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NLS Other Writings

Art and Science of Audio Book Production

Issued September 1995

Primary Components of Narration

Voice

The most important attributes of the voice, with respect to narration, are acoustical, strength, and stamina. The voice must have good clarity and be free of any acoustical characteristic that might become a distraction. It must have strength sufficient to generate sound levels necessary to achieve clean, clear recordings of the voice. Stamina must be sufficient for the duration of a recording session with no audible tiring and no audible degradation in narration effectiveness. Knowledge of how to effectively generate, modulate, and manipulate the voice and the ability to apply that knowledge are as important as any attribute of the voice itself.

Speech

The most important attributes of speech, with respect to narration, are its acoustical characteristics. Speech must be clear, easily understood, and free of any elements that might become a distraction. Knowledge of how to effectively generate, modulate, and manipulate speech and the ability to apply that knowledge are as important as any attribute of speech.

All normal speech has some degree of regional and cultural coloration, as well as coloration that is characteristic to the individual. These factors usually do not cause problems in understanding between individuals who have similar speech coloration, but understanding can be affected if the colorations
are sufficiently different.

The middle area among coloration extremes is a speech blend easily understood by a majority of people. This middle-area blend that encompasses the most common speech colorations is mainstream speech. It has coloration, but not to a degree that interferes with ease of understanding. Mainstream speech blends can be rich in a variety of colorations and still have the clarity and fluency that make understanding easy and effortless.

Language

The most important attributes of language, with respect to narration, are in-depth knowledge of and fluency in the language in which the text is printed. Knowledge of the language and the ability to apply that knowledge are as important as any attribute of voice and speech.

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Posted on 2014-12-02