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Thread: singing flat and off pitch

  1. #1
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    singing flat and off pitch

    Hi there,

    I just wanted to know if anyone knows of any exercises to learn to sing on pitch? There is a couple I do on the keyboard, but any exta's would be handy,(or just advice in general). I can hear the difference between notes a step or half step apart easily, but something goes wrong when singing. I'm also no good at singing to backing tracks. I dont know how to sing WITH the music. How do I learn about harmony if thats what it is?

    Thanks a lot, look forward to hearing from you

    Ice

  2. #2
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    A lot of people sing flat and off pitch because they don't use enough breath, try breathing from your diaphragm.

    Getting on pitch is really a long hard journey that takes A LOT of dedication. I'd recommend picking up a sight singing book and spending a good couple minutes on a daily basis solfeging examples.
    -Oakleaf
    http://intellectualmusician.com the world's fastest growing collection of music lessons.

  3. #3
    Registered User Malcolm's Avatar
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    Lot of hymns will be in F as most everyone is a little flat.
    Most guys do not understand harmony and just sing lead.

    Sounds like you are just a regular guy. Go get some help.

  4. #4
    Modally Challenged!!!! mattblack850's Avatar
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    You have to rememeber that your voicebox is a muscle and needs training/working out to work properly. If you try singing from scratch with no warm up you will be slightly flat due to your voicebox being cold/tight and not relaxed enough. Just do some simple scale practicing to warm up first and see how it helps!!!
    Last edited by mattblack850; 06-17-2007 at 10:33 AM.

  5. #5
    IbreatheMusic Author ChrisJ's Avatar
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    I'm not sure it has so much to do with technique as much as your ear. You probably just need more experience singing. I teach an ensemble class and I notice that:

    When inexperienced singers sing using a monitor, the fact that their voice is coming from a box off in the distance throws them off a bit.

    When they sing in an ensemble situation, obviously the music is loud. What happens when the music is loud is that you lose the ability to hear your voice in your head and finding pitch can take a while. especially because your voice is coming out of a speaker several feet away.

    These things will get better with more experience. Other than that you can just play random pitches on the piano and try to sing them without having to slide up to them.

    If you sing enough, eventually you will open your mouth and the note you want will come out.

    -CJ

  6. #6
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    pitch

    Thankyou all for your help and advice. As ChrisJ said, I think its mainly because I sing to loud music and I dont hear myself properly, or sometimes I use a microphone and then i dont hear the music properly, just my voice. This is just at home as I'm not professional yet, but thats what I'm aiming for. Is it possible that I've kind of taught myself to sing flat by having practiced for a long time with too much noise?

    Lately Ive been turning the volumes down to hear myself better, and have been recording myself while singing notes on the keyboard. I think I was even having the scales on my cd too loud! Do you think it will take a long time to fix my pitch problems if loud music etc was the cause? I will definatley try
    everyones advice,

    Thanks

    Ice

  7. #7
    IbreatheMusic Author ChrisJ's Avatar
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    You'll get it together, you just need a little more experience. If your pitch doesn't improve with time, go to a vocal teacher who could most likely help you get over your problem.

    First see if you can sing on pitch without using a mic. Just play a note on the piano and see if you can hit it without it being sharp or flat. And if it is sharp or flat, see if you can slide into the pitch. I this is hard for you, you will have to sing a lot of random notes and intervals at the piano. I wouldn't even try using a mic until you can do this first.

    If you do not have a pitch problem while singing at the piano, it is probably a monitor problem. If your backing is too loud or soft you will have pitch problems. You must have a reference in order to sing in tune.

    It is the same for guitar. I remember being in the studio years ago and bending sharp. It was because I was in the booth with my amp blasting and I was having a difficult time honing in on the recorded track in the headphones. You have to have a good balance to sing to proper pitch.

    Either way, you have to get your pitch together without the use of mics and monitors first.

    -CJ

  8. #8
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    Thankyou CJ! You made me feel better now that I've read your reply. You see, it was a singing teacher who told me that I was singing flat, and it was my first phone lesson. Because of this I was nervous and I also could'nt hear the scales she was playing, as it was also a long distance call (she's in the States and I'm in South Africa), and there was some feed back going on. I told her this but she still said I must work on my pitch. So thats what I have been doing for a few weeks now and Ive been worried because this saturday I'm entering S.A Idols, and it hasn't been around for the past 2-3 years, so I really want to be ready now!

    any way, thanks for your help,

    Ice

  9. #9
    IbreatheMusic Author ChrisJ's Avatar
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    You'll do okay. Remember to sing correctly you have to be relaxed so take it easy.

    I'll tell you something about singing though. I'm a singer myself and I have played guitar for some of the greatest singers in the world and you know what, they all, everyone of them will tell you something different about singing correctly.

    I play guitar for one of the most famous gospel singers from time to time. He is the kind of singer I dream to be and he says that you have to sing from the diaphragm.

    I have also played with one of the greatest Jazz singers in Los Angeles. She sings like a bird and has a range I would kill for and she says that you should never sing from the diaphragm, she says that singing should be natural. You know like a baby screams when she cries. Think about it, a baby weighs a few pounds and can scream louder than me. They never lose their voice because they don't strain. Nobody ever told them to sing from the diaphragm. The same singer would say that Opera singers have to sing that way because they have to get up above a big orchestra but modern type singers use mics.

    So what is the truth? They are both right because they both sound great. What works for one singer may not work for another. You have to find the right way that works for you. One thing I can tell you is that you have to be relaxed to sing properly. You have to open your throat like you are about to yawn. You should not strain to hit certain pitches. When you learn to relax when sing in a higher regester, you will be able to hit notes you couldn't before.

    I found that singing helps my guitar playing and my guitar playing helps my singing.

    -CJ

  10. #10
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    Hi CJ,

    Thankyou for all your support and encouragement. It means alot to have help right now. I will put up a post on how Idols went after saturday.

    Oh yeah, I recorded myself again singing notes on the keyboard and the pitches seem fine!

    Thanks

    Ice

  11. #11
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    Practice doing it wrong. Then you'll KNOW when its right. I have all my students play a note in tune, and as I move my hands apart, they go sharp or flat (they pick), and come back in tune when my hands go back together. Play and sustain a note, then sing it... while the note is still playing, intentionally go flat. Then sharp. Then back to "in tune".

    I'll make a quick mention that pianos and other fixed pitch instruments today are inherently out of tune because of their tuning systems (pure vs. equal). The aware musician makes corrections for these deficiencies on the fly. Work with a Yamaha Harmony Director keyboard or a strobe tuner (not one of those cheap pocket ones) if at all possible... expensive to buy, but most public schools have something like one of these... very helpful.

  12. #12
    Registered User heavymental's Avatar
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    How'd it go ice?

    How'd it go ice? I know it's been 2 years, but just curious. Also, how's the singing now?

    Glen

  13. #13
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    The main causes of singing off-pitch are:
    1. Not knowing the song really well. (Do you REALLY know it?)

    2. Not creating the melody in your head before you sing it. THE GENIUS OF THE SINGER DEPENDS MOSTLY ON THEIR ABILITY TO MENTALLY "HEAR" WHAT THEY ARE ABOUT TO SING, like a fortune teller looking to the future through a crystal ball.
    check this: voice lessons
    Last edited by kurtdaniel; 04-17-2011 at 08:48 PM.

  14. #14
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    Millions of people believe they have what it takes to become a famous singer. For you to break through, you will need more than just talent. You will need patience, dedication and perhaps even a little luck. Give yourself a chance by taking the right steps to get ahead.

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    Seek out talent agencies or a singing agent, and find out which ones are willing to take a look at new talent. Talent Box provides an online resource with a wide variety of agents seeking musically qualified new artists.

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    4. make sure you love singing and acting as an art form, and that you are not solely in it for the fame and money.

    5. Take voice lessons. Lessons are great for novice singers to learn proper singing practices, as well as for experienced singers who wish to further develop their technique

    Learn more tips and guice about how to become a famous singer here

  15. #15
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    Oh I think the best exercise for you is practice singing with a piano. If you meet difficulties with the pitch, you had better try to listen more and then mimic the pitch from the piano. It's the best standard.
    Furthermore, you could visit this page about How to become a famous singer to get more tips helping you training your voice.
    good luck!

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