As you're slowly making your way up to the peak, you hear a croaking, and a Ptarmigan takes flight from behind a rock.
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Are we? Vocal Fry Introduction
Vocal fry is a deep, creaky sound that we can make by vibrating our vocal cords very slowly. Getting our vocal cords to the right thickness or thinness is how we create pitches. When we use vocal fry, our vocal cords are very relaxed and loose, and air moves through them very slowly. The deep, creaky sound is air bubbles moving through the vocal cords. Vocal fry should never feel painful or uncomfortable, so please stop if something doesn’t feel right.
Here’s how to create vocal fry:
Think of an early morning, where you’ve had to get up quickly, and you’re not in the mood to start the day yet. Say an ‘uhh’ sound (as in ‘other’).
Say this ‘uhh’ sound again, but take out any pitch or tone if you’ve been using any, so that there’s only a croaky quality sounding.
It should feel very relaxed, and as though created in the back of the throat.
Stylistic vocal fry in singing
Sing the word ‘every’, with syllable ‘ev-‘ on a comfortable low-mid pitch, and ‘-ery’ on an ever so slightly higher pitch.
Sing this again, but use vocal fry to start the ‘ev-‘ syllable, so that you ‘fry into’ the word.
This can be repeated on words that start with vowels, or some words that start with letters like ‘w’ and ‘y’, like ‘where’ and ‘yeah’, because the starting sounds are similar to ‘ooh’ and ‘ee’. Experiment with which words work for you, and where in sung phrases you can use vocal fry to add style or context.
Vocal fry in Are we?
Malin uses vocal fry in the lower register of their voice, which is the safest and most effective place to do so. In long, sustained phrases, the vocal fry colours the notes, and gives their voice a gorgeous rumbly effect.
When Malin sings the first low pitch (around 9 seconds in), start with some vocal fry on an ‘ah’ vowel, and gradually ‘fry into’ a low pitch. This doesn’t have to match Malin’s pitch — it could be an octave or more up/down, or just a note that you feel sounds like it fits with the track.
Malin stays on this low note for quite a lot of the track, so you have plenty of opportunities to breathe, ‘fry in’, and repeat.
Listen to when Malin starts ‘frying in’ (and out!) more often, about halfway through the track. Some notes are sustained and stay the same, and some start a little higher and then move down in time. ‘Fry in’ (and out) with them; you can experiment with different pitches and patterns that add to the texture and movement in the track.