Home GENERAL SINGING - Ken Tamplin Vocal Academy Forum

Have trouble with the basic things.

Greetings, everyone! Well...I asked here so many questions, and like always - answer aaalways lies on the surface, where you don't expect it to find...

My trouble is singing on pitch. Just like a guy in a previous discussion. I'm sorry to create a discussion with a topic that has already been discussed. It's just very strange and, what it seems to me, very uncommon. I have that problem for years now and through all these years it just became less noticeable. When I sing it with accompaniment, like guitar or a keyboard, I singing on pitch. But when I start to sing a-capellla, I lose my concentration on pitch and just can't get it right. I can compare this with learning to swim in a pool. You feel very confident when you swim with the stick that instructor gives to you or with a inflatable circle on you, but when you lose it, you start to go to the bottom. And I did a TONS of scales with a keyboard or a guitar. And all stays the same - with an accompaniment I sing on key, but without it - go all over the place. Also, I think I have trouble with remembering the notes in my ear. For example, if I play a note and try to match it after a 5 or 10 seconds - I can't get it. It's just sound to me like I'm trying to guess, which note I need to get, rather than actually remember it.


  • highmtnhighmtn Administrator, Moderator, Enrolled, Pro, 3.0 Streaming Posts: 15,333
    We ask that all demos have the accompaniment included at low volume so that we can compare the pitch to the instrument. It's quite common for voices to drift off-pitch if there is no instrumental track to follow. You should normally be able to retain in memory a pitch a few seconds later, so I can't tell you why you are forgetting the relative pitch a few seconds later. But normally, you should always have some sort of fixed reference instrument playing or something to help keep you on track. Most people can retain a pitch in their head for much longer than that.

    There is nothing wrong with using instruments as a pitch reference. Even a capella groups normally hear a reference tone before beginning a song. Otherwise they could be in a completely wrong key and not know it.
  • WhitesnakeWhitesnake Member Posts: 131
    @highmtn now I found one interesting thing. If I really (and I mean really) focus, I can remember pitch note. And it's also easier when I put palms of my hands to my ears in order to create sort of additional resonanse, I actually somehow can hear the root note that kinda playing in my head. But still I need to be veeeery concentrated. I can't be that concentrated on each note when I sing a song. How can I maintain a good pitch or how can I increase my concentration on the root note?
  • WhitesnakeWhitesnake Member Posts: 131
    edited October 2018
    @highmtn and I would like to clarify, that I don't actually forgot the note completely. I just forgetting the absolute pitch of the note, and sometimes hit the note on a half-step or even a whole step lower or higher. Usually lower. Sometimes I even hit it 1/2 of a half-step, which is absolutely ridiculous. And in my head I sort of hear that it doesn't right note, though I can't fix it by myself.
  • If you have the money, (they aren't that expensive) look into getting a set of tuning forks.

    Tuning forks work well because you can place them on your temple, and the sound will resonate in your head, and you can match the tones internally so to speak.

    Peace, Tony
  • WhitesnakeWhitesnake Member Posts: 131
    @videoace thank you! I'll try to do that!
  • WhitesnakeWhitesnake Member Posts: 131
    edited October 2018
    Here, something that I noticed about my pitch. I usually go below the pitch. Very rarely I go above the pitch. It's always below. I tried to do Cmaj-scale, without piano and I always go below the pitch on G or on a B. And when I come down from C to B always go below the pitch. It bugs me like crazy. And you might think "well, if you know where you go under the pitch, then on that notes just go a little bit higher". But for some reason it's not so easy. It feels like a muscle memory. Sometimes it's just happens and I need to try very hard to raise my voice a little from Bb to B. I'm not normal?
  • bentkbentk Moderator, Pro, 2.0 PRO, 3.0 Streaming Posts: 1,649
    You are right, it isn't easy at all. Especially sustaining a note can be hard. You are completely normal.
    My pitch was really bad the first whole year of KTVA. Now it's finally in a good enough place. It takes simple practice. That seems like awful advice, but it's true. Of course, there is more than one way to train this.

    Do you know what's good though? You identify the problem. That enables you to tackle it. That won't be fixed over-night.

    Some things you might try:

    -Figure out the melody of a song, preferably a whole verse or something. Play the melody, or listen to the melody from the recording. Then sing that melody without any backing and record it. Listen back, and check if with an app or something for pitch. This is similar to you trying to sing a major scale, but the song context is different.

    -It's good to have a reference, even acapella groups can start with a reference note from an instrument. Hit a note, then sing it, and record this. See if you really match the notes, or are close enough that you can not distinguish the difference.

    -Record anything you do. Personally, i don't do this a lot, but it's the best way to check on yourself now and then. How often you do this is up to you, but do not let it discourage you in any way. It only gives you a challenge. Also record yourself singing WITH instruments or something, and really listen.

    -Learn relative pitch. Wait- that doesn't help you sing on pitch does it? Maybe not, and i haven't mastered it at all. But it will train your hearing, which can only be a good thing. Maybe you're already good at relative pitch?

    Don't worry too much. One more thing i want to say is this: After my technique kept improving and built my voice more and more, control over pitch became easier too. It's a gradual process. Some people seem 'gifted' with a good sense of pitch, and good for them. However, most people need training or at least a lot of exposure to music.

    All the best,

  • WhitesnakeWhitesnake Member Posts: 131
    edited October 2018
    @bentk thank you for your response! Well, I sing for about an 8 years. But all this time I sung it however the hell I want.

    So, on the one hand, it gave me some experience in singing, even though I sung it totally wrong. It prepared my cords, so now I can sing for a several hours without feeling pain in the throat. I even figured that my vowel modification was something relative to what Ken teaches.

    But, on the other hand, I've earned a lot of bad habits by singing incorrectly. It has become a muscle memory for me. And now unlearn all of this bad habits is very difficult.

    So, I often do what you suggested here. I like classic rock, but all rock groups that I really like are sing in a very high register for me. I think I am baritone. So I need to drop the key of this songs on the whole octave to sing it normally.

    So recently I broke down song "Crazy Train" by Black Sabbath. And I tried to sing chorus without any accompaniment, and there I encountered with those moving targets. One time my pitch falls flat, second time I got more focused and did it better, and third time it's 50/50. I actually don't record myself when I sing without accompaniment though. I do it when I sing with a backing track.

    About relative pitch. I know it's a tricky thing. It happens to me that I often hear the note that will play next or that would go well with the key that's playing. I don't know what note is it, actually, I just hear it in my head and sometimes I can sing it. This happens when I pick up the notes for a song, for example.

    But I remember when Ken said in some video about commercial TV programm, when was a line "what will you do when all your money are safe?" which was song on a root note only, and then comes second voice, which sung a melody. And Ken did a example how it sounds. And I tried to sing the harmony over the root note that Ken sung. And you know what? I did it, but I didn't hear that I did it right when I sung it! It was strange feeling like I'm singing something completely different in the wrong key. But when I checked myself on a piano it turns out that I did it right. It's like my voice sorta disconnected with my ear. :D
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