Voice, Pitch and a Small Experiment

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Friday 20th September 2019

This month I read an interesting article about voice, pitch and the gender bias present in recording and broadcast technology. Out of curiosity, I tried to find out what the pitch or frequency of my regular speaking voice is. It turns out it is F# below Middle C. I have an alto singing voice, although I haven’t sung in a choir since I was eighteen, so the range doesn’t surprise me but the pitch is interesting.

My method was quite simple and I’m sure there are more scientific and accurate ways of discovering the average pitch of a voice using recording software which I may try by recording myself reading a passage and passing the file through Audacity, but for now simple will do. Here’s how I did it. I spoke out loud at my normal volume, choosing a word with a good vowel sound on the end (‘hi’ or ‘hello’ works well), turned the word into a sustained hum and then, sitting at the piano, found the corresponding note.

I find it quite interesting that my voice matches F#, because I find myself drawn to musical compositions in C# minor quite a lot. Perhaps it’s the familiarity of the pitch, or perhaps it’s just because I never grew out of my emo and pop-punk phase and lots of bands write songs in C# minor, I’m not too sure. Still, it was an interesting little experiment. I’ll be testing Ed’s voice next to see where he lies on the keyboard and whether he’s in a complementary key (or not…)

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