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Unread 03-29-2014, 11:39 PM   #1
Catscatscats
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Voice altering/acting for crossplay?

Eyooooo! Now before you reply, just know that I know that it is in NO way mandatory to be required to act, or voice act, your character while cosplaying. I know that, but I'd just like to do it for fun

You see, my appearance is already pretty androgynous itself. Sometimes, I don't even have to put the effort in to look neutral. I've been confused for the opposite gender on quite a few occasions, some people not being able to tell at ALL.

Well, I am a girl. Don't care for pronouns blah blah anything is fine with me. Well since next year I'd to cosplay as a character that is a boy but crossdresses. Since MY appearance is pretty ambiguous enough, and the character could be pulled off either way, I think it'd be fun to ask people what they think my gender is. (Character and me, the person? Double the confusion!)

Plus not only that. But I've wanted to know how to alter my voice for YEARS. Even when it's not in cosplay and I'm just crossing, I'd feel more comfortable knowing I could make my voice at least somewhat match my appearance. I remmeber googling it back then but my results turning up blank, so I gave up. Why I didn't think of asking on here, I'm not sure!

Please note that I wouldn't want to permenantly alter my voice. I know a lot of female VAs are able to voice young male characters so if they can do it, maybe there's some hope for me!

Does anyone have any tips? (Sorry if this thread is in the wrong place, but it ties into my cosplay's construct so...)
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Unread 03-30-2014, 01:32 PM   #2
belligerent
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It really will depend on how your voice sounds naturally and what you're trying to pull off. If you're a soprano, there's probably no way to deepen your voice significantly that won't cause some damage to your vocal cords over time. If you've naturally got a deeper voice, it will be easier to pass.

I find myself talking out of my chest more when I'm crossplaying, but I have a deep voice (I'm a contralto, singing-wise) and am on the masculine side of androgynous, anyway, so I'm not sure it's something that will work for everybody.

I think a lot of it is going to be tone quality and inflection. Pick out some characters whose way of speaking read as "really male" to you and think about why they read that way to you. You can pick live action or cartoon, doesn't matter. Also find some women who voice males and really analyze why it either works or it doesn't. I find in most situations, TO ME, women who voice young men or boys still read vocally as women, so it's okay if you don't think they're passing. But try to figure out why you don't think they do, or why one passes more than another. This will all be subjective but it'll be helpful research.

If there's a specific man, or character, or character voice you think sounds like what you want to pull off, but it doesn't work for your vocal range, analyze stuff like their inflection, word choices, etc. Do they speak in more of a monotone? Are they more vague when describing things? Sometimes if you can pass as the character first, it will help suspension of disbelief for passing as male.

Again, unless you want to permanently possibly damage your voice, I don't know that I would try to alter it too radically. You can practice your low range, sure, but it's very possible to hurt yourself if you practice too much.
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Unread 04-06-2014, 09:29 PM   #3
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There's a large amount of overlap in vocal range between even an operatic soprano and tenor - vocal character tends to be presented as what it is because that's what they want parts to sound like, but a soprano can have a voice that sounds very "dark" and "deep" at the same frequencies that a mezzo-soprano with a physically lower range might sound "bright" and "light" simply because of their anatomy. Deeper-sounding sopranos aren't particularly popular but there are many mezzo-sopranos who have quite deep voices to the point that it's considered more realistic that they play a castrato role instead of a male who's trained his falsetto/whistle register - they sound more like men than actual men. (this makes sense when you consider that the women are singing from head voice but the men are forced into falsetto or the super-falsetto of "whistle" in order to hit the same notes - so the vocal shift is obvious and strange and can seem inhuman and more characteristically "feminine" in tone quality than a woman's head voice)

Um... there was no point to this. Belligerent, I love u, just giving hope to the ppl n stuff i guess. thx bai

Personally, I find it helps me to find songs that put me in the right part of my range. Songs especially because if I start to feel "lost" if I know the song by heart it can help me "remember" the physical action necessary to reach the frequencies I want to hit.

I know that for me songs like David Bowie's "Space Oddity", Billy Joel's "Piano Man" and others work for me. It gets me to C4 and lower - a part of my range where I'm able to access a drastically deeper sounding vocal character.

It also helps to pick music or other sources based on the particular character. I mean - Dean Winchester is a great source for "how to sound like a very masculine tough guy" - but is that appropriate for every character ? I'm finding the song "Johanna" from Sweeney Todd very helpful for Ser Loras because it hits that same part in my range while at the same time being sung by a hopelessly pretty young kinda dumb dude with a light English accent. Don't just find "song sung by a dude" - find "song that gets you where you need to go and doesn't have a character that would be totally ridiculous for what you need".

Not all songs will work. Plenty of songs sung by men aren't low enough to put me in that part of my range. For instance, Beatles songs are rarely that low. "Bohemian Rhapsody" is not that low. The Backstreet Boys aren't known for going that low. I don't know what music is cool these days, but I'm sure there are plenty of guys out there who aren't going to or below C4 all the time.

But what works for me might not work for you. Find out what notes put in a "good place" in your range. Keep track of them and find songs that help you be able to learn what being in that part of your range feels like so you can remember it.

Singing can also help because it should help you learn to project your voice if you don't already.

When it comes to safety and health, just be aware. If your voice starts to feel sore - be aware of it. Drink water when you practice. If it hurts, stop. When I was younger and didn't know better I did hurt my voice with bad techniques. The key to not hurting yourself is simply being aware - and if something hurts or makes you sore, don't do it.

Inflection and such are important - but it really depends on your voice. Some voices are naturally deep-sounding enough that that's all they need. Others need to work on what frequencies they're producing first.

Ask questions to people who can actually hear you. Ask them for feedback.
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Unread 04-09-2014, 08:27 PM   #4
AJ the Collector
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I'm lucky enough to be able to alter my voice to a pretty convincing female one. I have an impressive range, it comes from teaching myself how to mimic all kinds of character voices to a perfectionist level ever since I was 10.
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Unread 04-09-2014, 08:51 PM   #5
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Quote:
For instance, Beatles songs are rarely that low. "Bohemian Rhapsody" is not that low. The Backstreet Boys aren't known for going that low. I
I sing a lot of songs down an octave if they're "too high." Sometimes even if they're not. Songs by men, songs by women, whichever. I can sing that entire stupid frozen song down an octave...sometimes two octaves, in places...

If you listen to singers, however, even when they're singing high or low, often you can tell if they are male or female. Some you kind of can't. If you can't, it is probably not a useless exercise to think about what it is in their vocal quality that makes it harder to tell.

Like there's some singer right now named "Haim" and I can't really tell by the person's voice whether they're male or female. I'm going to go with....male? And I'll look it up right now to see if I'm right.

...NOPE wrong (also the name of the band is haim, not the person). So whatever it is that girl is doing, do that.
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Unread 04-09-2014, 09:16 PM   #6
Kelley
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O, definitely - frequency alone isn't everything. I think "everything" is a huge amount of work and for someone who has, say, never even sung before it might all seem like a little much. I find that being able to get myself into the "right" part of my range gives me more confidence right off the start and is so "different" that it facilitates being able to slip into different patterns more easily than trying to modify and micro-manage a mode of speech that I'm more used to. It's more a thing that's able to be done closer to "from scratch" this way and easier to remember to stay in vocal character parameters since it's different enough to be a reminder on its own.

To me, using songs in the correct part of my range isn't just about pitch, but having a source to listen to sound patterns that I can reproduce without having to do a layer of thinking on top of it.

I don't really give it all that much actual thought while doing it, I'm just trying to write it out for the benefit of someone who really is completely new to the idea of things like imitating a voice and matching pitch or harmonising.

Trying to mimic sounds (not just pitch) is a first step, but then it's the rest of your life really working on the understanding the "why" of those sounds.
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