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All About Vocal Fry

January 18, 2024


Abram Poliakoff


Vocal fry is considered to be the lowest register of your voice. The sound resembles a creaking door or a slightly gravely surface. When we are using vocal fry our vocal folds are just loose enough to allow little air bubbles to escape, which creates the crackling and popping sounds we hear. As a speaking habit, it can create a weak or disconnected lower body support mechanism, which can lead to vocal strain when trying to raise one’s voice.


On the other hand, when used as a vocal technique, fry can help you relax your vocal muscles and feel out the very bottom register of your voice. Plus it adds an extra texture to our voice for emotional expression and storytelling.  


You may find fry hard to do at first, especially if you have been using your voice a lot already. When your voice is tired and overly tense, vocal fry is especially hard to manipulate. So I recommend trying this in the morning or after a nap. It's a light technique that can massage your vocal folds if you do it correctly. 


Exercise 1: Fry Circle of Vowels and Sirens 

The first exercise is to try moving through the vowel shapes using your fry register. That's EE, Aye, Ah, Oh, OO. This is best done very low in your register. If you are feeling stuck while trying this attempt to keep your support in relaxed neutral and gently pulse out with your lower belly. Let it relax back to neutral and do this back and forth for a while.


Even though fry is easiest to access low in your range, vocal fry can actually stretch and mix well into head voice. Try using some fry while mixing from chest into head voice. It sounds awkward, but getting comfortable with how subtle this feels is an important step for a lot of grit and metal sounds.


Now let's try a little more manipulation. Try going back and forth from fry to a pure pitched tone.


Exercise 2: Fry on Why 3,2,1 (then on I)

Alright now that we have explored producing vocal fry and singing. Let's make it into an exercise. On a Why try to scrape some fry with the starting W sound in the pattern. We can add a little scooping to help with this light feeling. Also try just a pure vowel like Eye. Explore using fry before as many different vowels and consonants as you like. Ultimately the more ways you are comfortable doing this the more likely its going to appear in your voice when you want it to. Don’t forget to transition to a pure tone as well to make sure you can come in and out of your fry register. If you go all the way into the fry you might lose the pitch all together. 


Now go and sing a song that you want some vocal fry in and see if your body can access and control this sound  a little better while you sing.  The goal is to just let it happen with your muscle memory, so just let the style flow by feeling.


0:00 - Intro

0:27 - What Is Vocal Fry?

2:07 - Exercise 1

4:51 - Exercise 2

7:20 - Outro

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