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What to listen for when evaluating other people's singing?

Chris82Chris82 2.0 PRO Posts: 594
I've been working on getting a better ear for other people's singing so that I can provide valuable feedback for other people who I hear sing. I've never really been sure what to listen for other than the obvious but I wanted to get better at it so I came up with a list of things to listen for when hearing another person's (or even my own) singing. Here is the list and I would love some feedback on it and see if anyone has any additional things they also listen for?

I've also found it a good idea when providing feedback/critique of other peoples singing to provide both good and bad feedback. Don't just focus on the things they are doing wrong or that sound bad but also point out the things they are doing well and that sound good.

Pitch Accuracy:
I listen to see if the person is hitting the pitches at correct frequencies (not flat or sharp)

Key Accuracy
Did they stay in Key for the entire song?

How well did they handle the tempo of the song, did they stay in beat?

How well did they pronounce the words they were singing? Are they clear and easy to understand or do they sound mumbled and not clear?

Did they have good intonation when needed? This one is similar to Pitch Accuracy but with pitch accuracy i'm looking for overall pitch where as with intonation I'm more looking at correct use of pitch (falling and rising pitches that add emotion meaning to the words).

Overall Tone/Timbre
How does their tone sound? Does it sound relaxed, natural and easily produced or does it sound strained, forced or pushed? Does the their timbre they are using fit the song well?

Cord Closure
How well are they closing their cords? Does the tone sound overly breathy? If it is breathy did they do that as a stylistic choice or do they have issues with cord closure?

Breath Management
How well did they manage their breathing throughout the song? Does the amount of air they seem to be using sound varied or constant? Does it sound like they are having issues with support? Do they run out of breath? When they inhale is it silent or audible?

How good of a job did they do telling the overall story of the song and conveying/relaying the proper emotions in their singing?

How well does their voice resonant/project? Does it sound like their voice is getting partially "trapped" somewhere in them or does it sound like their voice is fully exiting their mouth?

How well do they bridge registers? Are there any breaks or shifts in timbre when they bridge?

How nasal was their tone? Does a nasal tone fit well for the song? Did they use too much or too little? Is the sound your hearing even a nasal sound or just super twangy?

If they used vibrato in their singing how did they do? How fast was it? How "wide" was the vibrato (how high and low does the pitch drop on each oscillation?). Does it sound like a natural vibrato or a forced vibrato?

If they used twang how good did it sound? Did they use too much or too little? Does the song sound good with a distinct twang sound or not?

If they used distortion how did that sound? Did it sound forced,pushed or painful?

How well did they handle the dynamics of the song? Did they make good use of lowering and increasing the volume level through out the song to make the song sound better and more authentic?


  • VocalityVocality 2.0 PRO Posts: 1,599
    edited January 2020
    @Chris82 Thats a comprehensive list of attributes to comment on good work.

    One thing noticed it's a great feeling when the person your trying to help says something like "it worked thankyou" , also alot of the time the helper gets helped as well :D and were all on this journey of singing greatness at different levels. Agree when commenting on someones performance important we also comment on what they do well and what they need to work on more balanced view.

    Always someone here willing to help when they can.

    Vocality :)
  • WigsWigs Moderator, 2.0 PRO, 3.0 Streaming Posts: 5,039
    That a good list, from critiquing the assignments I've learnt that not everything needs to be pointed out at once, sometimes I'll wait to mention a minor issue to see it if resolves itself then mention the fact. I think the only thing missing that you would probably include under diction is vowel placement and maintaining open throat.
  • doc_ramadanidoc_ramadani Administrator, 2.0 PRO, Facility Management Posts: 3,978
    Thanks for posting that, @Chris82 - great reminder. And I want to thank you for coming here so often and sharing your own experience. A lot of new students will benefit from your valuable posts!

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