I’m a closet Bachelor and Bachelorette fan. If you watch a show like that, you might have noticed that some women (and men) use occasional vocal or glottal fry. In fact, it’s all over mainstream TV. Vocal fry is the lowest vocal register and refers to when your vocal cords vibrate more slowly leading to a creaky sounding voice.
Listen to these examples:
Now, see if you can identify it yourself: Listen to Bono’s voice as he slows down when singing “With or Without You” at the beginning of the song.
If you need to know the science behind vocal fry, here’s a great explanation: The Science Behind Vocal Fry
There are three vocal registers:
- Falsetto (high pitch)
- Modal (normal phonation)
- Vocal Fry (low pitch)
Singers and radio personalities use all three vocal registers to convey emotions. Other public figures who use vocal fry are Kim Kardashian and Zooey Deschanel. Some people are concerned that vocal fry is becoming more common among certain populations of young women, but that is speculation. Luckily, vocal fry is not physically damaging to your voice, but it does impact how you are perceived, if you do it habitually.
Research studies have been mixed about whether or not producing vocal fry makes others perceive you in good or bad ways. A study by Rindy C Anderson et al in 2014 found that vocal fry may undermine the success of young women in the marketplace, while other research from 2010 by Ikuko Patricia Yuasa found that vocal fry increased the perceptions of women being hesitant and nonaggressive, but also educated and upwardly mobile.
If you are concerned about your vocal quality, you can always find a certified speech-language pathologist in your state to assess your voice. Some general tips to maintain a healthy voice include:
- Staying hydrated
- Quit smoking
- Limit caffeine and alcohol (they dehydrate)
- Avoid frequent and excessive throat clearing
As you can see hydration is extremely important to have a healthy voice – that’s because your voice is fragile and important. I hope that you take care of your voice — so you can use it to its full potential in your life.
Do you think that you can you recognize vocal fry? Do you ever use vocal fry yourself?