This is one of those skills that when you master you will not only recognize yourself, but you will WOW your friends. When your voice grows from pitchy and off to pitch perfect, it makes for easier listening. So make sure you take special notice of this one and get ready to have your voice dramatically improved!
The beginning of fantastic Vocal Technique
Getting excited? After laying down the basics of tone, pitch, and sight-reading, you’ll plunge into the basics of good vocal technique
We’re going to have to tear you away from singing for a moment to lay a brief foundation for your study of singing.
Tone vs. Pitch
The concepts of tone and pitch can be confusing to new singers. Your tone is the quality or type of sound that you produce, e.g., bright, dark, strident, brittle, full, throaty. Your tone is unique to you, and descriptions of tone tend to be subjective.
Your pitch, on the other hand, is the frequency of sound, e.g. high or low. Pitch is an objective measurement, and a specific pitch will sound the same whether a voice or instrument produces it. Notes represent the pitches most commonly used in music.
It is very difficult—and rare—to have perfect pitch. Some are born with a natural sense of pitch, while others must train their ears to memorize a note (such as middle C) And base other pitches off from that note. The latter technique is the best way to improve your ability to recognize pitch, and can be practiced and perfected over time. You must be able to hear the differences between pitches before you can correctly sing them.
Often people will sing along to a song, but not even sing the right notes, although the song is playing at the same time. Your goal in the beginning should not be to harmonize, however. It should be to produce exactly the same pitch as the one you hear. Then you can work on understanding your voice and how to get it perfectly in tune.
Stay on Pitch
When you start singing, you’re going to find quite quickly that you need to have some background in “sight-reading” or “sight singing” music. Even if you can’t read music yet, you can use a simple method with a rather complicated name to be able to sing songs right on pitch. Its name? Solfeggio.
The Solfeggio is a centuries-old method of sight singing. It was immortalized in the movie, “The Sound of Music” with the song “Do Re Mi.” The song, which begins,
“Doe, a deer, a female deer/Ray, a drop of golden sun…,” is actually a musical learning device to memorize the Solfeggio syllables.
If you want to use the Solfeggio method, you must know the sequence of syllables:
Do Re Mi Fa So La Ti Do
(Doh Ray Mee Fah Soh Lah Tee Doh)
Try the following exercise:
1. Sing a scale using the Solfeggio syllables:
Do Re Mi Fa So La Ti Do
2. Now, play and listen closely to how the Solfeggio symbols work.
Do Re Mi Re Do , Do Mi So Do, Do So Do, Do Do Do, Do Mi So Mi Do So Do Ti Do
3. Finally, sing the exercises yourself!
Do Re Mi Re Do
Do Mi So Do
Do So Do
Do Do Do
Do Mi So Mi Do So Do Ti Do
Try memorizing what each interval sounds like. It helps to use songs you already know as a clue.
Do to Re major 2nd (2 keys) “Happy Birthday”
Do to Mi major 3rd (4 keys) “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas”
Do to Fa perfect 4th (5 keys) “Here Comes the Bride”
Do to So perfect 5th (7 keys) “Twinkle, Twinkle”
Do to La major 6th (9 keys) ‘NBC’ chimes
Do to Ti major 7th (11 keys) “Bali Hai” (from South Pacific)
Do to Do octave (12 keys) “Somewhere Over the Rainbow”
You can use these examples, or think of your own! The most important thing is to find examples that you’ll remember.
You can also do the intervals in reverse order, from “Do” downwards. For example:
Do to Ti minor 2nd (1 key) ½ step down
Do to La minor 3rd (3 keys) “Hey Jude”
Mi to Do major 3rd (4 keys) “Summertime”
Do to So perfect 4th (5 keys) “My Girl”
Do to Fa perfect 5th (7 keys) “Flintstones”
Do to Mi minor 6th (8 keys) “Nobody Knows the Trouble I’ve Seen”
If you are confused right now, don’t feel stressed! Right now, the most important thing you can do is just to become familiar with the intervals between each note.
Interval training is essential. With it, you will be able to vocally “jump” from any syllable to the next, hitting each one right on key. That’s the foundation for your singing, because it won’t matter how good a sound you can produce if you can’t manage to stay in tune.
Great work! When you master this you will have great relative pitch and be able to learn songs effortlessly. So coming up, we let you in on more exciting musical theory as we explore the importance of tone in Harsh Metal or Simple Sweetness? Searching for the perfect tone!
Another Singorama Success Story!
Pitch and pitching problems can be a real performance and confidence killer. For greater teaching and examples on this really crucial part of vocal performance, check out Singorama 2.0 today