dumb guide

Intro to Voice Feminization

Your voice is a habit. Your voice can be changed in many different ways, like other habits. This page will focus on a transfemme perspective, but anyone can change their voice to a masculine, feminine, androgynous, realistic, anime girl, etc sound.

This page aims to compliment Zheanna Erose's "big picture" video, showing you extra information & resources to do what is shown in this video. This page can also be used alone, as it will cover the same stuff this video does, but summarised (most info will be just a note form of the video)

Here is Z's video:

Overview

Awareness

Awareness is the first step to feminize your voice! 

  • Awareness gained anywhere is a victory
  • Gain awareness over:
    • Muscle groups
    • What to do
    • What not to do
    • How ready you are
    • etc

Knowledge

  • Knowledge gives you a backbone for actions
  • Allows you to understand what you are doing
  • Critical! It allows for reflection upon your actions, and with consious thought, this gives you more awareness!

Mentality

  • Gives you the courage to act
  • Very important! Crucial to growth, and feeds back into awareness.
  • Negative mentality reduces awareness, and erodes knowledge, results in worse action, etc.

Action

Sound production

  • AKA glottal behaviours

This is everything our vocal folds do.

Pitch

  • Vibration rate of the folds
  • How fast the vocal folds actually vibrate
  • Controlled by vertical tension of the vocal folds
  • Stretch tighter = move faster
  • Minimal effect on voice feminization, but is valuable to change

Pitch contour

  • Shape and progression of pitch when you speak
  • Describes how pitch changes during speech
  • Expresses emotion, attitude & meaning

Register

These are vibratory mechanisms, basically modes of vibration.

  • Glottal fry — M0 — Fry
  • Modal — M1 — Modal, normal voice
  • Falsetto — M2 — Higher pitch, not useful for voice feminization
  • Flagolet — M3 — Very high pitch, whistling with the vocal folds

This is not very important for voice feminization.

Vocal fold closure

Adduction or Abduction

  • Adduction adds closure
  • Abduction aborts closure

[insert the diagram]

  • Squeezing the vocal folds — increasing adduction
    • 7:16 example of sound
    • You're slowly closing the vocal folds here
  • Increasing abduction — moving apart
    • 7:25 example of sound
    • You're allowing more air in here, resulting in a breathier sound

Rate of air

  • Force of lung compression
  • Not vocal folds, (simpler model)
  • Blow air fast or slow

Vocal fold thickness

  • Most important glottal behaviour
  • AKA configuration
  • Grouped with vocal fold mass as it is the main important factor to it
  • Vibrate folds with less/more mass
  • less mass = feminine
  • more mass = masculine
  • when combined with bright resonance and a slightly higher pitch, produces a feminine sounding voice
  • The second most important factor to voice feminization
  • Reducing is essential for most voice feminization
    • Vocal fold mass is one of the primary differences between testosterone exposed voices and non testosterone exposed voices

Resources

Sound Modification

AKA Resonance

  • R1, R2, R3
  • Change pharynx space = change R1
  • Change oral space = change R2

R1

  • R1 is the primary "gender control knob"
  • The most important value in feminization
  • Controls "bass"
  • Controlled primarily by pharynx shape/size
    • The geometry of the pharynx
  • Low R1 is the main reason for "sounding masculine"
    • This is because the key difference between male & female vocal tracts is size of the larynx & pharynx
    • Testosterone expands the size of the container
    • This increases bass & low frequency energy
  • Fundamental challenge of voice feminization is creating and maintaining a high R1
  • R1 can be controlled from 200-2000Hz & fluctuates constantly during speech
  • Numerous ways to change R1:
    • Larynx elevation
    • Tongue root modification
    • Oropharyngeal closure
    • Nasopharyngeal lowering
    • & more
  • Do not get lost in these fancy words, these are just ways to raise R1
  • Higher R1 sounds feminine
  • R1 is always lower than R2

Resources

R2

  • R2 is the secondary "gender control knob"
  • R2 is primarily influenced by:
    • Tongue body
    • Tongue apex
  • R2 is our oral cavity resonance
  • Think of R2 as "making the mouth smaller"
    • Bunch up front of tongue
    • Driving it forward & upwards
  • Get a feel of high R2 by slowly saying "yea"
    • Feel how the [y] is squeezed and smooshed against alveolar ridge
    • This [y] is the highest R2 in English
  • R2 is important to control for style and vowel differentiation
  • Less important than R1 in feminization
  • R2 has highest range of any resonance (300 to 3600Hz)
  • It controls the pitch of whistling

The four primary variables

  • Fold Thickness (AKA Spectral Tilt), R1, R2 and Pitch
  • Pitch and R2 are stylistic & aesthetic qualities
  • Fold thickness and R1 are strongest elements of vocal sex
  • R1 is the most important sound modification element
  • Fold Thickness is the most important sound production element
  • R1 and R2 have a strong relationship
  • All feed in sum to output
  • You can usually "pass" with just a good R1, but fold thickness helps as well, with pitch being another factor

Output

  • Immediate initial hearing & proprioception (muscle awareness)
    • This feeds into awareness
  • Output feeds into reflection

Reflection

  • Knowledge feeds into reflection
  • Through consious thought, we can create a much more meaningful experience during practice

Refinement & Normalization

Refinement tips:

  1. Identify the style of voice you want
  2. Find vocal models to gain inspiration
    • Create a list of voices that inspire you
  3. Experiment and tinker regularly
    • Have someone listen to your voice and help you
    • There are multiple communities willing to help you with this! See here.
  4. Take regular recordings and compare them to voices
    • Isolate and identify styles in voices you like and learn to replicate them
  5. Return to and practice the fundamentals
  6. Use the voice regularly
    • Behavioural refinement will happen over time
  • Gravity of habit, "drifting back" to unwanted behaviour
    • Repetitive, consistent correction until habit is formed

Conclusion

  • Do not overfocus on one element
  • Hydrate & take it easy during practice