The rhythm and cadence of every written piece is the same for each person who reads it…right? No matter who they are, no matter where they are from, and no matter what possible differences they might have, every single one of the will read or sing each word in EXACTLY THE SAME PRECISE MANNER…or not. Even if two people from the same household read a poem, they will each put their own spin on it. Everyone has their own interpretations, that is what makes the written word such a powerful thing.
Nations can rise and fall with the flick of a pen and when you combine that power with spoken words in the reading or singing of a piece and the entire feel can be manipulated through inflection. Read a recipe out loud (I recommend my newly published on Yahoo! “How To: Juicy Herbal Chicken” http://voices.yahoo.com/how-juicy-herbal-chicken-12587872.html). First, read the ingredients as if you are starving and those are the most beautiful words you have ever seen…then read it again as if you hate chicken, can’t stand the thought of even smelling the cilantro, and never want to eat again. Be angry at the words…see how that works?
One of my personal favorite ways to demonstrate this is to read Dr. Seuss, A.A.Milne, and/or other classic authors such as Alfred, Lord Tennyson or Edgar Allen Poe with different tones and emotions.
Try reading Green Eggs and Ham (Dr. Seuss) as if it makes you terribly sad. Read The Raven by E.A. Poe as if it makes you giggle uncontrollably in places.
Sing A.A. Milne’s Tigger’s song like you are Eeyore or drop the drama and quote The Lady of Shallot (Alfred, Lord Tennyson) as if you were merely reading a bit of a gossip column (Oh look dear, The crazy lady in the tower passed away. Huh.)
Do you see the difference a little change in your voice can make?
Sometimes when I’m reading, I hear the words as spoken by a teacher or an actor, their interpretations coloring even my own private readings. For example, I always hear The Lady of Shallot (and usually read it as) Megan Follows in the movie Anne of Green Gables. And I am willing to bet you that the vast majority of people don’t just read through the Gollum lines in any J.R.R. Tolkien book…precious.
As a slight side note, I would like to also mention the actors who portray beloved characters in live action films. When Robert Downey Jr’s Tony Stark confesses to being Iron Man it is done completely differently than expected, but absolutely perfectly. Here is a man who is a narcissistic play boy that doesn’t care for many people, admitting to himself that he is a hero. Perhaps an entirely flawed and destructive hero, but a hero none-the-less.
When you meet the Ninja Turtles, or when you see yet another James Bond and you almost recognize them…this is an example of the chance every actor is given. With direction, they can change their characters and inject their own spin, their own mannerisms by using the written script as more of a jumping off point.
Case in point—everyone in Harry Potter and Johnny Depp.
p.s. this was supposed to be a video blog and I chickened out…But I would LOVE to hear suggestions or see your own videos of songs or prose that you found to practice this concept with!