Hearing one's own voice
Entendre sa propre voix

© Steve Fraser 1997

Try this exercise if you wish to hear what is communicated through the bones to your hearing:

1) With commercial earplugs, or your fingertips, if you like, plug your outer ears. Then talk. Sing a little. You will hear the 'hum' and 'buzz' part of your voice only.

2) Now, cup your hands in front of your ears so that the fingers are _up_ and the ears are behind the hands. Your ears are cupped the _wrong_ way, picking up the sounds behind you. Talk now, and sing a little. This will allow you to hear the internal hum, plus the _reverberation_ of the room. It will sound more like your usual voice. The sound _will_ be affected by the reflective and absorbtive aspects of the room.

3) Remove your hands, and repeat the exercise. This is your typical voice.

4) Cup your ears with the top of the ears touching the fingertips and with the wrists almost together in front of your mouth. This will make a slight sound channel inside each palm from the mouth to the ears. Talk and sing lightly. This will seem like a very 'overtone rich' sound, since the high frequencies will be fed directly to the ear. During normal singing they never do, as they are the most directional (they go straight out the mouth and propagate in a narrow angle) Low frequencies angle out much more widely.

This is a fun exercise to use with beginning students, as you can use it to show them that they _never_ will hear their own voices the way that listeners will. The inner hum and buzz will always be there, and due to the directionality of the high frequencies, the listener hears sounds in our singing that we cannot. Parenthetically, the location in the room/hall will have an affect as well.

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