Help in a crisis during Coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic

During this COVID-19 pandemic there may be changes in the way some of our services work. Contact the service directly to check how services are being delivered and follow their advice.

Some of our services now offer video consultations. You should speak to your clinician if this is something you would like them to consider. You can find out more about video consultation here.

Visiting: Contact the ward you wish to visit in advance for guidance and instructions for a safe visit. 

If you need help in a mental health crisis during the COVID-19 pandemic outside office hours please contact our crisis team: Help in a crisis

For other medical advice and support contact your GP or visit NHS 111

Only visit your local Emergency Department for serious life-threatening conditions that need immediate medical attention including persistent severe chest pain, loss of consciousness, acute confused state, severe breathlessness, severe blood loss, serious burns or suspected stroke.

Intonation and Rhythm Exercises

Explore varying your pitch in greetings and sentences. Stretching vowels in your words and sentences.

These exercise will help to improve the intonation and rhythm of your voice, making it more varied in pitch and rhythm rather than monotone.

 

Practice:

  • The first three sections will show three different pitch contour patterns that we can use in our words and phrases.
  • First, we will practice singing several words and phrases at your comfortable singing pitch on three different intonation patterns. Afterwards; we move on to using these patterns when speaking. We will stretch parts of your words to create a more melodic rhythm, to avoid having a monotone voice.

 

Remember to:

  • Get into a relaxed and comfortable posture
  • Focus on using diaphragmatic breathing when you are singing and speaking in these exercises
  • Only use a high range that feels comfortable to you
  • Keep a bottle of water on hand so  you can keep well hydrated

Good morning...

This intonation pattern starts from a medium pitch, then moves to a higher pitch, and then drops back down to a medium pitch.

good morning

The video below shows the spectrogram of Ioanna singing this pattern and describing how it looks on PRAAT.

Chris demonstrates this singing pattern below while using the ‘m-hm’ tuning sound.

How are you...

For this pattern you want to start from a medium pitch, move up to a higher pitch, and then finish with your highest comfortable pitch.

This is an intonation pattern we use when asking a question as it always rises upwards at the end.

The below videos show the spectrogram analysis and a demonstration of the exercise.

how are you

Thank you...

This intonation pattern starts from a high comfortable pitch, and then moves down to a medium pitch.

The below videos show the spectrogram analysis and a demonstration of the exercise.

thank you

 

Speaking: Words and Phrases - Pitch

The video shows Ioanna demonstrating how to use the pitch contours from the singing exercise into speaking.

Now practice speaking the same word or phrase with the same intonation contour as in the  singing exercises.

Remember to use ‘m-hm’ to tune your voice before starting.

Speaking: Words and Phrases - Rhythm

The video shows Ioanna demonstrating how to elongate your rhythm by stretching vowels in parts of your words.

Now practice speaking the same words and phrases (example: ‘She was so lovely’) and remember to stretch a vowel in at least one of those words.

Remember to use ‘m-hm’ to tune your voice before starting.

Speaking: Sentences

In this next exercise you can practice varying your pitch and rhythm to highlight a word in a longer sentence. Once again, this will help to create a more varied voice and sound less monotone.

The shows Ioanna demonstrating how to highlight different words in the same sentence by varying her pitch and elongating the vowel in that word.

Now practice this exercise. You can use the sample sentences on the next page and/or make some of your own sentences you may tend to use in your daily routine.

Remember to tune before starting by using the “m-hm”

 

Sample Sentences

My birthday is tomorrow
My birthday is tomorrow
My birthday is tomorrow

I have to work on Thursday
I have to work on Thursday
I have to work on Thursday

I have to work at 8am on Friday
I have to work at 8am on Friday
I have to work at 8am on Friday
I have to work at 8am on Friday

Homework / Recommendations

We recommend aiming for an average frequency of 200Hz when you practice the tuning sound.

This ensures that your vocal folds are working at a comfortable pitch level.

This also helps to avoid speaking at a higher pitch that is effortful and may strain your vocal folds. It also sounds more natural to listeners.

It helps to prevent dropping below the ambiguous pitch level.

We recommend that you practice the vocal warm ups and resonance exercises daily as this will help you adapt to your new voice. 15-20 minutes per day is adequate time for practice.

Using PRAAT

We recommend using PRAAT (Paul Boersma & David Weenink (2018). This is a voice analysis software that is free to download on a desktop and laptop.

You can use this to track your progress with tuning your ‘m-hmm’ sound to your optimum pitch and resonance.

  1. Go to www.praat.org and download the free software
  2. Open Praat and you’ll see two windows – you’ll be using the window on your left
  3. To create a new file, click on new and record mono sound
  4. Click on record and record your voice
  5. Then click on stop and save to list
  6. Your recorded file now appears as sound untitled (left window)
  7. Click on sound untitled and then view and edit
  8. Your voice (acoustic signal) appears on the top of the new window and the voice analysis on the bottom
  9. Click pitch and show pitch and a blue line should appear in the bottom part of the window
  10. Click intensity and show intensity and a yellow line should appear in the bottom part of the window
  11. To view your vocal pitch and intensity drag the mouse on the part that you’d like to view – this highlights the acoustic signal – your average pitch should now appear on the right side of the window in blue letters (e.g., 185 Hz).  To zoom in click in and to zoom out click out
  12. Click save and save as wav. file to save your recording
  13. To open an existing file click open and open long sound file

 

How to analyse your voice?

When you highlight the voice recording in PRAAT, you will get an average number for your pitch (Hz). This will be on the right hand side of the spectrogram which is at the bottom half of the screen.

A spectrogram is the visual representation of your sounds.

PRAAT will show you your pitch with a blue line, and your volume with a yellow line.

For a more feminine voice quality, you should aim to see the blue line (pitch) above the yellow line (volume).

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