I recently wrote a song where the vocals are supposed to sound rough, but not quite growling/screaming. What's the best way to get that sort of sound from my voice without any long-term or short-term adverse effects?
[Insert obligatory 'ruining your voice for eternity' lecture here]
Now that's over with... Here is what I've found from my experiences with trying to make my voice sound rough.
Quick Background: I've been experimenting with this style for 3 or 4 years, just on a casual level while practising, not a professional or even performance basis. Also, most of the time I Don't sing this way, but I'll usually work on it a couple hours over the course of a week. Over the course of this time I haven't caused damage to my voice, and have actually improved my vocal range, control, and skill level (with this style and overall).
I'm not a vocal scientist, so I'm not even going to venture into the realm of 'What is actually going on in this throat-thing'. But here are some things I've observed that hopefully may help you:
Tips on Getting the 'Rough' Sound:
Tips for Keeping your Voice Safe while using these techniques:
One trick is to summon up some phlegm/saliva in the back of your throat.
Then to approach a growl, tighten your throat enough that the airflow is affected by the phlegm, but not so tight as to cause pain.
Even with that technique, I wouldn't like to keep going for an hour-long performance. I don't know how the rock professionals do it.
I suppose the most obvious way to protect your voice is to sing normally and distort the signal. Run the signal through tube-style distortion and/or flange. Record it through taught shreds of wax paper ("kazoo"-it) or use a harmonica-mic. 8-bit mastering would mess-up some vocals nicely. Find some assembly code and play it back on the PC-speaker (not Audio Speakers, but the part that BEEPs!) and record that underwater. The possibilities are endless.
You can get acoustic "distortion" effects with suitably-tuned snare-drums, bottles, jugs, tile-bathroom-stalls.
Answering machines, really-old audio tape. Lo-fi lowers the nyquist limit, cutting-off upper frequencies, same as distortion cuts higher amplitudes.