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Ventriloquist Dummies – Stage and Platform

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It is important for the student to become familiar with many different sounds for his ventriloquist dummies. The sense of hearing is easily deceived-in fact, more easily than any other of the five senses – and in its judgment of sound of any kind relies largely upon the memory of past experiences, although such memory may be exercised involuntarily and sub-consciously.

The student should therefore strive to acquire a just discrimination of the pitch and strength of sounds, no matter of what nature, for everything audible comes under the category of tone or noise, the latter being usually the most difficult to account for.

As an aid to such acquirement, let him place his hands closely and firmly over the ears, when he will experience a curious impression of confused humming, caused by the pressure of the air internally, the sound being something like that heard when, in childhood days, a convoluted sea-shell was placed over our ears and we were told the sound was the roaring of the ocean.

External sounds will now be much modified as regards strength and quality, for the vibrations are prevented from directly acting on the ear-drum. Now if a few words are spoken with the ears thus closed, the sound will reach the auric nerves interiorally by way of the Eustachian tube at the back of the mouth, which conveys the vibration to the aural cavity immediately behind the drum of the ear.

By carefully noting and remembering the sound heard under these conditions the ventriloquist is able to judge whether his voice is so pitched and modified as to resemble one from a distance. He can then use this voice for his ventriloquist dummies.

Note how the same sound differs when the hands are removed and observe how it is obscured when the ears are again stopped. Then with open ears try to imitate the sound which was heard when they were muffled. In this manner try all kinds of tones and noises, and accurately observe their several characteristics. This exercise will bring to the ventriloquist a realization of the range, modulations and capabilities of the human voice such as he has never had before.

The principal difficulty with the beginner is lack of knowledge concerning the latent possibilities of his own vocal powers, but this can be obviated by practice and the use of the method herein suggested. Because of the fact that ventriloquial effects are produced by using the voice in an unnatural manner, such efforts require greater attention and energy than in ordinary speaking, where the mind is intent upon the subject of the conversation, and the words are uttered without conscious effort.

Some one has said that, “As perspective is to the eye, so is ventriloquism to the ear,” meaning that as the eye is deceived by the skill of the artist in so painting a landscape as to give the effect of distance, although the whole composition is limned on a perfectly flat surface, so the ventriloquist deludes the ear by speaking in such a manner that the voice appears in the distance, although created close at hand.

The student should carefully develop this skill to create many effects to delight his audience with his interesting ventriloquist dummies.

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