Power Makes Your Voice Deep
When a person taps into some mystical wellspring of power
, a common side effect is that their voice immediately plummets several octaves. Naturally, this is a tell-tale sign
that copious amounts of ass are about to be kicked.
When pulled off correctly, the results can be spectacular.
If the subject is a woman, this usually presents itself in the form of their voices sounding huskier and more sensual (remember, Power Is Sexy
), although there are
cases where their voices just become deeper and booming like the men.
May be justified if the power upgrade comes with Hulking Out
or transforming into a One-Winged Angel
: being larger probably corresponds with longer vocal chords, which produce deeper sounds.
Characters who are not, strictly speaking, examples of this trope may consciously alter their voices to sound deeper (or sexier) while in their heroic/villainous personas, in order to sound more impressive (or distracting
) and to protect their identities
to Power Echoes
, Badass Baritone
and Contralto of Danger
, and the neutral cousin of Evil Sounds Deep
and Voice of the Legion
. It's not quite
the same as Badass Baritone
, although these two tropes aren't mutually exclusive. See also Heavy Voice
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Anime and Manga
- In the Marvel Universe, Tyrone Johnson's voice became much lower when he changed to his Cloak superhero identity.
- The comic versions of Ghost Rider all get deep, scary voices once they change from their human identities to the Rider. Typically, it's represented by a change in their speech bubbles (speaking in italics, with the bubbles now outlined in black fire, or speaking in white text in black bubbles, and so on).
- Some incarnations of Superman actually do this as a deliberate affectation to make himself sound less like Clark Kent.
- Averted in Nexus. When Jack's in his demon form, his voice has a metallic edge; much like the Autobots.
- Blackheart from the movie Ghost Rider gets this magical power once he summons 1000 souls into his body. That may have been the only benefit from the whole deal; unless standing around getting blown up so you can slowly reform again is highly sought after in demon society.
- Done for humorous effect in Batman Forever:
"For if knowledge is power, then A GOD AM I!
) "Was that over the top? I can never tell!"
- Galadriel's voice got pretty deep (and reverbed) in the first The Lord of the Rings film when she was imagining what she would do with the kind of power provided by the One Ring. However, Galadriel is already plenty powerful, so all the deep voice and special effects that went with it were her own doing.
- In the book, her normal speaking voice is described as "clear and musical, but deeper than woman's wont."
- When Tia Dalma once again becomes the sea goddess Calypso in Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End, her voice grows extremely deep and reverbed. It could be because she was also extremely pissed off. Growing to a size so massive that she dwarfed the Black Pearl and all of its crew might've also had something to do with it.
Live Action Television
- Doctor Fate in Smallville sounds deeper than Kent Nelson.
- Willow in Buffy the Vampire Slayer gets amped up on mystical magic powers and Alyson Hannigan speaks the character with a slightly lower and slower tone and speed.
- Bailey from Suite Life on Deck when she's possessed by Princess Xaria. This also happens to London in the same episode, but as a closing gag.
- Anyone in Stargate SG-1, when possessed by a Goa'uld symbiote, although it's actually the Goa'ulds invoking the trope. They can use normal voices if they want to, but they want people to think that they're all-powerful gods, so they change their voice to match people's expectations.
- Merlin gets into this when Merlin begins speaking Dragon-language. His regular magic doesn't usually deepen his voice, but the dragon calls do.
- Supernatural's Misha Collins made a deliberate decision to have his voice as Castiel, the extremely powerful angel, be deeper than his normal voice—it was a one-shot character, right? Four seasons later he kind of regrets it. He got to use his normal voice in one episode, in which the man Castiel has been using as a vessel appears.
- Doctor Who:
- In "The Evil of the Daleks", the Emperor Dalek has a noticeably deeper voice, modulated at a lower frequency, than the other Daleks. (Avoided with the normal Supreme Daleks, who tend to have higher-pitched voices than the other Daleks, making them sound like they're on the verge of snapping from stress.)
- There are some clever Justified examples in "The Robots of Death", when the Doctor gets Leela to release helium into a room in order to rob Taren of his Compelling Voice. He takes full command of the situation, the villain and Leela get really squeaky and the Doctor mocks them for it, but his own voice remains as deep and velvety as ever (Power Keeps Your Voice Deep). Apparently, being a Time Lord gives him 'a larynx that can put up with anything', though Rule of Cool is the obvious Doylist factor. We also get Lack Of Power Makes Your Voice High, as the amount of gas and thus the effect of the helium on Taren's voice increases as Taren loses control of his robots and thus his power, until he literally squeaks himself to death.
- This trope's roots may have sprouted from the radio drama The Adventures of Superman, in which the same voice actor used his tenor range for Clark Kent and his baritone range for the superhero. Most exemplified when, in order to show that Clark Kent was changing outfits, the voice actor would start out in his Clark Kent tenor saying "This looks like a job," then his voice would drop nearly an octave and he'd finish with "for Superman!" This may have been the inspiration for the trope cropping up in other works as part of how Clark maintains his Secret Identity with no props except the glasses.
- (Kajin no) Soki in Tatsunoko vs. Capcom. For his Level 3 Hyper, he assumes his Black Oni Onimusha form, donning a mask with red eyes and a mane of white hair. His voice goes from "Boisterous Bruiser" to "Holy hell! He sounds like Satan!" Said voice is also booming and incomprehensible, but his voice drops from bass to baritone in no time flat.
- In Devil May Cry 2 (the one nobody talks about), when Dante's health is at critical levels (his lifebar will be flashing red), activating his Devil Trigger will cause Dante to morph into a stronger, bigger, invincible alternate form (Devil Trigger Majin Form) able to mow do anything in the game with ease. While all of Dante's Devil Triggers echo (except for in the first game), this one has a much deeper, demonic sounding voice.
- In Devil May Cry 3, Arkham manages to unlock the dormant power of the Sparda sword. Three guesses on what happens to his voice.
- Nelo Angelo (aka a Brainwashed and Crazy Vergil) has an unnaturally low voice. According to The History of DMC, Mundus destroyed Vergil's original body and placed his soul into an artificial, yet powerful construct. Compare this to Vergil in 3, where his original form had a slightly raspy, but still normal-sounding voice.
- Arius, the Big Bad of 2, gets a deeper voice when he's killed and revived as a demon by Argosax's power.
- Invoked in Jak 3, where the Precursors, revealed to be fuzzy little Ottsels with not-so-impressive voices, use a voice-manipulating device to get that "uber powerful ancient" boom. They know they wouldn't be taken seriously without it.
- In Guild Wars: Nightfall, Kormir's voice becomes layered over a less high voice when she replaces Abaddon as the God of Secrets.
- When Link wears the Fierce Deity Mask in The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask, he physically becomes older, and therefore his voice becomes deeper.
- In Viewtiful Joe 2, when Blade Master Alastor is defeated, the Black Film controls/empowers him, warping him into the even more demonic Underworld Emperor Alastor. When the transformation is complete, his voice quickly deepens. Cue Round 2, where he has a slew of new tricks, more power and defense, and a much larger healthbar.
- In Castlevania: Rondo of Blood, Dracula's voice deepens mid-word as he transforms into a massive bat-creature for the second part of the battle. Conversely, when that form is defeated, he roars in pain, and his voice spontaneously rises back to normal as his transformation is forced to revert.
- Dota 2:
- Undying, a zombie whose ultimate is an ability which transforms him into a much beefier version of his regular self. That includes his voice. (This soundset can be heard from 1:14.)
- Earthshaker's voice is automatically ridiculously deep, and you better believe that he lives up to his name.
- One of Terrorblade's abilities also transforms him into a demon, which obviously simultaneously makes him both more powerful and makes his voice even deeper, too.
- Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft couples this with one card's mechanic. The card, Questing Adventurer (3 mana, 2/2, gains +1/+1 for every card you play), has his voice grow deeper as his effect stacks.
- Inverted in the Eskimo Bob episode "The Swarm." When Yuck absorbs all his clones and takes on his One-Winged Angel form, his voice actually becomes more high-pitched.
- Mike Morningstar from his debut in Ben 10: Alien Force, where he uses the full extent of his powers after revealing himself to be the villain of that episode and siphoning off of Gwen's mana. His skin turns gold, while his voice noticeably deepens and gains an echo effect. When depowered, Mike's voice returns to normal. As Darkstar, however, it's back to said deepness, but this is a subversion, as it's an effect of his Cool Mask.
- Both He-Man and She-Ra's voices get significantly deeper when they do their Transformation Sequences. Overlaps with Older Alter Ego.
- The Superman Theatrical Cartoons did the same thing as the radio serials (using the same actor, no less).
- In ThunderCats (2011), Lion-O's voice gets deeper whenever he uses the Sword of Omens and shouts "ThunderCats, ho!"
- In Ralph Bakshi's animated Spider-Man series from the 1960s, Peter Parker deepens his voice while donning the Spidey suit.
- In Spider-Man: The Animated Series, Black Cat's voice gets deeper when she transforms or uses her powers.
- In Iron Man: Armored Adventures, Pepper incorrectly answers the test in the trial for uncovering the fifth Makulan ring. This results in her being taken over by a volcanic entity (which was previously controlling Rhodey), gaining fire powers and a booming voice, and going into a berserk fury while shouting lines like, "You are not worthy!" as the energies within her body threaten to cause worldwide volcanic eruptions that will eventually blot out the sun.
- When Avatars such as Aang and Korra go into the Avatar State, this is the general effect—though it's because the spirits of hundreds of past lives are speaking through them, all at once.
- Truth in Television, funnily enough. Men will subconsciously deepen their voices if they feel confident or superior to the person they're talking to. (And the other way around—if you feel inferior, your voice gets higher.) Has to do with establishing dominance. Hence, not only will a person with a very deep, gravely voice subconsciously be seen as a powerful individual, BEING powerful will also cause you to lower your voice without realizing it.
- Logically, a larger person or animal will naturally have the deeper voice, simply by having larger proportionate vocal cords. You don't see many tall men or women with high-pitched voices, even when they're not trying to sound powerful or threatening.
- Male frogs and toads developed their extensible chin pouches so that their mating calls would sound deeper and more resonant. This suggests larger body size to females, which seek out the biggest males to father their offspring (because only males with a good set of genes live long enough to grow big).