What's the difference between volume and pitch? In many presentation training or public speaking training courses, it's never explained clearly.

Most of my clients are confused with volume and pitch. When being asked to increase their volume, they ended up raising their pitch.

Volume refers to the loudness or softness of your sound. It's a quantitative degree of change. Pitch refers to the highness or lowness of your sound.

To help you better understand the difference let's use the music notes to illustrate this. (Please approach a piano or other musical instrument if possible.) We'll use 8 notes. Here they are: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8. Notice there are two "do"s, one at the beginning (1), and one at the end(8).

What's the difference between these two "do"s? Yes, they are both do, but in different pitch. One is low, one is high. This is the change in pitch.

If you were to say a same word in different pitches, this should be the way. For example, if you were to say the word "hello" in different pitches, it should work the same way as those different "do"s.

How about volume? Let's still use do as an example. With the same pitch, if I say it softly, it should be this do-1 in a smaller amount of sound. If I say it loudly, it should be the same do-1 with a bigger amount of sound. They are at the same pitch, both at this do-1, but with different volume. Think about pressing the same key on a piano, one with less strength to press it (soft sound, small volume), one with more strength to press it (louder sound, big volume).

I usually use lateral and vertical change to describe them to my clients. Volume is like the lateral change, while pitch is like the vertical change.

Increasing your volume in the correct way, instead of shouting, will definitely help you command respect and people will also take you more seriously.

To increase your volume, you must breathe with the support of your diaphragm and use your pelvic muscle to propel your voice.

Author's Bio: 

Cynthia Zhai is a voice and speech coach and trainer, based in Singapore.

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