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Awful discovery - help!

Penny S. 17 Nov 08 - 06:43 PM
GUEST,Dave MacKenzie 17 Nov 08 - 06:50 PM
Penny S. 17 Nov 08 - 06:53 PM
Leadfingers 17 Nov 08 - 06:58 PM
Penny S. 17 Nov 08 - 07:01 PM
Alice 17 Nov 08 - 07:02 PM
Penny S. 17 Nov 08 - 07:14 PM
Jack Campin 17 Nov 08 - 07:29 PM
Suegorgeous 17 Nov 08 - 08:24 PM
Tattie Bogle 17 Nov 08 - 08:50 PM
Skivee 17 Nov 08 - 09:51 PM
Cluin 17 Nov 08 - 10:02 PM
JohnInKansas 17 Nov 08 - 10:07 PM
ClaireBear 17 Nov 08 - 10:10 PM
Sleepy Rosie 18 Nov 08 - 04:01 AM
breezy 18 Nov 08 - 04:07 AM
greg stephens 18 Nov 08 - 04:20 AM
VirginiaTam 18 Nov 08 - 04:27 AM
MartinRyan 18 Nov 08 - 04:32 AM
Paul Burke 18 Nov 08 - 04:39 AM
MartinRyan 18 Nov 08 - 04:45 AM
Backwoodsman 18 Nov 08 - 05:06 AM
Backwoodsman 18 Nov 08 - 05:08 AM
McGrath of Harlow 18 Nov 08 - 05:19 AM
Mr Red 18 Nov 08 - 05:37 AM
Fred McCormick 18 Nov 08 - 05:38 AM
jonm 18 Nov 08 - 07:09 AM
Tattie Bogle 18 Nov 08 - 07:47 AM
GUEST,Fantum 18 Nov 08 - 07:57 AM
The Sandman 18 Nov 08 - 07:59 AM
BusyBee Paul 18 Nov 08 - 08:10 AM
Rapparee 18 Nov 08 - 08:12 AM
Marje 18 Nov 08 - 08:44 AM
Escapee 18 Nov 08 - 09:56 AM
Marje 18 Nov 08 - 10:37 AM
GUEST,Russ 18 Nov 08 - 12:10 PM
GUEST,leeneia 18 Nov 08 - 02:05 PM
Penny S. 18 Nov 08 - 02:31 PM
Seamus Kennedy 18 Nov 08 - 02:47 PM
Cluin 18 Nov 08 - 02:59 PM
olddude 18 Nov 08 - 03:13 PM
Aeola 18 Nov 08 - 03:25 PM
Penny S. 18 Nov 08 - 03:27 PM
Dan Schatz 18 Nov 08 - 03:42 PM
Jack Campin 18 Nov 08 - 03:48 PM
Sleepy Rosie 18 Nov 08 - 04:23 PM
Snuffy 18 Nov 08 - 08:27 PM
VirginiaTam 19 Nov 08 - 02:31 AM
Gurney 19 Nov 08 - 03:40 AM
Marje 19 Nov 08 - 06:48 AM
Jess A 19 Nov 08 - 06:59 AM
Penny S. 19 Nov 08 - 08:41 AM
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Subject: Awful discovery - help!
From: Penny S.
Date: 17 Nov 08 - 06:43 PM

Having been ploughing my way through the manners thread, I decided to take myself in hand, and make sure I learned more of my repertoire - firstly, I'd been trying not to repeat myself too often, secondly, to fit in with whatever seemed to be the theme or themes of the evening, and thirdly, not to sing something others had been singing. This, and the discovery that I had a bit of a way with the odd parody, so I have been singing "this new thing I wrote" rather a lot, has meant that I have been having the words available in front of me. Not on paper, but a PDA, for which I have been teased as looking as if I were going to make out a parking ticket.

So I recorded myself singing the words, not particularly well, burned a CD, and started playing it in the car. In repeating the songs to burn the words into my brain, I have discovered that I have not held the key I started in for some songs, but gone up a bit. Not far, but noticable. Possibly a whole tone. I always sing unaccompanied, anyway - haven't the skill to dare to go anywhere public with a guitar, and don't have anyone to practice with. I do hold the key when I do have an instrument around. People have made nice remarks about my voice, too (though I think the comparison with Judith Durham was a bit OTT and unrealistic), so it was a bit of a shock to find the wandering going on. Especially as I couldn't hear where it was happening. (There is one song where I know exactly where the problem is, so I don't sing it. It isn't that I'm tone deaf, exactly.)

What can I do? Some songs I can practice with recordings of proper singers, and hope that I can imprint the tune like the words. The ones that are problems do seem to be those where I have learned them from the dots, or from a very long time ago, so don't have a current audio source.

Practicing at home with the keyboard is a bit of a problem as there is a shift worker downstairs.

Penny


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Subject: RE: Awful discovery - help!
From: GUEST,Dave MacKenzie
Date: 17 Nov 08 - 06:50 PM

1 You're not unique

2 Has anybody else noticed?

3 Does it really matter?


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Subject: RE: Awful discovery - help!
From: Penny S.
Date: 17 Nov 08 - 06:53 PM

Nobody has said. But I do want to do it right!

It will matter if there's a lot of verses, and it ends up like "web footed friends", going up and up and up until.....

Penny


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Subject: RE: Awful discovery - help!
From: Leadfingers
Date: 17 Nov 08 - 06:58 PM

IF the Keyboard at home is Electronic , does it have a Headphone facility ? If not , just setting the 'Start' note for each verse may well help you stay on pitch - OR Get a pitch pipe thingy (A Fooffer , its called at Maidenhead)
Or PERHAPS you WANT to sing the song a bit higher and drift up to a comfortable pitch ?
So many options , but at leat you ARE aware and looking for a solution HAS to be good !
Good Luck with it , though as Dave says above ,DOES it really matter?


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Subject: RE: Awful discovery - help!
From: Penny S.
Date: 17 Nov 08 - 07:01 PM

The keyboard does have headphones, but I would be singing, wouldn't I? And I may not be able to belt out like some, but my Dad could hear me singing in Sunday School when he was sitting in church at least two doors and a long corridor away. I've not got quieter!

Penny


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Subject: RE: Awful discovery - help!
From: Alice
Date: 17 Nov 08 - 07:02 PM

Just keep recording yourself until you can stay in tune through the song. Then practice along with that recording of yourself.


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Subject: RE: Awful discovery - help!
From: Penny S.
Date: 17 Nov 08 - 07:14 PM

Thanks, Alice - and I have an idea about that. I should be able to get a note from the computer to keep me in key while I'm recording on it. Upstairs. When people are out.

We all used to sing around our house when I was young. It's so restrictive being in a place which has the sound transmission of a single property, while being multiple, with different attitudes in different households.

Today was great. Downstairs was playing some sort of irritating rock, so I could hoover the stairs between us.

Penny

Penny


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Subject: RE: Awful discovery - help!
From: Jack Campin
Date: 17 Nov 08 - 07:29 PM

How about some small twangy thing, like a half-size guitar or 6-bar autoharp, that you discreetly pluck to give you a reference every so on? I've seen quite a few singers do that.


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Subject: RE: Awful discovery - help!
From: Suegorgeous
Date: 17 Nov 08 - 08:24 PM

I've been complimented in the past on how I'm able to keep to the key, so I was shocked recently to discover that I drifted on one song. I have it on very good authority though that it's very common, and even the most experienced singers can do it - Hedy West has, for example.

Maybe it might be worth finding out if there's a specific point in a song where you tend to drift, and that might give clues as to a pattern? and/or work with it with a voice teacher.

I'll be watching this thread to see what I can learn too...


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Subject: RE: Awful discovery - help!
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 17 Nov 08 - 08:50 PM

Drifting keys: I've come to the conclusion that upward drift is more likely in lively up-tempo songs, and downward in miserable slow songs. If you're singing a capella, this is likely to go un-noticed unless you check your start and finish notes against an instrument, and unless the drift is massive, i.e more than a semi-tone, you'll get away with it.
I do test myself sometimes by checking my start and finish notes against the piano. (and beat myself up if they're not the same!)
I did once compliment a singer on her being able to keep her key after a long spell of a capella, before she came back in on her fiddle: turns out she'd being very quietly plucking her fiddle in her ear to keep herself on key!


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Subject: RE: Awful discovery - help!
From: Skivee
Date: 17 Nov 08 - 09:51 PM

FWIW I had a Clancy Bros album in which one of them did an accapella song. Over the course of five or six verses, he drifted up about
1 1/2 notes from his starting point. I was amazed that they kept it on the LP.
So you may be in good company.
I, on the other hand, always sing precisely on pitch, and have never missed a note...cough, mutter.


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Subject: RE: Awful discovery - help!
From: Cluin
Date: 17 Nov 08 - 10:02 PM

Repeat the following phrase:

"I meant to do that."

Artistic license. As the meaning and energy of the song progresses you slightly raise the key of the song to heighten emotion.

You might even come to believe it yourself.


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Subject: RE: Awful discovery - help!
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 17 Nov 08 - 10:07 PM

Or you may be "drifting upward" because your most comfortable range is a little higher than where you're starting.

Try starting the song a little higher and see if the "drift" persists.

Of course if you find that you need to transpose your songs from the keys in which you learned them (from the dots) we may have to have a thread on how to capo your keyboard(?).

John


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Subject: RE: Awful discovery - help!
From: ClaireBear
Date: 17 Nov 08 - 10:10 PM

I used to sing with an acapella trio. We invariably found that if we tended to drift sharp while singing a song, it was because we had pitched it too high, not too low. When one has trouble reaching the top notes, one may well reach too far for them, you see? So try taking it down a whole or half tone, and see if that helps!


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Subject: RE: Awful discovery - help!
From: Sleepy Rosie
Date: 18 Nov 08 - 04:01 AM

Practising your 'musical memory' might help a little?

I was taught ages ago, that the brain often likes to 'round up' or resolve in your memory a sequence of notes, which don't feel satisfying or familiar.

So deliberatley having someone play you a sequence of notes, which includes 'unsatisfying' elements (like a semi-tone where the brain wants to hear a full tone) and then singing that exact same sequence of notes back from memory, will help you hear where your brain is a little lazy, and with practice help you learn to reduce that slippage.

I have a horrid feeling that I've not explained myself well here at all, but maybe someone else will know what I mean, and can express it better!


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Subject: RE: Awful discovery - help!
From: breezy
Date: 18 Nov 08 - 04:07 AM

Forget it , just sing the song.

Good luck and enjoy it.

in the big scheme of things who gives a toss anyway


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Subject: RE: Awful discovery - help!
From: greg stephens
Date: 18 Nov 08 - 04:20 AM

Going up or down in the course of a song is not unusual. Try to improve, but also remember you are in good company. Remwember a certain famous family whose surname began with W and ended in N, now ably represented by a young lady whose surname begins with C and ends in Y? Well, I have a feeling that if you listened to some of their early recordings, and listened out for what key the first and last verses of certain songs were in, you'd be surprised!


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Subject: RE: Awful discovery - help!
From: VirginiaTam
Date: 18 Nov 08 - 04:27 AM

Going to tag along on this thread too.

I am another "belt" it out singer living sandwiched between flats. Upstairs taxi driver with odd hours and downstairs, twin toddler boys that I fear waking up as their parents need every moment of rest they can get.   

I also suffer from melodic drift on a continental scale. Great advice here. I am learning Appalachain dulcimer and hopefully using this very simple instrument will help to keep my voice on track. I do, listen listen and listen again to really learn melody. But my brain is very creative and likes to embellish, improvise to my ruin. Alas!

What Rosie said about lazy brain wanting to resolve sequences the easiest way, makes perfect sense. Like water taking the easiest route to flow down. Now how do I build mental locks and weirs to make the song go where it is meant to go?


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Subject: RE: Awful discovery - help!
From: MartinRyan
Date: 18 Nov 08 - 04:32 AM

The wonderful Frank Harte was notorious for setting off in the wrong key and having to restart. He was also quite likely to shift key again during the song. Did it affect his ability to engage and entrance an audience? Did it hell!

Even now, three years after Frank's death, if a singer at a session changes key drastically during a song, someone will call out "Good man, Frank!" from the crowd.

It's not a matter of tolerating (or even recommending!) poor musicianship - and the margin for error, so to speak, DOES depend on the circumstances - but it's by no means the most vital part of performing a traditional song.

Regards


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Subject: RE: Awful discovery - help!
From: Paul Burke
Date: 18 Nov 08 - 04:39 AM

I wonder if anyone makes a little programmable electronic frequency generator, with a discreet earpiece, that could give you a background drone to the song inaudible to the audience. Only applicable to those songs that work with a drone of course.


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Subject: RE: Awful discovery - help!
From: MartinRyan
Date: 18 Nov 08 - 04:45 AM

In latter years, Frank used to carry a little (digital?)recorder into which he had sung the (carefuly checked, no doubt!)starting note for the songs on his playlist. He then built it into his pre-song patter to be able to hold it to his ear before he started off. It usually resulted in mock derision from his audience, which he was well able to feed off!

Regards


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Subject: RE: Awful discovery - help!
From: Backwoodsman
Date: 18 Nov 08 - 05:06 AM

Very few people have accurate pitching all the way through a song. It's pretty normal for unaccomperated singers to 'drift'.
I'm with Breezy and others - most don't notice, and anyway who cares?
Just sing!


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Subject: RE: Awful discovery - help!
From: Backwoodsman
Date: 18 Nov 08 - 05:08 AM

FWIW, it's common for choirs to drift too - I did a lot of choral singing in my yoof, in a very good and very large choir, and it was astonishing to hear how often we drifted upwards (which seems to be the usual direction).


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Subject: RE: Awful discovery - help!
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 18 Nov 08 - 05:19 AM

It's traditional.


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Subject: RE: Awful discovery - help!
From: Mr Red
Date: 18 Nov 08 - 05:37 AM

I mostly sing a song for a reason, sometimes it may be I have no ideas but Nov 5th, Oct 31st, Easter, Burns night or Paddy's night gives me a reason and usually a song. If there is no club theme is give the song some connection and hopefully a better performance.
At the Somers FC (Worcester Fri Albion) we had theme nights and still do AFAIK. The Minchinhampton FC (Gloucs) Thurs Crown they have theme nights Valentine's day etc.
Lechlade FC (last Fri of mth) Trout had a Halloween night - costumes galore.

When I started I found that singing against noise usually resulted in pitching too high.


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Subject: RE: Awful discovery - help!
From: Fred McCormick
Date: 18 Nov 08 - 05:38 AM

I've only just seen this thread, so apologies for belated and for repeating anything already said. However, what you describe is fairly common among unaccompanied singers. I do it, the late Joe Kerins did it and the wonderful Elizabeth Cronin did it. And if you can sing as well as she did, you're doing alright.

Unless the effect is very noticeable to your audience I seriously wouldn't worry.


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Subject: RE: Awful discovery - help!
From: jonm
Date: 18 Nov 08 - 07:09 AM

I used to play for a dance team. For one number, I'd play the tune once for them to come on, then they would sing three verses a capella, followed by me coming back in as they started dancing. The team were spot-on, every time. Play the intro in C, they start singing in C, by the end of the three verses they were solidly in D and it sounded great if I came back in in D. Interestingly, if I started the whole melee in D, they would claim it was too high, but still finish somewhere around Eb!

Most people who sing a capella drift upwards, it has been commented upon in the past about folk harmony groups and even choirs. It's only a problem if it's noticeable.


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Subject: RE: Awful discovery - help!
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 18 Nov 08 - 07:47 AM

The late Matt McGinn also used to drive his accompanists potty by starting in one key, stopping mid song to make some remark, and then going back to the song in whatever key he fancied. Talk about rapidly sliding capos!
The deliberate key change: usually a whole tone up, is the hallmark of every Eurovision Song contest entry, so much so, that if a folkie does it, maybe in a repeat of final chorus, its' "Aha, the Eurovision key-change!".
And that's a bit of thread drift, I fear.


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Subject: RE: Awful discovery - help!
From: GUEST,Fantum
Date: 18 Nov 08 - 07:57 AM

I too drift up, been doing it for years almost a comfort to see it discussed like this
What is nice is the number of tolerant listeners out there as proved by many of the replies to this thread
I would say that this tolerance is widespread because I generally got a sing when I turned up at a club despite this tendency to drift. So there is a lot of sense in the above posts saying get on with it and stop worrying.

On the down side this drift tendency used to drive me wild
It still gives me the pip when I get a song and it seems to naturally send the pitch up
I now analyse the song to find the section where the pitch changes and conciously try to sort it out. Sometimes I just lack the vocal skill to do that and as a result the song just gets dumped.

The good news is that I still drift but its far less than in the past.

Somewhere the problem diminished.


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Subject: RE: Awful discovery - help!
From: The Sandman
Date: 18 Nov 08 - 07:59 AM

Penny ,dont worry about it,it is more important[imo] to interpret the song well,and remember the words,and sing in tune,than worry about finishing a semitone higher than you started


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Subject: RE: Awful discovery - help!
From: BusyBee Paul
Date: 18 Nov 08 - 08:10 AM

For anyone finding that they are drifting flat - One trick from choral singing - sing with a smile shape to your mouth to brighten the note and hopefully stop it drifting downwards.

Another trick which may be of limited value here is, when singing a repeating note (ie: the same note more than once in succession), hit each one as if it was a different note - retune it as you go - aim slightly sharper each time to stop it flagging. Mostly a trick used by altos, tenors and basses in choral singing.


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Subject: RE: Awful discovery - help!
From: Rapparee
Date: 18 Nov 08 - 08:12 AM

I have music (dots!) in which not only does the key change, but so does the beat: one starts in 3/4 with Bb and three measures later is in (ready?) 9/8 with three sharps and in the next line changes to 12/8 with two flats, then back to the original. At least the tempo (sorta funereal) doesn't change.

I don't play that one much.

IF anyone notices tell 'em that the key changes where you did that you sang correctly -- it must be THEIR tonal memory that's faulty.


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Subject: RE: Awful discovery - help!
From: Marje
Date: 18 Nov 08 - 08:44 AM

I once went to a workshop run by a well-known acapella group, and when someone asked how they kept in pitch, they looked alarmed and said, "Whatever you do, don't test our recordings by pitching the first note against the last!"

I can usually keep in pitch, but if I wander at all it's in an upward direction. I think this is perhaps a sort of over-compensation against any tendency to flatness, because for some reason flatness sounds worse and more noticeable. Big choirs are more likely to go flat (I blame the tenors!) while solo choirboys tend to go sharp. So you're not alone.

Now that you're aware what's happening, you may well find that you are correcting it and keeping closer to the pitch you started in. If you're singing unaccompanied, almost no one will notice a slight upward drift anyway.

If you're recording acapella and want to keep it in pitch, one trick is to wear headphones or an earpiece plugged to a keyboard, and stick one keyboard note down (probably the tonic or keynote of your song) so that you hear it as a drone in your head. But as I said, my guess is you'll manage to stay true to pitch now, or close enough.

Marje


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Subject: RE: Awful discovery - help!
From: Escapee
Date: 18 Nov 08 - 09:56 AM

If you have an electronic gizmo for lyrics, why not use one to play an instrumental accompaniment into your ear? On the other hand, if the end of the song doesn't have to match up with a given tone, a step or two won't make much difference.
My band solves the problem with an occasional note or chord for the singer, but away from the mic. We usually play in noisy places so it's not intrusive.
Fair winds,
SKP


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Subject: RE: Awful discovery - help!
From: Marje
Date: 18 Nov 08 - 10:37 AM

Ooooh, I don't like the idea of having a whole accompaniment in your ear that only you can hear. It's bound to make the song sound a bit strange and stilted. Most unaccompanied singers bend the rhythm slightly in order to enhance the melody or the words in various ways - you'd lose that, and instead you'd have silent bars between verses and sections that your listeners couldn't hear.

I'd advise getting away from all electronic devices when performing to others. Particularly if you're doing funny parodies, there's nothing worse than someone reading it out from a script (well, there is something worse, and that's singing a humorous song with your eyes closed, which I can tell you is very disconcerting for the audience. But that's a whole nother issue). You sound as if you've got the right idea, just learn your songs, trust yourself and go for it!
Marje


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Subject: RE: Awful discovery - help!
From: GUEST,Russ
Date: 18 Nov 08 - 12:10 PM

I sometimes use a trick I got from a bluegrass band.
Might have been Ralph Stanley, but it was a while ago.
They were doing the mandatory a capella gospel number on a Sunday Morning.
The guitar play would strum the chord at the beginning of each verse.

Russ (Permanent GUEST)


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Subject: RE: Awful discovery - help!
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 18 Nov 08 - 02:05 PM

Do you sing between gigs? Try singing around the house as you do chores, to keep your muscles in shape. You don't have to sing loudly.
Strong muscles have better control.

A choral director once told us that choirs go flat because people know that a low note is coming. They say 'Uh oh!' internally and then go TOO low.

Perhaps you are getting high because you know a high note is coming. You are worried about it, and when the time comes, you go too high. Give that idea a little thought, anyway.

And as Russ says, an occasional strum from an instrument should not be hard to do and will help you keep in tune.


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Subject: RE: Awful discovery - help!
From: Penny S.
Date: 18 Nov 08 - 02:31 PM

Thanks for the encouragement. (That manners thread was a bit discouraging in a way.) I could, I suppose, try my MP3 player. (Only for the start note - I do prefer the freedom to modify the performance as I sing which wouldn't be there with a recording.) Or, a bit more authentically, I could work something out with my thumb piano. (Nobody plays one of those, so I wouldn't be comparing myself with the very skilful musicians around me!)

Penny


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Subject: RE: Awful discovery - help!
From: Seamus Kennedy
Date: 18 Nov 08 - 02:47 PM

To echo Cluin, Martin Ryan and Captain Birdseye: tell 'em you meant it, and afterwards ask, "Did you like my modulation?"

It doesn't really matter as long as long as you do the song well, and a little bit of drift doesn't mean you aren't singing the song well.

Seamus


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Subject: RE: Awful discovery - help!
From: Cluin
Date: 18 Nov 08 - 02:59 PM

The freedom to modulate at will without being tied down by those pesky key-fascist instruments.


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Subject: RE: Awful discovery - help!
From: olddude
Date: 18 Nov 08 - 03:13 PM

Recording is such a good idea, I was shocked when I started recording a few months ago. I never knew that I was louder on some parts and drifting off on others. I think listening to it on a recording is helping me a lot to refine what I am trying to get across. I think that is the best way to do it. When you are singing your brain hears one way but when you hear it played back, you can see the area's that you want to fix. It has been a blessing for me to try and stay consistent. I have always been so insecure that I go way quiet at times and too strong at other times. This has helped me out so much coupled with the feedback of others that I respect and trust


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Subject: RE: Awful discovery - help!
From: Aeola
Date: 18 Nov 08 - 03:25 PM

A little bit of artistic licence doesn't go amiss and it could be claimed as your own interpretation. I'll bet nobody really notices, just enjoy.

Mind you I've seen some people stick their finger in their ear..!!!


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Subject: RE: Awful discovery - help!
From: Penny S.
Date: 18 Nov 08 - 03:27 PM

I thought that was mandatory, along with the aran sweater!

Penny


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Subject: RE: Awful discovery - help!
From: Dan Schatz
Date: 18 Nov 08 - 03:42 PM

I've heard some of the best unaccompanied singers in the world go significantly sharp or flat, and unless you happen to listen to the beginning and end of the songs on CD, you'd never notice.

Take a line from Ralph McTell, "When I play [sing] this song it's going to sound like I'm making a lot of mistakes - but actually it's quite clever."

Dan


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Subject: RE: Awful discovery - help!
From: Jack Campin
Date: 18 Nov 08 - 03:48 PM

A cappella groups have different problems from solo singers. Google "Zarlino pitch drift" and prepare to be boggled.


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Subject: RE: Awful discovery - help!
From: Sleepy Rosie
Date: 18 Nov 08 - 04:23 PM

I'd also suggest *filming* yourself with a camcorder.
My father did this to me very recently at a party where I sang for a little film to be sent to other family in the antipodes.
I was happy with most of it, but negative traits I noticed in particular included where my volume decreased significantly in the lower registers. And also an awful lot of twitchy discomfort was evident, in the form of lip biting and similar.
A helpful experience to both *hear and see* myself.


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Subject: RE: Awful discovery - help!
From: Snuffy
Date: 18 Nov 08 - 08:27 PM

I recorded myself quite a bit in singarounds a few years ago, and found that any drift was usually because I had started too high (or low), and the drift was to the key I wanted to sing in anyway: With a song I wanted to sing in D, I might start anywhere from B to F but still manage to end up in D


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Subject: RE: Awful discovery - help!
From: VirginiaTam
Date: 19 Nov 08 - 02:31 AM

OMG if I had to listen to my recorded voice I would never sing again. If I had to look as well as listen, I'd never go out in public again.

I hate mirrors for the same reason. Too honest.


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Subject: RE: Awful discovery - help!
From: Gurney
Date: 19 Nov 08 - 03:40 AM

I sing a couple of tones lower quietly, but when I go up to performance volume, up goes the key. Are you maintaining a volume level?
You could try a stage-Irish song with a couple of "Nyahhhs" in between the verses, to see if this helps.


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Subject: RE: Awful discovery - help!
From: Marje
Date: 19 Nov 08 - 06:48 AM

I once had to see a video of myself singing, and all I can remember thinking was "Right, THAT dress is going to that charity shop!" But yes, recording and listening to oneself is useful, even if a bit painful at times.

If you're only drifting up half a tone or so, just forget it, no one will notice. The real problem is the singers (and we all know at least one) who have no idea of sticking to a key at all, starting every line or verse in a different key and wondering why their hapless audience don't join in. It sounds as if you're a world away from that, Penny, so don't get too hung-up about it.

Marje


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Subject: RE: Awful discovery - help!
From: Jess A
Date: 19 Nov 08 - 06:59 AM

some really useful advice here already I think, definitely Sleepy Rosie's mental exercises and recording yourself.

I know it can be traumatic listening to your own voice from the outside as it is often nothing like you hear inside your head (a lot of which is to do with internal resonances inside your skull, I'm told) plus we're all often our own harshest critics... but if you can bring yourself to do it, it can be extremely valuable as a tool. Also don't forget that if you're recording on a little portable device (which is convenient and really all that's needed) you're not going to get the sound quality of a studio recording, so don't judge it too harshly on that front.

Another few thoughts of my own, which may or may not help. Apologies if others have already said these...

1) there's often a particular jump in a melody where the key shift happens. If you analyse the song and work this out, then you can just practice that interval for a bit (along with an instrument if that helps) to get a 'muscle memory' of producing that interval accurately. Recording yourself may help work out where the slip is happening.

2) I've got a chromatic tuner (circular blow pipe thing with a single reed for each note, you just blow into the little hole for that note, dead easy to use and mine cost £8) which I find invaluable for finding start notes.

3) Practice one verse at a time, or even one line at a time, with playing the start note on an instrument (or in my case, the chromatic tuner), then singing the verse/line then checking the end note. Repeat ad infitum.

4) Relax. I'd agree with others who say that a bit of slippage is not the end of the world - it's the overall delivery of the song that your audience is going to be listening to. BUT that said if you're a bit of a perfectionist and want to make sure you don't slip, don't be put off from working on it!


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Subject: RE: Awful discovery - help!
From: Penny S.
Date: 19 Nov 08 - 08:41 AM

The one where I know the problem, not folk, is "Dream a little dream of me", with the jump from the main tune to the centre section "Stars fading". It really needs the instrumental in there. The others don't have such an obvious place for the problem. This is the one I only sing in the car, along of Mama Cass.

There is a difference betwen the way I sing when performing, or in the car, where there is much more volume, and I'm using my lungs much more fully, and the recordings, where I was singing more quietly, just to get the words on audio file. I think I'll try to record the fuller voice to see if the same thing happens.

I've tuned my thumb piano to run from D to D in the key of G, to see if that helps.

Thanks for all the support, anyway. You've been most encouraging.

Penny


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