How do you describe someone’s voice? I don’t mean a writer’s “voice.” I mean an actual voice…how do you describe the timbre, the pitch, the texture of a person’s VOICE???

My mother had our home movies put on a CD for my brother and me for Christmas. My brother and I talked over the weekend and he commented that it’s too bad there was no sound on these movie (hey, they’re OLD movies!) because he can’t remember two of our grandparents’ voices. He sees these grandparents on the CD, but he can’t hear them.

I never really thought about it until my brother told me he didn’t have those memories, but I remember our grandparents’ voices. (I’m almost 9 years older than my brother, so I was 12 when these grandparents died…he was only 3.) I can still hear the voices of all my grandparents in my head very clearly. I tried to describe them for my brother (as a writer, I SHOULD be able to describe someone’s voice), but I’m not sure I succeeded.

How do you describe a person’s voice?

How to describe a voice

3 thoughts on “How to describe a voice

  • January 26, 2009 at 9:31 pm

    I started thinking about this myself . . . imagining my parents/grandparents’ voices. I can hear them, but describe? That’s hard!

    What comes to mind: gravelly voice, a ‘lilt’ to her voice, smooth as silk, hesitant, etc. But still, that doesn’t really describe all the nuances of a voice, does it? Let me know if you figure it out!

    • January 27, 2009 at 7:40 pm

      My grandfather had a gravelly voice, too…that’s what I told my brother. I also said he was a smoker and he talked like a smoker. But he didn’t have a scary sounding voice. He was a serious person who believed in hard work, but also happy, for the most part. And you could hear all of that in his voice. I THINK that gave him something of an image…but whether or not it’s an accurate image, I’ll never know.

      Voice changes as you age, too, did you notice that? I was struck a couple years ago by the sound of my best friend from school’s voice. I knew that voice so well growing up. I still hear it. Then life got in the way and we didn’t have an opportunity to see or talk to each other for a number of years. When I talked to her on the phone for the first time a couple years ago, I didn’t recognize her voice. Well, I did in a way…she sounded like her mother!

  • February 25, 2011 at 12:25 pm

    You were very brave to do this interview, Dori, and you handled it well.

    What’s wrong with people that they have to send nasty-grams? They need to find something useful to do.


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