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Table of contents
  1. Differences between masculine and feminine voices
  2. Effects of testosterone
    1. Typical features of feminine voices
    2. Typical features of masculine voices
  3. Gendered factors
  4. Out-of-place factors

Differences between masculine and feminine voices

There are many differences between masculine voices and feminine voices. There’s also a huge spectrum of voice types and modifications, which makes comparing them generally almost untenable. However, some generalisations can be made, and we can look at specific voice features and their effect on vocal gender.

In a very basic matter of speaking, when people hear a voice they subconsciously ask themselves “what is the closest gender category that this falls in”. There are no magic numbers or min/maxing, only vague descriptions.

Effects of testosterone

The primary effects of testosterone on the voice are:

  • slight elongation of the vocal tract
  • expansion of the oropharynx (mouth and top of throat)
  • expansion of the larynx and lengthening [need verification] of vocal folds (lowering in pitch)
  • slight thickening of the vocal fold ligament (vocal fold mass which affects vocal weight)

Typical features of feminine voices

  • low in vocal weight
  • high in resonance
  • bright, clear tone
  • high in pitch with a high pitch ceiling
  • use of M2 or mix for intonation and other speech features
  • high intonation range and frequency of inflection
  • more tempo changes through speech
  • pitch used as emphasis

Typical features of masculine voices

  • heavy in vocal weight
  • low to medium in resonance
  • rumbly, heavy tone
  • some voices dipping into M0/fry at bottom of pitch range
  • low intonation range and very low intonation frequency
  • less tempo changes
  • weight and volume used as emphasis

Gendered factors

In very (very) rough order of their effect on vocal gender (when isolated). In-exhaustive.

  1. vocal weight
  2. microbehaviours
  3. resonance
  4. speech patterns
    • tempo fluctuation
    • intonation frequency
    • intonation range

Out-of-place factors

These are not gendered but are uncommon to see and so make a voice more questionable or sound unnatural. In-exhaustive.

  1. hollowness (such as in M2 or TA deactivation)
  2. breathiness
  3. FVF constriction
  4. too much speech pattern/accent modification
  5. tongue root retraction
  6. nasality