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How accurate should a voice be for it to be considered in tune?

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Matthew_84, Jun 11, 2012.

  1. I've been working on various ear training exercises. One of my exercises is a method that Ed Fuqua instructs here about singing different intervals to a keyboard, and I use a Korg CA-1 Chromatic Tuner to determine if I am singing on pitch or not.

    One thing though, is that my voice can't really hold a steady pitch for more than a second, if that; basically the needle keeps moving back and forth. I'm trying my best to land perfectly on a pitch at 440hz and remain there, but it's starting to seem like a futile effort.

    On my fretless bass, anything within +/-10 cents I can tolerate and I'd consider to be in tune. But with the wavering nature of my voice, it is much harder to hear if I'm in tune or not and holding it within the +/-10 cents range is also difficult.

    So how accurate should a voice be for it to be considered in tune? And does anyone have any tips that could help me out?


  2. Phil Smith

    Phil Smith Mr Sumisu 2 U

    May 30, 2000
    Peoples Republic of Brooklyn
    Creator of: iGigBook for Android/iOS
    It's not something that instantly happens, it takes lots of work.
  3. So my voice will eventually become more steady? It would still waver a bit though, no?
  4. Fergie Fulton

    Fergie Fulton

    Nov 22, 2008
    Retrovibe Artist rota
    It depends on where you "sing from"?
    True power,control, sustain, etc..comes from the diaphram, so that will produce a true note...end of story.
    By learning to sing " from the diaphragm" we create better and stronger air passage over the vocal chords.
    If you sing from the top (throat, chest) how much air is forced over the vocal chords to produce the notes???

    If you sing from the bottom (diaphragm, lower back and sides ) you actually start to controll the speed of exhalation with the diaphragm.
    In normal breathing the diaphragm is used to pull air in, not push air out. But in singing as a control, The diaphragm is used to control the speed of air across the vocal chords....that is all the air, so the quality is better.

    Think of a toothpaste tube, when you squeeze from the very bottom the pressure pushes all in front out. if you squeeze in the middle or high up, certain pressure goes out, but it also goes back. This means that the true pressure is being wasted.

    Your breathing is much the same, use the diaphragm to push the air out with control from low and deep, rather than push air out from the chest or throat.

    check out the link..it is explained and demoed great.

  5. I think you may be expecting too much if you expect the human voice to hit and hold a note as solidly as a machine (your bass or other instrument). I agree with the posts above, you can certainly improve your technique and come closer, but I don't think anyone can match an instrument that is specially built to perform the task. Stop and think about it, if you were designing a device to produce vocals, would you duplicate the human anatomy or would you shoot for something better suited to the task?

    It would be interesting to see how close an accomplished "virtuoso" vocalist could come to holding a note as well as an instrument and with as little waver.
  6. DiabolusInMusic

    DiabolusInMusic Functionless Art is Merely Tolerated Vandalism

    Make sure you are singing from your diaphragm and not your throat. Try not to have your mouth go completely open, you want to have your jaw relaxed to let sound flow optimally, a round mouth instead of an oval. Most importantly, smile, turn up the corners of your mouth when holding a pitch, the results will be noticed immediately. BIG SMILE not just a little smirk.

    Practice, you will get better over time, sing all the time, in the shower, in the car, run scales wherever you can, it will %100 make you a better player.

    But yeah, don't expect machine like results, the joy of humanity is imperfection.
  7. Thanks Diabolus. I'll try what you mentioned. I spent a lot of yesterday practicing my breathing, but wasn't doing anything special with my mouth. In fact, I was humming most of the time, so it was probably pretty much closed. Will give this a shot.
  8. 1958Bassman


    Oct 20, 2007
    If you really want to hear how far off you are, download one of the tone generators (on your computer or smart phone) and sing along as you play the tones. They aren't necessarily the same frequency as musical notes but it will let you hear how accurate your intonation is and it will help you to center your singing WRT your specific vibrato. Otherwise, if you play a note and sing along, doing it frequently will make you more aware although you may need someone to point out minor differences.

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