In acting, the actor and actress owned 2 voices - the "street voice" (lower pitch) and the "stage voice". Although "both voices themselves are exactly the same...the actor's (or actress') knowledge of this art of voice changing measures his (or her) ability to hold an audience."

Stage comedian Henry E. Dixey explained in an interview back in 1910, "Many of my friends have remarked about the actor's '2 voices', and have wondered why a player seems to talk differently on the stage and off. There is, in reality, no difference in the voice itself, but in the 2 distinct tones required.

"The actor who tries to speak naturally on the stage will be sure to fall in the rut of mumbling his words. There the speech must be forced up and up until it seems to the owner a thing that is shrill and un-harmonious, while to the audience it appears quite natural and moderately low. There must be plenty of wind in the bellows, as it were and the sound must come from the front of the mouth, just as the singer's. When an actor speaks before a large audience he is required to pitch his voice much higher than when addressing a half-filled auditorium. As the sentences are spoken the breath is exhausted so quickly that, unless the player watches carefully, the voice will go down so far as to be almost a whisper. Actors must learn to breathe deeply, too, and take the breaths at the proper intervals, otherwise, at the close of a long speech, he will be exhausted and the annoyance of this will cause him to forget his lines and 'go up' on his next speech.

"If the average businessman would go upon the stage and use there the same tones he brings into play during his daily conversation, no one in the audience would hear him, except, possibly one or two persons in the very front row, and even to them it would come in a mumble. Correct stage speaking can be acquired only by keeping at it continually; by daily practice and constant rehearsals.

"Although English and American actors may have their faults, I believe that they speak better than the actors of the old school, who were given to ranting and shouting and false tones. The actor must have certain standards, too. He must always avoid shouting and always avoid mumbling. He must have the proper pronunciation, which is not always to be secured from dictionaries, but from the accepted usage among persons of culture.

"In Paris the best French is spoken, and so the English players have to adapt their mode of speech to that used among the higher classes there. In America everything is different; there is not much to choose between the English spoken in Boston, New York, Pittsburgh, Washington and other cities. There are so many so-called dialects in America: the southern, the eastern, the western and so on and so on. The American actor must follow the best practice among the cultured of every city he visits. And so, when you hear your favorite player speak his lines on the stage, you will realize what an important part it is of his entire performance. You will be surprised, too, when you hear this same actor speak at his hotel. It will seem like another voice. It is all in the actor's school of experience and study and it is a mighty factor in his success on any stage."

Speech expert Edith Skinner died in 1981. Back in 1937 Edith told the press the perfect mixture was to "take the open quality of speech below the Mason and Dixon line (the boundary line before the American Civil War that separated North from South), but drop the southern drawl; add the vigorous timbre of western speech without the 'burr', and the precision of eastern speech without the Yankee twang. Mix with a certain amount of rhythm, a good natural pitch and good tone placement. Practice constantly – and the result will be that you'll be talking like the President!"

Edith made known, "I use many recording of Mr Roosevelt's addresses in my classes to teach boys and girls how to talk. His speech is really the answer to a prayer. Besides being a purist, without affectation, of course, he has a most intimate way of speaking that inspires confidence."

Of King Edward VIII, after his abdication in 1936, Edith expressed in 1937, "His speech has improved a great deal in a year. Whether or not it's the American influence, the fact is quite clear that he now (in 1937) speaks more as a cosmopolitan than as a Britisher. When he made his first broadcast after taking the throne (in January 1936), he was far more British in his accents and intonation than he was in his farewell message, as a study of many of the words and expressions illustrate. For example, he said 'progress' in the British way with the accent on the first syllable and a long 'o', but when he used the same word in his abdication address (in December 1936), he said the same word with the accent still on the first syllable but the 'o' pronounced as in odd."

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