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How To Sing On Pitch – How To Sing In Tune – Ken Tamplin Vocal Academy
Pitch is a big subject, and the reasons for lack of good pitch vary from person to person.
While there are similar reasons people struggle with pitch, there are also many differences.
Let me explain:
We must first start at the the beginning, with the building blocks, in order to eliminate the moving targets that inhibit good pitch.
1. Support Is King: Good diaphragmatic abdominal support. This is the engine that drives your car. Without it, especially when ascending a passage, scale, or higher notes in a song, pitch will be directly affected by this one component alone. Make sure you are supporting all your notes throughout your range. This will build consistency and remove this as being a possible obstacle.
2. Relaxation Response: We must understand that since the abdomen is carrying the load (for strength in the sound) we must train the chest, neck, and throat to relax, to let the abdomen do the “heavy lifting.”
3. Vowel Placement: We must also learn correct vowel modifications and build good muscle-memory to hold that vowel placement. In other words we need to understand how it is supposed to feel in the throat for these vowels when we sing. If we don’t, it’s like a car with no steering wheel or a ship with no rudder. We need to confidently “steer” these vowels in the right direction with the greatest of ease in the throat.
4. Over-Enunciation Of Consonants: Because we are training with “Open Throat Technique” (to keep the back of the throat as open as possible and not close down the throat when we sing with something called “contiguous phrase singing.” De-emphasizing the consonants enables us to not close down the throat during consonants, and not have to “re-set” up the vowels, so we aren’t constantly having to try to re-open the vocal tract to find that space in the throat again.
5. Air Compression: When we go up and down in a song, there are different amounts of air compression that builds up in the head. The higher we go, the more this compression occurs. The effect of this is much like the doppler effect of a train or police siren passing by at a high speed. Though the “true” sound of the train doesn’t change, there is a perceived change in the “pitch” of that train or siren. We must learn to compensate for this. Try an experiment and you will see what I mean. Get yourself a pair of “closed back” headphones (so there is no air/ audio leak from the outside). Put on some music where music is playing in the room and have the same music playing in your headphones. You will notice that after listening for about 30 seconds, when you remove the headphones, the “pitch” will drop. It doesn’t actually drop, it’s just your perception of this pitch will sound “flat” or underneath the pitch you heard in your headphones compared to the room. Now let’s relate this to voice. When we ascend a scale or passage, this same kind of “doppler” effect happens in the head. We train ourselves to be able to compensate for this change.
6. Ear Training Exercises: To “sharpen” one’s ear to good pitch, there are some excellent exercises that can be done to conquer pitch issues with confidence. It takes time, consistency, and patience. I cover these concepts in my singing course called “How To Sing Better Than Anyone Else.”
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