 22086
Location: Kent, England
I have difficulty with this question. I myself am pathologically incapable of doing a straight "no character voices" reading (except in non-fiction, of course): the characters just come out seemingly of their own accord ;). I enjoy hearing well-done character voices and they do make dialogue clearer, especially if (as SotE says) the author does not distinguish between the speakers. Applying an accent to a character is, I think, another matter. It simply has to be credible, and a badly done accent is painful.

I have no objections to a plain vanilla reading UNLESS it is all read with no expression at all. That I cannot bear.

Ruth

_________________
My LV catalogue page | RuthieG's CataBlog of recordings | Tweet: @RuthGolding


Top
 Profile  
Offline
Post Posted:: October 22nd, 2015, 3:25 am 

Joined: December 20th, 2013, 1:14 am
Posts: 825
Location: Sydney, Australia
I absolutely agree with Ruthie on the matter of dialect characterisations, as opposed to, for want of a better word, personality ones.

You've probably noticed that I've restricted virtually all of mine to Australian ones. The one or two times I had to briefly do a non-Australian one, for instance that of "German Charlie" in "Send Round The Hat", I have to say, I've always been quite embarrassed by that one. I was trying to follow exactly the phoenetical speech Henry Lawson wrote the character's part in, but even so, it was not a thing of beauty. The only other accent I've occasionally had to do, as a very minor part of a much larger story, is that of the Irish. I generally just try to put a bit of a lilt and a rising inflection in my delivery, as suggestive of the accent, and leave it at that.

Maybe one of these days, we should start an "X for a Day" collection, like the Weekly Poetry, where we all progressively try to deliver a standard paragraph in a particular accent. Embarrassment-free, I hasten to add. Led off by a native speaker, perhaps, by way of a "gold standard". (Repeat after me, Ruth: "Struuuuth...")

_________________
"Sorry, my tongue got in the way of my eye-tooth, and I couldn't see what I was saying..."
_________________
My LV catalogue page
Son of the Exiles YouTube Channel


Top
 Profile  
Offline
Post Posted:: October 22nd, 2015, 4:05 am 
LibriVox Admin Team

Joined: April 17th, 2008, 8:41 am
Posts: 22086
Location: Kent, England
Quote:
Maybe one of these days, we should start an "X for a Day" collection, like the Weekly Poetry, where we all progressively try to deliver a standard paragraph in a particular accent.

We did something a little similar in Celebration of Dialects and Accents but that was people using their own native accents, of course. It was an interesting experiment. Your idea sounds fun!

Ruth

_________________
My LV catalogue page | RuthieG's CataBlog of recordings | Tweet: @RuthGolding


Top
 Profile  
Offline
Post Posted:: October 22nd, 2015, 5:48 am 

Joined: April 1st, 2011, 5:36 pm
Posts: 6303
Location: Kelsingra
I generally prefer character voices - and I suspect that most people who "do voices" here tend to do them well. The one thing I find distracting is when the voices get mixed up, or a character voice is attempted but not sustained - that's just confusing! :shock:

I actually don't like changes of speed in reading. I tend to choose to listen to someone who reads at a speed I can handle - I can't stand it when someone reads too slow (for me) and I find it hard to follow if someone reads too fast for me, as I generally listen to audiobooks while driving. So if someone is reading "just right" but then suddenly varies the pace it throws me off. Small variations I can handle, but probably no more than about 10% change.

I like accents if they are done well. I agree that a badly done accent is painful to listen to - which is why I only do British and Australian English. I figure there are enough people on here with real American accents for me not to need to attempt one! ;)

_________________
Coming Soon! The Story of the Amulet DR
Books: Child of the Moat European Fairy Tales Christ's Parables Holy Spirit
Plays: Parson's Wedding The Mikado
FULL: Jo's Boys Little Men W&D Teacup Club Martyr 2nd Mrs Tanqueray


Top
 Profile  
Offline
Post Posted:: October 22nd, 2015, 12:05 pm 

Joined: December 20th, 2013, 1:14 am
Posts: 825
Location: Sydney, Australia
Elizabby, you've definitely hit the nail on the head about sustaining a character voice. I find that, to ensure uniformity, I have to record a given character's voice in one sitting. So I copy the text of the entire book or short story onto a Word doco, then go through and highlight the different characters' speeches in different colours, just like in the old radio show scripts. I then duplicate the resulting doco into as many copies as there are characters, and then cut out everything but a single character's speeches. So I wind up with, say, a Dad Rudd doco, a Joe Rudd doco, a Cranky Jack one, etc. I can then go through and read everything necessary to a given character in the one voice in one recording session.

This works well for me, but, depending on the character in question, I find myself getting the strangest looks from the cat at times!

_________________
"Sorry, my tongue got in the way of my eye-tooth, and I couldn't see what I was saying..."
_________________
My LV catalogue page
Son of the Exiles YouTube Channel


Top
 Profile  
Offline
Post Posted:: October 23rd, 2015, 10:08 am 

Joined: August 30th, 2009, 4:26 pm
Posts: 928
RuthieG wrote:
I myself am pathologically incapable of doing a straight "no character voices" reading (except in non-fiction, of course): the characters just come out seemingly of their own accord ;)


Ditto! I used to differentiate the voices when reading to my sister at bedtime, but I never mentioned it because I wasn't sure it was obvious to anyone but me. Then one night, I read a line without a speaker tag as the wrong character, and when I realized the mistake a few lines later, my sister laughed and said, "Yeah, you read that as (X)." I've embraced it ever since. :)

Even though I couldn't really sound like a boy to save my life, I've found that the boys'/young men's voices are usually my favorites. And for some reason, I tend to choose books with more male than female characters, which can be a real challenge on occasion. Try to cast an entire boys' baseball team with one female voice--still not quite sure how I managed that! But I've also found that it's much easier to juggle multiple characters talking at once than to re-introduce a character who's been gone for several chapters.

As far as the accents go, I've had varying experiences. I definitely don't use an accent unless it seems necessary; for example, in a story with all British characters, I'd use my normal voice and not attempt a British accent. But in a story with one British character where the fact is prominently noted, I might try. In my current solo, I felt obligated to use a Swedish accent for certain characters, and for some reason, I kept slipping into Irish. :shock: (Don't ask--I still don't know!) Even after I finally got into the right region, the accent sounds terrible. But I also had a first-person dialect-ridden Christmas story that turned out really well. Go figure!

Oh, and as far as listening--it really depends! With some readers, I love to hear the different voices; with others, I prefer a plain reading. That goes for professional audiobooks, too!

bookAngel7


Top
 Profile  
Offline
Post Posted:: October 23rd, 2015, 12:48 pm 

Joined: October 14th, 2011, 1:38 pm
Posts: 239
I greatly appreciate any solo that is well read, and think readers should do what's most natural to them.

Still, my favorites are dramatic readings, with character voices next. There are many readers at LV that do a good job here. I'll avoid mentioning names since that's best for the 'Thank a Reader' thread. (I should post there much more than I do....)

_________________
Cheers,

Scott
Aplt1.com - alternate LibriVox catalog that puts more info up front; optional iOS app


Top
 Profile  
Offline
Post Posted:: October 23rd, 2015, 1:58 pm 
LibriVox Admin Team

Joined: April 3rd, 2008, 3:55 am
Posts: 27808
Location: Melbourne,Australia
I've been thinking about this - my original opinion was "plain vanilla" but I think I'd have to change a little.
So I prefer listening to books that I would not be able to tell you afterwards if they "did voices" or "did accents" because whatever they did worked for the book :D

Anne

_________________
Our objective is to make all books in the public domain available, for free, in audio format on the internet. - Hugh McGuire.


Top
 Profile  
Offline
Post Posted:: October 23rd, 2015, 2:09 pm 

Joined: October 14th, 2011, 1:38 pm
Posts: 239
annise wrote:
I've been thinking about this - my original opinion was "plain vanilla" but I think I'd have to change a little.
So I prefer listening to books that I would not be able to tell you afterwards if they "did voices" or "did accents" because whatever they did worked for the book

Excellent point. In thinking back on most of the books I enjoyed, I usually don't remember whether they were 'plain' or with mild character differentiation or 'solo dramatic works' (to coin a phrase).

_________________
Cheers,

Scott
Aplt1.com - alternate LibriVox catalog that puts more info up front; optional iOS app


Top
 Profile  
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 25 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2  Next



Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
cron
Powered by phpBB® Forum Software © phpBB Group