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VOCAL HEALTH
If Your Voice Sounds Like 'Bacon Frying'
(Vocal Fry): How To Get Rid Of The Rasp
February 21, 2013

By Ann S. Utterback, Ph.D.
Voice Specialist
Author, Broadcaster's Survival Guide


As a professional broadcast voice specialist, imagine my surprise recently when I found my name mentioned in Cosmopolitan magazine on the same page as Beyonce! Not a place I ever thought Iíd be.

So why have voice issues gone Hollywood? Because of one vocal trait that is being heard more and more from young stars to average teens and college students. (Not, incidentally, by Beyonce, but certainly by stars like Kim Kardashian and Zooey Deschanel.)

And I hear this problem often in clients who have just finished journalism schools and bring the sound into their first on-air jobs.

Let me explain.

LIKE BACON FRYING


The problem is a learned pattern of speech called vocal or glottal fry.

How does it get its name? The glottis is the opening between the vocal folds, which is where this sound originates.

This condition may be called "fryĒ because it sounds like bacon frying with its popping sound. In the past, it might have been called a raspy or gravely voice.

BREATHLESS POPS

Itís caused by a syncopated mode or double-vibration of the vocal folds. The popping sound of a glottal fry is usually heard toward the ends of sentences.

At the end of sentences it usually indicates that breath supply is low, and the pitch is near the bottom of the pitch range.

Some speakers have glottal fry elements throughout their speech. Normally, however, a glottal fry will begin a few words before the end of a sentence.

TEENS MIMIC STARS

The pervasiveness of glottal fry with young women may be an adapted style that helps them fit in and connects them to stars that are using this style of speech.

The characteristics most associated with glottal fry speech are tiredness, disinterest, and boredom. Can you relate those to teens???

Increased air supply and a slight rise in pitch will usually eliminate a glottal fry as long as itís a functional problem and not caused from a pathological issue such a contact ulcer on the vocal folds or a thyroid problem.

TO STOP IT - BREATHE

To correct a glottal fry, I have clients work on breath support in ways that I explain on this video:



I also encourage clients to make the last word of a sentence as strong as the first word.

If you want to hear some examples of vocal or glottal fry, check out this video from the Today Show. And if youíre really interested, read Melissa Dahlís article that explains a study done in 2011 that focused on this issue.
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ABOUT ANN
Ann S. Utterback, Ph.D., is a voice specialist with more than 40 years experience and has helped hundreds of people make the most of their voices, working with broadcasters, voice over artists and podcasters around the world. An author of eight books and over 50 articles on voice, her Broadcaster's Survival Guide e-book offers more tips on dealing with holiday stress, plus advice on how to improve your voice over performance by making simple lifestyle changes.

Web: http://OnlineVoiceCoaching.com
Click for: Broadcaster's Survival Guide

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Comments (1)
Wendy Rawady
3/3/2016 at 11:46 AM
Yes, you are right - this is almost a disease and is now being proliferated. As a producer, I used to stop VO sessions and redo any passages that had croaky voices in them. The danger is that people are risking severe cases of nodes on vocal chords. The VO talent and presenters on HGTV are the worst offenders in the world. Two come to mind as strong contenders for the Frying Championships: Jacqueline Hennessey and the woman who hosts 'Flip or Flop'. I now sit and watch with my finger on the mute button. This trait is the new 'fingernails on the chalkboard' for me!
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