While some people have naturally low, raspy singing voices, others need to cultivate their vocal style to produce the same effect. Raspy vocals are often used in rock and metal music, but the ability to utilise the “chest” voice -- the lower range that allows for the rasping tone to feature -- can be beneficial to singers of any musical style.
- Skill level:
Practice saying words in a low, raspy voice. Gradually increase the number of words you say in that tone so that your vocal cords adjust to it. Build up from words to sentences then paragraphs.
Concentrate on singing from your diaphragm. The raspy vocal style is part of the “chest” tone, whereby the voice emanates from the thorax, rather than the “head” tone which comes mainly from the nose.
Extend your “chest” tone abilities by practicing filling and emptying your lungs. Take a deep breath, hold it for several seconds then exhale slowly and steadily while proclaiming a word like “ha” or “ah.” Repeated regularly every day, this exercise helps to increase the power of your "chest" singing and will add a raspy tone to your voice.
Say “ahhh” using as little breath as possible. Concentrate on limiting the sound of the air being exhaled and focus on the tone of the word. Again, this will help your vocal cords adjust to the style and you can add the rasp to your singing voice as you practice.
Tips and warnings
- If you need to get some raspy vocal style quickly and don’t have time to cultivate your range, try screaming. The force of the expulsion of air when screaming often adds a rasping tone to the voice.
- If you feel discomfort when practicing your raspy vocal style, stop and begin again with less force. Discomfort can be a sign that you are straining your vocal cords, and could lead to damage.
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