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how to feminize pitch for mtf trans femme voice training

Contrary to popular belief when it comes to mtf trans voice training, a sustained high pitched voice doesn’t necessarily equate to an authentic female voice and in fact only plays a minor role when it comes to the perception of an authentic sounding female voice. If you’re just starting out in your voice training journey, I would recommend first targeting resonance before adding in anything else but if you feel you’re ready to move on then keep reading. Even though pitch contributes only a small amount to the distinction between male and female voices, it does however play a significant part when it comes to adding life and emotion to the voice. This element is fundamental to feminizing the voice and offers us a new challenge: consider not just the sound of the voice but how pitch influences the words we use in conversation.

Without getting too technical, pitch is simply the frequency at which the vocal folds vibrate—a manifestation of their length, tension, and mass. The pitch of females can vary wildly but one thing that tends to stay consistent is the fluctuation of it. As I said at the beginning of the article “a sustained high pitched voice doesn’t equate to an authentic female voice” but instead only gets us half way there. The real key to achieving an authentic sounding female pitch is through pitch variation, in other words the pitch goes up and down, up and down, instead of just staying up high. To contrast against traditional male voices, theirs tend to stay relatively low and flat with very little variation. [1][2]

Before getting into the exercises, we need to first understand that much of our pitch in conversation will be influenced by emotion. With this in mind, be mindful that if you are choosing to practice while speaking static spoken lines or reading a dull text, your pitch will very much reflect this and subsequently limit your ability to achieve not only a higher pitch variation but also raise your pitch, period. I recommend to clients to practice using lines or text that invoke some sort of emotion in you. This way, life will more naturally want to find its way into the voice. Now that we’ve covered all that let's get into a simple exercise that you can use to help you in your mtf trans voice training routine. Have you ever wondered what makes a monotone voice so incredibly boring to listen to? I bet you’d find it interesting to learn that the reason behind it comes down to pitch. When you think of a monotone voice, think of the speaker, their faces are often expressionless, void of any emotion and display very little lip movement, all this combined not only equates to a monotone voice but is what also causes vocal fry (that buzzy tone of voice which signals the pitch is at its lowest possible point).

First, let’s try saying the words 1,2,3,4 with very little lip movement, you should notice that the pitch is low and overall unmoving. Next, trying saying the words again while enunciating every sound, in other words make each consonant *pop*, this can be achieved through moving the lips more and simply articulating the words a bit more than you typically would.

Through the addition of enunciation, your lips will be kept in a flowing state of motion and this in turn forces the pitch to both stay up and through all the changing mouth shapes, creates pitch fluctuations as well. When doing this exercise it is important to remember to only add in a little bit more lip movement than you’re typically used to and assess from there. The reason for this is it’s common for individuals to overdo it and before you know it their mouth is moving so wildly that it looks incredibly unnatural and inadvertently takes away from the sound of the authentic female voice (not to mention it will really make your cheeks sore!).

From now on, when thinking of pitch, think of the emotion and life that it gives to words, have a listen to those around you and take note of the sound of their pitch. Does it sound low and unmoving or is there high variation? Are their lips constantly moving or are they staying flat? Do their words sound engaged and passionate or do they sound withdrawn and bored? Once you begin to see which traits tend to go together you’ll be better able to elicit the traits you’re looking to create in your own voice. Pitch is just one of the many factors that contribute to creating an authentic sounding female voice and they all take time, patience and dedication to mastering, don’t forget to celebrate the little wins and every now and again take a look at how far you’ve come. If at any point you feel like you could benefit from the direction of a Trans Voice Training Teacher feel free to reach out to me through my website at and as always I wish you all the best in your voice training journey.

[1] Wolfe VI, Ratusnik DL, Smith FH, Northrop G. Intonation and fundamental frequency in male-to-female transsexuals. J Speech Hear Disord. 1990 Feb;55(1):43-50. doi: 10.1044/jshd.5501.43. PMID: 2299839.

[2] Hancock, Adrienne & Garabedian, Laura. (2013). Transgender voice and communication treatment: A retrospective chart review of 25 cases. International journal of language & communication disorders / Royal College of Speech & Language Therapists. 48. 54-65. 10.1111/j.1460-6984.2012.00185.x.


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