Voice Pitch

Understanding voice pitch begins with several core points.


Terminology Note:

Voice pitch, singing pitch, pitchy singing, and vocal pitch are terms used when looking at whether you are singing on pitch, or singing off pitch.  The terms may be interchanged in most situations.


Technical Note on “cents”:

First, in Western music, each octave is divided into twelve equally divided note tones.  From one note to the next is established to be 100 cents.  So when singing pitch is flat, for example, you might say the vocal pitch was 20 cents flat.  This means that the singer was 1/5 of the way toward the lower note.

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The Role of Vibrato:

Next, voice pitch often contains vibrato.  Vibrato is where the singing pitch goes above, then below, then above the target pitch, over and over in a fast cycle.  Sometimes the height or amplitude of the vocal pitch variation gets larger or smaller, and the speed or frequency of the pitch change may increase or decrease for dramatic affect.  So, you see, that vibrato has a direct impact on perceived pitch because you’re over and under pitch the entire time.  When analyzing vibrato, we look at the center point between the high and low pitch to determine if you are singing on pitch or singing off pitch.


Realtime Bio-Feedback is the Fastest Track:

The best way to determine your pitch accuracy is to use vocal pitch software, such as On Pitch Singing’s PitchPerfector™.  This vocal pitch software shows the singer their exact pitch using realtime bio-feedback, so that they can learn to make adjustments.  The reason that singers need singing pitch software is because it is impossible to hear one’s own pitch accurately because the singer mostly hears the vibrations going through his/her head rather than what comes out of their mouth.  That is to say, singers often think they are singing on pitch, when in fact, they are pitchy and singing off pitch.


How to improve a pitchy singing


Start with Awareness:

There are many aspects to improving vocal pitch, yet the first begins with awareness.  Once you have a singing pitch measurement tool, you want to start with testing yourself on single notes throughout your range.  From this, you can build a profile of your voice pitch within your vocal range.


Take Incremental Steps:

Next, work with simple scales, then arpeggios, and so on.  You will discover that your vocal pitch issues vary depending on the type of vocal pattern you are singing and where it falls within your range.

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Ready – Aim – Fire!

While using singing software like PitchPerfector™ will automatically train your pitchy voice to improve, this extra analysis step gives you the ammunition and understanding to know how to attack your singing pitch problems and focus on the areas that need the most work.


For example, you may discover that when singing a major triad, you’re a little flat on the 3rd scale degree.  But, when you sing a minor triad, you’re a bit sharp.  With this understanding, you can consciously become aware of probable problem areas and be prepared to fix those problems.


Voice software like PitchPerfector™ helps with developing phrases in songs by enabling the singer to identify pitch problem areas.


Learn to Listen “OUTSIDE” Your Head: 

Another important aspect of voice pitch is learning to listen from “outside” your head.  This advanced listening technique enables the singer to hear their voice like others hear their voice.


This wraps up the most important considerations of voice pitch, singing pitch, or vocal pitch.


Here’s to YOU singing on pitch!


Stephen Pierce
Inventor of PitchPerfector™