ROBERT SIEGEL, Host:
Our commentator Brian McConnachie has been hearing and thinking about voices lately. And those voices have given him an inspiration to offer an invitation to listeners.
BRIAN MCCONNACHIE: Several years ago, I had that long, wonderful, last father/ daughter road trip as we went to look at colleges in the Northeast and ultimately decide which one spends the most on landscaping. Along the way, I put in an Ella Fitzgerald tape.
(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "ALL THROUGH THE NIGHT")
ELLA FITZGERALD: (Singing) All through the night, you're so close to me.
MCCONNACHIE: I didn't know how familiar my daughter was with Ella Fitzgerald, but I asked how would you describe her voice?
FITZGERALD: (Singing) All through the night, from a height far above.
MCCONNACHIE: She listened some more and replied, she sounds like diamonds dipped in caramel. I thought wow, high school certainly worked. And it reminded me that Mel Torme's voice was described as the velvet fog, and the actress Jean Arthur's voice was described as sounding like a thousand tinkling bells, which leads me to this proposal.
I'd like to invite the listeners of ALL THINGS CONSIDERED to take part in an experiment on how different voices sound to you. How would you describe certain voices? So I offer you four American legends with distinctive voices and ask you to describe them in any way you wish. This is totally subjective.
The first voice is that of Oscar-winning actor Morgan Freeman.
(SOUNDBITE OF MOVIE, "BRUCE ALMIGHTY")
MORGAN FREEMAN: (As God) Oh, I know quite a lot about you Bruce. Just about everything there is to know. Everything you've ever said or done or thought about.
MCCONNACHIE: Next is Marilyn Monroe.
(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "HAPPY BIRHTDAY")
MARILYN MONROE: (Singing) Happy birthday to you. Happy birthday, Mr. President. Happy birthday to you.
MCCONNACHIE: Third voice is that of writer Truman Capote.
TRUMAN CAPOTE: Well, I don't know anybody who's happy. People are always saying, are you happy? I think it's the most idiotic question I know. I mean, nobody is happy, except sort of Sundays, idiots wandering around Italian wars, you know.
MCCONNACHIE: And the last voice is that of Patsy Kline.
(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "HAVE YOU EVER BEEN LONELY")
PATSY CLINE: (Singing) Have you ever been lonely? Have you ever been blue? Have you ever love someone just as I love you?
MCCONNACHIE: Morgan Freeman, Marilyn Monroe, Truman Capote and Patsy Cline. Do all four or choose, but at least try one. So I'll be reporting back to you over the next weeks and months with your replies and some more unique voices for you to describe as we create and add to this literature of sound. Until then, have fun.
CLINE: (Singing) Have you ever been lonely? Have you ever been blue?
SIEGEL: If you want to play along with Brian McConnachie, just go to our Web site, NPR.org, and search for the phrase Vocal Impressions to send us your entries. Brian will read them on the air soon. That's NPR.org, and search Vocal Impressions.