Voice Too High? How to Safely Lower Your Pitch

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We all want to make an impact, and we all want to be thought of as being imposing and charismatic. Such are the traits of leaders, celebrities, heroes, and all the other people that we revere and admire. However this is not something that comes easily, and is the result of being fortunate enough to possess a range of both natural and learned traits that make us more ‘impressive’ and that make people stand up and take notice. Tall people have this effect, good looking people do, those who are strong or physically imposing, those who are eloquent and well spoken, and finally, those with powerful sounding and low pitched voices. For men, having a low voice makes them sound impressive and strong, it makes people listen, it evokes trust and honesty, and it drives a lot of women a little wild. For women it is again sexy to have a deep and husky sounding voice that sounds confident and full. On the other hand a voice that is too high pitched will often be thought of as irritating or ‘weak’.

Many of us believe that we are stuck with the voice we are born with, and this is a reasonable belief as it is not something that many of us experience much variation on – you are born with your voice and as a rule that is the one you tend to stick with. However this assumption is actually incorrect and there are ways you can naturally lower your voice; and it is possible to start doing so right now with no special equipment.

One way to lower your voice, which is particularly appropriate for men is to increase your production of testosterone. This should make intuitive sense when you consider that the reason men’s voices go high pitched when they lose their testicles is that the testes are what produce our testosterone (testosterone… ever noticed that?). Less testosterone = a higher voice, more = a lower one, fortunately there are some ways to naturally increase testosterone such as eating more red meats, exercising and even having sex.

Another thing that can deepen your voice is to slightly scratch the throat, of course this isn’t a great idea in that it isn’t particularly good for you, but it would in theory work. You could do this by singing a ‘screamo’ rock song, or talking in a gruff voice for a long period of time. At the same time you can lower your voice slightly by smoking, which again damages your throat as well as your health in general quite considerably and so shouldn’t be used for this method.

As well as your testosterone and your throat though, other factors also contribute to the pitch of your voice. In particular the muscles surrounding the throat can help to tighten or to loosen the windpipe, and to tighten and loosen the vocal chords. Just like the way many musical instruments work, this can result in your pitch altering, and in order to have a deeper voice you should focus on relaxing those muscles. This is also why we have a tendency to go high pitched when startled or stressed as we tense those muscles. Relaxing the muscles is something we can do as we speak, by generally relaxing ourselves, and using sedatives even can result in our voice becoming deeper. Of course sedatives have many other unwanted side effects making them ill-suited as a way to lower our voice. However relaxing naturally, and focussing on speaking calmly and – importantly – slowly, can help to deepen our voice; speaking more slowly is a great way to instantly sound deeper, clearer and more confident when you talk.

Some exercises claim to be able to loosen the muscles surrounding your oesophagus too, and these aim to help you speak more deeply. Some of them, so many websites claim, are used by vocal coaches in order to deepen their voice. To try it out you should first try resting your head backwards so that you are looking up at the ceiling. This will instantly stretch your vocal chords out and that in theory should make your voice sound croakier but also slightly higher pitched. If you lean your head forwards slightly on the other hand it should sound slightly lower. You can use this in the short term in order to make yourself sound lower by relaxing your head forward, or you can use it to train your voice. Simply lean your head back and hum or go ‘aaa’ and continue to the count of ten. Then move your head to the middle position and repeat the same again, and then finally drop your head forward and do it. If you practice this for a few minutes every day (do not overdo it or you can damage your vocal chords and throat) then you should start to notice some difference (according to the proponents of this method) within a few weeks. However the actual effectiveness of this method is night entirely certain, and any change that does happen will be not be particularly extreme or noticeable.

Another method to use then is to get real training designed to help deepen your voice and to help you project it. Nothing will increase the power of both your singing voice, and your speaking voice, more than opera training. Here you will be taught to project your voice and speak in a low tone not only for when you are singing, but also for when you are talking as a lot of the opera dialogue is spoken in a melody. There are no microphones and you instead have to project to the entire audience on your own. This means that opera training will be sure to give you a deep and powerful voice both when speaking and when singing and is the only sure fire way to do so to a strong degree.

Of course failing this you can always just make yourself speak more deeply. We can all ‘put on’ a voice, and though it requires conscious effort, if you do it for long enough it can actually effect the way you speak permanently. Just make sure you do not overdo it – just make a small conscious effort to put a little more power into your voice. If you try and sound like Barry White right away then people will know what you are doing…

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Gary Wickman

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  • Let's see…….smoke, take drugs, scream offensive music……this is a funny, tongue-in-cheek article…..but I hope no one takes it seriously.

  • This is yet another article that perpetuates the myth that a low voice is better. There is absolutely no evidence of this in the scientific research. Abraham Lincoln had a high voice. FDR had a high voice. John Kennedy had a high voice. What is more important is that you take the voice you were born with, find its most resonant pitch range, and learn how to use it properly within that range. Forcing your voice lower than its natural pitch range causes vocal fatigue and possibly vocal damage. And it doesn't really help. Unless you're trying to sound like a cheesy used car salesman. The recommendation that you take up opera training to lower your voice is just comical.

  • This article was really interesting but you have to be more concise. Only a few paragraphs were needed for this article, most of it were extra unneeded information.

  • Thanks for the tip. I think it sounds a bit cliché that people say I (try to) sound like James Earl Jones. It annoys me, since my voice is really high.

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Gary Wickman

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