Experiencing Speech: A Skills-Based, Panlingual Approach to Actor Training
eBook - ePub

Experiencing Speech: A Skills-Based, Panlingual Approach to Actor Training

A Beginner's Guide to Knight-Thompson SpeechworkÂź

Andrea Caban, Julie Foh, Jeffrey Parker

  1. 208 pages
  2. English
  3. ePUB (adapté aux mobiles)
  4. Disponible sur iOS et Android
eBook - ePub

Experiencing Speech: A Skills-Based, Panlingual Approach to Actor Training

A Beginner's Guide to Knight-Thompson SpeechworkÂź

Andrea Caban, Julie Foh, Jeffrey Parker

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À propos de ce livre

Experiencing Speech: A Skills-Based, Panlingual Approach to Actor Training is a beginner's guide to Knight-Thompson SpeechworkÂź, a method that focuses on universal and inclusive speech training for actors from all language, racial, cultural, and gender backgrounds and identities.

This book provides a progression of playful, practical exercises designed to build a truly universal set of speech skills that any actor can use, such as the ability to identify, discern, and execute every sound found in every language on the planet. By observing different types of flow through the vocal tract, vocal tract anatomy, articulator actions, and how these components can be combined, readers will understand and recreate the process by which language is learned. They will then be introduced to the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) and will practice using the IPA for narrow transcription of speech sounds. The book also offers both an intellectual and physical understanding of oral posture and how it contributes to vocal characterization and accent work. This approach to speech training is descriptive, giving students a wide and diverse set of speech sounds and skills to utilize for any character in any project, and it establishes a foundation for future accent study and acquisition.

Experiencing Speech: A Skills-Based, Panlingual Approach to Actor Training is an excellent resource for teachers and students of speech and actor training, as well as aspiring actors looking to diversify their speech skills.

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Informations

Éditeur
Routledge
Année
2021
ISBN
9781000376579

PART ONE
THE PHYSICAL ACTIONS OF SPEECH

MODULE ONE
EXPERIENCING FLOW

Do you have your veil of ignorance on? Are you willing to forget what you know about language? This is our project. Coming to this project with fresh eyes, ears, mouths, and hearts will reap benefits beyond your imagination. Are you ready?
On our path toward language, let’s start with the first step.

What Is Sound?

To state it over-simply: sound is a type of energy produced by vibration. When an object vibrates, it causes movement in the air particles, creating sound waves. A bat striking a ball creates sound waves, as does a raindrop striking the ground, as does a tree falling in the forest. These sound waves travel through the air, flowing in an undulating pattern, until eventually the energy that created the wave dissipates and the sound fades into silence.
While it’s possible to perceive sound waves in other ways, the primary mechanism that hearing individuals use to interpret sound is the ears. Sound waves strike the ears and enter the ear canal, hit the eardrum and three very tiny bones (hammer, anvil, stirrup) and a tiny seashell-shaped repository filled with fluid and hairs (cochlea), before meeting the auditory nerve and sending those sound signals to the brain as information that can be understood and processed. A complicated procedure, but one that occurs almost all the time, and at an astonishing rate of speed! Simply put, sound waves enter your body where they are interpreted into meaning.
Figure 1.1 Sound Waves Become Meaning
Figure 1.1 Sound Waves Become Meaning
For hearing individuals, sound is a key means of experiencing the world. The booms, pops, crackles, and other periodic interruptions of air flow can be shaped into sounds that carry important intellectual and emotional information. From the sound of a sizzling skillet to air conditioner rattles to elevator music, sound is a constant presence in our lives. It’s very likely that your lives have had a personal soundtrack as far back as you remember. Your ears and brains are so remarkably developed that you can pick up a great deal of information from a variety of sources. If prompted, you could recall and describe a number of meaningful sounds from your past, or even describe any number of sounds occurring at present. Let’s begin there.

Exercise 1: Experiencing Sounds Occurring Right Now

If you feel comfortable doing so, close your eyes so you may suppress visual information for a moment. Let your attention be in this room, within these four walls. What do you hear? For now, keep your observations to yourself, but interrogate the sounds in the room, rather than labeling them by their sources. For instance, you might hear something you could identify as the heating or cooling system. But before you reach the conclusion, “That’s the A/C!” try to describe the actual sounds it’s making. Be creative in how you describe them. Do you hear a whirring? A rattle? A high-pitched hum?
After you’ve listened to the room, keep your eyes closed and expand your attention to include other parts of the building. What do you hear?
After you’ve listened to the building, expand your attention to include outside the building. What do you hear?
Then come back to the room again. What do you hear now?
Open your eyes.
ifig0001.webp
Reflection
Can you describe your experience of that exercise?
Just as all of these sounds are shaping your current experience, an actor’s voice shapes the experience of an audience. The voice is a remarkably complex and powerful instrument capable of flexibility and fluidity. That’s right: your voice is an instrument.

Do you mean my voice is literally an instrument, or are you just being metaphorical?

It’s really an instrument! Every musical instrument (including your voice) has similar components: a power source (something that initiates), an oscillator (something that vibrates), and a modifier (something that shapes the sound).
For example, a piano:
  • The power source is the initiating energy of the finger striking a key, which causes a hammer to then strike one of the 88 strings.
  • The oscillators are the strings that vibrate.
  • The varying lengths of the strings are the modifiers that produce different frequencies of sound, which we perceive as pitches.

Okay, what is the power source for the voice?

Good question! It’s the flow of your breath. We will refer to it as the flow for short.
Figure 1.2 Katie S’s Vocal Tract
Figure 1.2 Katie S’s Vocal Tract

What is the oscillator, or the thing that vibrates?

The vocal folds, sometimes called the vocal cords. These folds are located in your voice box.

What is the modifier, or the thing that shapes the flow of sound?

The vocal tract—the flexible tube that is the distance between your lips and nose and your voice box. Take a look at this student’s vocal tract. Their name is Katie S!
In music, the modifier shapes flow into a wide variety of pitches. In vocal communication, our vocal tract shapes flow into a wide variety of sounds that we call 
 wait for it 
 speech. That wide variety of vocal tract shapes is what this text is focused on.

What makes up the vocal tract?

Muscles! Also some bone, connective tissue like cartilage and tendons, and mucous membrane. A wonderful way to consciously interocept (or sense the inside) of the vocal tract is to track the journey of breath.
Your Three AAA’s
You have A utonomy, A gency, and the A bility to choose your level of engagement in this work. We will ask you to explore various inquiries, exercises, and experiments within this text designed to test the boundaries of your comfort. It’s up to you to decide when you’ve hit a boundary you’re not able or willing to cross. These boundaries may shift throughout the training process of an actor, and certainly throughout the lifetime of an actor. So, you may want to revisit a boundary from time to time that previously felt fixed or immovable. You may not agree with your past self’s boundaries!

Exercise 2: Experiencing the Flow of Breath

Check in with your body. Make any adjustments you might need to be more comfortable.
Begin with your eyes closed and your jaw relaxed open. Find some length in your spine; let your tailbone drop and your head and neck float upwards.
Take a moment to notice what you notice. Bring your thoughts into the room, in this moment. Then consciously turn your thoughts towards observing your breath.
After a moment you may note that you don’t have to “take” a breath, or actively suck in air—your body knows how to breathe perfectly well without your conscious control. Observe your breath’s involuntary rhythm. Feel which parts of your body rise and fall. And notice whether your inhalation and exhalation create noise or are essentially silent.
Explore what adjustments you might make with your body to make more sound with your breath. How much effort are you using to make more sound with your breath? What is the least amount of effort you need to make more sound?
Then, let your breath be silent. Notice what adjustments you may have made to arrive at that silent breath.
Where are the ports of entry for your breath? Is breath entering through your mouth? Your nose? Both?
If your mouThis open, try closing it and breathing in and out ONLY through your nose. Feel that the flow is most likely cooler as you breathe in and warmer as you breathe out (unless your environment is significantly hotter than your body temperature). Tune into the cooler sensation to track the breath’s journey into your nostrils and down into your throat. After breathing through your nose for a few breath cycles, let your lips part so you can breathe through your mouth. See if you can breathe ONLY through your mouth. Do you need to plug your nose to do so? Or can you figure out another way?
Again, use the air temperature to observe the sensation of the breath through the vocal tract. Then, take some time going back and forth between breathing only through your nose and only through your mouth. How are they different? Now, try breathing through both your mouth and nose at the same time. Can you do it?
ifig0001.webp
Reflection
Some things to consider: What might you engage to change the breath’s port of entry? Does the breath move faster through the nose, or the mouth? Does one feel more comfortable for you than the other? Do you have a preference? Was your breath silent as you were exploring the different ports of entry? Or was there some sound?

Exercise 3: Increasing the Flow

In the last exercise, we encouraged you to let the breath be invo...

Table des matiĂšres

  1. Cover
  2. Half Title
  3. Title Page
  4. Copyright Page
  5. Dedication Page
  6. Contents
  7. Acknowledgments
  8. Preface
  9. Teacher Introduction
  10. Student Introduction
  11. Part One The Physical Actions of Speech
  12. Part Two The Possibilities in Language
  13. Part Three Transcribing Speech
  14. Part Four Speechwork Is Acting Work
  15. Bibliography
  16. Appendix
  17. Index