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852Re: [tr-m] TR's voice

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  • mike_shaver@nps.gov
    May 4 2:32 PM
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      Michael does well to explain the quirks of the early recording process. The
      speed in which the cylinder was spinning and the play-back speed are not
      always the same. TR does sound higher pitched on the Library of Congress
      recordings on the internet, because they are played back at a higher speed.

      When I first heard several of the recordings, I was actually suprised that
      he was not as high pitched as the biographers would lead you to believe.
      And in listening to professionally remastered recordings of his speeches,
      the comparisons of TR's voice to the actor Richard Dryfuss are not far from
      the mark. If you go on to listen to Eleanor or cousin Franklin after a TR
      sound fest, it is a bit telling how similar the public speaking styles are.

      Also, from the best of my understanding, almost all of the recordings, the
      four 1912 campaign speeches and the one to boys youth organization - the
      hit the line hard speech - were all done in the hallway of his home at
      Sagamore Hill - not the greatest acoustical space.

      In the end, his voice did not carry the day as the indescribable quality of
      his charisma. I say that because his admirers and detractors almost always
      had trouble describing that quality, but could never discount the fact that
      he always seemed to electrify the very space he occupied.

      Mike Shaver

      Michael Cawelti
      <captglvr@pacbell To: tr-m@yahoogroups.com
      .net> cc: (bcc: Mike Shaver/GOIS/NPS)
      Subject: Re: [tr-m] TR's voice
      05/04/2004 09:26
      AM MST
      Please respond to


      It is my opinion that the recording devices of the time were so finicky,
      that the person being recorded had to do things with their voice that
      made it unlike their normal speech (as in speaking slowly, and with
      emphasized diction and straight into the mouth piece). Have you ever
      spoke over a candlestick phone? You have to do the same things with
      your voice in order to be understood.

      Also, I think that the voice that orators used in their speeches was
      different than their normal speaking voice. I've had a great deal of
      experience speaking to a large crowd using no microphone, and I have
      found that I subconsciously raise the timber of his voice to a higher
      range. This carries better over the crowd. I wonder if much to the
      reported "high squeaky voice" that TR was said to possess was reported
      by those who heard him speak out of doors or in a large hall. He was
      probably a tenor, but chose to raise it higher when public speaking in
      order to be better heard.

      And even if he had a high voice, it shouldn't diminish him in our
      estimation. Lincoln was said to have a high pitched voice and the
      ladies don't seem to mind that Tom Selleck has a high timber voice ... :-)

      Michael Cawelti

      gardunne63 wrote:

      >I've heard several of TR's speeches. I know the quality of the
      >recordings some 100 years afer these speeches does not gel with my
      >modern, lazy ears. However, to these ears, TR just doesn't come off
      >as the charismatic, dynamic speaker that I've always read about.
      >Perhaps the hands of time have slowed his rapid-fire delivery and
      >falsetto squeeks. Has anyone else felt disappointed after hearing
      >one of his recorded speeches?
      >But I am a TR fan that thinks he was sexy, even by modern standards.
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