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:retootPlz:​ What were some of the most helpful tips (or maybe THE most helpful tip in singular) when feminising your voice through voice training?

In addition, if you speak multiple languages, how do you feel voice feminisation is different in your languages, if at all?

oh and this is my voice btw, but what my VT and I call "ideal voice". "Practical voice", or daily driver voice, is lower in pitch, has more vocal fry and is perceived less femme imo.

My VT told me today to aim for 240 hz average pitch and to have my resonance slightly more even across the whole vowel range.

She also told me to start to speak to people and eeeeeeh. I don't like that. I have literally 0 confidence even with my mouth shut :p

mean pitch of the clip above is 220 hz ish, but that's mainly because clip is so short and it's one of those "single statement sentences" which always goes down in pitch for me, as well for others I assume.

@meave
- singing! Try to sing out loud along to pop sonngs. Find ones that fit your voice range (you'll have to try), possibly sung by trans* women (-> Nomi Ruiz, Angelica Ross...).
- imitate other trans* women speaking. Use youtube videos, try to match their pitch, breath etc.
- At the beginning of a sentence, use a high breathy >feminine< "ehm" - it puts your voice into a mode to continue speaking like this (watch pre-transition interviews with Andrea Pejic for illustration)
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@meave
- speak "in the front of your mouth" instead of in the back of your throat
- learn how to twang (esp. if you speak English)
- scream! Use words you would yell in public ("hey," "stop") and learn to do so in a voice that suits you. (This also helps by learning to set boundaries in public spaces. :flan_wink: )
- make sex noises (really!)
- put a lot of breath in your voice
- in general: overdue it when training until you master the techniques.
2/

@meave
At the same time, pay attention to not straining your voice too much. This is a lot about training muscles, so it takes time and practice.
- FInd other trans* girls and practice in a group, so you get feedback.
- Record yourself speaking, so you can listen to it and hear how you're doing (that one's hard, I know!). Possibly, record phone conversations with friends if they consent.
- imitate cis women speaking. For example, use single sentences from movies (invidious.snopyta.org/watch?v=)
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@meave
Finally: This is all about techniques and muscles. But the most important thing is /how/ you speak: add melody, use your hands, pay attention to your phrasing, add facial expressions (smile!) - and always remember: This can be a tool for passing, but it's also a way to express yourself. So eventually discard everything that doesn't feel right. You're just reproducing stereotypes until you've found your own personal voice.
And be patient. For me, it took about 2 years.
:heart_trans: /fin

@LouInABox thank you so so much! It's really good to know that I'm not totally astray as I follow many tips that you state. To hear it from a fellow trans woman is especially useful because my VT is cis and I'm never sure if she has internalised all our struggles in the voice department, even if she is very skilled.

@LouInABox @meave these tips have encouraged me to start trying some voice training starting tomorrow. I'm not on hrt and this is day 0. Good start?

@alinanorakari @LouInABox it's definitely a good start with identifying what can work on going forward and the most important part: starting :3 good work!

@alinanorakari @meave wow, that's an amazing start! Thank you for your courage to share it with us. :blobcattransheart: keep practicing, you're exactly on the right path. Breath, position, and rhythm really make a difference. Also your pitch, that's great. You could try to raise it even more if you like (see below). and try how it feels to stretch some words ("pleeeease"...), that adds to the rhythm. Don't be afraid to overexaggerate for practice.
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@alinanorakari @meave for pitch, this is something I learned from a girl on youtube ages ago (can't find it any more):
- count to 20
- start with your boy voice and raise the pitch as much as you can until 10, like super high
- then slowly lower your voice again, until it feels "natural" at 20
-Keep speaking at this pitch and add the other "elements" (breath, position, melody)

Careful though, this is really stressful for your voice. Don't overdo it and drink a lot!
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@meave 2 things my voice coach told me that were really helpful:

'm' is the sound that is the easiest to feminise because you can shift pitch and resonance around extremely freely to find where it's comfortable. I was given a list of words starting with 'm' and phrases with a lot of 'm's in them and I was told to find the resonance and a pitch in range and hold the pitch while saying them which helps practice listening to those two aspects.

Intonation plays a surprisingly big role. "Male" voices tend to emphasise with volume mostly and pitch stays more static, where "female" voices tend to emphasise a lot more with pitch. The exercise I was given to practice it was to count to 20 as though I was talking to a toddler, like really exaggerating the pitch and emphasis.

@meave ime, the actual feminisation process is the same in all languages, but feminising your speech in one language does not instantly translate to all others. after i reached a (mostly) fem voice in english, i still had a masc voice in spanish, and it took conscious effort to change that

i think it's about relearning how to move the muscles in some way, so you might have an easier time with languages that sound similar
@annieversary @meave yea,, not that i have a very fem voice yet at all, but having my 'better voice' in german and swiss german takes a significant effort while in english it mostly just works,

@maia @annieversary this is my experience as well since I speak more English than my native language and I haven't done much VT in the latter either.

@meave i feel like my personal answer to this would be extremely unfair and cheating. but i found this diagram helpful. but really i think “trans voice lessons” on youtube is just extremely good.

@bri_seven VFS? :3 Zhea's voice lessons are brilliant, agreed!

@bri_seven that's a really interesting journey, thank you for sharing!

I have a slightly similar story, but only in the way that I did voice training by myself to get my pitch darker and more resonant. Feels kinda counter productive now lol.

@meave (cis / second hand knowledge) my mrs said that she had used Finding Your Female Voice and that a key difference in male voices is a secondary lower register harmonizing with the higher register. She said learning to turn off that lower harmony brings you 80% of the way. I googled and found this; hope it helps. youtu.be/27Yb04MBaOE

@meave pitch isn't as important as most people trying to feminize their voice initially think.

Gender differences in voice pitch 

@meave Male and female norms for pitch are indeed *wildly* different by language. From my phonetics lecture notes:

(Male vs female average)
English: 107 Hz vs 195 Hz
Mandarin: 129 Hz vs 213 Hz
Shanghainese: 170 Hz vs 187 Hz
French: 145 Hz vs 226 Hz
Japanese: 150 Hz vs 340 Hz

Does make me wonder if English-speaking men are trying extra-hard to sound Not Female. And if Japanese women are trying to sound very, very young.

Gender differences in voice pitch 

@yingtai huh that's fascinating! How did they test this, do you remember?

Gender differences in voice pitch 

@meave @yingtai interesting! I've found a reddit post, maybe from your classmate lol? i wanna see the cite on shanghainese orz reddit.com/r/linguistics/comme

Gender differences in voice pitch 

@t54r4n1 @meave I don't have exact links, but these incomplete citations were on the slides! Might be enough to track them down?

English: Keating & Kuo 2012
Mandarin: Keating & Kuo 2012
Shanghainese: Rose 1991
French: Chervie-Muller et al 1967
Japanese: Onishi 1981

Gender differences in voice pitch 

@yingtai @meave found it! philjohnrose.net/pubs/Tone_pub / philjohnrose.net/pubs/Tone_pub

Rose, at least, thinks that Shanghainese speakers are performing gender through tone differences, rather than f0 (pitch). I'd say any of these claims would be a tall hill to climb based on a sample size of 4 males 3 females.

Gender differences in voice pitch 

@yingtai @meave good grief its 1991 and this guy is out here measuring the f0 by *hand* (page 236) because he doesn't trust the software (not entirely unreasonably). okay maybe that's why you only got 7 speakers lol

Gender differences in voice pitch 

@t54r4n1 @meave I took my first phonetics course in 2000, and we were taught to measure everything by hand, because the software's F0 detection wasn't that great. Nowadays you adjust a setting if you see something obviously wrong, or you rely on statistics to cancel out the errors, but that wasn't the modus operandi back then. There was a long gap between computers being able to do things vs being able to do them well!

Gender differences in voice pitch 

@yingtai @meave

I remembered reading posts about this on Language Log years ago, including this comment about how women sound angry in Japanese if they speak too low.

itre.cis.upenn.edu/~myl/langua

re: Gender differences in voice pitch 

@yingtai @meave

these data seem suspicious to me. everything I've seen so far had shown a small difference in the bimodal distribution by language/culture, measurable but by no means larger than the bimodal gap itself.

the first thing to keep in mind is that individual pitch variation is very big, and that most people who didn't sit down to study this topic have only a vague idea of what "pitch" sounds like—e.g. a large speaker with a testosterone-type larynx speaking in a shout or addressing a classroom will have quite a high pitch, yet people describe their voice as "low" because of the resonance. (many times a trans woman has told me "I don't want a high-pitched voice, I wanted to sound deep and butch like this or that celebrity"; I go study the celebrity's voice with trusty praat, she's invariably as high-pitched as your average cis woman.)

so you need to compare data from similar contexts and try to not deviate too much in the other parameters (amplitude, ambient noise etc). below is some data Mark Liberman plotted long ago from CallHome phone calls, in English in Japanese (languagelog.ldc.upenn.edu/nll/ )

also while I'm quoting Liberman I want to link to these cool visualisations about how the bimodal distribution gets closer with age: languagelog.ldc.upenn.edu/nll/

re: Gender differences in voice pitch 

@elilla @meave Those are indeed quite different results. It does make me wonder why.

But they're not quite as different as they look, because your diagram is in semitones and my figures were Hz. Converting to piano notes:

(Male vs female averages)
English: A2 vs G3
Japanese: D3 vs F4

The 2 female norms are not quite one octave apart, as is the English gender difference. The Japanese gender difference is well over an octave apart.

re: Gender differences in voice pitch 

@elilla @meave And of course you are right about resonance. I'm pretty sure that differs between languages too, but there I can't cite any research. I think that's one reason why I don't sound like a native English speaker, though; my resonance is really high up compared to American women.

re: Gender differences in voice pitch 

@yingtai @meave yeah I think Hz measures give a misleading impression of how it feels for us, and for voice I always look for measures in mels or a similar scale.

@meave conceptual tip more than practical, but it was still very important to me in being able to choose how I developed my voice. pitch and resonance/brightness are separate qualities which can be controlled separately. the cis femme sound is higher pitch and resonance than cis masc but there's a large spread and it's very possible to go slightly outside that range and sound good and feminine

@meave don't strain your voice, it doesn't work like that, if it hurts you're doing it wrong

@meave@toot.site So I'm probably a bit outside what you're looking for (I'm post-T ftm and now sound masc by default, but I can use voice techniques to switch my voice into feminine at will), but.

The most important thing to shift ime is resonance. The more you can bring the vibration as you speak into your mouth and lips (as opposed to your chest and lower throat), the more feminine-sounding it comes out.

Also The Voice Book for Trans and Non-Binary People by Matthew Mills is hella helpful.

@meave record yourself (i know triggering ) trying out different voices see which intonation suits you and you can maintain, have lots of women friends to talk to
It’s not just intonation it’s speech patterns and idioms as well

For foreign languages pick a teacher or recordings who’s the gender you trying to match to get intonation right

@meave resonance is more important was something I remember.

@meave It's not exactly the same, but I struggled with speaking to people for quite some time. Still do a bit. However, recording vlogs over the years helped a fair bit with speaking to others. Even if you never make them public, it's possible it may help you feel more comfortable speaking making your voice training easier.

Best of luck!

@meave I feel like most trans femmes overcompensate the pitch to make up for lack of resonance technique. im suprised she reccomended 240hz i aim for around 180-200hz which is the range most cis girls speak. which sounds more natural imo atleast when you get the resonance right

@Zoey_Bee I was surprised too, but she said that my pitch sounded pretty natural so I should try to aim for it

@meave the resonance in that clip doesnt sound too off imo but sounds like like you are closing your vocal folds, that was one of the biggest differences in my voice training. (also making popping sounds to learn to control my laryngeal fold)

to practice it you should start by breathing in which opens them, then try to speak while keeping your folds(should feel them directly above ur larynx) open. you can probably find a better explanation online tho x3

@meave oops meant the vestibular folds, the ones right at the top of ur throat at the back of the mouth, that should be as small as possible

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