Thursday, November 15, 2012

The next voice you hear ...

Now that the election is finally over it's time to return to more important things -- like Writing for the Ear.

To be honest, all of the writing that went into all of those campaign commercials was wasted on my ear. I hardly listened to a word.

But I did notice the voiceovers. Male or female, the narrators of political advertising -- particularly the attack ads -- sound like their throats are lined with flannel. They're like your aunt or uncle who took you aside at family gatherings to warn you about certain relatives: "See that one? He's lost every dollar anyone ever gave him, beginning with his school book money."

It must be some comfort to voiceover talent to know that, even when their chords have lost much of their timber, a market still exists. A growing market, in fact.

Speaking of voices ...

A study published last week reported that a captive beluga whale in San Diego began to sing apparently after spending time close to people. It died several years ago, but left behind a recording that sounds like a person in the shower.

Scientists say an Asian elephant at a South Korean zoo also imitates human speech, saying five Korean words that are readily understood by people who speak the language.

The male elephant, named Koshik, invented an unusual method of sound production that involves putting his trunk in his mouth and manipulating his vocal tract.

However, that in itself is not unusual. As we saw in the last election, many politicians produce sounds by putting their foot in their mouth.

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