How To Sing Microtonal Pitches Like Jacob Collier

In June Lee’s video, Jacob talks about how and why he uses microtonal harmonies in his writing and arranging. I was so impressed by his ability to sing these “notes in the cracks of the piano,” I thought of a way to practice it and wanted to share it with all of you!

Here’s the tuner app:

If you’d like to support me, you can do se here:

For info about my CDs, gear, gigs and more, visit

Make sure and subscribe to June!

and Jacob!

Aimee Nolte

18 thoughts on “How To Sing Microtonal Pitches Like Jacob Collier”

  1. Cmaj13#11#15 is a cool thing.
    Polychromatic music (Dolores Catherino) is the next level. Dividing 1/4 steps into even smaller steps.
    ROLI Seaboard for 1/4 tones

  2. Hey Aimee, thanks for the awesome video! When I heard Jacob’s interview, I didn’t even think twice about this concept until my friend in choir was talking to me about how amazing it was. After thinking about it, I realized that this idea was kinda natural to me. The way that I like to think about it is by making all the target tones as tuplets. So if you wanted to go from g to E in 5 beats. You could subdivide notes the total distance between them by 5, much like how if you wanted to have 3 notes happen in the space of a half note, you would decide the space of a half note by 3.
    on a different note, I can’t really find a good way of notating this concept. I’m envisioning something that looks very similar to how you would write tuplets, but with notes. Maybe like a sideways bracket…

  3. Wow, thank you! You dove into something I mentioned earlier about tones in music being in-between tones on the standard piano and that’s so cool!

  4. James Randorff

    Based on the overtone series, your ear was doing the perfect thing by landing you slightly flat on the E♮. The F♮ (seventh of G7) wants to be 29 cents flat, which is roughly the 1/3♭ you marked. The E♮ (third of CMaj) wants to be 14 cents flat, which is right where you landed. 
    Your ear is smarter than your piano. 😃

  5. Technically “Any” is sung at a pitch 3/4 of the way between G and F# (Not 2/3). Similarly “Deer” is 1/4 the way between F and E (not 1/4). Just sayin’ 🤓

    Anyways I got the app! Super fun already. Thanks x

  6. I don’t know if someone has already said this (or if you know it, since you’ve studied piano and know about theory of music) but there’s something called ‘COMMAS’ which are the least noticeable pitch changes in between two notes. For instance, what you just did: singing in between two notes a half step away from each other, you can hear how there are still sounds that aren’t quite either of the notes, well, that’s basically what commas are (a whole step, or a whole tone, has 8 commas in It, that means, 8 different sounds that the human ear can [maybe] perceive)
    Also, you probably know this but not all pianos are tune with the standard tuning (440hz) there’s another tuning which is used for certain instruments and in some cases for pianos too, if the owner decides to tune it that way, which is 445hz
    But ‘what’s the difference?’ people who don’t know ask.. Well.. There is no much difference. Just in general all the notes will be slightly higher in pitch, but only someone with a really good ear or perfect pitch would notice. (Maybe, not so much ,since my piano teacher has perfect pitch and we tried changing the tuning of an electric keyboard and she said that at 445 there’s just a little difference, but the note was still a C just a tiny tiny bit higher [in that case C, because that’s the note I was playing while changing the tuning])
    I’m saying this because it’s related to what I was saying earlier. just wanted to point that out.

    So yeah.. Idk what else to add lol.

    sorry if you found this useless or confusing(in that case I’ll say that English isn’t my first language but probably that doesn’t matter lol)

  7. I find hearing the differences in such small increments incredibly difficult! 🙁 I suppose both Aimee and Jacob have perfect pitch which must make it a lot more vivid for them. Still fasinating though – love seeing the crowds freak out when he does this live!

  8. ChuloDavidcito

    Very cool, thanks, Aimee! Persian and Turkish musicians are a lot more used to those “small” notes than we are, they play melodies and chords that use them. Great idea of using the tuner to practice!

Leave a Comment

Learn to sing like a proLast chance to get your FREE 5 part singing course here !

Learn to sing with confidence, power and perfect pitch...

Learn to sing like a proGet your FREE 5 part singing course here !

Learn to sing with confidence, power and perfect pitch...