WHAT IS YOUR VOICE? in other words...WHO is your Voice?
All babies are born sounding pretty much the same. If you place babies from different countries next to each other, blindfold yourself and listen, you won't be able to tell them apart by culture. At best, the trained ear of a mother could pick out her baby by its sound.
When we grow up, the story is entirely different. No two voices are the same. It's considered an art to be able to mimic and sound identical to another person.
What changes? How do we become completely unique when we started out quite identical?
THE VOICE STORY
The human voice is a complex polyphony of sounds.
There is never a single pure tone. If this were so, we might have sounded like a beep from a machine. But we don't.
Each human voice is rich in overtones and I notice that humans mainly understand each other through TONE of voice. Tone includes pitch and melodic contour but also accounts for the rich world of overtones ringing around the fundamental pitch/central note of the voice.
My trainer told me a very interesting thing. He said that if he were to exchange heads with me, we would swap voices too! The inner structures of our bodies provide significant colour to the sound produced in our voice box. Our physical body is the epigenetic outcome of our genetic potential and our environment.
This "environment" is vast. It's all that we ate, all that we did everyday as kids and all the perceptions we downloaded from our families and social circles. Our bodies (and their vocal coloration structures) were formed from food and how we use our bodies (to sing, dance, talk, fight) was shaped by our learned habits. This forms the first major filter, to the natural voice our body has.
When a child imbibes the accent of its culture, she also learns the general sonic quality of her language. Bilingual people display natural tonal differences when they shift languages. Singing apparently, registers as a separate language in our brains too!
Let's zoom in a little more.
Every innate personality has a specific type of voice. Gentle, calm people have a certain type of voice. Stern and severe people have another kind of voice entirely.
Each natural human personality goes through the filter of culture. The Japanese display emotion and personality in a different way from the Italians and in a totally different way from the French or from Indians. To add to that, from day to day, every personality also has its many moods, and each mood has a specific sound too. A shriek of fear and a yell of excitement might be the same note, but the overtone and the sound would be very different. if we zoom in and start getting curious, even within the same sentence, there is a flux or a change of tonality between words!
Then, when we mature through life, our voices begin to reflect our inner changes too. I am 33 now. I don't speak or sing like I did when I was 10, or in my teens or even in my twenties. Age is also often embedded in our tone.
So it brings us to wonder ..... is the voice a THING? or is it a precise mirror to WHO we are, how we have been raised, what personality we have in this lifetime, how that personality has changed by what we have seen!
Every human voice is a story. Every human voice is an accurate description of the depths and truths of the person. As soon as we unlock the notion of voice as a thing..... we know that voice is the physical imprint of our whole energy. We get connected to each other without effort. We can sing our truths with power freedom without even needing words.
HOW DO PEOPLE HEAR US?
THE EARS ARE WIRED TO UNDERSTAND OVERTONES
Another amazing thing my teacher taught me, was the way people receive tone. Everyone reads and responds to vocal tone in their own way. You can often tell if a person is lying, because there was something off with their tone of voice. In the same way, true vulnerability and truth are also felt viscerally by any listener...... and that's the power that honest singing and honest speech have over an audience.
Here's another twist in the tale.The way a person hears you is also going through the filter of what they can understand and how they are cultured to receive information!
So a dynamic living conditioned voice is being heard and perceived by ears which also have physical aspects and filters of culture.
WHERE DOES ALL OF THIS LEAD?
If our voices reveal our inner selves and our ears only hear in a way our inner selves have been taught to hear, we are facing a phenomenal possibility. We know that both systems are operating with filters. And filters can be changed.
We can re-train ourselves to hear with our hearts. To love music the way the singer on stage does. To feel every breath and every vocal nuance in a phone call with a loved one. To hear the many levels of intention in the voices of our bosses, our idols, our teachers, our children. As we hear openly and lovingly, we will also learn to let ourselves out and let our voices shine out. We will see everyone as just another type of us..... as just another baby who was so similar to us... and just grew up in a different way.
WHO we are, is clearly documented in our voices. Who we are, is also embedded in how we hear others.
I wish we all realize that we are the centres of empathy. and we are the generators of awesome power and truth through the sounds that we emit every moment.
Love Vasundhara Vee