Many singers who have been singing all their lives are surprised and frustrated to learn that they have trouble singing on/off pitch.  For some one who has been immersed in a lifetime of song, it seems that accurate voice pitch should come naturally.  But to those of you out there who have unhappily discovered vocal pitch difficulties, fear not!  First of all, you are not alone.  Second of all, singing pitch problems are relatively easy to fix.  Here are several factors to look out when you are diagnosing or evaluating a singing pitch issue.


1.  How closely do you listen to yourself?  All to often when singing warm-up exercises or repertoire, singers just breeze quickly through without really listening to the voice pitch.  After all, a scale is easy to sing, and you sing it every day!  Of course you are singing on pitch scales, right?  Wrong.  Just because a song seems easy and you think you know the tune does not mean your singing pitch is accurate.  There are two ways in which you need to listen.  First, play the passage before you sing and listen closely to each voice pitch and the relation of the notes to one another; then “replay” the music in your head before you open your mouth to sing.  Know exactly where each singing pitch will fall.  Second, go ahead and sing the passage, and listen closely to yourself on each vocal pitch.  At first, you will probably notice a few places where you are singing off pitch, but you will begin singing on pitch consistently when you continue to work in this way.

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2.  Singers know that good breath support is important, but did you know that it affects your singing pitch?  If you do not release enough air, there is a good chance you will find yourself singing off pitch.  If you are not in control as you run out of breath, you will also find yourself singing off pitch.  So the trick is A) to learn to take in a full breath, using your maximum lung capacity; B) learn to control the breath, letting it out evenly as you sing especially when coming to the end of your air supply.  Ask your teacher for some breath exercises, and practice them daily to improve your vocal pitch.  Another factor that can affect voice pitch is extra tension in the body, which does not facilitate free movement of the voice.  Stretching before you sing and breathing well to keep the body relaxed while you sing should minimize this singing pitch problem.


3.  Vibrato can affect vocal pitch either positively or negatively.  If one sings without vibrato the tone often sounds flat.  However, if one’s vibrato is too wide, the singing pitch sometimes cannot be discerned.  Different styles of music require different uses of vibrato.  For example, early music requires a straight tone with occasional vibrato as an ornament while classical/romantic music requires even vibrato throughout.  Work with your teacher to even your vibrato and use it appropriately for optimal singing pitch accuracy.


4.  Difficult parts of your range, including the extreme high and low ends and the passagio can cause particular singing pitch issues.  The best way to improve these areas is to work slowly through them frequently, always listening closely.  Be sure to warm these areas of your voice up well before you sing.

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Singing pitch can be a problem for many vocalists, but knowing where the problems are makes them easy to fix.

Categories: voice pitch.

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