How To Do Vocal Fry

On this page is some clear instruction of how to do vocal fry. It's really quite easy once you understand what vocal fry is, and what it sounds like. Vocal fry can be very useful to:

  1. Add an element of style to your singing.
  2. Add an aggressive 'buzz' to your voice. This sounds great in rock music!
  3. You can do blood curdling vocal fry screams if you like. And it's even safe for your voice to use this technique.

So What Is Vocal Fry?

Vocal fry is the initial vibration of the vocal chords. If you send a small about of air to your chords, they begin to vibrate slowly. If you increased this air pressure a little more, you would get a full tone.

A more technical vocal fry definition is it's the lowest vocal register and is produced through a loose glottal closure that permits air to bubble through slowly with a popping or rattling sound of a very low frequency.

So what does vocal fry sound like? 

So obviously it doesn't take much air to do vocal fry.

Vocal fry is the first sound you make when you wake up. You know the one...

"AHHHH!"

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The sound is really gravelly, not quite your full tone. Technically speaking, your vocal fry register is the lowest part of your singing range.

You can do  a vocal fry exercise by singing a low note, and then lowering it as much as you can. Soon you will reach a point where you can't sustain a full tone, and your voice will go into vocal fry.

A classic example of it being used, is the cartoon character Elma Fudd. Remember the way he sounds when he says "Be wery wery quite. I'm hunting wabbit". The crackly sound in his voice is vocal fry.

How To Do Vocal Fry

I'm pretty sure that you have already used the above examples to already do vocal fry yourself. But just in case... here is how to do vocal fry...

Say the word "Ahhhh" using as little air as possible. When I say "as little" i really mean it. You should barely hear any noise at all. But the noise you do hear...

...... will be vocal fry!

Of course once you know what it is, and why it happens, you should be able to apply it to your singing. Add a little buzz to your more aggressive songs. Use it to scream! Add little interesting elements of style to your songs.

Let's Check Out Some Vocal Fry Examples

Check out this vocal fry video where I explain and demonstrate how it sounds. 

Vocal Fry in Speech

What's happened lately that's interesting is that a lot of people have picked up this vocal fry in their speech.

It tends to happen more in females, but it can happen with males too. 

You can hear it in their voice when they talk. You can hear me do a quick demonstration at 0:49 in the video. I briefly allow the glottal stop.

(The video below will begin at the correct time for the demonstration)

Vocal Fry vs A Clean Tone 

Listen in at 1:33 while I use vocal fry on my humming exercise. I'm having a little bit of that fry sound come through because I'm not completely closing.

(The video below will begin at the correct time for the demonstration)

Next, I'll do the exercise again and switch back and forth, so you can see both types. Listen along at 2:26. I do the exercise with the fry.

(The video below will begin at the correct time for the demonstration)

A Tip To Make Sure You're Doing Vocal Fry Right

I have been asked before is vocal fry bad? 

It can potentially cause issues. The most important thing is that you need to do it correctly. And it's not a good idea to overuse it either. 

Having said that, in small doses and done correctly, vocal fry sounds can add to your stylistic flair! 

The key to using vocal fry in a technically correct way is to make sure your sound isn't falling back into your throat. 

A tip for making sure this is the case is this: You can put your thumb under your chin where you can feel your swallowing muscles. Then make your vocal fry sound and you'll be able to feel if these muscles are tightening up or not. 

Once you've practiced enough that you're positive that you can create vocal fry without using your swallowing muscles, you can use it as an stylistic vocal effect in your singing. 

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About The Author

Roger Burnley - Vocal CoachRoger Burnley - Vocal Coach

Roger Burnley is a vocal coach located in Hollywood, California. He has been teaching singers for over 30 years and singing for even longer than that. 

Notable past and present clients include Macy Gray, Brandy, Ray J, The Beastie Boys, James Torme, Taylor Lautner, Nona Gaye, and many more.

His clients have collectively sold more than 30 million albums, with several reaching Platinum and Gold status. 

Roger has been featured on VH1, TV Guide Channel, TV One,
and MTV appearing as a vocal expert.

About The Author

Roger Burnley - Vocal CoachRoger Burnley - Vocal Coach

Roger Burnley is a vocal coach located in Hollywood, California. He has been teaching singers for over 30 years and singing for even longer than that. 

Notable past and present clients include Macy Gray, Brandy, Ray J, The Beastie Boys, James Torme, Taylor Lautner, Nona Gaye, and many more.

His clients have collectively sold more than 30 million albums, with several reaching Platinum and Gold status. 

Roger has been featured on VH1, TV Guide Channel, TV One,
and MTV appearing as a vocal expert.

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