One must have a good voice to be a storyteller


Besides the material told, some purely physical attributes of the storyteller bear on his work. Things like vocal quality and gestures have an effect on the audience and its reaction to the storyteller. Most will, of course, agree that one must have a good voice to be a storyteller. Audience members will complain if a storyteller’s voice is weak (za’if). They appreciate storytellers who have voices which they describe as warm (garm), a voice which is effective in moving them. Storytellers may develop stylized manners of presentation, but these are not offered as the subject of instruction or as the major value of storytelling. […] All storytellers recognize, too, that they may take elements of storytelling style from other storytellers whom they have occasion to hear.

Mary Ellen Page, “Professional storytelling in Iran: Transmission and practice”, Iranian Studies, vol. 12, 1979, pp. 211  
Illustration inspired by a drawing of the Mochica culture, Peru



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