A good example of what I'm talking about is when Van Morrison sings with that "raspy" voice in, say, Real Real Gone (especially the new recording on "Duets").

When I try to mimic the raspiness, it sounds good (in my opinion), but it leaves my voice feeling a little raw (though my voice is still crisp). I wish I could show an example of what I mean...

Anyway, this rawness I was talking about, is it causing any actual damage? Or could it be strengthening my voice in a "no pain, no gain" type of way?


EDIT: I uploaded my soundclip! http://vocaroo.com/i/s0z0O14J2XtT

That's what I mean.

  • If you want to continue enjoying singing until you're 60 (or more), I wouldn't do it. Maybe some people can keep going that way -- but not everyone can. Why risk it? Apr 19, 2015 at 1:34
  • Well, the logical reason to risk it would be if audiences seemed to prefer it! It might be better to have 15 years of exciting vocal delivery than a lifetime of being able to sing in a boring way... Which is not to say that I personally think vocals have to be rough to be exciting. Apr 19, 2015 at 9:30
  • Raspy sounds used to hurt my throat after a while so I stopped. I eventually came across vocal fry's and I use them in my warm ups, (have a google). Now I can do raspy sounds all the time without my throat hurting, and have more control over it. Apr 20, 2015 at 11:36

2 Answers 2


I am 78 years old and can still bring up a rasp when I feel it needed. When younger I used it a lot and it will give you some trouble with sore vocal chords but it has always been worth it to me to let my passion go forth with a song and the consequences do not seem to warrant too much concern in my opinion. JimE.Mel


Damage is, in fact, possible.

Singing with an intense "edge", raspiness, what have you, is thought to be a possible cause in the development of vocal cord polyps.

WebMD isn't the best source, but many universities that teach vocal pedagogy also stress the idea of not abusing your voice. Classes exist that can help you make sure you get the sound or tone you want without jeopardizing the health of your voice. I would certainly look into that before continuing what could a short, dangerous road for your voice.

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