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Help, I'm tonedeaf!

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Ryan Donahue, Dec 29, 2005.

  1. Well, maybe not tonedeaf but pretty darn close. I'm the guy that is always singing the lyrics to your favorite songs way off key. Yes, that guy. I have been going through Pacman's Scale method and it has been working quite well with regards to learning the fretboard but when it comes to singing/humming the note I am just lost. I can get in the right area but hardly ever does the note I'm playing and the sound coming out of my mouth ever match. Trying to transcribe songs is a nightmare as well. If I am learning a phrase, I have to load it into my Transcribe! program, loop about 4 sec. and slow it way down. Then it is hunt and peck till I get the first notet. I usually wind up finding it and from there it is a lot easier to find the rest, but I feel that my ear is completely screwing me up.

    I know that there isn't any magical way of getting a perfect pitch or anything but does anyone have some good suggestions for getting my ear trained. I've tried learning a bunch of songs but it takes so long for me to figure out even a small bit, I get frustrated and go back to noodling around on my same ole' box patterns. Please help.
  2. I think you should start small. Try singing along with your playing to get a better feel for pitch. After that you might want to move on to more structured ear training, and maybe try out something like Chris Aruffo's Ear Training Companion.

  3. Are you sure you're not talking about me?! Seriously though, I used to be HORRIBLE. Now I am just AWFUL. I've taken a giant leap forward (yes, Horrible to Awful is a huge leap), and I did it by putting in the time. I'm not going to be singing backup any time, soon, but I can generally sing intervals before I play them. Sure, I'm a bit flat, but who cares. I am still on my way to being able to efficiently play what I hear in my head.

    Anyway, here is my advice. Sit at a piano and pick a key. Play the root, and sing it. Keep trying to nail it until you have it right. Next step would be to play an interval, say the 3rd. Now play the root, sing the root, play the 3rd, and then sing the third. Do this until you can get it right. Now, play the root and sing the root, but sing the 3rd before you play it. Play the 3rd to check your singing. There is no magic, it just take some serious effort for people like you and I. Honestly, some time spent doing this will pay off. And the good news is that the more you do it the better you will get, and you will retain this stuff if you keep it up.

    Oh...did I also mention that I sing in the car? No seriously, sing along to your favorite tunes, it helps. Sure, I look rediculous, but you can learn some interesting phrases (not lyrical... I mean vocal melody or even the bass lines).

    There is hope!
  4. Oh, I should have mentioned that perfect pitch should not be your goal. Relative pitch is where it's at. Meaning, you can sing/find a note based on a reference.
  5. T-Funk


    Jul 2, 2005
    Is it your ear or singing that causes you to sing off key?

    If your vocal mechanism has flaws in the manner in which it produces sound, you may be able to hear the correct notes, but not be able to accurately reproduce the pitch.

    In my opinion, a better meause would be to replicate a recorded musical line, whether played or sung, with your bass. If you can do this, you are not tone deaf. :D


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