Claire Duffy's blog about public speaking and communication (in real life). Speak well, do well!
A voice is like a paintbrush for words. You can use it to underline and emphasise, to show light and shade. You can vary the type of language you use, the pitch, volume, pace, and tone of your voice to engage your audience and keep yourself interesting.
Your voice is an instrument like any other, and using it to best effect takes practice.
James Earl Jones has fantastic raw material: that boomy,smokey bass is natural and it’s made him famous for being the voice of Darth Vader. This beautiful rendition of The Raven shows his versatility and the musicality of his delivery. Notice how slow he goes. His pitch is consistently deep, and his tempo is much slower than any of us would be comfortable with. His silence especially has meaning.
Speaking poetry aloud requires meticulous attention to meter and meaning, pause and pace. You must study the text very closely and convey its sense. Poetry is intense, and challenging. It follows strict rules of form. Poets use unusual vocabulary and sophisticated constructions. They choose words very precisely because they have certain sounds, and arrange them (artificially sometimes) so those sounds produce certain effects.
Because you need to make it clear and beautiful and put meaning in your voice, reading poetry aloud is a great exercise.
Thanks to EGS for this post