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Post by lurcherlover » January 24th, 2019, 2:23 am

I've written a very short piece on recognising the human voice and comparisons with musical instruments. It may be of some interest, or maybe not.


To my ear there is a huge but subtle difference, which is immediately recognisable in the spoken voice, and this is much more obvious than the differences heard in musical instruments and even the human voice in vocal singing.
To compare several different violins (provided the same player or one of comparable ability is used - and it is best using the same player): instruments of pretty much equal quality may show up very slight subtle differences. This will probably only be noticed by trained ears (i.e. other violinists). The same may go for most instruments, where slight characteristics and differences are only heard by highly trained musicians, in particular by ones who play the same instrument.
The normal everyday human voice though, whether highly trained as with an actor or voice professional, or of a normal member of the public, is usually instantly recognised especially in the cases where the voice is well known, i.e. a family member, or a well known broadcaster, actor or politician, for example.
Voices used during everyday speech are usually instantly recognised by what I would call normal and ordinary members of the public. This ability probably comes from thousands, even millions of years, where it has been important maybe for survival, to be able to recognise voices and the timbre of such voices.
It has been said, and I agree, that the human voice in narration (or normal everyday speech), is the most demanding of a microphone. Even with a poor mic, and non professional recording techniques however, it is still pretty obvious whose voice we are hearing, providing of course that you know the sound of that voice.
I notice this particularly with the recordings on Lbrivox where many different recordings are made under very different conditions and levels of expertise, but where the voices are still instantly recognisable.

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Post by ej400 » March 14th, 2019, 11:42 am

I can agree with this. There was one time when I had been listening to book on librivox, (this was a couple years ago), and I really enjoyed the listener, but I never looked them up. Now a days I always look at who read the section. Anyway, I was going to go DPL something a few months ago, and when I started it, I instantly recognized the voice and was like "oh I've heard this person before", even though I didn't know who they were. Meanwhile for music, it's I can think I've heard the song before, and then search it and I'm like "who is this person?" The human voice is much more recognizable to me.


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Post by tovarisch » March 14th, 2019, 1:27 pm

Just a thought: the Shazam app can tell us what music/song is playing (just let your smartphone listen for a bit)... It might be nice to have some app or whatnot tell us who is narrating. :) Let's hope that the next LV app will have the "suggest other recordings by this narrator" setting.
  • reality prompts me to scale down my reading, sorry to say
    to PLers: do correct my pronunciation please

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