I have a pretty average non-distinctive voice with which syllables like "a", "e", "i", and "u" sound pretty cool. Sometimes, I try to shape up my voice consciously to sound better using nasal techniques or increase head voice or fry register.

Often I feel that is more tiring and straining for my chords and I can't quite "pull up" some tones after a while when singing high, but when I use my clear "non-edited" voice, it goes pretty well and it's not so tiring, but doesn't sound as good.

Does this mean that what I'm doing is bad for the voice? Is there a standard to this situation?

A beginner singer here.


2 Answers 2


There is no such thing as "natural voice" in singing, like there is no "natural movement" in sports or "natural look" in makeup. In all of that cases, "natural" is a particularly hard to pull off artificial creation that has to become a second nature to pull off convincingly.

Now if you write stuff like

Then I try to shape up my voice consciously to sound better using nasal techniques or increase head voice or fry register.
then it looks like you are experimenting around with stuff that is far out of your comfort zone and not likely to go where you want.

Now one thing you have to be really aware of is that stuff sounds different to the listener than to yourself. What you hear yourself is mostly bone conductance. But that's not what the listener hears. An efficient use of the voice places your larynx in a relaxed and lowered position. When your neck muscles are relaxed and the larynx is basically suspended, there is little to pick off the sound into your head. Your throat and mouth act like a megaphone, meaning that you get quite a bit of volume out of moderate cord vibration.

I don't know what you mean with "nasal techniques". When singing efficiently, you typically feel resonances and try slightly modifying your vowels depending on pitch when you get off-resonance otherwise.

Note that all this is basically about unamplified singing (which in some respects is most "natural" and in other respects obviously isn't as we are talking about volumes unsuitable for lullabies). With amplified singing, and in particular studio singing or decent-volume singing, you have a lot more leeway regarding using your voice only lightly. Light voice use makes it a lot easier to go smoothly across the vocal break, but has its own difficulties if you want to avoid sounding inconsistent or wheezy. Out of studio settings, you basically have to develop it in lockstep with microphone technique as there is a complete interdependence of the two.

For some examples of what you can pull off with training and microphone technique, check out something like "where the roses never fade" by J.D. Sumner. While he, of course, has a naturally low voice, he is singing far below the pitches supported by the resonances of chest and mouth, employing vocal fry and using microphone technique to get the volume into useful range.

  • You say there is no such thing as a 'natural voice', and yet you describe it as 'second nature' thus suggesting that it has become the 'natural' thing to do. natural: in accordance with the nature of, or circumstances surrounding, someone or something.
    – Poben
    Commented Mar 31, 2014 at 20:31
  • Since "nature" is the state without tampering, "second nature" is a rhetorical phrase.
    – User8773
    Commented Mar 31, 2014 at 22:45

Putting on a tone while singing is much the same as trying to write in a consciously different font, or speaking in an American accent when you know deep down you're only good at Irish ones.

It's perfectly fine to try to spice up your singing with some extra flavour, but there are limits to how effective it is. If the new font you write in is illegible, it was hardly worth your time. If you're laughed at by masses for your inability to conquer foreign accents, it was hardly worth your time. If your voice suffers, you feel sore, you lose some of your range, or you can't go on for as long, it was hardly worth your time. Of course, if it doesn't pose these problems there's little harm in doing so.

Now for the answer I believe: don't try to cover your voice. Natural voice is best voice.

  • Ok so my strength in my sound is : it sounds kind of strong, masculine and a bit rough, but it's not what I personally like... Hmmm... Kinda tricky... I guess I'll have to make peace with what I'm given heh... Update: Fry is actually easier on my voice than fuller voice, but that nasal thing kind of limits me. Commented Mar 30, 2014 at 19:00
  • 1
    You should be proud of that voice... it's the one I want but don't have. ;)
    – MMJZ
    Commented Mar 30, 2014 at 19:02

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