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Many people sing to while away their time. Some likewise are gifted with the ability to sing in perfect pitch or key. But not all can sing on key or perfect pitch. Yet, you should not worry if you cannot sing on key for you can also learn this skill. You can develop, for example, the ability to have a keen ear for notes so that you can perfectly sing them.
Singing on key, however, is not only a matter of training your voice to sing in the right pitch. It also involves training your ear to enhance your hearing. It also involves learning how to identify notes.
As a beginner, you cannot accurately hear yourself when you sing. Hence, you will need someone to tell you whether you are hitting the notes or not. You can also record your voice so that you can have an objective way of assessing your voice.
What is the Relationship Between Pitch and Key?
Pitch refers to the sound frequency that you or an instrument produce. It can be high or low. When you sing, for example, you enable your vocal cords to alter note frequencies. You do this by letting air pass along your vocal cords while constricting or relaxing your throat muscles.
If you want to produce lower notes, for example, you usually loosen the resistance of your vocal cords. Yet, if you want to go higher, you apply more resistance to the flow of the air.
When singing a song, however, you need to reproduce the notes. You should also maintain a nice tone while maintaining the right time signature or timing.
Pitch, of course, is less complicated than the concept of the key. Hence, we will not delve into the discussion of the key. However, it suffices to say that if you change the track’s pitch, you also change its key.
Techniques for Singing in Key
It is always a good idea to sing in key. Yet, if you want to sing in key, you should know how to read music. In this way, you will know if the notes of a song fall within your vocal range. If some notes do not fall within your vocal range, then you can transpose the key to fit your vocal range. Moreover, if you want to sing in key, you should learn the following useful techniques:
Use the Piano to Get the Right Key
As mentioned above, learning how to sing in key also requires you to develop the keenness of your ear in distinguishing notes. As an exercise, you should try to memorize the sound of each note. Using the piano, you can then play a note within your range. Try to listen to it and remember the sound of the note, identifying the written note with its sound.
Afterward, play the note a few times until its sound sinks into your subconscious mind. Then, try to hum the note repetitively until you memorize how it sounds. Then, play your home note. Soon after, sing intervals of a 3rd, of a 5th from it. Can you go back to your home note?
If you cannot do it, then, figure out why you can’t. You may be singing flat or sharp. Learning how to go back to your home note is indicative of the fact that you are learning how to sing in key.
Try to Improve Your Singing Pitch and Scales
You can utilize a Major scale to improve your pitch recognition and be able to sing in key. You may be familiar with scales. A scale, of course, refers to a succession of notes, following a particular order based on pitch. It can be ascending or descending. You can start with the C Major scale because it does not come with flats and sharps. You can also try playing this scale on your instrument.
Figure out your Power Note or Vocal Sweet Spot
You should figure out your vocal range. You should also know your vocal range’s strongest part or vocal sweet spot. This is the spot in your range wherein you sing most comfortably. When you are on this spot, your voice flows and sounds best. Figuring out your vocal sweet spot and focusing on that spot lets you stand out when singing.
A song, of course, has many notes and the range of notes that compose a song is called tessitura. The notes that consist of your vocal sweet spot may lie at the chorus, end of the chorus, a line, or the refrain. So, when you sing this spot, you feel that you are at your best.
When singing a song, for example, you should choose a key that consists of your sweet spot. Some keys may support your sweet spot. This will ensure that you can be in your best self when you sing a song. You can also have a song arranged for your voice so that your power notes would occur at the line that you want to emphasize.
Choose a Key that Favors Your Natural Range
A musical note has its perceived sound quality. This perceived sound quality is called “timbre.” A note may sound differently depending on which type of instrument that produces it. Timbre distinguishes these types of sound production. Timbre also helps listeners distinguish the source of the sound.
Thus, if you want to sing on key, you need to establish the timbre of your voice. Remember that you can raise or lower the timbre of your voice. Yet, you should establish your voice timbre to make it easy for you to sing in key.
Try to Enhance Your Arpeggio
Arpeggios are types of broken chords. They have notes that make up a chord. These notes are sung or played in descending or rising order. Moreover, arpeggios may span several octaves. Listeners hear the notes’ sequence despite the notes not being sung together.
Most of the time, the song’s opening melody note starts with any of the 3 basic notes of the chord. If the chord is E, for example, then the opening notes usually consist of E, G#, and B. The first melody note is usually one of these three notes. You will readily recognize which among these notes is the correct note for your melody.
You will surely encounter the word “arpeggio” when you study music. Arpeggio, just like scales, is an essential aspect of music that you must master. It applies to different types of genres of music. Yet, if you want to sing in key, you need to improve your arpeggio.
Listen to Your Voice
You can never achieve perfect pitch if you do not hear yourself. So, one thing that factors well when singing in perfect pitch is that of hearing your voice. Without hearing your voice, you will never know if you are on the right pitch.
You need to improve the keenness of your ear for each note. You can do this by focusing your hearing on your forehead’s middle. Your voice, aside from coming out of your mouth, also resonates in your skull. So, using your middle forehead, you can hear exactly the note you are hitting.
The more you practice on focusing on hearing through your middle forehead, the keener you will hear your voice. You will also better control your voice to keep it in tune always.
Use Your Imagination and Train Your Ear
Hearing and learning each note on every scale before you level up to working on a full scale is necessary. You can use a portable keyboard or any instrument that has already been tuned to engage in hearing and learning exercise. You should try to imagine hearing every note. In this way, you can establish the correct notes in your imagination or subconscious mind.
Then, try to sing the note. If you can reproduce the correct note without the help of the instrument, then, you have imbibed subconsciously the sound of the note.
Hit the note and try to match it with the sound of your voice. You may sound flat or sharp at the onset. Then, try to adjust your voice to hit the right key. Do not stop until you have subconsciously imbibed the sound of the right notes and can reproduce it correctly.
Try to Record Yourself
There is no perfect way to figure out if you are hitting the right key than to record your voice while you sing. Using a recorder, you will be able to figure out whether you are on the right key or pitch. It is a good thing that, nowadays, you can use your smartphone or tablet to record your voice.
Using your smartphone, for example, you can record your singing sessions. Afterward, you can listen to them. You can listen to your scales and arpeggios to find if you are hitting the tune well.
Knowing your vocal range is already a step closer to singing in key. Once you know your vocal range, you can transpose the key of the song to make it appropriate to your vocal range. In this way, you can establish your timbre, improve your voice quality, and make a better vocal rendering of the song. Remember that your choice of a key will surely affect your rendition of a song. Lastly, learning the abovementioned techniques on how to sing in perfect pitch will further improve your singing in key.