Speaking sharp is not feminine.
A person who always speaks in treble will not have a feminine or natural voice.
When we think about feminization of the voice, the first thing that comes to mind is the treble. TREBLE refers to the sharpening a voice, speaking in highs, looking for highs, and exalting highs, much of which are detriment of low notes. If we ask anyone on the street what differentiates the voice of a man from the voice of a woman, most of the answers will be the same: the voice of the woman is high-pitched, and the voice of the man is low-pitched. This reductive characterization is due to the fact that the frequency range for women is higher than the frequency range for men.
However, there is an area of common frequency and when we carefully analyze the discourse of men and women, we realize that what really differentiates one discourse from another is not simply the sharpness of voice, but rather the MELODY: the ability we have to travel a certain amount of frequencies when speaking.
There is also what we call VOICE EXTENSION: the notes that are between the lowest note and the highest note that a person is capable of producing. In the case of women, or feminine discourse, we observe that women encompass high notes but also low ones. Masculine discourse focuses mainly on low notes (be careful, each person is different and this may differ from one person to another). But I think that above all the most important thing is to define what is considered acute, and what is considered obtuse. Most of the time we classify bass and treble sounds based on the differentiation between the feminine and masculine range.
In the graphics below, which come from the Voice Pitch Analyzer application, you can spontaneously see the speech of the woman and the speech of a man. The application defines a female vocal range between 165hz and 255hz and the male vocal range between 85Hz and 180Hz. But in our day, what does this really mean? What does it imply? How does this classification affect us? Obviously, we do not walk all the time with this application on to analyze our way of speaking. Nor is your brain able to quantify these frequencies just by hearing them (nobody can tell you, “mmm, you just made a 135hz sound!”). We simply hear people talking around us and our brain gives us the information as to if, according to our criteria, it is a male or female voice.
In this article, what I am trying to demonstrate is that the deepening of the voice in feminization issues is indeed being overvalued. With my 15 years of experience, and after hours of study, analysis, and search for a feminine and natural voice, I can assure you that a person who speaks constantly in highs without using low notes in his speech, will be perceived more as a person having a childish voice than having a female voice. I would like to highlight the importance of the melody more than the deepening of the voice when it comes to feminizing. It is also important to refer to the concept of voice, as I mentioned in a previous article, and to analyze the feminine discourse in an objective way. Indeed, when we feminize, what we really do is exalt the vocal and prosodic elements in the most feminine way possible. To do this, we work on rhythm, fluidity, articulation, resonance, facial expressiveness, and of course the melody.
In the Astudillo method, we work the vocal extension as a priority, but not only upwards, that is, not only towards the highs, but we also work and enrich the quality of the bass sounds.
The secret of a feminine and natural voice resides in the elasticity of the laryngeal movement that allows the patient to speak with a more melodic voice, going towards the treble and returning towards the bass and vice versa.
Here is the reason for the title of this article, “speaking in high pitches is not feminine.” The true richness of female speech is found in the fluctuation or frequency variation that we use during speech. In simpler terms, to speak in a feminine way, the important thing is to use both the treble and the bass in a balanced way, proposing a varied melodic scheme.
This is also one of the reasons why we are not in favor of voice feminization surgery, since in reality this surgery does not feminize a voice but simply sharpens it. But what really poses a problem is that surgery prevents patients from having serious notes again, thus restricting the possibility of melody in the patient’s speech.
In another article I already mentioned all the negative points of the surgery, but this is one of the most negative points according to my point of view. If a patient is unable to produce a melody in her voice, she will present a fake, artificial, childish voice; a princess or cartoon voice, far from natural. Not to mention of course the excess air in the voice that is observed in most cases of transgender women who operate on the vocal cords in search of a higher tone.
Mariela ASTUDILLO RAMÍREZ
Speech therapist specialized in voice feminization
I know that there is a lot of talk about speech therapy and surgery in terms of the feminization of the voice, that from the outside you can see that there is a quarrel between the two options, that some patients opt more for surgery and others more for speech therapy. But let’s be honest and sincere, let’s try to be objective, but above all, and as far as I’m concerned, I’m going to try to be as professional as possible and help you understand the true essence of a female voice. Stop thinking that because you are going to speak sharply you are going to have a more feminine voice; speaking in high pitched is not feminine, femininity does not reside in a mere high-pitched voice. A concrete example of this is to think of a man who reads a text all in sharp. Would that seem feminine to you?
If feminizing a voice resides solely in sharpening it, then of course surgery would be the best option. But this is not the case. And believe me, if there was a miracle surgery to feminize your voice, I would be the first to encourage you to do it. However, from my experience with all the patients who have worked with me in recent years, I can assure you that if you train your voice and exalt all those vocal and prosodic parameters correctly, you will achieve a feminine and natural voice forever without going back (unless you want to), and in a healthy way without taking unnecessary risks. That is why speech therapy is currently the most recommended solution to feminize a voice.