Masculine voice

Facts and tips

A bigger sound in natal males is mainly due to a bigger upper airway than in natal females. The physical space inside a male throat is typically 300 ml compared to 100 ml inside a female throat.

Producing a lower, more chesty voice should be done with a relaxed throat and sufficient breath support to avoid developing a voice problem.

Make a loud, yawn-sigh sound “Ha!” 6x. Notice your tongue lower and your mouth and throat open. This maximizes the space in your mouth and throat for a bigger sound.

Avoid alcoholic, caffeinated, and carbonated beverages to prevent swelling, dryness, or acid reflux.

Many people would agree that it is more socially acceptable for women to speak in a masculine way than for men to speak in a feminine way. Because of this, some transmen may have more experience speaking masculine in public.

Read aloud from a newspaper, book, or magazine. Be a little slower and louder than usual while keeping your throat relaxed. Notice how just a small amount of loudness can make you sound more masculine.

There are many ways to sound more masculine with or without testoterone, so you don’t have to settle if you feel your voice is insufficient. You may be familiar with one or more aspects of a masculine communication style, and even have had experience with it, particularly in the workplace. Below is a brief explanation of different aspects of masculine communication:

The story about T

Testoterone is typically known to decrease pitch by about an octave due to an increase in the mass of the vocal folds, resulting in a sufficiently low habitual pitch that is near a cisgendered masculine average pitch (120 Hertz, B2 in musical notes). Significant effects can begin within the first few months of hormone replacement therapy and continue over the first year or two. A decrease in pitch is permanent whether you continue or discontinue hormone replacement therapy. People have reported hoarseness or throat discomfort at the beginning of therapy or with each dose. This side effect should be taken seriously! Visit an otolaryngologist or speech-language pathologist to determine whether unwanted vocal fold changes have occurred and whether vocal rehabilitation exercises are necessary. For people who are not taking testoterone or whose pitch have not lowered as much, pitch can be lowered through voice exercises, with 146 Hertz (D3) as a target. Keep in mind that even with low pitch, with or without testosterone, you can still not sound sufficiently masculine, since there are many other factors that make masculine speech and voice.

pitch-chart-image

Intonation

In addition to a lower pitch, the way you move your pitch is important to sounding more masculine. When using a lower pitch, be sure you still have room to move your pitch even lower to convey meaning and expressiveness. It is indeed possible to be expressive in a masculine way without sounding unfriendly or without connecting to your listener comfortably. The following are ways to move your pitch effectively:

  • Move your pitch downward when possible (medium to lower), for a more staccato-like effect
  • Less pitch movement overall, particularly upward movement, but avoid being monotone
  • Stress words by stretching them rather than going significantly higher in pitch
  • Don’t punch words too hard when stressing them

Resonance

This aspect of voice is a more difficult yet critical part of sounding more masculine. It is often the difference between sounding naturally masculine and sounding like a young boy. Resonance is about maximizing the space in your head and neck so that your voice sounds bigger, more like a cello, say, even though your size may be more like a violin. To sound bigger, start by speaking slightly louder, opening/moving your mouth more than usual and opening your throat for a slightly opera-like, yawn-like fullness.

Vocal quality

Maintaining a smooth voice is important for your vocal health. Avoid chesty, harsh, or hoarse talking in an attempt to sound more masculine!  Think instead of a full, connected, radio voice.

Articulation

Masculine articulation typically sounds heavier and darker than feminine articulation. In attempt to move pitch less, some transmen sound monotone with slushy articulation. Focus on speaking clearly by moving your mouth in a more vertical direction, which can prevent unclear speech and increase a bigger resonant sound.

Loudness level

Louder voice is important for sound more masculine. Some transmen have difficulty being louder, either from speaking at an average pitch that is too low or from difficulty powering the newly increased mass of the vocal folds. Sounding loud is almost always possible. It’s just a matter of tuning into proper breath support from the diaphragm and connecting each word for a fuller sound.

Spoken language

The following are typical ways to communicate in a more masculine way:

  • More assertive
  • More direct
  • Fewer words
  • More matter of fact (less descriptive)

Stereotypically masculine communication also is thought to be more interruptive, more crass, less open emotionally, and more judgmental. These characteristics are often not desired by transmen, and there is no need to employ them (or others) in order to sound more masculine. There are plenty of other features of masculine speech and voice to find a sufficient balance for you.

Body language

How you sit, walk, and move is part of your masculine image, including how you look when you are talking to someone. Some features are:

  • Taking up more space in general
  • Sitting posture is A-shaped
  • Crossing legs ankle-to-knee rather than knee-to-knee
  • Avoid leaning forward toward your listener
  • Slightly less expressive face
  • Moving your hips less when you walk (top heavy instead of bottom heavy)

Laugh and cough

Experiment making your laugh and cough more masculine by varying the loudness and opening your mouth more, but don’t blow anyone away!