How Does Vocal Fry Work
Ugh, the bananas got everywhere. I just knowthe catapult place is gonna hit me with a cleaning fee. Oh, hello BrainStuff! I'm Lauren, and todaywe're going to talk about the human voice â€“ specifically, vocal fry the vocal registerthat launched a thousand panicky trend pieces. You've heard it in conversation, you'veheard people complain about it, and you very likely use at least a little bit of it yourself.But how does it actually worké What's happening inside your throat when you fryé To explain this, we first need to considerhow we humans make sound with our voices.
So, imagine you're saying something normal,like, â€œLet go of my pizza, Ted, or prepare to feel the hot iron of vengeance.â€� When you begin to speak or sing, chant,or babble you relax your diaphragm to push air from your lungs up through your larynxand out of your mouth. And on the way up, that air passes betweenyour vocal folds, also known as your vocal cords. The vocal folds are two strips of membranoustissue that you can manipulate in a few ways to control the pitch and quality of your voice: If you move your vocal folds together as theair from your lungs passes up through the
slit between them (known as the glottis, bythe way), it causes the folds to vibrate, like the reed in a clarinet or a saxophone.This vibration then resonates through the air in the cavities of your head to producethe fundamental sound of your voice. Now, human beings have three main vocal registers:falsetto, modal, and fry. The modal register is most commonly used innormal speaking voices, and it's what I'm using now. The falsetto register is the highest frequencyregister, and you've probably heard people use it when they talk to babies and pets,oooh, yes you have!
When you go into the falsetto register, youpull your vocal folds tight, allowing only the edges to vibrate, rather than the entirefolds. The lowest vocal register is the fry vocalregister. You might have also heard people call it â€œcreaky voice.â€� What we would see during the use of vocalfry is that the vocal cords are pressed together but not stretched longitudinally, which createsa loosely closed glottis gap. Breath â€œbubblesâ€� out between the slackened folds, creatingpulses as the vocal cords â€œrattleâ€� against each other.
You can see the same kind of chaotic rattlinghappen with a guitar string if you tune your instrument low enough! In recent years, vocal fry has been a hugesubject of debate. Is it super annoyingé Or is it super annoying when people criticizeité If you want to learn more about all that,you can check out my compatriot Cristen Conger's excellent Stuff Mom Never Told You tutorial onthe subject, by clicking here. In which I have a cameo. But in short, vocal fry is nothing to panicabout, culturally speaking. Studies show that
it's a fairly common feature of human speechacross demographics, used most often right at the end of sentences or phrases. So, do you use vocal fryé Have you been criticizedfor ité Let us know in the comments! If you'd like to learn more about vocal fry, rememberto check out these excellent episodes of Stuff Mom Never Told You. And you can learn moreabout the human body (and the vibrations it makes) over at HowStuffWorks !.
What Is Vocal Fry Is It Bad For You
Is talking like this bad for my voiceé Orjob prospectsé or Life in generalé What is UP with Vocal Fryé Vocal fry is the lowest of the four registersof the human voice. Our voice is made by air passing through a set of soft flaps in ourvoicebox; or larynx. As we breathe, air moves past these flaps and they can vibrate from100 to 1000 times a second. Like a brass instrument's mouthpiece, vocal chords alone create a buzzingsound, but if you put a resonator above it, like a horn, you can affect a sound! playAs we learn to control the vibration, we use the throat, mouth, and nasal cavity as ourresonator. Our vocal chords can make four
registers: the lowest is fry, then modal,falsetto, and whistle on the top. Most people will speak and sing in the modal range, andif you listen, you can tell when people switch registers especially as they're singing.As you speak, the chords are vibrating smoothly, but fry slams them shut, allowing only bubblesof air to break through which is why it sounds like popping. In 2012, the Journal of Voice released a studyexploring how young women aged 1825 were speaking in the lowest register, for somereason! Essentially, while talking would slip into the vocal fry register again, somethingrarely done in recent generational memory.
Whyé NO IDEA. Seriously, no one knows. Butit's definitely new. In 1972, a study in the Journal of Speech and Hearing Disorders exploredjudgements of voice quality in both men and women and found 5 to 10 percent of peoplehad quote quot;some type ofâ€¦ pathology that produced a deviant voice quality.quot; Speakingoutside the modal range is considered a deviance, so from this result we know people were definitelyusing it in the late20th century. In the 90s, men and women who were in their 40s usedit during a study for the Acoustical Society of America. And today, in an disappointinglytiny study from Long Island University, found twothirds of women used the fry.
In the past both men and women have used deepvoices to convey authority of gravitas, and looking at the CEOs of 800 public companies,scientists found deeper voices made more money. In fact, according to their study, as pitchof the voice decreased, the CEO's salary increased and deeper voices infer longer tenuretoo. Plus, a 2013 PLOS ONE study found women associate sexual attractiveness with deeper,breathier male voices but men, on the other hand, looked for higher pitched voices intheir heteronormative mates and their resulté It's all about body size. Deeper voices meantlarger bodies which then equated to more power. Regardless, this affectation or tic, is gainingpopularity, especially with women, though
I really want to stress the point that mendo it too women are just getting crap for it. Researchers can only guess why it's gainingpopularity in women, though there are hypotheses. Perhaps, the use of the vocal fry is to mimicthat quot;powerquot; or quot;male attractivenesséquot; Or, just as likely, it's something completelydifferent! We know we're doing it more, and we know thatsome people don't like that. A 2014 PlosONE study found people over 40 think females usingvocal fry sound like they quot;lack authorityquot; but those UNDER 40 don't care one bit. So,know your audience, but speak like you want! In the end, it's not physically harmful accordingto vocal coach Ken Taylor, and as long as
you're not using it constantly or yellingwhile doing vocal fry, you shouldn't see any longterm issues. Noam Chomsky's voice has vocal fry, and sodoes the former head of the New York Times Jill Abramson it all the time, I don't seeanyone giving him crap about it. You do you girls and guys. Do you speak with vocal fryé If you weren'tsure before, you'll probably hear it all the time now. What do you think of ité.