FANDOM


WikEd fancyquotesQuotesBug-silkHeadscratchersIcons-mini-icon extensionPlaying WithUseful NotesMagnifierAnalysisPhoto linkImage LinksHaiku-wide-iconHaikuLaconic
The first rule of thumb for all radio personalities is to look absolutely nothing like how they sound.
Strong Bad, Homestar Runner

While it may be wrong to judge a book by its cover, it's something that happens. You see a person, you expect certain things. This extends even to their voice. If you see a muscular man, you expect a deep macho voice. The Vamp will have a sexy, sultry voice. A child's voice is high pitched. And so on.

This trope is about when those expectations don't match up. For when the muscular man has the sultry voice, The Vamp has the childish voice, and the child has the deep macho voice.

This trope is generally played for comedy, since the idea of a squeaky voice off a big person or vice-versa is is generally seen as absurd. For better or for worse, this can sometimes come about by chance, depending on how casting in a voiced work goes.

Cute but Cacophonic is a subtrope of this, specifically referring to when "an extremely cute and/or tiny animal turns out to have a surprisingly loud cry." Not to be confused with Larynx Dissonance, which involves an actor attempting to impersonate their opposite gender, or Lyrical Dissonance.

Examples of Vocal Dissonance include:


Anime & Manga

  • Common in One Piece, in particular favoring high pitched voices on unlikely characters. Miss Monday is buff and muscular but has a childish, girly voice. Chopper keeps his high voice regardless of whether he's in his adorable man-beast form or his badass battle forms. Then there's Fukuro, who's voiced by Sergeant Keroro.
    • Averted in the 4Kids dub, where Chopper in his huge humanoid form sounds rather manly indeed.
  • Played for Laughs (and Up to Eleven) in Excel Saga, in a scene where a character is seen for most of the episode in a mask and with a deep male voice, then when the mask is taken off, it is revealed to be a hot blonde woman (an old-timey love interest of Nabeshin). But the thing is, even after the reveal, she continues to talk in that male voice to the end!
  • Alphonse Elric has a little boy's voice contained in a man-sized suit of armor.
    • At the climax of the manga, after absorbing God and the souls of Amestris, Father transforms his body into one that is identical to Ed/young Hohenheim; that is, he turns into a Pretty Boy. When this happens in Brotherhood, he keeps his "old man" voice for some reason. Most likely they were trying to make sure that fans didn't sympathize with him due to being hot.
  • Enryu from the Filler Arc in Bleach. When he finally speaks, he has an insanely squeaky voice.
  • In Ai Kora, the short and petite Kirino Kotori has a husky, womanly (and apparently very sexy) voice.
  • Soul Eater: Excalibur is small lizard-like creature with the voice of an adult man.
    • And Shinigami's funny high voice fits his funny appearance most of the time. When it doesn't, running away would be a good idea. Presumably if ever his deep, old-school voice matches his appearance during the 'grim times', he will become even more badass.
  • Gaiking's 2005 remake, Gaiking: Legend of Daikuu Maryuu, featured several counts of this trope in the epilogue.
  • Dragon Ball: Goku. A massive muscleman who can destroy planets with his bare hands and routinely fights for the safety of the universe retains the same innocent voice full of wonderment he had as a child. Justified in that the Japanese audiences loved Masako Nozawa's performance so much, they refused to accept the idea of having her replaced as Goku grew up.
    • Averted in any English dub of Dragon Ball Z, where the grown up Goku sounds manly all right but he still acts like a child.
      • Also averted in the Latin-American dub, where child!Goku is voiced by a female and teen/adult!Goku by a male.
        • Also averted in the Brazilian dub. The same happens, with only the fact that the voice actress sucks.
  • Digimon Tamers is the only dub Digimon series where all the Mons (save Beelzemon because Evil Is Cool) keep the same voice from one form to the next, resulting in a Knight in Shining Armour, a Humongous Mecha, and a Miko sounding like a Ridiculously Cute Critter or the preteens they've merged with. Your Mileage May Vary on its effectiveness, though since Renamon always had a rather adultish voice and Cyberdramon was already at the Ultimate level, it only affected Guilmon and Terriermon, and all the voices still fit their characterisation.
    • Even outside Tamers, there's Silphymon. When it's Fusion Dance time, the resulting form sounds like the unchanged voices of the component 'mons talking at once. This rule was followed even with Gatomon a Rookie-sized Champion with the expected childlike voice. It sounded all kinds of wrong alongside the deep, gruff voice of Aquilamon.
    • All Digimon series did this originally in the Japanese version, albeit inconsistently (not all Digimon did this) and with subtle variations for the upper forms; it's arguably inverted in the case of Tailmon, who (like Renamon, and unlike her American version Gatomon) had a very mature voice in her base Adult form (which is still a Ridiculously Cute Critter) which doesn't change at all when evolving to Angewomon.
    • In Digimon Frontier, we get it with Lucemon, to work against the character in one form and for him in another. Lucemon is voiced by Mona Marshall (aka Izzy, Terriermon) in her Izzy voice but with more evil. It works when he looks like a child. But then he gets a more adult form... and still sounds like a ten-year-old. Somehow even blowing up moons doesn't make it possible to take him seriously with that voice. Then he gets a monstrous form... and his voice becomes that of a Creepy Child. It was actually quite effective.
      • Partially averted in the Japanese version, where Lucemon's more adult form is voiced by none other then Ryusei Nakao. Nakao also provided the growls for his ultimate monstrous form, but Kumiko Nishihara returned to do his larvae form inside it.
  • In Samurai 7, while the Bandits and Guardians have disconcerting appearances, both groups have urbane voices and somewhat aristocratic speech patterns.
  • In Anpanman, one of the shortest characters in the series, Mushibakinman, has a deep and demonic voice.
  • Vasilisa, a minor character in A Certain Magical Index sounds like a little girl when she casts her spells, which are based on a folktale involving a girl with an Evil Stepmother.
  • In the English dub of Yu-Gi-Oh! GX, Mad Dog, who is a muscular man, has a squeaky voice.
  • Chloe from Noir has extremely sharp features and demeanour, and you'd expect her voice to be cold, with some sinister edge. Instead her voice is extremely soft, and she sounds almost like a little girl in young woman's body. This heavily underlines her personality as a ruthless assassin who is extremely sheltered in every aspect of life outside her work.

Comic Books

  • One Gotlib strip that deconstructs the Western genre shows who provides the translated voices of the rugged cowboy, demure schoolteacher and stoic Indian: a weedy accountant-looking guy, a heavyset older woman towering above the other voice actors, and a Chinese midget with huge glasses and teeth respectively.

Films- animation

  • In Finding Nemo, during the montage of Marlin's story being passed along, one scene shows a small fish telling the story to a larger fish. The small fish has a deep, booming voice, while the big fish has a high, squeaky voice.
  • When Alpha is first seen in Up, he has a high-pitched voice because his voice collar is malfunctioning. When the collar is fixed later, Alpha has a voice much more appropriate to his appearance, causing Russel to comment he liked the old voice better. In the climax, Dug inadvertently causes it to break again.
  • In the original version of The Princess and the Frog, the hyperactive Charlotte has a mostly squeaky voice that drops when whenever she gets too excited or is trying to be seductive. The French dub version of her, however, has probably been eating cigarettes her entire life.
  • One of the gags in Bebe's Kids is that the baby is voiced by Tone Loc. He's famous for his deeeeeeep voice.
  • Tai Lung of Kung Fu Panda is a ripped anthro snow leopard who has just finished tearing apart an entire prison... and then speaks in a smooth british accent.
  • During the Big Lipped Alligator Moment from Tom and Jerry: The Movie, the smallest alley cat that pesters the titular cat-and-mouse duo actually speaks in a low, gruff voice; while the largest alley cat actually speaks in a high, squeaky voice. This is apparently more obvious in the French-Canadian dub in which the large alley cat is actually voiced by a woman.
  • The joke was in the original cut of The Thief and the Cobbler that one did not expect the small, scrawny, shy Tack to have such a deep voice (Provided by Sean Connery for one line at the end.); however, the voices given to him by Matthew Broderick and Steve Lively match his appearance in the Bowdlerised versions.
  • In Chuck Jones' The Phantom Tollbooth The Runt At the End of King Azaz's royal palace guards has the deepest voice.
  • Yellow Submarine: As the sub ventures through the Sea of Time, the Beatles regress to childhood and Old Fred to young adulthood. The Beatles' voices (Paul Angelis, Geoffrey Hughes, John Clive) as children are still the same as their adult voices, and Old Fred's (Lance Percival) didn't change either.

Film-Live Action

  • Marilyn Monroe didn't invent the gimmick of The Vamp having a childish voice, but she certainly popularized it. Six decades later, the stock character of the blonde with a "breathy little-girl voice" has actually become a bit of a cliché.
  • Singin in The Rain uses this as a main plot point, since none of the audience expects the beautiful silent film actress to have such a razorblades-on-pianowire voice.
  • This was done to comedic effect in Who Framed Roger Rabbit?. In the opening cartoon short, Baby Herman sounds like a real baby, but when the cartoon ends and the movie cuts to the "real" world, we find out that Herman's real voice is rough and gravelly.
  • Suburban Commando has two badass bounty hunters from space (one of whom is played by Mark Callaway) who never talk. During their fight with Shep, it's revealed that this is because they sound like they're on helium.
  • Brief gag from Pee Wee's Big Adventure, with a showgirl and stormtrooper who stop to give directions in the movie lot.
    • And then there's Pee Wee himself (the gag is that the studio found his regular voice too grating and decided to dub over it):

 Pee-Wee: (incredibly deep, fake voice) Paging Mr. Herman. Mr. Herman you have a telephone call at the front desk.

  • Inverted with classic Hollywood actor Cesar Romero. He was a native of Cuba and looked it, but by the time he broke into movies he had moderated his Latino accent a great deal. Because, however, he gained his greatest fame playing Latin Lover characters, film directors made him affect a relatively low-pitched, "foreign" voice to lend his characters some necessary sex appeal. In some of his earliest roles, though, he has a perfectly ordinary, midrange Anglo-American accent, and his natural laugh was a high-pitched, effeminate giggle - something he famously incorporated into his role as The Joker in the 1960s Batman series.
  • Si Sumbaji, the Indian pirate lordin Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End is silent for most of the time. This becomes apparent when he finally talks: he has a high-pitched, squeaky voice.
  • In a Deleted Scene from Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, Arnold Schwarzenegger, playing an army sergeant voiced by Samuel L. Jackson, narrates a promotional video for SkyNet's new line of battle robots. One of the execs says he doesn't like the voice, so another exec, played by Jack Noseworthy with Arnold's voice, says, "We can fix it."
  • Godzilla. Yeah, a Kaiju big enough to tear down all of Japan has a cry like an air raid siren on helium...??
  • In Wayne's World 2, Wayne and Garth enjoy listening to a radio show hosted by Handsome Dan, who they imagine as a totally cool babe-magnet of a man. When they finally meet him, it's Harry Shearer.
    • Of course, the joke doesn't work that well today, now that Harry Shearer's voice and visage have both become much more recognized.
    • They also play the reverse joke: The same radio show features a soundbite of a guy screaming loudly. When they meet him, it's Ted McGinley.
  • In Muppet Treasure Island captain Kermit Smollett does a roll call of his new crew, ending with a pirate "Big Fat Ugly Bug-Faced Baby-Eating O'Brien". What he gets is a beautiful corset-clad lady who croaks a deep, manly "Aye".
  • In the Adam Sandler movie Grown Ups, his character's wife and the wives of his friends start flirting with a tall handsome muscular man, only when he starts talking to them he speaks in a high squeaky voice.
  • A running gag in The Adventure of Sherlock Holmes Smarter Brother has what sounds like a woman knocking on the door to Sigerson's office and calling him, and when he tells "her" to come in, it turns out to be his manservant Hunkston.
  • Froggie in The Little Rascals shorts.
  • In the original Doctor Dolittle movie, the heroes arrive on Sea-Star Island and are greeted by the stereotypical grass-skirt-wearing, bone-through-the-nose style "natives", led by none other than Baron Samedi. Dolittle greets the leader by speaking LOUDLY AND SLOWLY, to which the leader replies in perfect BBC English "What a funny accent."
  • Before Lee Tamahori became a (more or less) mainstream Hollywood director, he specialized in cinema verité in his native New Zealand, particularly with the 1994 melodrama Once Were Warriors. If you are completely unfamiliar with Maoris in modern-day New Zealand, watching this film will probably be quite a shock. You'll be introduced to a poor family of former Maori tribe members now living in an urban housing project, with dark brown skin and looking vaguely Mexican or Puerto Rican to American audiences - and then they start speaking, and it's the typical New Zealand accent, which sounds not unlike Cockney British to most Americans. (And yes, that is the actor who played Boba Fett's father as the head of the family.)
  • In the obscure 1987 comedy-adventure Jane and the Lost City (based on the notorious Jane comic strip of the World War II era), the main characters are in Africa and encounter the queen of a jungle tribe who at first doesn't say anything. When she does start speaking, she turns out to have an "educated" British accent.
  • The 1933 political thriller Gabriel Over the White House has as one of its minor villains a gangster named Nick Diamond, who fancies himself an Al Capone-style "tough guy." So it's pretty surprising when we hear him speak and learn that he still has some unidentifiable Southern/Eastern European accent from his native country. Another character subtly lampshades this, noting how far Diamond has traveled from his roots.

Literature

  • Nunzio, from M.Y.T.H. Inc. is known to have this issue.
  • The radio soap actors in Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter are described as quite unattractive with very wonderful voices. The author even says explicitly that many men would get Blue with Shock if they realized that the very sweet, silky voice of the soap heroines comes from an old, fat, badly dressed and worse groomed lady. The titular scriptwriter is also a radio actor: he is short and thin, but with a powerful voice and such a big charisma he gets a lot of admirers even with his poor looks, at least until the burnout begins to hit him hard...
  • In the first scene of A Mighty Fortress, the fourth book of the Safehold series, male Merlin speaks to Sharleyan using the voice of Nimue Alban.
  • Harry Potter has this reaction the first time he hears Dolores Umbridge speak in Harry Potter. She speaks with a high, girlish voice, whereas due to her froglike face, Harry had expected a croak.
  • In The Pale King, Nugent's little sister can imitate Regan MacNeil's voice perfectly, much to the delight of Nugent's bored coworkers.

Live Action TV

  • Seinfeld had an episode featuring this as a subplot, which resulted in Elaine accidentally smack-talking her friend's new boyfriend because his feminine voice caused a case of Mistaken Identity over the phone. She went from there to hanging up the phone anytime she thought he answered, resulting in the man thinking his girlfriend was having an affair.
    • This was in fact a different boyfriend (of the same friend) who was exceptionally boring.
  • A horrifying example (to those involved anyway) occurs in Married... with Children. The men get hooked on a new phone sex line, only for them to eventually discover the woman behind "Butter's" sexy voice is Peggy's big and far from beautiful mother.
  • The Stinger to the final episode ("Chains") of Blackadder II has the Prince Ludwig disguised as Queenie who gives a chuckle in a strange voice and says "Now this is a disguise I'm really going to enjoy. If I could just get the voice right." A CREEPY (but funny) end to the season.
  • The Electric Company had a song about "Hircus of the Circus," an enormous strongman with a high-pitched voice.
  • You definitely wouldn't expect Elmo to be voiced by some burly-looking black man. [1]
    • The Muppets have been known to do this with a few of their actual characters as well. On Fraggle Rock, for example, Brool the Minstrel is a furry, hulking, fanged cave monster with a jarringly sweet, soulful voice.
  • In Doctor Who episode "The Eleventh Hour", this is played for drama and used to throw a shapeshifting alien straight into the Uncanny Valley. The first instance involves it shifting to look like a man holding a dog on a leash...only for the man to bark with the dog's voice. Later, what looks like a woman and her two daughters is discovered to be the alien when it uses the wrong mouth for the woman's voice, resulting in a very small girl speaking with an adult woman's voice, while the "mother"'s mouth remains closed.
  • A frequent gag on The Benny Hill Show was to have male vocalists singing in high female registers, and vice versa.
  • KARR in the Hungarian dub, either due to the actual voice actor or the robotic echo effect layered over his performance, has such a high-pitched voice, he almost sounds feminine. A more accurate description would be to say he's an Ewok disguised as a car.
  • Scorpius of Farscape is rather freaky looking, which makes his smooth and urbane voice a surprise. He also fits it on another level, in that the soft-spoken voice is a conscious effort, and when really angry, Scorpius loses control, and in keeping with his Scarran ancestry, talks in a deep Guttural Growler voice. This is also a contrast with his weak-looking body (as is the Super Stength he also generally keeps repressed).
  • Power Rangers and Super Sentai have a situation similar to Digimon. (Makes sense, with the same sets of The Powers That Be - TOEI making the original, Saban adapting it.) In the American version, the Monster of the Week as well as major villains will sound growly or squeaky or otherwise be not-normal-human-y to better sound like they look. When watching the Japanese version, where this is often not so, it's strange when a beast of destruction or a cheesy rubber suit talks in a voice that could belong to any guy on the street - especially if it's a bad guy you know and remember sounding the part.
  • In Hikonin Sentai Akibaranger, Yumeria, who is introduced speaking with a high, cutesy voice, switches to a deep, gravelly one when her cat ear headband falls off.
  • The Stephen J. Cannell series Sonny Spoon had an episode called "Who's Got Tonsillitis?" about a missing soul singer called Tonsillitis Brown who was so called because of how his real singing voice sounded like; he mimed to the voice of another singer. A pudgy white guy.

Music

  • Jimmy Somerville from Bronski Beat has an extraordinarily light, high and fluid countertenor/falsetto singing voice. Smalltown Boy could be sung by a woman. It suggests many looks, none of which is a short muscular bald man.
  • Boaz Ma'uda and David D'or, two famous Israeli singers who were in the Eurovision Song Contest. One looks like a strength trainer and the other looks like he's in his 40s. Both are tenors, if not countertenors.
  • Soul singer Michel'le - sings like Anita Baker, talks like Betty Boop.
    • Baker herself: That powerful voice comes from a woman who might be 5 feet tall in heels and 90 pounds soaking wet.
  • Debbie Harry looks petite but is one of the best female singers there is, and there's a definite dissonance when she occasionally raps.
  • Rick Astley, anyone? Pale, short, skinny, redheaded... big deep baritone voice.
    • His singing voice is so deep and it makes such a contrast with his red hair and pale skin, that he was believed to be the front man for a black singer. In fact, this happened when he sent his first tapes to music executives — he had to sing on-stage to convince them that yes, he was the one singing.
  • John Hiatt (of "Have A Little Faith In Me" fame), as well. Skeletal, long-haired white guy with a voice that could easily belong to a black soul singer from the ‘60s.
  • Similarly, Country Music singer Josh Turner. You'd never guess a face that young would produce a fine bass-baritone.
  • Christian musician/puppeteer Marcy Tigner is an adult woman with creepily convincing little girl voice. [2]
  • And then there's Tay Zonday, the guy who sings "Chocolate Rain". He looks about 12 years old in that video.
  • The late Amy Winehouse was a skinny white English woman from the 00s, who sounded like a big black American woman from the 60s
  • Susan Boyle. She looks like her face was smashed in repeatedly, but has a beautiful soprano voice.
  • Aaron Neville had a brief movie appearance as "Man with gun," an intimidating character the hero confronted in a slum area. His singing voice, on the high end of tenor, almost into soprano, has been described as the voice the angels wish they had.
  • Sarah Stiles, age 32, who played Lucy and Kate Monster in Avenue Q for several years, has a little girl voice (both speaking and singing) similar to the aforementioned Kristin Chenoweth. Listen here.
  • Cayman Ilika has a heavy mezzo-alto voice that strongly contrasts with her girly looks.
  • Alison Moyet, once-singer of Yazoo. With that contralto voice, you'd mistake her for a man if you never had seen her.
  • One word: Gackt. Many people have mistaken GACKT for a woman on first appearances due to his delicate and very feminine facial features. So it's quite surprising when this voice comes out of him.
  • Scotty McCreery, season 10 winner on American Idol. He looks like Alfred E. Neuman, but has a slightly resonant baritone voice well-suited for Country Music.
  • Two words: Bianca Ryan. She was 12 when this song was recorded.
  • Jackie Evancho was only 10 when she sang "O mio babbino caro" with "the voice of angel." The judges asked her to perform another song to make sure that really was her voice.
  • Ray Toro, lead guitarist of My Chemical Romance, is 6'1, has super-curly hair that ranges from an afro to long curls reminiscent of Slash, and has the voice of a ten-year-old. Especially noticeable in songs when he sings a higher harmony, and in this interview [3] (skip to 2:34).
  • America's Got Talent season 6 winner Landau Eugene Murphy, Jr. is a black guy with dreads and facial hair who sounds like Frank Sinatra.
  • Rihanna has a mild version of this, in that when she sings she has no accent but when she talks she has a noticable Barbados accent.
  • Jens Kastel of Funker Vogt looks handsome enough, but has a guttural bass/baritone voice.
  • Cristian Machado of Ill Nino looked like he sounded for a while, until he physically went from 25 to 40 while his voice remained unchanged.
  • Alex Band of The Calling looks like a a teenage pretty boy but sounds like a 40-year-old who smokes too much.
  • Christian Alvestam of Scar Symmetry. He's physically a fat bald guy and has an incredibly heavy Swedish accent. But when he sings.....
  • Kyo from Dir En Grey. A tiny, asian pretty boy who is the last person you'd expect to front a heavy metal band. His harsh vocals pretty much sum up why he fits this trope.
  • Chino Moreno of Deftones, especially after his weight gain. One would probably be shocked to know that some of the smoothest, most soothing clean vocals in metal comes from this guy.
  • Ryan Richards from Funeral for a Friend. He looks and acts like a nice guy, but performs the harsh vocals and drums.
  • Dave Grohl shows us time and time again he is the nicest guy in rock, and has a relaxed sounding power pop singing voice, yet he equally enjoys screaming his head off during songs (an example being the cover of Darling Nikki).
  • Dani Filth is a tiny effeminate English guy who is very friendly when interviewed, but his vocals as frontman for Cradle Of Filth are terrifying. He also has a strong interest in the occult and keeps skeletons in his house just to scare visitors.
  • Justin Bieber, due to his late puberty, had a childish voice until about age 17.
  • Angela Gossow. That is all.
  • Claudio Sanchez of Coheed and Cambria. Big bear of a man, high tenor singing voice. And then there's the dichotomy between his clean vocals and his screams.
  • Katie Stelmanis of Austra. Petite Girl Next Door look, big classical opera voice.

Radio

  • Stephanie Miller of The Stephanie Miller Show, a morning political and comedy show, is a skinny, white, middle-aged, brunette woman. Many a listener, however, call in and express surprise after seeing pictures of her on the show's website that she is not a blonde and/or fat. One caller even thought she was black.
  • From his voice, one would definitely not expect John Tesh to have blonde hair and blue eyes.
  • CPO Pertwee (Jon) on Navy Lark doesn't sound anything like he does in real life.

Stand Up Comedy

  • Gabriel Iglesias describes times he uses a high pitched cheerleader voice to mess with Drive-Thrus that mess up his orders. He orders in his girly voice, pulls up, waits until they ask if he's the one who ordered, and proceeds to hit them with "Oh my God, yes!" The Drive-Thrus in his neighborhood have wised up though. He tries it on them and their response is "Okay, Gabriel, pull up."
  • Korean-American comic Henry Cho was born and raised in Tennessee and it shows when he speaks. The last thing you expect to hear out of someone who looks like him is a southern drawl.

Theme Park Attractions

  • In Disney's The Haunted Mansion during the "Grim Grinning Ghosts" song we are treated to a line of various ghosts singing the song, one featured a small bearded old prisoner speaking in the deep gravely voice of Candy Candido while the executioner leading him away has a high pitched Mickey Mouse esq voice.

Video Games

  • The turtle in Psychonauts talking in a sexy voice.
  • Captain Cross (also known as "the Specialist") is the sort of person with a reputation of being a hardened, experienced badass capable of taking on Alex Mercer in a straight fight and getting away alive. He also has the softest voice of anyone in the game (except maybe Karen Parker), particularly when compared to Alex.
    • Additionally, Alex Mercer can shapeshift; in cutscenes he can also mimic voices but in normal gameplay he doesn't. Which means you can be disguised as a young woman, but keep the gravelly voice.
  • In Disgaea 2: Dark Hero Days, there's Actress, a female Entei who has a voice that's easily the among most feminine sounding in the entire series, despite the fact that she's a towering, musclebound, humanoid dragon.
  • Kingdom Hearts:
    • Brief, entirely serious and horrifying example from the end of Kingdom Hearts 358 Days Over 2; The "Xion Attacks" cutscene. Sora's face. Alyson Stoner's voice. It does not mesh.
    • Xemnas is a less dramatic case. Despite having the Bishonen look he has a fairly deep, monotone voice, and is done by Norio Wakamoto in Japan.
  • Mario (since he gained a voice actor in Super Mario 64) has a very high falsetto voice, especially when he's excited, almost like Mickey Mouse. Especially noticeable when contrasted to Luigi's more down-to-earth tenor.
    • Bowser for some reason, actually spoke in a high, squeaky voice in the game Super Mario Sunshine as opposed to having a more appropriate-sounding voice in the game Super Mario 64. Either this, or they actually made Bowser feel out of character.
      • Fortunately, Bowser was once again given a more appropriate-sounding voice in the game Super Mario Galaxy, which made him a more sinister character than in the past games.
  • Guilty Party has Butch. In appearance, he's basically Shaft-lite. His voice, however, is high pitched and slightly lisping. While never the subject of an actual joke, it is suggestive of his nature as a Gentle Giant and is definitely one of the more comedic aspects of his character.
  • Tony Jay voiced many characters in the Legacy of Kain series, usually powerful and intimidating beings. He also voiced the kindly, polite and unsure boy King William the Just. His delivery was fine, but his voice was too low and mature.
  • Xavii in Sengoku Basara is one of the biggest characters ingame, yet his voice sounds quite odd and high.
  • The adorable little raccoon teacher in Star Fox 64's training mode originally spoke in clicks, but in the 3DS remake, he was finally given a smooth, deep voice akin to Barry White.
  • One of the Casters of Fate Extra CCC is a Cute Shotaro Boy with the very adult and smooth voice of Takehito Koyasu. It's a plot point, in a way: his true identity is Hans Christian Andersen, the tragic Danish Fary Tale writer, and he presents as a young boy even when he should be at his strongest age because, according to him, his childhood was his "golden time" overflowing with sensitivity.

Web Original

  • Homestar Runner used this trope during one of Strong Bad's Emails, about radio personalities.
    • In Cheat Commandos, a parody of G.I. Joe, the "Blue Laser Commander" speaks with an oddly-metered high, scratchy, squawking voice reminiscent of Chris Latta's performance as Cobra Commander... except where the real person didn't look particularly unusual, a video focusing on the demands of Cheat Commandos' lead voice actor reveals that not only does "Crack Stuntman" looks like a cool guy in sunglasses, whatever, but the "Guy Who Does The Bad Guy's Voice" is a pale-green man with bloodshot eyes. ("Can I help you with something, Crack Stuntman?")
  • In episode 22 of Yu-Gi-Oh the Abridged Series, one of Duke's fangirls (the Gonk one) has a very deep voice.
  • The Nostalgia Chick makes this complaint in her review of the She-Ra movie.
  • In The Dr. Steel Show, Episode 1, Doctor Steel receives email from a fan. While the letter says the fan is 34 years old, the voiceover sounds like he's three.
  • Played with in the Shadow of Israphel machinima series, since all but one of the voices are done by one person putting on accents (even within the plot, and without the actual characters knowing they're being voiced), leaving several characters with either incredibly out of place voices or voices that change with every appearance.
  • In this playthrough of Perfect Cherry Blossom, one of the commentators decides to do a dramatic reading of Yuyuko's lines before actually seeing her face. And keeps the same voice after. Hilarity Ensues.
  • Smokefield from Warrior Cats RPG is a sadistic, possibly psychopathic Maine Coon/Ragdoll cross who's an unrepetant rapist and part of quite possibly the worst group in the game. His voice is very soft. This is Truth in Television, as Maine Coons are a very soft-voiced breed of cat.
  • Unintentional yet remarkably common in the Space Stage of Spore since voices of aliens contacted by the player are chosen based on class, regardless of how the aliens in question actually look. This tends to result in things like attractive females with gruff masculine voices, Eldritch Abominations with soothing lyrical voices, and even hulking Humongous Mecha with overexcited high pitched voices

Western Animation

  • Doctor Girlfriend (now Dr. Mrs. The Monarch) has a really gravelly voice that doesn't sound like it belongs to a woman, especially one of that figure. Jokes about her being a transsexual aside, it seems to simply be because she smokes a lot.
  • The Simpsons:
    • Bart gets hold of a construction supervisor's bullhorn and starts giving out destructive orders. The supervisor grabs the horn away and complains that people should have been able to tell the difference between his voice and that of a 10-year-old boy - the joke being that the supervisor sounds exactly like Bart (including using the Catch Phrase "¡Ay caramba!").
    • Ned Flanders screams like a girl, and at one point Bart mistakes his singing for that of Jessica Lovejoy.
    • In an early episode, Homer is put in a mental hospital. His roommate, who claims to be Michael Jackson, is in fact a very large, intimidating man...with Michael Jackson's voice. Subverted when it turns out his real voice is actually deep and gravelly. (He's actually a white, Polish-American from New Jersey, but Homer fails to pick up on this important clue, not having ever seen Michael Jackson before.)
      • In an interesting twist, the character actually was voiced by Michael Jackson (who was surprisingly gifted as a vocal mimic). However, due to a contract dispute, he was billed as "John Jay Smith" in the credits.
  • Shannon from Home Movies is a school bully who happens to have the voice of Emo Phillips.
  • Lumpy Space Princess from Adventure Time has a gruff voice that sounds nothing like a princess. Combined with a Valley Girl accent for Rule of Funny.
  • On Family Guy, baby Stewie has a deep if slightly-effeminate theatrical British accent. Of course, that's hardly the wackiest thing they've got.
    • Also, Chris is a big lummox, but has a really grating, high-pitched voice. To add to the irony, his voice actor, Seth Green, is a tiny man, with a deep, gravelly voice (especially when he does his documentary narrator voice on Robot Chicken).
    • The voice actor for Token Black Cleveland is actually as white as a guy can get.
  • A smaller example: In an episode of Sabrina the Animated Series, an adult man walking down the street had a high-pitched little girl voice. Done by a girl.
  • The title character of Dave the Barbarian is a tall muscular man but he has a high pitched, scratchy voice. This is justified in the series as he's a coward.
  • Happens to Fluttershy in the My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic episode "Bridle Gossip", when the normally soft-spoken Pegasus is highly embarrassed to find herself speaking with the voice of Blu Mankuma. Spike jokingly calls her "Flutterguy".
  • Henry from Thomas the Tank Engine, despite being portrayed as a large tender locomotive like Gordon, actually speaks in a high pitched, whiny voice.
  • In Superman: The Animated Series, Justice League, and Superman/Batman: Apocalypse, Granny Goodness is voiced by a man (Ed Asner) who is not trying to hide or pitch his voice at all. Hearing an old woman being voiced by what is obviously a man is disconcerting at best, which is probably the effect the creators were gunning for given the kind of person Granny Goodness is.
  • In Disney's Adventures in Music, The Runt At the End is a bass, whereas the rest of the characters are sopranos and tenors.
  • In Batman: The Animated Series, Baby Doll at times sounds more like she should be forty than four. Justified in that she has a condition that stunts her aging, never being allowed to grow up physically.
  • Disney's Kim Possible once featured a "sumo-ninja," and though he remained silent for his first appearance, he spoke during his second, the voice he used was so high it prompted Ron Stoppable to tell him "Dude, don't talk. Seriously, it ruins your mystique."
  • In the episode Hero of the Hourglass of American Dragon Jake Long we discover that, when young, the future Huntsman had a very pitched and childish voice (getting him mocked by EVERYONE, from his fellow Huntsclan apprentices to his teachers AND a time-travelling Jake) while still being a formidable foe. Then, after Jake threw him in a pit to get mauled by a giant crab-thing, his voice change to the Evil Sounds Deep we know, scaring the other apprentices with his oath to slay all dragons. And causing another vocal dissonance: while his deep voice is scary and appropriate for his modern self, when young he was slim and almost wiry.
  • The Adventures Of Blinky Bill gives us Slick Possum, an adorable possum with a foxlike face and Puppy Dog Eyes who sounds like Eddie Murphy when he talks.
  • On Looney Tunes, whenever Wile E Coyote talks in a Bugs Bunny cartoon, he sounds like a refined gentleman.

Real Life

  • Older Than Radio. In chapter VII of his autobiographical Confessions, philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau, who was also a musician, tells how he once fell victim to this trope during his stay in Venice in 1743-1744. His full quote can be seen in the "Quotes" section.
  • Many classic Hollywood film directors were foreign-born, but the all-American iconography of their movies makes it quite jarring to hear them speak (Billy Wilder, for example).
  • Reinhard Heydrich, Nazi Governor of Bohemia-Moravia, likely schizophrenic and all-around nutter had a high-pitched, squeaky voice. This was the man who headed the Wannsee Conference.
  • No one looking at Mike Tyson expects that guy to have a Mickey Mouse voice. But he does.
  • Former WWE/TNA wrestler and current MMA fighter Bobby Lashley sounds like Tyson without the lisp, or at least, not as noticeable...you BATHTURD.
  • Another wrestling example (albeit not as dramatic) was the strange incongruence of the voices of Chris Benoit and Edge (who were tag-team champions together on two occasions) to their respective physical appearances. Benoit was a short but very muscular man who often sported a "hobo beard", but his voice was relatively high-pitched. Edge was tall, rather lanky, and had perfectly styled long blond hair, but his voice was often a low growl and noticeably more masculine than Benoit's.
  • Yet another wrestling example: Shawn Michaels, who was slightly small for a wrestler and adopted a somewhat effeminate ring persona for his "Sexy Boy" character, had a voice like an Old West mountain man (the result of his childhood in Arizona and Texas). (In the later years of his career, he grew a beard and began dressing and acting more like how he actually sounded.)
  • Glee's Chris Colfer, who stars as Kurt, has a... very high, soft voice for a guy.
    • Amusingly enough his vocal range is so wide that he can go all the way to the other end and talk in an extremely deep voice. It too qualifies for this trope because of how out-of-place it looks compared to his boyish appearance.
  • Radio DJs everywhere. Almost a trope in itself.
  • Comedienne Felicia Michaels - though you wouldn't expect ANYONE to have that kind of helium-fueled voice outside of Anime.
  • According to the VH1 pop-up video, a number of critics thought Rick Astley was a front for a black singer.
  • Seth MacFarlane definitely doesn't look like he should have such a deep voice. Further complicated because he provides the voices of Brian, Peter, Stewie, Quagmire, Stan Smith, Terry the news anchor, Roger the alien, and Tim the Bear.
  • Liv Tyler, contrary to her Statuesque Stunner appearance, has a very soft voice.
  • Kate Hudson, on the flipside, who has a more conventional Girl Next Door look going for her, has a surprisingly deep voice.
  • Sarah Palin. She's a (relatively) young and reasonably attractive woman, and she's from Alaska, where people aren't imagined to have stereotypically Midwestern-sounding voices. But she often sounds just like that dowdy secretary in Ferris Bueller's Day Off.
  • Ever hear a smooth collie bark? They've got a surprisingly high-pitched bark for such a large dog. Seriously, you'd sooner expect that bark to come out of a toy poodle. In comparison, other collie breeds, such as the rough colllie (Lassie's breed) has a bark that matches its size.
    • Likewise you wouldn't expect a basset hound to have such a deep bark considering it's a fairly small dog, you'd expect that bark to come from a larger hound.
    • Foxes are cute and adorable... and sound like a woman being skinned alive. Really.
  • Most birds of prey have high-pitched screeches that don't really sound as intimidating or majestic as the birds look.
    • Likewise true of some mammals, such as the cheetah (which chirps like a bird rather than roaring).
    • They can also meow like a house cat
  • An episode of Oprah Winfrey Show (or was it Sally Jesse Raphael?) featured a number of people with cases of Vocal Dissonance. These included:
    • A female drill sergeant with a squeaky punk voice, but her squad thought nothing of it
    • A man with the looks to kill who literally sounded like Mickey Mouse
    • Two adult women with rock bottom pitched voices. One very suave and confident and somehow able to make her rather masculine voice sound so sexy, the other being extremely Woobieish about her voice she spent most of the time hidden behind a shroud.
  • Mary Isabel Catherine Bernardette O'Brien aka Dusty Springfield was known as the "White Queen of Soul" because her soulful voice contrasted so much with her blonde hair and blue eyes.
    • Ditto for British singer Joss Stone.
    • Dusty's colleague sunny-faced, redhaired Scottish pixie Lulu also qualifies. Proof: her tear-'em-up version of "Shout."
  • Many voice actors have dealt with this, to the point where it has seriously affected their chances of getting screen acting gigs. Case in point: Crispin Freeman, whose boyish looks have always stood in stark contrast to his baritone voice. And Tara Platt talked about being able to play the types of roles in voiceover that her looks keep her from playing onscreen in this alumni article from her alma mater, Rutgers.
  • Current WWE wrestler Kaval is short (by WWE standards) and rather lightweight, so you would think he would carry a voice in the same range as Rey Mysterio (a higher voice you'd expect from a Fragile Speedster). He has one of the deepest voices you can imagine, its rather disorienting.
  • You'd expect Theodore Roosevelt, being the 20th century Chuck Norris that he is, to have a deep, resonating voice, right? Wrong. The dissonance is even more surprising, considering that most actors portraying him do use a deep resonating voice.
  • For that matter, Abraham Lincoln is also said to have had a very high voice. Nasal, even.
  • G. K. Chesterton frequently made fun of himself for this, referring to his voice as "the mouse coming forth from the mountain".
  • Orson Welles, with a figure that big and the looks of a man with big deep booming vocals, had a really nasal voice that was sorta funny, yet fitting somehow. Maurice LaMarche can do a really amazing impersonation of Welles, so if you hear it, he really talked like that. In years after, Orson's voice became a little more whispered.
  • King Edward VIII of the United Kingdom, who was actually a royal piece of Pretty Boy as a young man... but, as heard in audio recordings, had a ridiculously high and nasal voice.
  • The Golden Voiced Hobo
  • Peacocks. Such a gorgeous jewel of a bird should sound like a angel. Right? Wrong.
  • Zebras. They look so much like a horse that you'd expect them to sound a bit like one. Their noise sounds more like a series of hiccups: And being high pitched at that.
  • Alpaca are fairly large animals but the sound they make sounds like a squeaky toy.
  • Marlon Brando, the epitome of Mr. Fanservice, has such a thickly-accented and grating voice that it's jarring for those who have only seen him in pictures.
  • Lucy Ellis, presenter for Global Radio. Although her voice is pure sex (unintentional Fetish Fuel as well!), she is blonde, but in real-life completely averts the Dumb Blonde stereotype.
  • American Football legend Hershel Walker, who's Scary Black Man physical appearance is belied by his high-pitched[1] voice and Deep South accent.
  • General George Patton was played to perfection by George C Scott, and most people associate Scott's rough, raspy barritone with the general. So imagine the surprise in finding a newsreel of Patton giving a speech and hearing a high, almost squeaky tenor with an almost British-sounding accent...
  • In an extremely obscure example, in the late 90s there was, briefly, a trailer shown on British television for an episode of what was then a relatively new genre, the real-life police procedural show. In the trailer, a policeman was seen cuffing an extremely large Scary Black Man, and informing him he was being arrested on suspicion of murder. This drew a one-word response - "Murder?" delivered in an incredibly incongruously high pitched Scouse accent. It was sufficiently notable that one of the gags on the gag reel of the DVD of Spaced was Jessica Hynes just sitting at a bar table, staring into space and saying "Murder?" in a similarly high pitched Liverpool voice, with no other explanation.
  • If you hear Tom Petty's singing voice (which is sort of nasally and sometimes a bit whiny), on top of his skinny build, it can come as a surprise that that he actually has a deep speaking voice.
  • Don Rickles. He's a wrinkly, toad-like guy in his eighties and looks like it, but he's possessed the voice of a guy in his 20s pretty much his entire adult life. Would you believe he was 84 when he voiced Mr. Potato Head in Toy Story 3?
  • Some people expect Scott Stapp of Creed to talk like he sings. In other words, you'd think he sounded like an angry constipated guy. He's got a shockingly calm voice, and seems like a nicer guy than he's made out to be.
  • Look at Anton Yelchin's page image. Its insane to hear him speak in his surprisngly deep, raspy voice.
  • Zachary Quinto has a pretty ominous appearance and a set of very angry eyebrows. But his voice is very soft and quite calming.
  • Brad Jones, aka The Cinema Snob, has been described as having the voice of a very sexy young Jack Nicholson, but is actually a pretty short guy. This is especially obvious whenever he does crossovers with his fellow That Guy With The Glasses contributors.
  • Willem Dafoe does not look like he should have such a deep voice.
  • Ironically, Harvey Fierstein does look like a man who'd have a deep voice - but because he's openly Camp Gay, his voice can still take people by surprise.
  • Looking at Tom Baker, you wouldn't expect such a deep voice; you would think that Fourth Doctor would zanier given his outfit.
  • Sometimes, a 12-yeard old boy will sound significantly deeper. It may be part of the reason behind a similar trend in English-language anime.

Notes

  1. Though not near Mike Tyson levels
Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.