Choosing a genre suited for your voice

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crystalbruce
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Post by crystalbruce » July 21st, 2009, 6:21 am

Hi all,

I've been thinking a lot about this: should we choose a genre that is suited for our voices? I think it would help the atmosphere of the book. For example, a deep voice is probably best for mystery novels. 8-)

I think I will get a lot of answers saying that we should just read what we are interested in! However, I feel like it would be really strange for someone to hear me (soft spoken and quiet) talk about something like World War I. I almost think that I should restrict myself to children's bedtime stories... :oops:

What do you think? Have you ever thought your voice was suited for a particular genre? How much do you think one's voice would impact someone else's enjoyment of the book?
~ Crystal

KiltedDragon
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Post by KiltedDragon » July 21st, 2009, 6:49 am

I am sure most would say as you noted, read what you are interested in. But having said that, I do shy away from some things that I feel I am not suited for. The recent recordings of The Faerie Queene for example. I helped PL some of that but realized I would be terrible at reading it. I admired those that made it sound so good and effortless.

My first recordings were for Famous Sea Fights and I had to say an abundance of Spanish, French, Russian, and Japanese names. I am sure I slaughtered most of them. I started to shy away from those because of the pronunciations but after doing them, I find I am not so afraid of it any more.
Barry
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Darn stuff! I have books to read!

icyjumbo

Post by icyjumbo » July 21st, 2009, 8:07 am

crystalbruce wrote:How much do you think one's voice would impact someone else's enjoyment of the book?
This one is easy to answer: less than you think.

People have quite fixed ideas about what their voice is like, and what it can "represent" well. But it is quite easy to get used to a voice reading a certain type of text, and the association between voice and text-type turns from unusual to natural over a very short time. Given that, it's obvious that you should read what interests you. And furthermore, you should expect "what interests you" to change over time.

Have fun! That's rule number 1. (Rule 0 is "be nice", of course :) )

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Post by kayray » July 21st, 2009, 9:51 am

crystalbruce wrote:However, I feel like it would be really strange for someone to hear me (soft spoken and quiet) talk about something like World War I.
Oh, I disagree :) If you are interested in and passionate about WWI (for instance) read about it! Your enthusiasm will come through in your recording, not matter what the quality of your voice is. And listeners who are fans of your voice will want to listen to you read *anything*! I could listen to librarylady read the phone book. :)
Kara
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--------
"Mary wished to say something very sensible into her Zoom H2 Handy Recorder, but knew not how." -- Jane Austen (& Kara)

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Post by Cori » July 21st, 2009, 10:45 am

What do you think? Have you ever thought your voice was suited for a particular genre? How much do you think one's voice would impact someone else's enjoyment of the book?
Commercially: yes, voice & genre's important. LibriVoxishly: no, not important at all.

Commercially, listeners don't like to have their expectations messed with, and there's some degree of casting process to match what the publishers *think* people will want to hear.

However, LibriVox isn't like that, and actually, I'm not sure all that many listeners are like that. We have people coming through the forums from time to time expressing horror at the mixing of American accents and British literature (though I've no idea why that's a particularly sensitive one.) Mostly, people come through to say thanks for the recording As It Was. As a ranty-feminist, I must also say that I get pretty excited about a "voice like mine" (aka. female) reading me anything, and Kri's version remains my definitive Heart of Darkness, chocoholic's given Sherlock Holmes a whole new lease of life (along with Laurie R. King, come to think of it) and so on. At a miniumum, I'd like to hear a man and a woman's voice for every book in our catalogue.

And, personally, it's a LOT of effort to record even one chapter, let alone a whole book. If it's not something I'm really invested in and passionate about, however "fitting" my voice may sound, it's going to be a beastly trudge to get it finished. I strongly recommend simply working on what you can be excited about (bearing in mind that even books I've been keen on, I've been ready to drown the author by the end anyway. Mebbe that's just me. :roll:)
There's honestly no such thing as a stupid question -- but I'm afraid I can't rule out giving a stupid answer : : To Posterity and Beyond!

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Post by Hokuspokus » July 21st, 2009, 10:48 am

"Read what ever you like to read."

This is easily said but not so easily done.
It is a good idea to start with something you really feel comfortable with. Something you like the author, the particular text and you like your voice reading it.
And after some recordings you will learn that your voice can do much more that you think now. I started with fairy tales and thought my voice is only good for that sort of thing. Some 200 recordings later I got a very nice PM from a listener about a Poe recording I did.
So start on firm ground and grow with experience.

ExEmGe
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Post by ExEmGe » July 21st, 2009, 11:59 am

crystalbruce wrote: I feel like it would be really strange for someone to hear me (soft spoken and quiet) talk about something like World War I.
Funny that you should say that Crystal. I'm planning to BC a work about WWI quite soon and a soft spoken quiet voice would absolutely ideal!
I'll PM you.
Regards
Andy Minter

crystalbruce
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Post by crystalbruce » July 21st, 2009, 1:11 pm

Wow, thank you everyone! This topic has really given me a lot of confidence to just read whatever interests me, even if that does happen to be children's stories, fairy tales, and romance novels! :oops:

@KiltedDragon: I'm glad to hear you had the confidence to read unfamiliar words/names that are not part of your regular language. I deal with second language learners on a daily basis (I'm a writing tutor) and I am so impressed with their want to read things aloud. I'm sure I'll come in contact with words from another language, but we can just try our best, like I am sure you did! :mrgreen:

So you felt that your voice made you shy away from reading some things? I sort of feel this way too, but others who have replied are giving such great feedback.

@icyjumbo: Yes, I think you are right. Often, we are our own toughest critics (and who is here to be critiqued anyway?). Certainly, interests will change! :) I like these rules!

@kayray: Good point! But maybe a suitable voice and enthusiasm makes a reading "that much better"? I should look up librarylady! I haven't listened to many different authors on LibriVox so it'll be nice to see how really talented readers do their thing!

@Cori: Thanks for such a lengthy post! It is very insightful! I think I had a preconceived notion of audiobooks before I came to LibriVox. My public library offers audiobooks on their website which you "check out" and they are commercially made. I remember listening to a mystery novel and thought it was really well done because the reader sounded like "Mr. Voice" (you know that typically voice who advertises movie commericals :lol:). So, part of what kept me interested what being in suspense, which was either great writing on the part of the author, or great reading on part of the reader -- which may or may not be related to his voice!

I saw a book I was interested in, Kate Chopin's The Awakening and saw that: "Owing to its highly personal content focused on feminine sexuality, this LibriVox edition was recorded by eight female readers." This is the only version of the book that I found... :|

You're probably not the only one who is sick of an author after you've read the whole book out loud! :lol:

@Hokuspokus: Thanks for this! I will start with something small; maybe fairy tales like you! I'm sure I'll gain confidence once I get something done. From there, I will grow!

@ExEmGe: REALLY?! It would probably be a great learning experience for me to try something out of my element (I have never recorded before -- nor have I read much WWI literature). I am going to try and figure out how to make my recordings loud enough (hopefully within the next two days). I'll have a look at your PM!
~ Crystal

crystalbruce
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Post by crystalbruce » July 21st, 2009, 6:35 pm

Hi everyone,

I thought I'd direct you guys to my test file so maybe you can understand some of my insecurities about using my voice to read serious subjects. :| This thread has given me some confidence, though! :D

My file is in this thread: http://librivox.org/forum/viewtopic.php?p=368856#368856

I think it is an accurate depiction of what I sound like. Often I get telemarketers asking to speak to Mommy or Daddy when I answer them on the phone when I am a grown woman... :(
~ Crystal

Starlite
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Post by Starlite » July 21st, 2009, 6:50 pm

ExEmGe wrote:
crystalbruce wrote: I feel like it would be really strange for someone to hear me (soft spoken and quiet) talk about something like World War I.
Funny that you should say that Crystal. I'm planning to BC a work about WWI quite soon and a soft spoken quiet voice would absolutely ideal!
I'll PM you.

http://librivox.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=20237

Come stop in for a visit and read a chapter or two.

Esther :D
"Reasonable people adapt themselves to the world. Unreasonable
people attempt to adapt the world to themselves. All progress,
therefore, depends on unreasonable people." George Bernard Shaw

SmokestackJones
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Post by SmokestackJones » July 21st, 2009, 10:59 pm

Hey there,

Yes, commercially, it really is a casting process (Action Audio, for instance, will not let any Americans read Ramsey Campbell's works). But here at LV, anything goes (thank goodness).

As for me, I feel my voice is better suited to classics like Dickens, Doyle, Carroll, etc., and particularly suited to horror.

-SJ
If I'm not me, who am I? And if I'm somebody else, why do I look like me?
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RuthieG
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Post by RuthieG » July 22nd, 2009, 1:53 am

SmokestackJones wrote: and particularly suited to horror.
Oh yes! He really frightens me! :lol:

Seriously, though, Crystal, I would record whatever you are comfortable with. If there is a subject which fascinates you, go ahead. Your enthusiasm will come through.

Ruth
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SmokestackJones
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Post by SmokestackJones » July 22nd, 2009, 6:04 am

RuthieG wrote:
SmokestackJones wrote: and particularly suited to horror.
Oh yes! He really frightens me! :lol:
Ah.........boo! :mrgreen:

-SJ
If I'm not me, who am I? And if I'm somebody else, why do I look like me?
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momof3Chihuahuas
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Post by momof3Chihuahuas » July 31st, 2009, 4:32 pm

Oh, Crystal, here I am, a native of southern Indiana, female, but I absolutely LOVE books about Scotland, especially historical fiction. I truly wish we had more Scottish readers! (I'm part Scottish, so it's a genealogical/family pride thing for me, but it's been a long time since my ancestor came to America! LOL) I like British historical fiction too. Commercially, I'm not at all suited to those books, but here I can definitely help record them! :D

In fact, if anyone who's been here much longer than I have can point me to some more Scottish authors (or any authors who wrote about Scotland), I'd be very grateful. :) I know about George MacDonald. (Whether or not the readers are Brits or Scots.) I'd love to find some PD authors I haven't discovered yet. It's tough to search for books about Scotland in the catalog. Of course, there are Robert Burns's poems, and some of them are read beautifully by, for example, paradise.camaflouge (I wish he'd come back!!), & others too, of course.

And, speaking of Burns, a poet named Allan Ramsay actually came before him & brought back (if I understand what I've read correctly), the Scottish "language" (or "vernacular") before Burns did! :D Oh, btw, he's either one of my grandfathers or an uncle. :mrgreen: I just can't get that last piece of information I need to find out *sigh* (he lived from 1658-1786 & was an influence on Burns). If I could read old Scots language (I wouldn't be good at it), I'd record his poem, "Gi'e Me a Lass with a Lump of Land"! The title alone cracks me up! LOL :lol: I have a book about him that's over 200 years old that includes some of his poems. I also have an old copy of The Gentle Shepherd, his pastoral comedy.

Oops, I've gone way off topic in this thread. Sorry! :oops:

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Peter Why
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Post by Peter Why » July 31st, 2009, 11:36 pm

Joy, you could try Neil M. Gunn. I read "Butcher's Broom" once, long ago, which is set at the time of the land enclosures, but found it too harrowing to read and can't remember much about it ... though I do remember how involving it was.

The other I've read of his is "The Well at the World' End", which is almost mystical but does hold some wonderful pictures of Scottish highland life. I love this book and come back to it every five years or so. I first encountered it as a "Book at Bed-time" on the radio long, long ago, and bought it.

Those are the only two of his I've read, but there are quite a few more. I think wikipedia has something on him.

Peter
"I think, therefore I am, I think." Solomon Cohen, in Terry Pratchett's Dodger

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