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People who sing out of tune


SusieP

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As some of you know, my Duo was lucky enough to get a regular gig - two nights a week - at a Hotel that was converted from a Stately Home on the edge of Sherwood forest. Its a half hour drive from where we live and is regular work so we are over the moon about it.

The Hotel is part of a chain and there are 13 in all. There is a big stage and dance floor in the main auditorium and a lounge bar next to that. There is an old Hall with a grand piano and there is a pianist in there and sometimes a girl singing light opera.

They  employ a resident band - keyboards, drummer and bass, and an in-house song and dance team. The band play for the in-house team's shows and for the guests to dance.

And they employ us to come in and play in the Lounge Bar twice a week.

Guest acts come and do a big show on Saturday nights.

All fine and dandy, except.....

two of the in-house team keep going off key on certain songs. They seem to stay on key for the rest of their shows but keep going sour in the same places.

This is puzzling me. If they can sing ok for most of the show, why do they go off key in the same places each time?

It can't be the foldback not being loud enough, because they seem to be able to hear themselves ok the rest of the time.

One guy does seem to keep running out of breath a lot. So could it be his breath control?

And the other one belts out the notes loudly and occasionally goes sour.So i'm thinking he can't hear the music and so goes out of tune.

Any ideas why these two seem to be able to sing ok for the most part but go out of tune every so often??

I've never had singing lessons, so why do people go off key and how do you stop them doing it??

My theory is the two of them get lost in the 'acting' part of their shows and sing the bits so loud that they can only hear their own voice in their head and because they've drowned out the music they go off.

Could that be the case??

 

It's puzzling me.

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Chances are that they are trying to do the song in the key it was recorded and not for their vocal range. They also may not have much of a vocal range so certain parts of the song is beyong their reach. I have seen (heard) this on a few occasions. This is why the key the song was recorded in is not sacred to me.

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I have to concentrate on listening to myself sing to keep really good pitch. A recent live recording of myself singing revealed that I was sharp quite often. I had a cold at the time which can cause pitch problems, but I tend to go sharp because I avoid going flat.

Poor monitors can cause one to sing too loud or off key. But going off only once in a while sounds like lack of concentrating on singing. BTW, the woman that won American Idol this year had a tendency to sing sharp. I don't know why the judges never brought it up.

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The combination of vowels and consonants with where they are in their range is not jiving with their muscle memory . Just a guess really.

 

It's funny how "pitch" seems to be the culprit folks mention the most but "pocket" and "phrasing" (which are equally as important) never get mentioned.

 

I hear bad pocket ALL the time. I think most people interpret it as "artistic license" but it's usually not.

 

Congrats on the new gig ,

That sounds fantastic.!

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J.Paul wrote:

 

It's funny how "pitch" seems to be the culprit folks mention the most but "pocket" and "phrasing" (which are equally as important) never get mentioned.

 

I hear bad pocket ALL the time. I think most people interpret it as "artistic license" but it's usually not.

 


 

Think Willie Nelson  ;)

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Susie, you say they do this consistently on the same songs every time?

Either they rehearsed them that way or they just don't know how to the song goes...or both...or someting else...

I mean really that is hard to explain; but, be a dear, and tell them to drop those tunes for the sake of the audience... ;)

My guess is that neither of them have the range in that particular key to get the notes right.

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J.Paul wrote:

 

It's funny how "pitch" seems to be the culprit folks mention the most but "pocket" and "phrasing" (which are equally as important) never get mentioned.

 


 

 

SO TRUE, J.Paul...this is perhaps even more rampant than bad pitch.

Sorry, Susie - I don't have much of anything to add to your original post, except perhaps that they learned it out of tune and continue to do it the wrong way. Muscle memory can be a bitch to fight against.

Brian V.

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daddymack wrote:

Susie, you say they do this consistently on the same songs every time?

Either they rehearsed them that way or they just don't know how to the song goes...or both...or someting else...

I mean really that
is
hard to explain; but, be a dear, and tell them to drop those tunes for the sake of the audience...
;)

My guess is that neither of them have the range in that particular key to get the notes right.

Yeh, same songs same place every time.

I'm wondering if the backingtrack isn't loud enough or something, but also they both do seem to belt out really loudly at each point because they are 'acting' the songs, so I'm wondering if they are drowning out the music so that they can't hear it and so go out of tune.

 

 

It's such a shame because it really is noticeable and it does let the side down a bit.

 

 

It's also hard for us because we are just the hired help. There's an Entertainment Manager and she's the one who gave us the job, so we have to keep our opinions to ourselves because we want to keep the job!

 

But, WHY hasn't she done something about it?

And WHY does it keep happening.

 

I just wondered if any of you guys have had singing lessons and knew if there was a reason why people go off key and how to stop it.

 

I just open my mouth and the sound comes out.....and it's in tune. So I guess I do it on autopilot and thus haven't got a clue how to teach eomeone else how to do it - because I don't know how I do it.

I just do it.

 

But I know if I couldn't hear my note clearly, I would struggle to sing it.

 

 

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SusieP wrote: ...

 

It's puzzling me.

 

It would be interesting to hear what they're doing. Perhaps if you approached them and asked to record...

"I've noticed that milk curdles when you sing this song. I have some friends who make cottage cheese at home..." or something non-commital like that.

Though I doubt it's the case here, not everyone sings, or chooses to sing, in equal temperament. This is not an error but it may sound troubling to those who grew up with an emphasis on pitch matching to a piano.

My father, who grew up with Bing Crosby, hated Frank Sinatra. Most of it was Frank's smarmy image, but dad also accused him of being unable to hit the notes, and Frank certainly slid into his pitches. But that was really just expression and style, and my dad was missing the point. 

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My guess is that these folks are slightly pitchy anyway, and when they belt out a note they over sing and can't maintain control of their voice . Often, the big dramatic part of the song is where the notes are higher, and sustained. That's the section in karaoke bars that's always painful. It's hard to nail the "Celine" parts of a song.

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Shaster wrote:

 

 

My guess is that
these folks are slightly pitchy anyway, and when they belt out a note they over sing and can't maintain control of their voice .
 Often, the big dramatic part of the song is where the notes are higher, and sustained. That's the section in karaoke bars that's always painful. It's hard to nail the "Celine" parts of a song.

 

I think this is what's happening.

Thanks guys.

I was just interested to know everyone's thoughts.

They did a 70s show last night and their singing was much better. Some off bits but not that noticeable.

Its the show where they do songs from Musicals where they go way off.

 

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