Friday, August 22, 2008


Vocal power!

It's important as an actor and as a martial artist.

The martial artist accompanies technique with a vocal expression, or "ki-ai."* The actor delivers clarity
of speech through a similar vocal projection.**

An effective technique and character line will be delivered with proper attention to breath, appropriate accompanying physical gesture, and finishing the vocal projection with an elongated vowel.

If the word to be said ends in a consonant, it should be finished with an elongated, unvoiced vowel propelled by breath.***

Finishing a vocal expression with an elongated vowel carries the vibration of voice. This vibration has a tangible effect. It may stop an attacker in his tracks. It may induce an audience to weep. It will certainly redirect focus.

A harsh or lazy consonant at the end of a projection will cut off the vibration of the voice. This will weaken the inten
tion of the speaker, lessen the clarity of the intention, and cause tension in the jaws and neck.

The appropriate physical gesture may be a nod of the head on stage; a kick to the groin of an assailant; a yawn.

The line or the technique should be delivered at the top or the middle of the breath. When there is breath in reserve, there is power. It is an ancient secret truth that an attacker is most vulnerable when inhaling. Energetically, one receives when breathing in and sends forth when exhaling.

By practicing this holistic method of vocal projection, you will cultivate a better stage pr
esence and more effective command of voice. It will elevate your audition, performance, awareness, and self - defense skills and empower your intentions.

Peace. ~Jason

Thanks to Cookie at MSCD for inspiring this post with your recent lecture!

*Ki-ai = "union of intention with physical existence." At the advanced levels, the ki-ai may be silent while possessing the characteristics discussed here, minus the voice.

**There are times when an actor's expression may be silent while possessing the characteristics discussed here, minus the voice.

***Seek an expert.

1 comment:

Bonzuko said...

I liked how the two pics here are of animals. An acting prof of mine would tell us to watch animals make sound--animals have absolute integration of voice,body,and emotion--they never cut themselves off, not being rational beings. When you look at an animal speaking, watch how deep their breath is and how their voice resonates through their whole body.