An overview

Creak and creaking takes place at the vocal cord level, level 1 (see ’Various levels of the vocal tract’). The very delicate creaking sound occurs from vibrations of the vocal cords. The vocal cords vibrations in both creak and creaking have a complex but regular vibratory pattern.

Creaks and Creaking occur when using two slightly opposite ways of using the voice (e.g. with a slightly incorrect use of the modes) in a very controlled manner. Creaks and creaking is performed at a rather low volume, like a consciously failed attempt to sing in a certain amount of metal.



Creaks are often used in the beginning or ending of a phrase, often while holding the microphone close to the mouth (sphere 1). It is used to give the impression of intimacy and nearness, or to indicate that the singer is about to break down emotionally and cannot go through with the song. Creaks are often used in Neutral or Curbing, but can be used in all modes.


 #231 (Female)
#231 (Male)

A creak glides into a mode and then back to the creak again.

Start with Neutral with air:

#229 (Female)
#229 (Male)


Then Neutral without air

#230 (Female)
#230 (Male)


Then Curbing

#225 (Female)
#225 (Male)


Then Overdrive

#232 (Female)
#232 (Male)


and finally Edge

#233 (Female)
#233 (Male)


Creaks in a song


#234 (Female)
#234 (Male)


Singers who use or used creak

Britney Spears, Michael Bolton, Mariah Carey, David Gilmour (Pink Floyd), James Ingram, Michael Jackson, Janis Joplin, BB King, Roger Waters (Pink Floyd) and Stevie Wonder.



Creaking is when the voice is creaking during singing. It is often used as a delicate version of ’distortion’. Creaking is like the creak found by using two slightly opposite ways of using the voice, i.e. a slightly incorrect use of the modes, in a very controlled manner.


#235 (Female)
#235 (Male)

Creaking is often discovered by singers during studio sessions where it sometimes occurs involuntarily due to a slightly incorrect use of the modes.

Creaking can be used alone or together with other effects, e.g. distortion, rattle or screams.


Creaking in a song

#240 (Female)
#240 (Male)


Singers who use or used creaking 

Christina Aguilera, Peter Gabriel, PJ Harvey, John P Kee, John Lennon, Korean mask dance drama, John Martyn and Cornelis Vreeswijk.