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Guest Elizabeth K

Female Voice

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Guest Elizabeth K

Voice

This is an MTF presentation - sorry guys, you have the advantage of response to the “T” and we don’t have the same effects with our HRT. We have to ‘earn’ our new female voice’ and it is one of the most difficult parts of transition for MTF.

This is dedicated to Eth – my girlfriend and sister who asked me about it in the first place.

I want to be clear - I have been working on my voice for about six months. I had virtually no success at first. I wanted to give up but I kept at it because all those who have successfully managed to find a female voice have recommended never giving up – that their success was based upon practice practice practice. So I have to make that my first recommendation: practice!

Secondly, my success is not that spectacular! I am now able to barely pass with it, and I have a long way to go. Without other cues (on the telephone) I can now pass. I think that is the first step. I feel that once we pass on the telephone we are halfway toward a successful female voice. So my second recommendation is work until you get to the point you can pass on the telephone. It took me about four months. I am still not that good, all the time, but I can get a ‘ma’m’ on the phone most times, if people don’t know me, and that is a wonderful thing.

And my final confession? I don’t know if I will ever be one hundred percent successful, but I have high hopes. My voice never that deep to start and I had a soft tone already, but it was always masculine enough to playact male just fine. Some of you may have a deep voice or a loud resonance, and may have to work harder. But, some of you younger people are closer to your voice as a child, and should have that advantage. We older transpeople have a lot to relearn, as our muscles used in our earlier life have somewhat shrunken away. And that is my third recommendation – understand that you already have the structures you need in your throat, you have just not used them after your voice changed in puberty.

Okay, I hear that first question already, what book, DVD or CD can I use? Is there a site on the Internet? I have found booklets, but never a book.

I haven’t researched everything, but I did talk with some post op friends, and I did some Googling. That is something you may want to do, the Googling I mean. Anyway, there are speech coaches you can hire. I don’t have that option as I can barely afford therapy and HRT. My friend Veronica used a speech coach and my voice is as good as hers.

BUT most people I know recommended videos and CDs. There are many out there and I can only say you need to evaluate what might work best for you. I commute to work and can spend an hour a day each way with a CD. Some of you may not have that advantage or may have to be more cautious with your choices because you are not out. Or you may not have the funds.

There are Internet sites that help. Also YouTube is a wonderful source. To be honest, the sites you visit can be rather discouraging sometimes because the voices of the transwomen are so PERFECT – Auggggggh. But remember they are usually success stories because they have practiced practiced practiced! And most are living full time and are transitioned, so they ‘live’ their voice. We beginners are having to just find time to work on our voices, and have to fit it in when we can. But as I said, I have high hopes I can eventually sound as feminine and wonderful as those beautiful ladies do… I have those hopes, and you must also.

So the two CDs I use are Stealth Productions, Finding Your Female Voice, and Melaine Speaks. They are somewhat different, but I think they compliment each other. They helped me tremendously. What I write here has a lot of basis in these two CDs and their approaches to learning a female voice. They have to be purchased but both have a site on the Internet that gives a tremendous amount of information. I don’t use the DVDs so I cannot comment on that part. But I will explain the CDs – which is where you generally have a guide to practice with, comparing your voice to theirs. And if you cannot afford these CD, hopefully what I write here will work anyway.

Stealth Productions

This presentation uses exercises to find that place in your voice system (vocal chords, voice box, nasal passages and such – mainly controlled by a musculature) – the place where the female voice can reside. It’s a difficult process, and I had a difficult time getting an understanding until I made two discoveries that aren’t really explained in the Stealth Productions version. One is used in Melaine Speaks, the other was advice from my therapist. First, a woman’s voice is a step just below a male falsetto. Secondly, if you can sing in a range, you can learn to speak in that range.

Stealth Productions uses what they call a ‘pinched’ voice, then a ‘hushed’ voice. The practice is at first going from pinched to hushed without a pause. This actually forces you to use muscles you forgot you had in your throat, the one that you use when you clear your throat, the ones you use to expectorate, the ones you use to cough in a high tone. Practice will get you there (took me about two months) then it’s practice to develop these muscles. They are high and in the back of your throat. They DO NOT work from your vocal chords, but rather from the reshaping of your voice box. If done correctly, there will be NO vibration in your throat (resonance) as it will all be up higher (range).

Stealth also shows you how to up your range. The female and male voices overlap in range. Most MTF transpeople can master the speaking in this shared zone – and it works fairly well when other techniques are used, such as female intonation and speaking patterns, which will be discussed farther down.

BUT to have a better in a female voice, it works best to increase your upper range. Stealth has exercises to do that and call it ‘reaching your break.” Mine isn’t that high and compared to the instructor I cannot go the last six notes she can accomplish. But it was originally the last eight and I am approaching getting it down to five, four in a whisper. Yeaaaa

It’s simple. Just use a musical scale. Don’t worry about the lower range, but constantly work on the top notes. If you can get your muscles trained, you can reach these higher notes. And it is SLOW progress.

BUT - and this is a real help, Stealth doesn’t mention this - singing – find a song that borders on the range you want and sing it over and over and over until you can get ‘clear’ and melodious results on the hard to reach upper notes. And singing is not going to out you. And sing using only the air in you chest – never in your diaphram. The female voice uses much less air, is much more breathy - and volume comes from screaming out not bellowing out, and that seems strange, but practice it. Speak as loud as you can with no real air coming out, that’s a good way to practice.

So sing for hours as high and as clear as you can. Exercise the muscles. Try everything you can to change the sound and tone, until you start to find some really feminine voice sounds in the results. Then focus on those muscles that produce that effect. If it hurts at first, you are probably doing it correctly. Be careful not to over-train, though.

After you get accustomed to singing, find female singers you can sing with - those not out of your range - and practice by imitating them. Listen VERY carefully how they express their vowel sounds, their ‘esses’ and ‘tees.’ The female voice is very different in just the simplest things . Here is a listing:

Lilting at the end of sentences: almost always ending in a question? Women are asking for agreement. Men are stating a fact. Just think to yourself, ‘don’t you agree?” after every sentence, then you have it. NEVER use the, ‘ and that’s the way it is!” attitude.

Singing instead of talking: a woman actually sings her sentences, and uses inflection almost on every syllable, much less every word?

Enunciation: a woman pronounces every letter that is used, never slurring. This is a ‘conciseness’ that is very hard for males to use. Try talking in a concise manner in a male voice and you will NOT be accepted by other males, because it seems ‘prissy.’

Key letters: enunciation is especially exaggerated wit certain letteses, ‘s’ and ‘t’ are wondrous in a woman’s vocabulary, almost hissing and spitting. ‘e’ is almost always ‘ea’ and ‘z’ and ‘x’ are zzz and ecsckk, extremely exaggerated. Learn each letter used in a feminine speech pattern, and you will know how to have a female voice.

Emphasis: feminine speech almost omits the first letter and hits hard on the last letter.

Take ‘emphasis’ for example, it is almost pronounced m-PHAA-ssiss.. “Administration” is ‘ahdd-min-izzz-TRA-shunnn’ so be almost whisper soft at the front and change to a hard hit at the end on every word. It takes practice, but it helps to think about almost doubling the letter at each world.

Abbreviation: It’s not a hard and fast rule, but NOT using abbreviations will feminize your speech. “It’s” becomes “It is” for example. All the ‘n’t’ terms are changed to ‘not’ – ‘don’t’ is ‘do not’ for example. Again, using this precise language would get you in trouble with a male crowd, but would not even be noticed in a group of women..

So be prissy – just a touch – not lisping, just exact.

Vocabulary: this one is big! Listen to words women use that men don’t, and listen the other way as well. Certain words interchange of course and sometimes a person’s education and intelligence plays a part. BUT there are really two worlds of speaking out there.

Swearing: just don’t do it. It is not an attractive feature of either gender’s speech, but is especially horrible for a woman’s image. It makes you seem to be wanting to be ‘one of the guys.’ And that does not work.

Rules of conversation: women and men have different rules when speaking in a group. There are books on that that actually. I can’t even start to go into much detail here.

Some generalities? Women speak as if in a conspiracy when with women. A single woman in a crown of men will usually defer to the males, but when she speaks the men will shut up suddenly, or they will ignore her. A man in a group of women will usually quell the women’s conversation into generalities. A group of all men speaking is full of competition, and a pecking order usually emerges. In a group of women if a pecking order emerges, the conversation will usually break up. Women almost always want to encourage conversation, men want to dominate it.

And the list is endless. It is best to watch and learn

It is possible to be accepted into an all women’s group, such as a lunch group, by following their rules and by imitating their patterns. You must never be condescending or try to speak on topics you know nothing about. At first you will appear as a surprise, but if you do it right they will shrug and just keep going, with you included. This is great fun and great practice, and has little to do with voice and everything to do with technique.

All that said is not necessarily from the Stealth Productions CD. But Stealth does advise that you learn a range, perfect it, and practice practice practice. One of my favorite recommendations is they say to read out loud in your female voice. Although not especially practical in an automobile, if you have a child or grandchild, reading to them is great practice as you can do the voices of the characters.

Melaine Speaks

This CD is much different. Melaine herself narrates and explains how she developed her feminine voice, and it is a great voice. She is a great ‘character’ imitator - always using ‘cartoon’ voices her whole life. A vigorous use of falsetto and exaggeration in speech will put you in a position where you find those muscles I was describing in the Stealth exercises. And this is a shortcut of sorts if you already have the ability to do Mickey or Minnie or other characters. Like I mentioned, the female range is just under the male falsetto.

And Melaine Speaks also goes into much detail on how the female voice can be modified for the situation, and gives a tremendous amount of information on feminine speech patterns. Actually, in this method, even if your female voice range is limited, you can still pass on your patterns of speaking, And considering the diversity of people in the real world, there are many deep voiced women out there.

To pass in society, it takes cues. Voice is a major cue for us MTF transsexuals in transition or just living full time. It is do-able.

That is my experience and I hope this helps. Don’t forget to practice. It takes at least two years for most of us to gain a good, consistent, believable…

FEMALE VOICE.

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Guest NatalieRene

thank you

I don't know if this is at all possible but maybe sometime the playground could have voice chat rooms where we can practice our voices together, or if there is a teacher amongst us that is willing to do sessions that would be amazing!

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Guest ~Brenda~

Thank you Lizzy!!

This is extremely valuable information.

You are the best!! That is a fact :D

HUGS

Brenda

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Guest B.heard

Just a note from the guys side here...

As MtF your voice doesnt just alter from the hormones this is true but that also means that pre hormones you can be working and perhaps even succeeding in making your voice passable GUYs can not and I see that as your advantage not ours, Im not saying its doesnt take lots of work to form your female voice or that it isnt earned Im sure it is, but Im saying that months before hormones I and many other FtM's do vocal stretching exercises and then on hormones we get sore vocal cords and cracking and need more training to get used to using the deeper voice and not just sound like super camp boys :P

So please dont think we dont 'earn' the voice we get, since we can only really get it after a long fight for hormones and then even then it still takes time, effort, training and pain to grow into something we can pass with.

xxx

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Guest Elizabeth K

Oh no! Sorry - I meant NO DISRESPECT to my brothers here. We all EARN everything we do toward transition, regardless of the direction we are going. A better espression is we have to work extra hard to get any results and it usually takes several years - and for a MTF there is no help from the estrogen.

Sorry for any misrepresentation.

Lizzy

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Guest Elizabeth K
Thank you for this Lizzy ^^

Eth

Hope it helps

Love you

Lizzy

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Guest Kaze

Thanks for the post, Lizzy, I've learned quite a bit from it. I do have some questions though.

First, a woman’s voice is a step just below a male falsetto.

I'm not very knowledgable when it comes to music terms. I know falsetto is supposed to be really high pitched and "mickey mouse" sounding, but is it supposed to be the absolute maximum pitch we can reach or does it fall somewhere below the highest?

Also, is a step another music term that has a certain value to aim for or were you just referring to going slightly lower pitched than falsetto?

singing – find a song that borders on the range you want and sing it over and over and over until you can get ‘clear’ and melodious results on the hard to reach upper notes.

Do you (anyone) have any tips on this? I have no idea what my range is or how to find the range of a song. I think it relates to the keys on a piano, but don't really know any details on it.

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Sally

When it comes to finding a song or artist to sing along with avoid anything that Christine sings in Phatom of the Opera - written for an amazing upper range.

I would go back to some older recordings and listen to Caren Carpenter - amazingly sexy low range woman's voice.

Also slower songs and easier to sing along with http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TKHWUYT_c3g nd http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zAg1rglAovs&NR=1 are a couple of good examples - listen to the low notes, beautiful sound and so much more realistic than Minnie Mouse - also attainable.

Sadly she went from being the sort of tomboy who tagged along with brother Richard to the point of learning to play the drums just to be in the band all the way to falling into the Celebrity trap and dying from Anorexia.

Also listen to the Cadillac commercials, the woman who says "trying on a new car is like trying on a dress ---" what a wonderful breathy low voice, Kathleen Turner - check out Romancing the Stone - there are people far too young on this site for one of her most famous.

Love ya,

Sally

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Guest Elizabeth K

There are also some high range male voice ranges that can me learned - Johnny Mathis is one.

Lizzy

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Guest Maelee

Thank you for the great ideas and suggestions. I have had the deep stealth dvd and cd for a long time and have only watched it once. There were so many musical references in it I was sort of scared to start following the lessons in earnest. I think this will help me a lot.

:D

Mae

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Shannonline

I've researched for months ok years on this, I bought Melaine Speaks, I've watched numerous youtube clips..everything but still no one EVER gives practical exercises to do..I'm amazed by this. My voice is not bad but it still needs those final touches and I plan on using a voice therapist for this.

When I do I will go about writing out just how I went about it WITH THE EXERCISES THAT I USED TO GET ME THERE. Because I feel this is the most important step and most worthwhile bit of information to pass a long to others, it's what stopped me from researching it any further as all the info is the same and it all omits these important points. I'm not sure if deep stealth covers THE exercises but it was too expensive for me to consider.

I hesitate on trying any exercises that I think may help to avoid doing damage or just because I will no doubt do it wrong and waste my time.

A voice therapist is the only thing I feel will help me. Not reading the same info a hundred million times.

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Guest nymphblossom

I know how frustrating it can be, Shannon. Deep Stealth has a free on-line brochure at:

http://www.deepstealth.com/freebook

They give very specific phonetic exercises that over the course of several months will begin to develop female resonance.

I started with a low baritone voice, so it has taken alot of practice to develop the muscles in my throat and soft pallet. They atrophy tremendously after puberty. I have been working on my voice for nearly a year and it has only been the last few months I can actually tell the contour of the back of my mouth is changing when I speak. The best way to describe it is that it feels a lot like when I yawn. Learning to decrease the size of the voice box to get to the proper frequency range comes first. Developing the shape of the throat & soft pallet for the proper resonance so you don't sound like Mickey Mouse takes a looong time.

There are several free voice analysis programs available on line. I give an intro on using the software at:

http://www.lauras-playground.com/forums/in...opic=4765&st=20

I think the reason you may not be able to find what you are looking for it because there is such a wide range to the human voice. It is extremely hard to say what is uniquely female or male. An objective voice coach can be a help, but just as when you were developing your male voice when you were a child, it comes down to finding a female voice that is comfortable and feels right for you.

Blossom

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Guest Rukelli

~ Wow! That is quite the wonderful and helpful post! Thank you for the read. =3

I admit I was unaware about the part about abbreviation. Personally I'm now considering learning to get more into what you advised there as my immediate voice goal. Also helpful because it is not something that would out me to my family (not that I really think my parents would care much... they are amazing <3) but could help for the other family members.

Thanks very much for putting so much into that, you are amazing! ^-^ And good luck to everyone!

Rukelli

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Guest Esperanza Xochitl

I'm going to moniter my voice changing with garage band. Once a week I will do a check up on it so to speak. I'm somewhat a perfectionist, so for me good isn't good enough. Some day I want a gorgeous voice that will put Katy Perry to shame. :-)

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Guest AshleyRF

Wish I could help with this one. I know how much many of us struggle with our voices. Whenever I talk to other transwomen one of the first questions they usually ask me is "how did you get THAT voice?". I really wish I could say "well, all you have to do it....." but the truth is, I don't know what I did. I never really had a "deep voice" because I never had a normal puberty. I have also always been able to control my voice really well and could mimic other voices easily. People were always amazed at how many impressions I could do of various people and characters.

The only advice I can give is to sing with female singers. I constantly sang with Amy Lee of Evanescence because I just LOVE her.

Hugs

Ash

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Guest Esperanza Xochitl

Well, I've been monitoring the change of voice on garage band. Inspite of allergies in the most recent one, I've noticed improvement.

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Guest Wendae

I spent years developing a parade field voice and it is hard to change all that. My voice is so deep that it is difficult to get a good recording of a lecture. Some good advice here for us CD's and I'm having some success.

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CyndiRae

There are also some high range male voice ranges that can me learned - Johnny Mathis is one.

Lizzy

Early Geddy Lee from Rush comes to mind - amazing upper range and lyrics.

Just happen to read this post - Good stuff Lizzy - Thanks

Cindy -

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Guest Orva26

Yay! My original idea that singing would be a good way to help with this was right. When I get on my own I'll bust out some good old King Diamond and learn to master that fallsetto of supreme justice! :D Then I'll take it a step down with, idk maybe some newer Nightwish.

What I found greatly interesting is the explanation of the difference in speech patterns between the genders. I never really observed the abbreviation thing myself though. But I guess using the abbreviations is just a particular trait amongst the females I'm friends with.

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Guest chinee

is there any latest update in the technology of having surgery the voice to make it sound like a female for mtf? I am tired of practicing... I want a voice that i could use anytime that wont require me to pinch my throat... i sound lazy but it would be better if there is already something like this... *praying*

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Guest Julie T

Vocal surgeries

While hormone replacement therapy and gender reassignment surgery can cause a more feminine outward appearance, they do little to alter the pitch or sound of the voice. The existing vocal structure can be surgically altered using procedures that include


  • Cricothyroid approximation (CTA) (is the most common)

  • Laryngoplasty

  • Thyrohyoid approximation

  • Laryngeal reduction surgery (surgical shortening of the vocal cords)

  • Laser assisted voice adjustment (LAVA)

There was, until recently, limited evidence as to the efficacy of these surgeries in raising the fundamental frequency over the course of several years. However, since the late 1990s, surgeons performing CTA and other 'voice' procedures at Charing Cross hospital, (Hammersmith, London), have conducted long-term follow-up studies indicating "high" levels of patient satisfaction with both surgical and social health outcomes. All of these modes of 'voice surgery' may or may not have an effect on resonance or other vocal characteristics. ClaudineJ is one trans woman who reports long-term, (12 years+ at 2010), beneficial changes in both pitch, resonance and speech quality from CTA surgery. Many in the transsexual community have previously been led to regard voice surgery as 'inadvisable', while others regard a socially acceptable standard of feminine speech to be indispensable (and further surgery an acceptable risk). Anecdotal evidence has suggested that (CTA) voice surgery can be expected to raise pitch above female norms in the immediate post-operative period (when sutures are used to create the adjusted 'approximation'); however the (more modern) use of titanium clips avoids this problem, maintaining a correct and even tension on the vocal folds, in the immediate and longer term. Of course, laryngeal surgery carries risks and some patients experience 'raspiness', or, much more rarely, complete loss of voice. Deirdre McCloskey is one trans woman who experienced complications from voice surgery.

*******************

Wikipedia - these views are not necessarily my own.

From:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Voice_therapy_%28transgender%29

Julie

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Guest Lacey Lynne

I spent years developing a parade field voice and it is hard to change all that. My voice is so deep that it is difficult to get a good recording of a lecture. Some good advice here for us CD's and I'm having some success.

Wendae is doing better than me. Never, ever will I be able to successfully do a female voice. Impossible. For 20+ years in my younger days, I was a DJ on the radio (small-time) and was hired specifically BECAUSE of my voice ... and way with words. Heck, women of all ages (and occasionally though rarely some guys!) would call me at the radio stations when I was on night shifts and tell me how they got off to my voice. Sigh.

This voice and this face are the bane of my existence and are WHY I do not pass. Sigh. Oh, well.

May YOU do better with this than me. I'm sure you will. Learn, try, practice ... you'll get there!

Lacey

Wendae:

Dang, girl. Parade voice? Like, were you a drill instructor at Parris Island or something? Just wondering.

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      Hi Alex, I love to draw to relax, I honestly wish I was good enough to do a comic style antro set of characters, I would style it after my poems. Those poems are rough, I didn’t think that I’d cry the whole way through or every time I read them, they’re terrible and the form is awful but the content came from a place I keep locked up... I think I want to do a lot more writing, the poems seem to come easily to my head, almost like listening to music but sometimes I can’t shut it off. I hear it when I go to bed and I hear it when I wake up now and it’s really a bit tough as I nearly cry every time and it makes me late for work. But I know that it’s good for me and it opens parts of me that would never be heard if I didn’t allow myself to listen. so I encourage you to do the same, if you’re a writer you should write everything that you can imagine and let others see it so we can all benefit from your gift. If you love to draw you should draw as often as you can even if you’re terrible like me, the good artists are the ones that never quit. big squishy hug, Jae
    • Jani423
      What's most disturbing is that it is espoused by the party that wants smaller government, i.e less intrusion in personal lives.  I guess only when it suits their agendas.    Jani
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