How Does a Ventriloquist Make His Dummy Talk?
People who can make their voices seem to come from somewhere away from themselves are called “ventriloquists.” You may have seen one on a television show.
The art of ventriloquism (also known as ventriloquy), includes a person “throwing” his or her voice to make it seem like it’s coming from the puppet or doll he or she is holding.
The puppet or doll is usually called a “dummy,” probably because it gets its smarts from its operator. The technical term for a ventriloquist’s dummy is ventriloquial figure.
The ventriloquist holds a dummy on one knee, placing one hand in the dummy’s back to operate the head, eyes and mouth. During the act, the dummy and the ventriloquist seem to carry on a conversation.
The ventriloquist is saying the words, but his (or her) lips are not moving, so you think the dummy is talking. By using a different voice for the dummy, the actual speaker is able to fool you even more.
Fortunately for ventriloquists, the human ear is not great at locating the source of a sound without visual or other cues. If you’ve ever tried to “throw” your voice to imitate a ventriloquist, you know it’s not the easiest technique to learn.
Most ventriloquists perform with their lips slightly separated to allow sounds to emanate from their mouths without moving their lips. This is easy for some sounds and more difficult for others.