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el-liberty

is my singing really that off?

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Hey guys!

I showed someone these three songs and they said that i'm singing off almost all the time :( lol i try to hear it but i just don't. whenever i asked for a review of my singing i got that answer and i just don't know how to do better. i have a vocal coach and she hardly ever says i'm off, so i'm wondering: doesn't she hear it, doesn't she want to tell me or am i singing better when i sing in front of her? :rolleyes: maybe she's given up on it lol

 

anyway, here are the songs:

(the songs are son of a preacher man, dream a little dream and you know i'm no good)

 

if possible, please tell me where i'm off and where i'm right and if you have any tips on how to do better. and how is it off? too high, too low? just a little or completely off? and how the hell can i learn to hear it? lol is there still hope for me or will i always sound bad?

 

i hope someone can help :) thank you!

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Three questions/questiony things...

 

1. How did you record your vocals? Through headphones? One earpiece off, so you could hear yourself? etc. More detail would be useful.

 

2. How relaxed did you feel when singing, and did you find the songs easy enough to sing? Was the range comfortable?

 

3. When you say you can't hear if you are off, do you mean while you are singing, when you listen to the playback, or both?

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Definitely some issues with the pitching.

 

Preacher Man starts off okay but the word " along "..it slides off pitch and goes flat.." When they gather round " starts out off key quite a bit ..I don't think you get back until " look into my eyes "..but I think generally when it's off you are flat.

 

I also notice certain words jump out in volume " EVER reach me "..makes it sound uncontrolled / out of balance

 

How to fix it ? Know the song and know all the notes of the melody. It sounds like you don't know what some of them are supposed to be. I would have thought a good singing teacher would be working on this with you ? I know mine does..slows it right down and goes over the notes slowly on the piano and gets me to match them until they are embedded and then speeds it back up again.

 

Do you practice scales on different sounds ? That should help if you do them daily ..if you are struggling there are ear/pitch training courses yo can find online. Playing an instrument helps as well..a guitarist can spot an out of tune guitar easily..same with a pianist etc.

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thanks for the replies!

 

1. i record with my music box right in front of me (so the playback gets recorded, too), no headphones in. the microphone on my laptop records the sound.

2. i felt pretty relaxed singing the songs and feel like they're in my range, though they're not songs i listen to everyday. especially with preacher man, i hardly listened to the original before singing it. oddly enough, my voice teacher said the song suited me fine lol i usually prefer to sing more dramatic songs lol where i feel like i have more issues singing them correctly but it's more fun. (

3. i don't hear when i'm off either way, while i sing and when i listen to the recording :(

 

I would have thought a good singing teacher would be working on this with you ? I know mine does..slows it right down and goes over the notes slowly on the piano and gets me to match them until they are embedded and then speeds it back up again.

occasionally we do this but usually we work on different things. we worked on preacher man and dream a little dream and we didn't do this, as far as i remember (i'll have to listen to the recording of the session)

 

maybe something to add: i often have issues with my voice, in that i used to be able to sing higher better, but strain a lot now. i've got issues with my stomach and dealing with anxiety a lot lately, which i think might also affect my voice. but i don't think that's the only issue here ;)

 

here's a song to show how i sing the more "dramatic" songs:

how my voice sounds solely with piano playback:

and here's a song i know very well (because CosmicDolphin suggested my not being familiar enough with the song might be a problem):

there's a lot of problems with the last one lol but it's what's most fun to sing to me, even though my voice might not be suited for that range. and please excuse the sloppy whistle lol

 

i'm not saying i'm singing the songs above better or that they suit me better, just to give you more of an idea how my voice sounds. i do hear that i don't think perfect on any of those songs, i just hardly hear any problems with my pitch :(

 

thanks for the advice so far, i'll try to find some pitch training courses online, i feel like this is a big problem for me.

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Posted (edited)
thanks for the advice so far' date=' i'll try to find some pitch training courses online, i feel like this is a big problem for me.[/quote']

 

I suspect that there is absolutely nothing wrong with your pitch PERCEPTION.

 

I think that your pitch goes out a bit when the pitch is changing quickly, especially where there is glissando or portamento, and the effect becomes more pronounced during the higher sections of the song. These are parts where BREATH SUPPORT is most important. That is what I would recommend you focus on. I think the issue is pitch execution, not pitch perception.

 

Listening to playback...

 

Pitch is actually a bit subjective. When we hear singing, we are hearing a load of cues (frequency, overtones, rhythm, timbre, expression, etc.) But we are not necessarily paying attention to, or "listening to", all of them. How we hear the music depends on which cues we tune in to at any point in the song. So, to balance your vocals for all listeners, you have to pay attention to all cues, not only your favourite aspects of the song. Other people will be hearing it differently, but it still has to be made balanced for them. When we listen to our own vocals, we may tend to pick cues that make it work, and ignore the rest.

 

I've even heard sound engineers say something sounds off, but ok when they listen a second time. Then they come back the next day and it sounds off again. The way they are listening changes.

 

Psychology can play weird tricks. There was this one dude who would clear his throat loudly between phrases. It was almost the loudest part of his singing! He really hacked up a fur ball after every bar. He thanked me for pointing it out, and said that he hadn't noticed! That is how powerful psychology can be when listening to yourself sing. Nothing wrong with his hearing, he was only focused on what mattered to him about the song.

Edited by kickingtone

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i'm not saying i'm singing the songs above better or that they suit me better, just to give you more of an idea how my voice sounds. i do hear that i don't think perfect on any of those songs, i just hardly hear any problems with my pitch :(

 

thanks for the advice so far, i'll try to find some pitch training courses online, i feel like this is a big problem for me.

 

The pitching issue is pretty much the same across all of them so I think you have some work to do , maybe have a chat with your singing teacher about it next time and see what they suggest - They may be working on it without you knowing and guiding you towards exercises to help but not trying to hurt your feelings in the process by calling you out on it.

 

All down to different personality types really. I would say you can learn to be a lot better within 6-9 months

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They may be working on it without you knowing and guiding you towards exercises to help but not trying to hurt your feelings in the process by calling you out on it.

i read some tips on the internet on how not to sound flat and the tips are pretty much what my voice teacher is working on with me, so you might be right. i'd prefer for her to just straight-out tell me, though, but that's not always easy. i'll have to tell her that i know lol maybe then she can be more honest with me.

 

maybe a weird question, but: how far off am i usually? lol like half a note, a whole note or even more?

 

I think that your pitch goes out a bit when the pitch is changing quickly, especially where there is glissando or portamento, and the effect becomes more pronounced during the higher sections of the song. These are parts where BREATH SUPPORT is most important. That is what I would recommend you focus on. I think the issue is pitch execution, not pitch perception.

another thing we work a lot on is breath support ;) so my teacher might be doing exactly the right thing, that's good to know :)

 

it's an interesting thought that my psyche is tricking me into believing i sound better than i do lol but then again, that probably explains all the people on casting shows sounding horrible while thinking they're the next big superstar. when i listen to songs i recorded two years ago (where i thought i sounded okay but not great) i cringe a lot lol two years from now i'll (hopefully) feel the same way :)

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Posted (edited)

One of the things I did yesterday was to find Dusty Springfield's "Son of a Preacher Man" on YouTube, and compare, note for note.

 

Broken down like that, it is obvious to me that you are following the melody just fine. I think that you are past that level. It is not about being a tone or half tone off. It is more subtle. For example, in the second half, where you had to lift your voice, I think that better breath support would have helped a lot.

 

Of course, we don't normally "stare" at songs note for note. The sense of the "whole" comes into play.

 

I just think that you need stronger cueing of your pitch in places -- Is your pitch centre consistent? Which notes are your pitch sustain emphasizing? Are you "swallowing" (inadequate pitch sustain) some key notes (quite often things like prepositions which we swallow in normal speech but which land on key notes while singing)? Does the timing of the sweet spot of the note gel with the beat, etc. These things can give different pitch sensations to different people, even if the correct pitch has basically been attained. Many of these things you may be subconsciously intending while singing, but your technique may not yet be delivering them purposefully enough.

 

When we listen back, I think our psyche can "correct" all those things, or "add them back in" if they are missing and we are not monitoring them. We may not be monitor them if our particular stylistic interest is on other aspects of the song. So we may have to actively learn to listen more broadly to be able to assess our own vocals.

 

It is so common, that it is normal, and nothing to be surprised or concerned about. You certainly don't sound anything like those wanabes you referred to.

 

If you are one of those singers who "hones in" on a melody as a whole, everything will correct naturally as your technique improves. You will automatically find yourself listening deeper according to your ability over time, and instinctively improve a host of complex factors. Nothing to worry about. Top singers say that the process and improvement never ends.

 

If you are a more mechanical singer who likes to take everything to bits first, note by note, singing slowly, I think that correction can be a bit more tedious because of the complexity.

Edited by kickingtone

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thank you so much :) you're giving me hope that i can improve. the last few days i felt a bit discouraged, two years of voice lessons and i'm still a beginner, but i do know i sing better now then i did then and i can improve. i just wonder how i'll ever be able to actually notice that my singing is good. my voice teacher obviously isn't 100% honest which i can understand but doesn't help me much, and i don't really hear it, so how does one know? lol

 

If you are one of those singers who "hones in" on a melody as a whole, everything will correct naturally as your technique improves. You will automatically find yourself listening deeper according to your ability over time, and instinctively improve a host of complex factors. Nothing to worry about. Top singers say that the process and improvement never ends.

i definitely learn by ear and just do instead of being too mechanical. which might have it's ups, but it also has it's downs. my teacher always tells me how singing some particular sound should feel inside my mouth or wherever, and i hardly feel it. i guess that's a big part of my problem, i try to feel what she says i should feel, but i don't (when i actually do it correctly), and i still feel like i haven't found "my" voice, i feel like i'm a bad copy of the singers i listen to :) but i'm sure i can improve that, too.

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Pitch wise, it's mostly the low register; probably just lack of use. Drill that area; long tones, slow scales etc...

 

The rest of the stuff is kinda "in" but shrill. I'd work on opening that up but that's your choice.

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Somebody with real pitch issues tends to go out of tune randomly, or to be monotone, which is obviously not where you are. So, don't worry that your "guidance system" is somehow not working or will limit you! It's clearly fine, otherwise you wouldn't have been able to sing those songs anywhere close to the way you did. I totally get your concern, but the fact is that your ears are silently doing their thing, faithfully and efficiently taking you in the right direction, and only letting up their secret when you look back a year later.

 

It's a blessing in disguise, your critical ear leading your voice by just the right amount. They'll probably stay doing that graceful tango, forever. But there will come a point where nobody is talking about that catch-all, "pitch issues", any more. (They'll be complaining about something else, instead! :cool:)

 

I am not an expert, but I have learned an enormous amount by taking a lot of interest in the progress other people make in singing, comparing it with my own progress and incorporating new ideas. It really pays off. So, I get to see a lot of patterns and "strange things" that are actually normal and expected. Personally, I strongly recommend AGAINST using any app or doing any exercise to try to "recalibrate" your sense of pitch. People will call just about anything a "pitch issue", including when your pitch sense is fine, but pitch is being affected by a subtle side effect of some other issue.

 

I have come across people who have taught themselves to sing half a pitch lower than their perception!! I think that, when their technique improves, and the real problem goes away, they are going to be stuffed! A messed up psychological perception is not a genie that goes easily back into the bottle!! Kinda like an actor who learns to stutter for a particular role, and later discovers that he can't stop! smiley-embbarrassed

 

Anyway, I am glad to hear that you are taking heart. I don't really want to interfere with what your teacher is teaching you, but I can't resist posting the following vids. I just get the sense that your voice will take off with the right breath support method, given that it sounds strong in other areas. Michael Trimble nails it when he says that "the breath moves everything"...

 

[video=youtube;rrqZAp5gWAE]

 

[video=youtube;wfMpvbYFO-U]

 

 

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Hi and welcome to the forum,

 

I think you have a naturally good sounding voice. It might be a bit off here or there but it's nothing that can't be improved upon. I'm hearing some issues in the voice; the phonation tends to get shaky on some spots, which I suspect is possibly due to a posture and breath support issue. These two things are often overlooked in a singer's training but are critical to the core of singer's sound. If a singer's posture is collapsed on itself then it becomes very difficult to maintain an even flow of breath. It also makes it difficult to hold back breath pressure. This makes singing higher notes more difficult too because there is a tendency to push too much air on high notes, aka forcing chest voice. In my opinion, it sounds like there is too chest voice being using on your higher notes. This can cause over-thickening of the vocal cords can cause a singer to sing flat.

 

From a technical training aspect, pay extra attention to your body posture. Make sure the spine is tall and straight and the ribcage is suspended high but at the same time without tension. Also work on engaging the body more to hold back the breath pressure. Then gradually work to find the balance between chest and head registers.

 

I hope this is helpful. Feel free to reach out if you have any questions.

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ilistrned to two songs your voice souned great lots of potential sounds like volume control ie a level volume you should be using a hand held condenser vocal mic a dynamic mic forces you to sing louder again your voicr sounds nice!! 

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thank you so much, guys! And sorry it took me forever to respond, I was a little demotivated for a while and didn't sing much, but I'm trying to get back on track :) It's very motivating to hear that you guys think my voice isn't too bad.

I'm working on my breath support and posture, I do sit down when I record these songs at home but have been thinking about finding a way to record while standing up. I use my laptop's mic and don't have any table that's high enough so it can record properly while I'm standing, I need to work something out :)  And I also try to engage my body more, which I find especially hard. It feels kind of weird and silly (especially in front of people, like my voice teacher or at karaoke bars) to move while singing, even though I know it looks weirder if I just stand around lol I guess I just have to get over my embarrassment.

Maybe I should think about getting a good mic, this might help me hear better when I'm not on key, maybe? I find my laptop's mic surprisingly good so I never gave it a thought, but maybe this could further motivate me, thank you for that input :)

I'm listening to old recordings (I started at the end of 2013) and I do notice a lot of progress, which is a big motivator, too! I didn't use as much chest voice back then, I think, but I think I'm doing it because I think that's what supporting the voice is. It's not, huh? lol

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2 hours ago, junctureengraving said:

How come you record your vocals?

Do you mean why or how?

If why: because I want to know how I sound so I can know what I need to work on. Obviously this doesn't work quite as well as I thought lol

If how: I use the built-in microphone from my laptop. I think it's decent enough but I'm thinking about buying a better one, I'd hope to hear more clearly then.

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