Falsetto for fem voice — A Rant

Ah!, the world of trans voice. Full of cis people who just one day decided to start teaching trans voice despite having done absolutely no training or reading on the subject…

I’m sure you’ve heard the common advice: if you want to achieve a passing female voice, all you have to do is use your falsetto (or your head voice). Well, you’ve been lied to.

Don’t get me wrong, there is a place for this sound in fem voice, but that place is not as your primary speaking mechanism. It can be used for laughing and squeaking and singing, and, in those contexts, it’ll sound great and feminine, but not in speaking, not ever.

People seem to labor under this common presumption that the main difference between a man’s and a woman’s voice is pitch, and that thus the most effective way to correct this difference is to raise your pitch as high as you possibly can. What’s the best way to raise your pitch that high? Using falsetto. But you’ve heard low-voiced women, and they completely pass… so pitch isn’t the problem. And cis women don’t use falsetto either (unless they have puberphonia, in which case they’ll have difficulty being heard), so why people are teaching the technique that male comedians use to comedically “imitate” women (and in some cases mock trans women) is completely beyond me.

So what should you do? You should work on raising your larynx (which is different from raising your pitch) in order to emulate the vocal tract length of cis women. We have an entire encyclopedia article (with instructions!) dedicated to this topic.

But larynx height isn’t the only fundamental aspect to voice feminization, even if it’s the most important one. The Scinguistics Discord server has a compilation of valuable resources, as well as a community of trans men and women working together to obtain the voices they want!

1 Comment

  1. Hi, yeah that’s resonance, but also conseguent different vowel mods as vowels are shaped within the context of a higher or smaller larynx?

    Btw have you heard of stop closure damping? Has it been a misnomer. I saw it mentioned by the artistic phoniatrist Franco Fussi.
    https://www.voceartistica.it/it-IT/index-/?Item=registri%202010 though it’s in Italian.
    It has then reprised, often called partial fold function by the countertenor Ian Howell. But Angelo Manzotti also called it this way.

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