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trans woman relearning to sing...first demo ever!

oppositeofgravityoppositeofgravity 2.0 ENROLLED Posts: 5
hi all,
i'm a 27 year old transgender woman relearning how to sing. I've already learned how to train my speaking voice to pass as female, now i want to do the same with singing. I joined KTVA almost a year ago, but couldn't really figure out a way forward. the "dude" workouts were too low and the "diva" workouts were too high haha. attached is a demo of me singing "happy birthday" in a man voice (baritone) and my current female voice (tenor/alto? idk). if anyone has any advice on how to go about this it would be much appreciated.

Thanks all!


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    highmtnhighmtn Administrator, Moderator, Enrolled, Pro, 3.0 Streaming Posts: 15,359

    If you want to sound more feminine when you sing, you will have to sing in much the same way you have learned to speak in a more feminine way.

    It can get a little bit dicey trying to discuss things like this, because some people get real picky about pronouns and whether this word or that one is "sexist" or biased in one way or another. Sometimes people want to tell other people what is right and wrong with the way others speak, and yet use those same terms themselves freely.

    Essentially in this case, we are looking for ways to shed "girth" from your voice. When Ken wants to sing more like Michael Jackson (who, for a male, had a very high speaking and singing voice) he sheds low tones (girth) and goes for a "higher placement" which includes a slightly raised larynx, and overall taking his voice up to higher notes. When you do this, it gets your voice "set" into what Ken calls "little boy voice" or Michael Jackson voice, or Mickey Mouse voice. You get the idea. It's not big boy voice. It's the opposite of David Coverdale, which Ken calls more "manly" sounding.

    With Divas, the same is true, but Ken calls that placement "little girl voice".

    You need to try to find little girl voice. You might have to settle for little boy voice, but if so, your phrasing and finesse may help you get to a placement that works for you.

    The higher we sing, the higher the placement. But there are limitations to how far we can get with this. We can also exercise our voices low, to get a lower placement.

    So when we get someone wanting to deepen their voice, those people need to exercise stretching their range lower.

    The thing that we have to live with, however, is that regardless of how we want our voices to sound, if we are a born female, our entire vocal mechanism is different than if we are born male. A male almost always has a larger diameter trachea (vocal tract) and so the physics of that determine the resonant frequencies that will be dominant in the voice. The male vocal cords are about twice the length of the female vocal cords. This is why females naturally sing about an octave above males.

    This all has nothing to do with discrimination or sexual preferences or identification choices. It has to do with acoustics, physics, the human body, and how, in general, we are built. Obviously there are born males who sound more feminine than most other males and vice-versa with females.

    And we have tons of guys wanting to sing higher than Dimash, and girls wanting to find how to work their chest voices lower than Johnny Cash. It's all good. So in your case, you want to learn to drop as much deep tone from your voice as your physiology will allow. So to go back to the beginning of your post, and use the same techniques you did in your female speaking voice when you sing. Not all females are sopranos. Many females have beautiful low alto voices. That would be a more attainable goal for you, at least to start. If you apply too much strength, you may reveal more of your male tone.

    To me, in your speaking demonstration, you are imitating what sound to me like female speech patterns that are pretty good at simulating the way a lot of females modulate their voices when they speak. In the baritone singing, you sound to me like a baritone guy singing happy birthday. In the female version, you sound more like a tenor singing happy birthday. I don't really hear any "female" phrasing or modulations like I do in the female speaking demo. The singing is higher pitched, but too much chest voice in a way that comes across to my ears as more male tenor. Certainly not David Coverdale, or David Draiman, but not Michael Jackson or Taylor Swift, either.

    The Marilyn Monroe "Happy Birthday, Mr. President" version might help with the phrasing, but that one is a little over the top. You will probably find better tonal adaptation within head voice and mix voice. That's where you will be minimizing the amount of girth and chesty sound, and probably be able to adapt the sound and phrasing to be more convincing as a female singer. You'll probably want to keep it light and a little more airy. Possibly a bit of vibrato will help, as well.

    You will probably want to work the upper portions of the dudes exercises and the lower portions of the divas exercises. Lots of tenors do that to stretch their chest voices. You will need to do these lightly, more gently.

    When you get to that part of the program, do Volumes 3, 4, and 5 on the light side.

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    Klaus_TKlaus_T Moderator, 2.0 PRO Posts: 2,418
    hi Ellie, i have a question for you, which i do not mean to be offensive or insensitive in any way, and maybe it is just a silly idea:

    for example, i know a woman who is really tall and large, but when she speaks she has a very faint and high pitched voice. it is not the voice you would expect to hear when you see her, but it is her normal voice that she was born with.

    along the same lines, would it really be that bad if you sounded a bit different than what people expect when they first see you?

    i hope you understand this the way i mean it :)

    best wishes, Klaus
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    WigsWigs Moderator, 2.0 PRO, 3.0 Streaming Posts: 5,042
    Hello and welcome to the course :smile: Congrats on your first post! Besides having an actual discussion or lesson with Ken, @highmtn is the next best thing! He is the most knowledgeable member we have when it comes to all things KTVA and how to apply it and he made very valid points. You're on the younger side so there is plenty of time to grow your voice in the direction you want with your singing. Post demos or scales here anytime you feel like you need feed back, its the best way to get the most out of the forum and course. Anything course related or feedback for scales are best done in the student area (anything that's green for enrolled students) so we can answer your question in full.
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    oppositeofgravityoppositeofgravity 2.0 ENROLLED Posts: 5
    thanks to you all for this welcome and feedback!

    @highmtn i'm truly floored and humbled by your thoughtful, eloquent, and in-depth message. The facts about trachea width and vocal cord length were totally new to me and I'm very glad to know them now. I really appreciate all your advice and cannot wait to start putting it to use. Also no need to worry about using the "right" words to talk about sex/gender differences in voice, i'm chill about that stuff, at least on here :)

    @Klaus_T haha i get what you're saying, and i've been listening to a bunch of women who have androgynous singing voices like Tracy Chapman or Cher and trying to use those as touchstones. but i also get frustrated trying to sing along to music by cis (aka "biological") women, and i want to see what i can achieve if i really put my mind to it.

    @Wigs thank you for the welcome! i'm designing my practice regimen today, and after that i'm gonna start posting scales and demos!
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    BagheeBaghee Member Posts: 6
    Personally, I think there are enough sopranos already. Many of them are quite similar sounding and it's the unique voices that get recognised quickly. I think you shouldn't be afraid to embrace a deeper voice.
    Find YOUR voice. You don't have to be breaking glasses to be good. Obviously, if the voice you dream of is higher, go for it, but I think the world is a better place with diversity and there are already plenty of Mariahs etc.
    (Not sure why, but I couldn't play your link, I think I need to download the appropriate app. That's why my comment hasn't included anything about your song, sorry. I'm sure it's awesome, though!)
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    bentkbentk Moderator, Pro, 2.0 PRO, 3.0 Streaming Posts: 1,650
    Hey! Welcome to the forum! I see you already received some very thoughtful replies here. There is loads of information on this forum, so i would suggest to have a look around when you have the time. Especially on subjects where you might struggle or just want to learn more.

    Good to see that you are going to post some scales etc. That is easily the best way to get the feedback you need. :)

    Happy singing!

    All the best,

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