THEMATIC  II      B E Y O N D   BEL   C A N T O :  T h e    E x t e n d e d    V o i c e


Physical aspects of Vocal Fry, Scream, Inhalation Phonation

Vocal Fry


The technique of Vocal Fry is used in contemporary compositions, such as Unknown and normalised in the popular culture by its use in rock, metal and punk music performances. 

“The singer relaxes his vocal folds until they flap loosely, producing a rattling, creaky sound.”1 Extremely relaxed vocal folds and low airflow result a low volume pulse tone with less harmonics than normal singing or phonation.


Making adjustments, such as changing the airflow or the pitch creates a variety of interesting harmonics in the spectrum of vocal fry technique.



A “higher pitch sound with extreme intensity”2 and creaky  sounds.


It is a rule that for a healthy vocal production, the muscles of the vocal tract should be relaxed3.

Where is the tension coming from then? 


Scream needs a high activity, in other words support, of the very low abdominal (belly) and back muscles4. These are the muscles we feel while sneezing or coughing5In this way, all the tension is transferred to the muscles that they work as an “energy button”6, releasing any tightness in the vocal tract and especially the vocal folds.

The creaky sounds happen due to the quality of the vocal fold's vibration. They come naturally in the process of screaming and usually the vocalist can control their amount. 


Inhalation Phonation


This terminology describes the production of sound during inhalation. Examples of its use in everyday life is “retracting breathing” or inhalation during an act of surpriseNormal voicing with inhale phonation is always produced by the vibration of the vocal folds7.


This technique has been used in symptomatic voice therapy8  as “in order to have a good [healthy] exhalation, one needs a good [healthy] inhalation9. Its exercise improves the relaxation of the vocal folds and muscles and prevents hyperventilation.

In contemporary music, it helps sometimes in sustaining a longer phrase. Instead of breathing during a long phrase causing an unavoidable audible sound gap, a vocalist might use inhale phonation in order to eliminate that gap. The main use though is regarding the special effects  that serve a composition or a performance such as in Unknown or SHE...NEN.  

Different amount of air and adjustments on the vocal tract result in a wide variety of effects during inhalation phonation. 




I produce:

1) unhealthy exchange between normal voicing

   and inhale phonation with clear tone

   (4 pairs of exhalation-inhalation)

The creaky sound in the begining of the inhalation phonation is resulted by an unhealthy contact of the vocal folds, caused by the bad air control.


2) healthy exchange between normal voicing and     inhalation phonation with clear tone

   (3 pairs of exhalation-inhalation)


3) various effects with inhalation phonation:  air, vocal fry,vocal fry, lifted soft palate and intense inhalation  

changing the amount of air

resulting to louder sound and different timbres 

VIDEO (edited video for research purposes)

The laryngoscopic image of an unhealthy vocal phonation.


I produce:

1) vocal fry in medium register

2) vocal fry in high register

3) vocal fry changing the register

4) normal singing changing to vocal fry(medium and high register)

by thinking a rapid change in the contact of the vocal folds and a little adjustment lowering the larynx.

5) vocal fry lifting the soft palate (medium and high register)

closing the nasal cavity as in the act of yawn.


VIDEO (edited video for research purposes)

The laryngoscopic image of these techniques,showing the mechanisms of the laryngeal vocal tract during vocal fry.  

fragments of a live performance of Aria by John Cage (Zuiderstrandtheater, 2021).

I produce:

1) high scream with a vocal fry near the end


2) scream with the use of chest voice