Friday, February 6, 2009

Monitor your voice while exercising and practicing

A big motivational thing you can do is monitor your voice while training.
You should record your voice and play it back to hear the end results to your training, but I find it very encouraging for me to listen to myself in 'real time' so that I can hear what needs to be worked on and change it right then and there.

'Real Time' is like listening to yourself speak LIVE.
I use a very small program called FunnyVoice that allows you to lower and raise the pitch of your voice in real time.

What you want to do is set the pitch to ZERO(Normal voice) and train from there. But if you find it more encouraging to practice in a lower pitch or a higher pitch, then do so. I use to practice in both and now only practice at a normal pitch, so I'm not fooling myself.

If you care- Here are the benefits to hearing yourself train in a different pitch.

Higher pitch:
Pros- This Makes you to somewhat freely work on your accent, articulation, enunciation ect. without feeling that you pitch isn't high enough.

Cons - You may feel upset that your pitch is not naturally that higher.

Lower pitch:
Pros- You can seriously work on your pitch without hearing that you sound very loud squeaky and offkey. It also taught me to speak a bit slower.

Cons- If you don't lower it to a point where your voice sounds very distorted, you might confuse that deep voice with your real voice, so much that it gets depressing. But you can just go back to normal and hear that your pitch has actually increased.

Have fun: FunnyVoice

Monday, February 2, 2009

Secrets of Speaking with a Genuine Accent

Secrets of Speaking with a Genuine Accent

by Owen Lee

Acquiring a genuine accent can be the ultimate icing on the cake in your journey to perfecting a language. While some accents are glaringly obvious like the American twang compared to the lyrical Irish accent, some are subtle and barely noticeable to the untrained ear. Eventually you may be able to notice these minor differences in accents between different regions and people. Mastering it can take longer, but can be very gratifying.

Let's compare the American and the British accent: although both are English, they are actually articulated using different parts of the mouths. Britons tend to use the front part of the mouth and the tip of the tongue, whereas Americans "push sounds together" with the back part of the mouth and to a large extent rely on the nose. That is why American English is to be said to sound "harder" (as opposed to "softer").

Each accent really is a system of pronouncing words in a standard manner. And the differences between them are best seen (or rather, heard) in the vowels. I used to tell my students who want to get a London Cockney accent to simply enlarge their mouth when pronouncing the "I" sound and they would immediately sound a lot more like some Londoners. Of course there are other little details which can only be acquired through active listening to the native speaker's speech.

Native speakers use different parts of their mouth and different facial muscles to get their characteristic sound. You probably have heard or noticed something about the French people. I'm not talking about their alleged romanticism (or snobbishness, depending on whether you're an admirer or not). It has something to do with the strong nasal sound. (Some even say that the French speak with their noses.)

There is some truth to it, though funny it may sound. To speak good French you have to first obtain the skill of "pushing" certain sounds through you nose.

The French are not the only ones with a unique speech style; each language makes use of different parts of your mouth and vocal chords.

Certain languages could be physically impossible for you to speak with a genuine accent due to some weak muscles of the mouth (which are never used to speak your mother tongue), but you can consciously develop certain muscles and breathing pattern to get very close to a native speaker.

At times you may find it really difficult to imitate a sound or to understand the way a native speaker is using his mouth. A very powerful technique I stumpled upon is what I call the "accent reverse engineering".

Observe how a native speaker speaks your own language. Chances are he/she will be speaking with an accent. This will leave you clues about how the native speaker uses his/her "vocal instruments", namely which part of the mouth he/she tends to use more, where he/she puts his tongue, how the air in his mouth is regulating, etc.

For example, if you are wondering how to speak German the way Germans do, just listen to how they speak English. You will notice that they pronounce English in an especially "breathy" way, accentuating all the "s" and "z". The British entertainer Sacha Baron Cohen does a very good job in his "Da Ali G Show", impersonating an Austrian. If possible, listen to how he pushes his tongue forward and tap on his palate.

Of course, performers on TV normally like to play into stereotypes and exaggerate accents for a comic effect. You should aim to sound convincing and not offensive.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

IMPORTANT! - Pitch, Range, Resonance, Depth, ---- A true understanding

Pitch- the position of the larynx and hyoid bone
Resonance - acquired through proper breathing techniques
Range- Muscle capacity that increases the pitch strength
Depth- Muscle capacity that increase resonance strength

Larynx - Voice box

Hyoid bone - Separates the chin from the neck; the only bone in the human body that is not connected to any others

Geniohyoid muscles - part of a group of muscles that help lift the tongue; they are part of the chin muscles

Resonance and Depth (Proper Breathing)

Resonance is produced through breathing. When you take a breath, the amount of air you able to inhale and exhale is the depth of your resonance.
There are 2 main types of known breathing patterns.
-Upper Breathing (breathing placing tension on the muscles surrounding the throat and chin areas)
-Lower/abdominal breathing(no tension on the chin and throat muscle areas.)

In order to train yourself to start breathing using the muscles around the chin and throat area, you will have to put tension on these muscles . You do this by tightening your neck muscles as if you are sucking on a sour lemon , and then try to breathe/speak. The sound of your breathing will be so shallow and shrill that you will have difficulty drawing breaths. The muscles are not trained to produce speech or to help you breathe, also there is a build up of fat that makes those muscles difficult to move.
You will need to exercise those muscles to create a certain depth that allows you to inhale and exhale with ease. When you exhale, that is the breathy voice which we call resonance. Creating depth increases the volume of your voice. Without depth, you will sound shallow and shrill.

How do you exercise these muscles?
I will suggest that you start from the base of your throat and work your way upwards.
Its just extreme exercising. For tips, use a search engine. happy.gif Push it as far as you can go!

Pitch and Range

Vocal Pitch is the sound a voice makes as it rises or deepens.
Vocal Range is the length of how far the voice can rise or deepen.

There are 2 main types of breathing patterns.
-Upper Breathing (breathing placing tension on the muscles surrounding the throat and chin areas)
-Lower/abdominal breathing(no tension on the chin and throat muscle areas.)

The majority of women predominately breathe using both upper and lower breathing patterns.
Almost all men perdominately breathe using only the lower breathing pattern.

The way women naturally breathe decides how high or low their natural speaking voice will be.
So, if a woman naturally breathes higher, her natural vocal pitch will be higher.
If a woman naturally breathes lower, her natural vocal pitch will be lower.

Vocal Range decides the extreme height or lowness of the pitch.
This is where the laws of gravity comes into place.
It requires little effort to drop something that you're holding. All you need to do is relax and let it go, but raising something requires a lot more effort. You have to put your muscles in a position to grasp it , and then use whatever muscles you can to help lift it. If your muscles are weak and stiff, you aren't going to be able to lift the object. The stronger and more flexible the muscles are, the easier it will be to lift the object.

What are the objects?
I have been trying very hard not to get too technical with this, but I think you should know what you're trying to achieve before doing it. I'm not going to go completely in depth about this but I'll tell you what you need to know.

The position of the larynx and hyoid bone play a huge part in the pitch of your voice. The higher they are, the higher the pitch.
You can lift these objects by stretching the neck and chin muscles. Constant exercising will help keep the muscles in this higher position so that your pitch will become natural.

The genio-muscle areas(chin muscles) are probably the hardest muscles to workout. These seem to be they key muscles in upper breathing. Initially, it is extremely difficult to speak and breathe because they assist in raising the hyoid bone, which helps raise the larynx. It felt like trying to lift heavy weights with a stiff ,weak, dead arm. Yes, the larynx and hyoid bone psychically moves.You need a lot of depth in order to produce the simplest sounds. Its draining.

My male speaking voice was never that of a flamboyant male. But I assume the flamboyant male voice sounds the way it does because they are putting tension on those geniohyoid area muscles but ,because they don't have the muscle strength to use their voice in a full female manner, everything else is done the way most men speak.

Remember, in order to notice a change in your pitch, you will need to be able to speak clearer using that pitch. That means you need a certain amount of depth in order to clearly hear yourself in that pitch. The area where you are trying to draw your pitch from needs to be exercised, or else your voice (pitch) will sound shallow and shrill to the point where you won't even notice a pitch change because you can't speak.

Things such as articulation, enunciation, clarity, accents, dialects ect.... this takes practice practice practice. You should always practice these things while you're exercising. It helps the brain become more familiar with your speech patterns and encourages it to naturally speak this way. Those things are important but are only the clothing which goes over the body that endured the intense exercises. =)

The Understanding of The Physical And Mental Changes To The Voice Through Puberty

From what I've gathered through my 2 years of voice training, the main reason I got this far with my voice is because I forced myself to look at this from a technical anatomical perspective, rather than thinking all I had to was get used to speaking feminine and eventually I'd wake up one day with a beautiful female voice. I don't see how that will ever happen for anyone who is trying to convincingly alter their voices from one gender to the other. You have to exercise those muscles(to get rid of fat) so that you can use the muscles and exercise them more to get your ideal voice.

We'll compare it to losing weight. You are not going to get that ideally beautiful body with toned abs, ass ,arms and face just because you're on a diet and exercise everyday, BUT you know that its possible and you don't want surgery because you're scared of the after-effects or because it cost too much. What you have to do, is look at what the surgery does and try to mimic those result through hard work and exercise, no matter how extreme it will be. The same thing applies to your voice. You can physically change which muscles you use so that your voice can sound completely male or completely female.

There are muscles in your neck, chin, and facial areas that help you produce speech. Men and women use these muscles differently and that is main difference between a male and female sounding voice. There are things you can do with your voice in male mode that female voices will not be able to imitate because their muscles are not in a position to do those things & vise versa.

We know that puberty causes the physical voice changes because it gives boys a release of testosterone that gives the muscles enough strength to expand and allow the adams apple to drop. This results in the male voice getting deeper. Since the drop of the adams apple is the cause of this new deep voice, what we need to find out is why the adam apples(larynx-voice box) dropped in the first place.

(Physical changes)
Before puberty, Boys and girls voice boxes are upright and basically in the same position. Naturally, both sexes are using their muscles the same way, The reason why boys adams apple drop is because they have more muscle strength ,from testosterone , given to them through puberty and it makes it easier for their muscles to give way for the drop. The same thing happens to girls during puberty. They also receive an increase in testosterone but it is not significant enough to give them enough strength for their voice box to drop like that of a males.
But because of the dramatic drop of the larynx, males will feel a physical discomfort in their throat muscles and voice during puberty. This discomfort happens because, not only is the larynx growing, but its forcing the muscles to expand. This is why a boys voice will go up and down during puberty. The neck muscles are trying to find comfort around the new larynx position and the brain is trying to produce a voice that sounds 'good' to your ears.

(Mental changes)
The way society expects us to talk plays a very important role in the muscles we choose to speak with. Talking in a deeper voice forces the larynx to a lower position, where as speaking in a higher voice keeps the larynx in a higher position. Boys are expected to sound deep, girls are expected to sound higher than boys. These are psychological changes that children go through either knowingly or unconsciously. This helps familiarize the brain to tell which muscles in the face, neck, and chin area should be use for natural speech.

--After puberty, everything that you did to your voice is enforced. The muscles that you abandoned during puberty are not used as often and are not exercised enough during natural speech to remain in good condition. As the years progress, fat builds up around those muscles and makes it that much harder for those muscles to assist in lifting your larynx high enough to produce those clean pitchy sounds. Its hard to exercise the muscles in your neck, face, and chin areas so it will be hard to lose the fat around the muscles that are key involvements in female speech.

It is possible to train your muscles to sit the larynx BACK into a female position. This helps cut down on male resonance(chest voice) but there are many other muscles that have to exercised before this is possible.

I am not a doctor,my knowledge of this comes from my own research and experiences with changing my voice from male to female. I didn't realize this until June of 2008, but after I started exercising to 'restore my voice' back to a pre-puberty neutral state, it did wonders.
I am still exercising certain muscles in my chin area that I believe are preventing me from speaking certain sounds and the results I'm getting are very assuring.
I hope the understanding of this posting helps someone out there as much as it has helped me when I realized it.

It takes time. It takes patience. It takes intense neck, face, & chin exercises, and a whole lot of drinking water. ;)

The Purpose

Hi. I'm 26 years old and I created this blog to share my experience and knowledge on training your voice from Male to Female.

I want people to know that the crap transgendered websites tell you about 'Practice Practice Practice' is bullshit.
If you had to lose weight because your muscles were weak due to you not exercising enough, do you think all you'd have to do is practice a new diet till you found one that works?
No. What you will have to do is exercise to work those muscles out.
That is the way your speech muscles work.

The female voice is no different from learning to speak another language but with a fluent accent.
The only difference is that it will be harder to to get the accent because men and women speak so differently.
It takes time and a lot of exercise in order to get your voice to sound like a fluent female speaker.
Do not let the easy sayings like "practice enough and you'll get it" fool you. Its hard to learn a language and even more difficult to speak like a native speaker.

When I started, I told myself that if I'm not going to sound 100% like a fluent female speaker then I wasn't going to do it. So I searched online and found all these helpful guides and stuff... but they weren't giving the results that I wanted to hear, nor did they sound logical.

I hope to make this blog into a place where serious people who are not afraid of the hardwork that it takes to change your voice from male to completely female.

I will not bullshit you and will tell you what has helped me.