Saturday, 17 August 2013

On Being Heard

The first area in voice heraldry, and especially field heraldry, that should be addressed when learning the unsubtle art is that of actually making yourself heard. If the fighters, the crown and the audience can’t hear you, it doesn’t matter what you say or when you say it.

When trying to be heard across the list field, you need to focus on projection more than volume, because a projected voice carries. If you focus on volume, you make a small amount of air carry a lot of energy. If you focus on projection, you make a huge amount of air carry enough energy.

The keys to projection:
  • Good posture: I know, it’s not comfortable, but you want a good clear air path from your lungs to the world.
  • Good clothing: Not necessarily your prettiest, just loose around the chest and throat, so you can use your lungs properly.
  • Relax! Especially your vocal cords.
  • Slow pace, even pitch: If you try to make it too fancy, and get it out too quickly you’ll end up with none of it coming through right.

The other component of being heard is knowing where to stand when you shout. Your voice can only travel in so many directions at once, so picking where you’ll stand, and where you’ll aim, is important.

There are, basically, three groups of people you need to have hear you.

First are the fighters themselves, who fight in the tourney, and they are arguably the most important of the three for a Field Herald. If the fighters can’t hear the Herald’s calls, they won’t know when to armour up, and when to take the field, which can slow down the tourney quite drastically.

Second is the crown, in whatever form they may be represented at your tourney. At a large tourney, they might be the Crown themselves. At a well-attended Rose Tourney, you might have a garden of the Order of the Rose. At local events, it’s common to have the Baron and Baroness in attendance. Sometimes, you get a combination of some or all of the above, and sometimes they’ll be unrepresented. It’s good to keep the Crown informed and involved, and they may be required to make decisions (weapon combinations, double kills, &c.).

Third is the populace in general, in whatever number and array they choose to make themselves present.

If at all possible, make sure all three groups can hear you, but if you have to choose one over another, this is the order you should take them in.

As for location, there are many things to take into account:
  • Structures: It’s better to shout into a building than out from one, for acoustic reasons.
  • Wind: Try to shout from upwind of the field if there’s more than a light breeze, because your voice carries better down-wind.
  • Locations: The closer you are to someone, the better they can hear you. Don’t stand right behind the Crown, though, they like their eardrums.
  • The List Table: Don’t stand in front of the list table, they need to see what’s happening more than you do. Do be NEAR the list-keeper, though, because they’re telling you what needs to happen.
  • Shade and shelter: If you can manage shelter from the sun and rain, that’s good (never stand in full sun without a hat to herald a tourney).
There’s not going to be an ideal spot to stand in most cases, but there are some that are worse than others. Find the best you can, and pay attention to those around you as best as you can while still working.

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