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When I'm singing in my chest voice, vocal fry is always kicking in, even though I don't want it to. It sounds like Batman.

Why does this happen, and how can I avoid it?

The song I'm trying to sing is Ed Sheeran's "I'm a Mess", the parts outside the chorus.

  • Welcome to Music StackExchange. I editted the question to make it clearer and more readable. If I changed too much of what you were asking, you can roll back the edits. – Karen Sep 29 '14 at 16:28
  • Hi - could you explain what you mean by "Vocal fry" and "sound like batman" (don't know what you mean but it doesn't sound like you like it lol) .. cheerz .. – user2808054 Oct 1 '14 at 13:30
  • Just to confirm, are you singing in the proper octave? (If you're a guy accidentally singing it an octave lower, you'll be doing it in the vocal fry register, which naturally sounds like Batman.) Another possibility is technique, not being in the habit of making a clear tone. What kind of background do you have in singing? – MysteriousWhisper Nov 4 '14 at 3:20
  • Relevant: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Creaky_voice – Akiva Weinberger Apr 20 '17 at 23:29
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Your vocal chords are muscles. Any exercise without proper training can do more damage than good. Singing is no different. Approach singing like you would a workout: warm up, exercise, cool down.

Warm ups usually consist of singing scales to stretch the vocal chords at varying volumes: soft, medium, loud. Additionally, stretch your neck and face by stressing different consonant/vowel sounds: ah, e, eye, oh, you, te, ta, etc.

When you are actually singing, keep a good posture, not hunched over. Places your hands below your belly button and focus on pushing air from your diaphragm. Breathe in through your nose and out of your mouth. This can make all the different when trying to stay on pitch.

A cool down doesn't have to be extensive as the warm up, but usually its a good idea if you need to sing the next day. Sometimes "hooting" from a low volume to a higher volume is all you need.

Another important part is hydration. Drink lots of warm water periodically to keep your vocal chords loose/lubricated. Avoid sugary drinks or milk. Try to stick to plain water, or warm green tea with a little bit of honey.

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Why does this happen, and how can I avoid it?

Three (3) main reasons may account for this:

  1. You are either forcing yourself to sing in a key far below your natural and usual range,
  2. Lacking training (if you do not practice often and effectively), or
  3. Its simply the natural you (that's your usual voice).

To effectively avoid a voice fry require lots of attention (attitude, posture, breathing techniques, type and quality of fluid intake, etc.) and work (practice, scaling appropriately, etc.).

In some cases, a vocal lift may be required so as to help you address this challenge, but all the same, it still requires as it just doesn't sit like a stone.

All said, it is best to be accessed by a professional so as to be properly accessed, measured and diagnosed. Then, will follow recommendations based on the options available to you to possibly circumvent or truly get rid of your voice fry.

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The "cruel but fair" vocal education method...

  1. Sing four hours a day for a week, at full tilt, without destroying your voice if you can, but without quitting.

  2. Take a week off.

  3. Sing your heart out. Fixed.

    ...until you ever take a month off, then you'll have to start over.

  • Sounds flat out dangerous. – Meaningful Username Sep 29 '14 at 19:45
  • School of hard knocks - how a lot of us had to learn back in the day. 5 days into a 6 week gig & your voice is giving out after an hour... By week 3 you never worry again, until you take too much time off after the run, then you start over. – Tetsujin Sep 29 '14 at 19:47
  • Four hours a day sounds like a cruel and unusual schedule. – Meaningful Username Sep 29 '14 at 19:50
  • It's just like practising piano, guitar etc.. 4-8hrs a day is unusual, but not unheard of. An hour a week is not going to get you far. – Tetsujin Sep 30 '14 at 5:59
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    I don't see how this addresses the problem. Practice is no good if you don't practice correctly. – MysteriousWhisper Nov 4 '14 at 3:13
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I have a hypothesis that vocal fry is produced by reducing the air support to the minimum necessary to sound the vocal cords; that is, that vocal fry is a transitional effect between not giving the cords enough air to sound at all, and resounding fully.

If my hypothesis is true, then you should be able to eliminate vocal fry by improving your breath support and projecting your voice more.

(Please report back whether this works for you!)

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