Table of contents
A method for reducing vocal weight and achieving overall more consistent and clear glottal behavior.
Forget singular aspects such as vocal weight, resonance etc. The more you focus on one aspect and try to achieve it, the less this method will work. Be patient! Sometimes results are vague and don’t feel like you have control but there are results regardless, and if we focus on individual aspects or try to do much at all then we won’t get results. Your conscious mind will ruin it, so instead, let your voice naturally and automatically adjust and naturalise. The only parts that are consciously controlled are the very beginning and the times we change pitch intentionally, the rest should be on autopilot.
Ideally, how this method works shouldn’t matter to any student; if we follow the rules of the exercises and do them to how they are described, we should get results without needing to consciously make changes, and getting results relies on not doing conscious control of the voice anyway, so read on only if with the understanding that this is background information, or skip this part:
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How it works is fairly simple. Our voices have certain conflations, meaning when you try to do X, you do Y as well. Sometimes these conflations are harmful, but sometimes they represent a natural balance of sorts. Pitch happens to be conflated positively with almost every aspect of voice feminization to a small degree, and our ability to modulate pitch without effort and without compromising other aspects represents a substantial portion of the skills and behaviors needed for voice feminisation and general vocal ability. The skills that are possible to learn through these methods can represent what normally takes years to develop through day to day practice.
These skills once learned are useful at any pitch, meaning we can also achieve lower pitches while maintaining the feminine characteristics and other general skills we learned through these methods. It’s important to note that pitch itself is mostly irrelevant to the “quality” or the gender of the voice. Instead it is a powerful tool to be used to make the changes we want. The goal is not to ‘raise pitch’, but to improve the voice at every pitch. Eventually, we might gain the skills needed to semi-consciously modify vocal weight, but this takes a very large amount of practice.
Your goal is a sound! Only focus on “does this sound closer to my goal”. Physical feelings only happen when there’s a problem such as constriction or pressing, so avoid trying to make physical movements; if we do, we’ll expect sensations as feedback and make those happen even though that means adding tension or constriction. Singular aspects are mostly irrelevant unless we’re troubleshooting some specific problem, so it’s best to ignore things like “vocal weight” and “resonance” or any specific aspect of voice. Focus on vague ideas like “clarity” and “naturalization” instead which allow the subconscious to do the work for you. It’s much better at this than your conscious mind will ever be!
In this we learn to achieve a basic voice coordination which has high pitch mobility, meaning we can modulate pitch without effort and without compromising other qualities we want in our voice such as clarity and volume. It doesn’t necessarily make our voices significantly feminine yet, though some people find this is all they need to achieve a feminine voice. What it does do is provide a solid but flexible and stable coordination. What we learn in this process is what most people take years to develop: clear, stable and robust glottal behavior
Glottal behavior is simply the small scale ways in which the voice is produced, such as the clarity and lightness.
This is the main exercise, and should be the first one we do. It mostly preserves our speech patterns and clarity, while letting only the gendered aspects of our voice change.
The idea is to start speaking at whatever is your natural relaxed pitch, with a strong tone. Don’t go breathy or quiet, keep it strong and natural. Speak a passage; let intonation be present, and make the last note of each phrase or sentence held longer and stay on the same note. This will be your base pitch. The base pitch will now rise just slightly, so the pitch you end each phrase on will be slightly higher too. Once you feel very comfortable here, let that base pitch and the whole voice float up a little further, still letting the voice rise for intonation as well. Just the act of raising the last note will shift the entire voice, and the fact that we shifted the entire voice will mean the voice will slowly and naturally adjust. How high you go is determined by which pitches are already relaxed and naturalized.
- speak at your relaxed, not-doing-anything pitch
- make sure to start strong, possibly a little bit louder and heavier than normal
- make the last word of each phrase held longer and monotone as it rests on the base pitch which helps keep the base pitch consistent
- base pitch is the pitch your voice returns to after intonation, and it’s what is raising the entire voice up to that “anchor”
- once you feel comfortable here, let that last word and note float up a tiny bit, raising the whole voice
- repeat, but don’t push the pitch too high - the goal is to naturalize all of your range, not raise pitch
- be extremely patient; if you rush or try too hard to control things, it won’t work
- lean toward less airflow but moderately loud
- going up in pitch should be extremely easy, suspiciously so; if not, spend more time letting it naturalise it here or start again
- pitch naturalisation is called that because at each pitch, the voice sounds natural as if it’s always been at this pitch and this is your “natural voice”
Example of the pitch naturalisation exercise
This is slightly more advanced, so it is best to use it only if we either get stuck on the floating method, or have already achieved some changes through that exercise. This can also be used to bring a lighter voice down low in pitch for deep feminine voices, once enough skill is learned.
- pick a pitch to use as a base pitch; make sure it’s not too high, it should be easy to do in your heavier, more masculine voice
- slide up to this pitch and speak one phrase monotone, keeping it loud and strong
- start the second phrase a little higher, but have it come down to the base pitch again by the end, making it easier to add intonation
- at no point in this exercise should you ‘try’ to do anything, and it’s best to avoid focusing on any individual aspects. Instead, is the overall voice getting more natural and easy to use?
- at each pitch step your goal is to become more lazy and relaxed over time and to get used to speaking at this level; your body wants to do certain things to the voice at each pitch and so you should let it.
- when you’re very very comfortable and it feels natural and not ‘pushed’ to speak here, go to the next pitch or start again
- if you can let the intonation naturally go quite high, then you’ll get a little more results faster but again don’t ‘try’ to do so
Brightness comes from many sources but the main source is that resonance and clarity interact to make a voice brighter. We can approach these things in a similar manner to the pitch naturalisation. If we get stuck, it may be necessary to do some basic resonance training just to get the ability to shift it at all first and then come back to this exercise, but it is worth attempting. If you’ve gone through the previous exercises and naturalised your voice to F3 or above, then this is a good time to try this exercise.
- start at a medium pitch with a deep, dark, yawn-like voice
- speak a passage and let it adjust, becoming brighter
- this means high resonance
- find a good balance for this
- if you find you have not enough range or don’t get any changes, try the unvoiced and then the voiced resonance exercises
- make sure to start very very deep and low resonance, otherwise you will find it harder to make changes
- making changes slowly is better than having it jump suddenly