If you’re doing voice acting for fun (or for cartoons) then you might want to learn how to sound like a girl. I’d love to add some female characters to my “reportoire” so I did some research to see what it would take. Here’s what I found.
Sounding like a girl takes a lot of practice and does not involve using head voice or falsetto. Changing your pitch is the least important part in sounding like a girl. You need to change how you use your voicebox and your mouth. And this can take months of practice.
In the rest of this article, we’ll go over three different methods for sounding like a girl.
The girl voice
The first video I found was from a guy named Matt who somehow figured out how to do a girl voice.
Even though his girl voice isn’t a very natural sounding girl voice, he gives some solid tips to make your own girl voice (completely different to the way his girl voice sounds.)
Let’s dive in.
1. Raise the back (root) of your tongue & lower your soft palate. You can experience what this feels like by trying to make a “k” sound, a “g” sound or a “ng” sound (like the end of “singing” or “walking”.) All of these sounds will force you to raise the back of your tongue and lower your soft palate at the same time.
Another way to think of doing this part is to concentrate on making your mouth feel smaller. At first this feels super-weird, tense and forced. With practice, you should be able to just do it.
A side effect of doing this part is that you’ll feel your voice resonating more in the front of your face. You’ll feel it in your nose and maybe even in your sinuses.
I find it hard to breathe and talk in complete sentences like this. That should go away with practice.
2. Close your pharyngeal wall. This is the back of your throat as it goes down towards your voice box.
The way that I could “feel” this was by looking up and then using my fingers to press on my throat, above my adam’s apple. It’s not comfortable, it’s not fun but it definitely changes the sound of your voice.
The idea with this technique (and others we’ll look at below) is that you’ll eventually train all the muscles involved in speaking to do this “on command”. But you first have to go through awkwardly practicing this and learning how to “feel” where these muscles are and what they feel like when you change how they move.
Pick an accent that you know. That way you’ll know when you’re off because you’re so used to hearing that accent that it’ll stand out. You can try and sound like Matt but that might make it harder for you to get started with sounding like a girl.
Whenever you’re practicing an accent, it helps to focus on specific, unique sounds of that accent. Matt talks about “anchoring” your accent in specific sounds. For his “girl accent”, he focuses on the “r” and “s” sounds. Pick what stands out for the girl accent you’re trying to imitate and focus on getting those right. The rest will flow from that.
4. Musicality. The thing that came up the most for sounding like a girl is musicality. What’s musicality? It’s when your voice goes up and down in pitch as you talk.
Guys don’t do this so much. We tend to speak in a more monotone style and use less of our range by default.
Women use more of their range in every sentence. It’s just more natural for them to talk this way.
Don’t just change pitch aimlessly. Find videos of women talking how you want to talk and try and mimic their musicality. Try find interviews so you can get a better sense of the natural musicality women will use when they’re not performing.
Don’t focus on cartoon videos or impression videos yet. Try get a real sense for how women speak with more musicality than men.
And try practicing the musicality by itself. Just by getting the musicality right, you can sound a lot more feminine.
5. Pitch. This is the last (and least important) part of the process. You can keep your current pitch or just go a bit higher and, if you’re doing the rest of what Matt suggests, you’ll sound very feminine. Remember, some women talk at a lower pitch than guys and still sound very feminine.
Don’t talk in falsetto. It has a hollow sound. Just go up in pitch as far as you can comfortably go. Men have very similar ranges to women. There’s a lot of overlap. So just use your upper range. Don’t push it.
Some guys just talk at a higher pitch when they’re excited. It’s totally natural. So use that part of your voice and then add in the other techniques.
I was following along in the video and trying his tips and got nowhere close to sounding like a girl. But he did sound like a girl and he did it pretty convincingly.
So that tells me that it takes practice to figure this out and really nail it.
The next technique also focuses on a lot of the physicality of how women talk. Ada Han is a trans woman who I didn’t even realise was trans until later in the video. So this would be a great way to get a more “natural” sounding girl voice.
Ada Han’s method for feminizing a naturally masculine voice
This technique isn’t about going into head voice. Head voice means using the higher part of your voice and it’s called head voice because you feel the vibrations in your head or skull.
Using head voice can get rid of some of the masculinity of your voice but, at the same time, it can get rid of too much of the resonance of your voice. And it’s hard to get that back in.
This technique isn’t about using falsetto. Falsetto means using an even higher sounding part of your voice to talk (or sing) outside of your range.
It’s done by vibrating the edges of your vocal chords. And it sounds even less masculine than head voice but sounds fake.
This technique isn’t about changing the musicality of how you talk. At least not by itself. If you just change the musicality of how you talk, you end up sounding like a stereotypical 80s gay guy.
What is this technique about? It’s about changing the timbre of your voice without changing the pitch. And the way we get there is by raising your adam’s apple upwards and backwards and keeping it there while you talk.
You’re using the same muscles you’d use when you gargle or swallow but you have to become aware of these muscles so you can control them.
You start by feeling your throat (literally with your fingers) when you swallow. You should notice it move up 1 or 2 fingers.
The first thing you’ll notice is it feels hard to breathe. To fix that, what you want to do is pull your adam’s apple backwards into your neck.
In the video, Ada talks about the specific muscles that do this work and how to activate them.
Just moving your adam’s apple won’t change much. It’s only when you move it up and backwards that it gets a more feminine sound to it.
Once you’ve got this part figured out, you can add musicality and accent (like in Matt’s method) to get a more natural feminine style of speaking.
One caveat of using this method, especially if you’re not trans, is that your adam’s apple can get stuck in this position. If you’re a voice actor, that could be pretty scary.
If that happens, just go with it. Record yourself and enjoy the ability to do this sound. Your muscles will eventually relax and you’ll be able to talk normally again.
As you practice, you’ll get more and more control over the muscles that let you move your adam’s apple up and back like this. So the chances of getting “stuck” will go down.
If you don’t want to risk it, then maybe use Matt’s method. I think his method is great for more comical sounding girl voices while Ada’s method is better for natural sounding girl voices.
Finally, it’s possible to record your male voice and just use audio editing software to raise your pitch.
What you want to do here is first record your voice with some musicality (and maybe a more feminine accent). And then just pitch shift the recording upwards.
Don’t overdo it because, remember, men and women have very similar ranges.
And then you can filter out some of the bassier parts of your voice by using an EQ filter.
This could be a fun way to play around making yourself sounding like a girl without all the hard work involved in the other 2, more physical, techniques.
Here’s a quick video on how to use Adobe Audition to sound like a girl but you can do the same thing using Audacity (which is free).