I remember my friends saying “Wow, you have the easiest job in the world, singing!” I would think to myself, you’ve got to be kidding. They had no idea the physical effort I was enduring to keep my voice balanced and controlled, and sounding the way it did ever minute of my performance.
Sure, singing isn’t rocket science, but singing well for long periods of time is a balancing act of coordination between body, air flow and the vocal cords. If one of these is out of sync, then something has to give. Usually it’s the throat!
What is vocal fry?
When speaking, vocal fry is simply the vocal cords coming together with very little air passing through, usually at a lower-than-your-normal speech pitch. It sounds like a gritty, broken up, growl….usually at the end of your sentence, and happens frequently in the morning when you first wake up. I hear it frequently, mostly in women. Now that it has made top-headline news recently, I’m sure everyone will start noticing the people around them who speak with some vocal fry.
But now I want to talk about vocal fry from a singing point of view. This is much, much different!
The ability to create vocal fry as you ascend in pitch is one of Brett Mannings’ top three vocal exercises. Why? Because the ability to keep the vocal cords connected with vocal fry as you ascend, is a challenging balance between thinning out the cords and controlling the amount of air passing through. With the correct balance, the cords will touch and vibrate on the edges creating a vocal fry sound. Too much air will either blow the cords apart, or not allow the fry sound to happen. This is the challenge to be able to decrease your air flow just enough to maintain the fry connection in the higher register.
I challenge my students with vocal fry exercises regularly. It really enforces the “less is more” mentality. You should try it. It’s not as easy as you might think. But, let’s be clear we are talking about vocal fry in your “higher” register….not lower.
Please let me know your thoughts! Check out Brett Manning from Singing Success here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mtp8qqo3qm8