5 Benefits of Vocal Fry: It Might be Worth a Try!

5 Benefits of Vocal Fry: It Might be Worth a Try!
Photo by Matthew Ball / Unsplash

Vocal fry is a strange and often misunderstood vocal register. While it sounds a bit weird and wouldn't be people's first choice when singing or talking, it has its place in the world and is more common than you think. Unravelling the mystery around vocal fry can even lead to finding some benefits from trying it.

Vocal fry is a vocal register that can strengthen and extend a person's lower vocal range. This allows the individual to sing lower and more powerfully, as well as reducing a naturally breathy sound. Vocal fry can also help to relax the vocal cords, create a stylistic sound or remove nasal tone.

In this article, I will discuss these benefits of vocal fry and why you may want to include vocal fry in your vocal training. You can also find a breakdown of vocal fry, with examples, so that you know what people have been talking about!

Benefits of Vocal Fry

Below are the key benefits of using vocal fry. While some people can develop a habit of dropping into vocal fry too often, you can be assured that it will not harm your voice when you use this vocal register.

Strengthens Your Lower Range

Vocal fry will strengthen your lower range, known as 'chest voice'. Chest voice is approximately the lower half of your modal voice register. If all of these terms are confusing to you, you can find a description and breakdown of the different vocal registers in this article.

When you use vocal fry, the muscles that pull your vocal cords together are used the most, closing the vocal cords completely. Using these muscles more and more will help strengthen them, just like any other muscle you use frequently.

Strengthening these muscles will therefore give you greater control over them, meaning that the notes that used these muscles will be more powerful and clear. This is mostly notes in your lower range, but also every note in the modal register (to a lesser extent). In other words, vocal fry can also help strengthen the whole modal register!

Improving your chest voice through vocal fry will not only strengthen your singing voice, but it will also strengthen your talking voice, as this also uses the modal register.

This is a great tip for those that have a lighter, more airy voice. Using vocal fry as a vocal exercise can help their voice to become louder and more clear.

Extends Your Vocal Range

The only thing stopping you from singing lower is the strength of the muscles mentioned above, which need to hold their position while you sing the low note. It's easy for these muscles to get tired if they aren't used often, so sometimes they can't stay in place long enough to make a sound, or they can only stay in place with a weak sound.

If you need to brush up on a bit of anatomy or on how the voice box (larynx) works, you can detour to this article.

Gaining more control and strengthening the muscles that pull the vocal cords together means that you will be able to sing lower notes than you could before. This is exactly what vocal fry can achieve and why some singers use it to extend their lower range.

Relaxes Your Vocal Cords

As we know, vocal fry mainly uses the muscles that pull your vocal cords close together. While this is happening, the other muscles that control your vocal cords are relaxing. These other muscles are those that help you sing higher.

This is why vocal fry can be used to help relax your voice after a performance. Most people use their mid-to-high range to sing, which builds tension in these muscles in the larynx. Vocal fry will give them a chance to relax. (Keeping in mind you should be relaxing all the muscles with other gentle exercises too).

Reduces a Nasal Tone

Vocal fry can reduce nasality in your voice by training you to lift the soft palate when you sing. Lifting the soft palate redirects the airflow to your mouth instead of your nose, which increases oral resonance. More oral resonance when you sing or talk means less nasal tone.

For an understanding of oral and nasal resonance, or for more tips on removing the nasal tone in your voice, click here.

In order to use vocal fry for this purpose, you can try switching between vocal fry and the modal register (normal singing). Try to keep the same shape at the back of your throat. The soft palate should stay raised.

You should be able to feel if your soft palate drops, but you can also look at the back of your throat in the mirror to double-check.

Offers a Different Sound

Finally, vocal fry can be used stylistically when you sing to create a unique sound. This has been used in some metal music to replace other harsher forms of stylistic singing, such as screaming. It can also create a more casual feel as well. You can see examples of this below.

What Does Vocal Fry Sound Like?

Vocal fry occurs when the vocal cords are drawn together tightly when you talk or sing. Because the vocal cords are closed, only bubbles of air can escape, creating the cracking or bubbling sound of vocal fry.

The sound can be likened to something sizzling in a pan, or 'frying'. Hence the name. You may have heard it before without realising it, but it is sometimes seen as a lazy, unenthusiastic or casual way of talking. It is also very commonly used by people when they first wake up.

Below is a great example of Kim Kardashian's frequent use of vocal fry when talking!

We can also see vocal fry used by singers such as Brittany Spears in the video below. You can hear the fry at the start of most phrases in the verse of her song 'Baby One More Time'.

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