Smooth Talkers

L'Homme Elégant, by Edouard Touraine, 1912

Two of the smoothest voices of all time: Frank Sinatra and Ella Fitzgerald, a great lady who had the voice of an angel.

Recently, I wrote an editorial lamenting the sad state of women's voices. It is entitled,
"Gals are Growling: What Gives?"
In it, I recommend that today's women listen to yesterday's smooth-talking ladies in movies. Today's voices often sound like trombones filled with cottage cheese, rather than like euphonious flutes. Listening to current newscasts, television shows and advertisements from American media will demonstrate this to the conscious listener, whereas in previous decades, women spoke without lowering their voices to gravelly, guttural levels. I've just begun to find examples of smooth-voiced, elegant women of the past, and here are two of them:

The Elegant, Dignified Loretta Young Reads in a Melodious Voice

A mature Joan Fontaine explains Bufferin's good qualities, in a voice that has gravitas without the gravel.

A highly accomplished woman with one of the most beautiful voices of all time: Julie Andrews

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Julie Andrews

Andrews, March 2003.
BornJulia Elizabeth Wells
1 October 1935 (age 75)
OccupationActress, singer, author
Years active1945–present (stage)
1949–present (screen)
SpouseTony Walton (m. 1959–1967)(divorced)
Blake Edwards (m. 1969–2010)(his death)
Dame Julia Elizabeth AndrewsDBE (née Wells;[1] born 1 October 1935)[2] is an English film and stage actress, singer, and author. She is the recipient of Golden GlobeEmmyGrammyBAFTAPeople's Choice AwardTheatre World AwardScreen Actors Guild and Academy Award honours. Andrews was a former British child actress and singer who made her Broadway debut in 1954 with The Boy Friend, and rose to prominence starring in other musicals such as My Fair Lady and Camelot, and in musical films such as Mary Poppins (1964), for which she won the Academy Award for Best Actress, and The Sound of Music (1965): the roles for which she is still best-known. Her voice was damaged by a throat operation in 1997.

Listen to another beautiful voice from the Sound of Music, Charmian Carr, Elegant Smooth-Talker

Charmian Carr's Inspiring Web-Page

Listen to Some Velvet Morning, by Lee Hazlewood and the Lovely, Smooth-Voiced Nancy Sinatra

The Elegant Nancy Sinatra
Smooth Talker and Elegant Singer

Gals are Growling: What Gives?

Posted at Elegant Survival by M-J de Mesterton on September 28, 2010 at 4:49 PM
Every time I am exposed to radio or television--and that isn't often--I am puzzled by a new trend in women's speech. If one has never ceased monitoring popular U.S. broadcasting outlets, entertainment and media advertising, it may not be apparent to them.  Being in the habit of avoiding American pop-culture--and only occasionally witnessing the stuff--like Rip van Winkle, I have suddenly awakened in a world that has changed drastically. Women, especially those under fifty, are chirping their sentences like Valley Girls, and culminating them in a very fatigued, strained-sounding growl. This guttural sound is not feminine, and I don't know whence its inspiration, nor whom they are attempting to emulate. Listening to a paragraph spoken by one of these hapless victims of fashion is like travelling ten miles of bad gravel-road.

There is a better way to speak, which simply involves modulating one's voice in a soft tone all the way to the end of each sentence, leaving that grating growl to the dogs and to your male counterparts. Men really don't think it's sexy. I've heard gents describe this new manner of female-speaking in the most unflattering of terms. For examples of attractive feminine speech, old movies are instructive. Even Lauren Bacall didn't do the gritty, guttural growl. This new way of talking must have been in fashion for quite some time while I "slept," because it takes a concerted effort to put into effect--in fact, some of us find it impossible to imitate. Maintaining a pleasant and natural tone, terminating your phrases with a definite stop instead of an audible question-mark, is a winning habit. Dragging the last syllable out longer than those in the rest of the sentence is bad diction, and ought to be avoided. I don't like to preach--leave that to other writers. That said, I occasionally feel the need to make a suggestion. Mocking some pop-tart who is piled-out on coke, booze and cigarettes is a losing proposition in any facet of your life, so it would be good for you girls to get the gravel out of your gullets, and start sounding like real women again!

©M-J de Mesterton 2010

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