How To “Sing On Pitch”: Part 1
Singing is a “multi-tasking” art. If you want to express
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yourself as you wish, a major part of that comes down to learning how to sing on pitch, or being able to sing in key. Without singing in key, the expression runs the risk of going against the grain of the music. Some professional singers can make an interesting, musical style of that. But if you don’t know what you’re doing, singing off pitch can really dull and ruin a performance. Remember, as you sing, you have to:
- Make sure the voice is working right and that you’re not staining in high sections or if/when you sing belted notes.
- Make sure that you are able to sing the right notes that match perfectly the “key” of the song (this takes experience through developing an understanding of how to percieve all the notes in that key and sing “in center” of each of the notes that the scale of the song is in).
- Keep up with the rhythm of the music, feel the “groove” and sing “in-time”
- Have a personality, good musicality, and a sense of “feel” as you do all of that.
Woah! It’s a huge task. Singers are usually weakest in or two of the above areas. But many beginning singers are challenged by the 2nd step: Learning to sing perfectly in key 100% of the time. And that’s what we’re focussed on here. To develop your ability to “sing on pitch”. Because of everything involved, it’s easy to see why singing can be so challenging, and why there is such widespread belief that “either you are born with it or you are not”. The truth is, when you know what to focus on for your singing, you can improve and get better. There is another common misconception with beginning singers. It is that a singer needs to know what the notes are to be able to sing “in-tune”, by name. This is not true. This skill is called “perfect pitch” and the skill itself is so hard to develop and so rare that few musicians actually have it. What we want to nurture instead is “relative pitch”. This means you need to “get” the overall pattern of notes in the melody of whatever song you’re singing, and know where you are in the midst of that pattern of notes so you can line-up the pattern of notes your singing, to the key (or pattern of notes) of the music being played by the instruments. Your pattern of notes you sing in the melody, and the music’s pattern of notes being played as “chords” have to lineup. Perfectly. To develop your ability to sing perfectly in-tune, you need to do be able to do 2 things all the time:
- Learn to recognize when your singing is “on” and when it’s “off” in relationship to the key of the song AS YOU ARE SINGING. It’s not enough to know after the fact, even though that is where you will need to start. So listen back to yourself singing and start learning to hear those differences. Listen to other artists too singing live, and see if you can catch when they’re “on” and when they’re slightly “off”.
- After you “know” if you’re off or on pitch, you have to develop your perception further by knowing whether or not you’re flat (your singing lower than where you need to be) or sharp (your singing higher than where you need to be). Once you know whether your under or above, you can adjust yourself and “find” the right notes, or “the center” of each note accordingly either by singing slightly or slightly lower. This will help you sing on pitch.
Your goal is to sing not below or above the note you need to be at, but dead center of every note, of every melody, 100% of the time. That’s when the voice “locks in” with the music and we get shivers down our spines because it sounds so deliciously, fantastically good. When the voice doesn’t lock in to the center of each every note, we don’t get that experience. It sounds “off”. It sounds jarring. Even being slightly “off” can actually be very hard to listen to. In my experience, it takes practice and patience to learn how to get it right. Check out “How To Sing On-Pitch: Part 2” by visiting here.