In fiction with sound, you often see that Evil Sounds Deep
or that Power Makes Your Voice Deep
. After all, a deep, imposing voice helps stir fear into your hearts. So what if, instead, the character sounds like he inhaled helium
or never went through puberty? Well, high voices are associated with children, so chances are that your character is meant to evoke a protective instinct as if they were a child.
People in pain tend to use higher pitches also, as high-pitched tones tend to register as innately plaintive and "needy" to the mammalian brain.
The trope applies to characters who are portrayed as vulnerable in addition to having a significantly high voice. Vulnerable character types include all varieties of The Woobie
, The Ingenue
, the Damsel in Distress
, the Lovable Coward
, and the Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain
Because of their excessive emotional and/or physical vulnerability, these characters will typically fulfill a peripheral role of some sort, such as that of a Sidekick
or Love Interest
. In works where such a character is the protagonist, it usually focuses more on virtue than on heroism. They can
be evil, but will not be the Big Bad
, and will be at worst an Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain
or a Minion with an F in Evil
Though this is often more noticeable on a male character than a female character, there are female examples as well. This trope is generally not applicable to characters who shouldn’t have gone through puberty yet, as their voices will be high by default.
Compare Tenor Boy
for heroic characters being portrayed with high voices, though usually not as high as these. Contrast Badass Baritone
, Power Makes Your Voice Deep
, Evil Sounds Deep
, and Vocal Dissonance
. Supertrope of Screams Like a Little Girl
. Not to be confused with Instant Soprano
, in which the high-pitched voice is directly caused
by a vulnerability being targeted
Anime and Manga
Film – Animated
- Inverted in One Piece. Pica is a giant of a man, (and ridiculously huge when using his stone-meld power), easily the most powerful of Don Flamingo's underlings. He also has a comically high-pitched voice. He tends to squash people who laugh at it.
Film – Live Action
- Though a child when introduced, PJ grows into this role in his appearances in A Goofy Movie and its sequel. Still just as much of a pitiful mess as he was since his introduction, he now has peers whose voices have all changed, but his eighteen-year-old self sounds identical to his eleven-year-old self.
- Snow White, one of the youngest and most naďve Disney Princesses, also has a voice that’s very high-pitched.
Live Action TV
- Little Shop of Horrors. Poor Audrey, stuck in an abusive relationship because she doesn't think she deserves anything better. Her voice is also artificially high, even squeaky on occasions.
- Markiplier gives the stammering and cowardly Elsens a high pitched wimpy voice in his playthrough of Off.