No, I’m not hearing voices in my head – at least not yet. Instead, I’m thinking about how our voice defines us in some ways and is totally befuddling in others.

First, for the befuddlement. Many of us have heard someone on the radio – a disk jockey or “personality” and we picture in our minds’ eye how they must look. Almost always, their physical appearance is a huge shock and we’re left with the overwhelming sense that somehow that voice and that person weren’t meant to be together.

Wayne’s World
The ultimate in singing in the car.

Of course the primary commercial use of a voice is for music. Inside most of us is a frustrated singer. Admit it – you try to sing along with your favorites on the radio when you’re alone in the car. Unfortunately, most of us just don’t have what it takes. For guys especially, it’s a challenge.

Pre-teen boys can’t wait for their voice to change, but the downside is that after it does, most can’t sing tenor, and tenors get everything that’s good. They sing lead – Denny Doherty of the Mamas and the Papas is a classic example, as is Steve Perry the original lead singer for Journey.

Billy Joel once commented that he wished he hadn’t written so many high notes when he was young that he has to try to hit now that he’s older. Welcome to the world the rest of us inhabit, Billy.

Even in classical music, the tenors get an unfair share. They are always cast in the role of the heroes. To quote Frosch from Die Fliedermaus, “Does it make sense for the guy with the highest voice to be the one that gets the girl?”

Back when we first met, my wife commented that listening to me speak on the phone was nice because I had a “radio voice.” At least she didn’t say I had a “radio face.” However, my radio voice is severely limited to about a five note range when I try to sing.

But even with that, when I’m making a long drive home late at night and I’m trying to stay awake, I sing along with the radio.

Be happy that you don’t have to share those rides with me.

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