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Voice and Vocal Tropes

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When a person speaks, what they actually say comprises only about half of what's being communicated. The tone of their voice, or even the sound of the voice itself, can deliver as much or more of a message than the actual words being spoken.

These tropes explore the various ways in which different voices, vocal effects, and vocal deliveries affect how we perceive characters, and how they can drastically change the message a quote conveys.



  • Alto Villainess: Villainesses sound better with an alto voice.
  • Aroused by Their Voice: A character thinks another character's voice is hot.
  • Badass Baritone: Manly badass men speak in fittingly deep voices.
  • Basso Profundo: A singing voice so deep it'll quiver your liver.
  • Beautiful Singing Voice: A character is acknowledged in-universe as having a great singing voice.
  • Broken Echo: Instead of repeating a voice, an echo either refuses to repeat or actually replies.
  • Child-Like Voice: Someone sounds younger than they are.
  • Compelling Voice: A voice with a supernatural compulsion to follow its commands.
  • Computer Voice: Computers in fiction often tend to speak with a feminine voice.
  • Congestion Speak: A character with a stuffy nose has their dialogue written with certain consonants replaced.
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  • Contralto of Danger: Ladies with deeper voices tend to be more badass or dangerous than those with higher voices.
  • Creepy High-Pitched Voice: A character is made creepier with an intensely high-pitched voice.
  • Creepy Monotone: When speaking in a flat, unchanging voice becomes really creepy and off-putting, if not outright terrifying.
  • Cross-Dressing Voices: A male actor provides the voice of a female character, or vice versa.
  • Cute, but Cacophonic: A small or cute character has a shockingly loud voice.
  • Do I Really Sound Like That?: Somebody is surprised by what a recording of their own voice sounds like.
  • Dying Vocal Change: A character's voice dramatically changes as they die.
  • Effeminate Voice: A feminine male character with a soft and high-pitched voice.
  • Electronic Speech Impediment: Computers that are malfunctioning in some way stutter or develop other speech impediments while speaking.
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  • Evil Sounds Deep: Evil characters generally speak with much deeper voices than heroes do.
  • Evil Sounds Raspy: Villains tend to have much harsher, rougher voices than heroes do.
  • Flirty Voice Ploy: A character uses a sexy, flirting voice to manipulate someone.
  • Guttural Growler: A character with a coarse, raspy growl for a voice.
  • Harsh Vocals: The Guttural Growler applied to music.
  • Hearing Voices: A character hears disembodied voices due to insanity or supernatural forces.
  • Heavy Voice: Characters tend to get deeper, thicker voices upon gaining a large amount of weight.
  • Helium Speech: A high-pitched voice effect acquired through either inhaling helium before speaking, or by pitch-shifting a voice recording.
  • Innocent Soprano: The ingenue heroine is almost always a soprano in musical theater.
  • Instant Soprano: Groin Attacks cause the victim to speak or scream at a higher pitch.
  • Larynx Dissonance: The fairly uncommon ability to convincingly sound like a person of the opposite gender.
  • Machine Monotone: Machines tend to speak in monotone as a reflection of their lack of ability to feel emotion.
  • Make Me Wanna Shout: A character can shout so hard, their voice serves as a weapon.
  • Motor Mouth: A character talks extremely fast, sometimes to the point of being unintelligible.
  • Nerdy Nasalness: A nerdy character that has a nasally voice.
  • No Indoor Voice: A character cannot or will not speak quietly, and shouts or near-shouts everything they say.
  • Noisy Duck: A duck is loud and annoying.
  • Perishing Alt-Rock Voice: A vocal style common in indie rock, characterized by weak, exhausted voice and flattened emotional register.
  • Power Echoes: Obtaining supreme magical powers adds several layers of reverb and echo to your voice.
  • Power Makes Your Voice Deep: Obtaining incredible supernatural powers makes your voice drop a few octaves for some reason.
  • Radio Voice: Voices become distorted in some way whenever characters speak over a communication device.
  • Same Voice Their Entire Life: A character keeps their voice actor even in flashbacks, or younger characters keep their voices in flash-forwards.
  • Secret Identity Vocal Shift: Changing the sound of your voice in order to protect your secret identity.
  • Shifting Voice of Madness: An insane character has an inconsistent speech pattern.
  • Shocking Voice Identity Reveal: A mysterious figure's identity is only revealed when their voice is recognized.
  • Simpleton Voice: A halting, quavering, low-pitched voice that signals stupidity in characters.
  • Singing Voice Dissonance: A character's singing voice sounds completely different from their normal speaking voice.
  • Sssssnake Talk: Ekssssagerating your esssesss ssso that you sssound like a hisssssing ssssnake.
  • Soft-Spoken Sadist: A villain with a gentle voice/mannerism, creating an unsettling dissonance.
  • Talk Like a Pirate: Arrr, this is when ye talk like ye been sailin' the seven seas in search of plunder!
  • Tenor Boy: The protagonist of many an opera or musical tends to have the highest register of all the male characters.
  • Tomboyish Voice: A masculine female character with a deep voice.
  • Trrrilling Rrrs: Therrre is a heavy emphasis on this parrrticularrr letterrr...
  • Victorious Roar: When a character just has to let everyone know they won, they do it LOUDLY!
  • Vocal Dissonance: A character speaks in a voice you would not expect coming from someone like them.
  • Vocal Range Exceeded: A person tries to sing outside of their natural range, and their voice cracks.
  • The Voice: A character who is heard speaking, but never physically seen.
  • Voice Changeling: A character can perfectly imitate other voices without changing their physical appearance..
  • Voice Change Surprise: A character speaks in a voice that isn't their own, or makes a weird sound, much to their shock.
  • Voice of the Legion: A character speaks in a voice layered with echoes pitched higher or lower than the main voice, as though multiple entities are speaking through them at once.
  • Voices Are Mental: Characters who swap bodies do swap voices as well.
  • Voices Are Not Mental: Characters who swap bodies do not swap voices as well.
  • Voice-Only Cameo: A cameo role that is only heard and not seen onscreen.