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Vocal training

Discussion in 'Jazz Technique [DB]' started by Humph, Aug 14, 2004.

  1. Humph


    May 23, 2004
    Warren, NJ
    After about 1 month of taking lessons from my teacher(2 1/2 months of playing DB), he has pinpointed my major weakness. I have alot of trouble singing notes, my internal pitch needs lots of work.
    So he started me practicing at the piano signing root-minor2nd, root-major 2nd and all the way up like that, plus permutations of the major scale. And he also recommended signing to a tuner so I could practice holding one note.
    Obviously this is very important for playing DB.
    My question is, does anyone know of any good books & CD's for this kind of problem?
  2. FractalUniverse

    FractalUniverse Guest

    Jan 26, 2002
    Valparaíso, Chile
  3. Damon Rondeau

    Damon Rondeau Journeyman Clam Artist Supporting Member

    Nov 19, 2002
    Winnipeg, baby
    I don't have any book/CD references for ya, but I will pass on a tip. When you're learning to hear and name intervals, try and associate an interval with a melody fragment that's familiar to you. A very long time ago when my ears were young I realized that the piano intro to "Rikki Don't Lose That Number" -- I'll admit it, I was a DanHead and it wasn't much later that I realized they ripped it off from Horace Silver's "Song For My Father" -- is a major 5th. A fourth? For me it was the first interval in the melody of "Someday My Prince Will Come". And so on.

    Make it real. That helps.
  4. FractalUniverse

    FractalUniverse Guest

    Jan 26, 2002
    Valparaíso, Chile
    that's another good one, i have a tune for almost every interval.
    and remember that the fifth is the opening of star wars!
  5. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    The best method to work on ear training (cause it's not a SINGING problem it's a HEARING problem) is to sit down at the piano and work on it. My teacher's methodology is as follows:

    Find the lowest note you can comfortably sing (for me it's the Bb an octave below the Bb just below middle C. Since we don't know what yours is yet, we'll call that NOTE).
    1. Play the NOTE
    2. Play an interval, staying inside the octave, we're working on SCALE tones here. Work your way through the chromatic scale.

    Bb D

    Bb A

    Bb F#

    Bb B

    Play the NOTE, sing the note, play the INTERVAL sing the interval. Then Play the NOTE (and hold it down) and play the INTERVAL and hold it down. release it and sing the NOTE. While still singing the NOTE, play the NOTE. Listen for any beating (out of tune), adjustment (sliding up or down to hit the NOTE) etc. Joe says that if you are singing the NOTE in tune, when you play the NOTE on teh piano, it sounds like you suddenly just got louder, the piano REINFORCES your voice. Do the same thing with the interval. When you are singing these in tune, start moving the bass note around. Then go to

    this is the same thing as above, start with your NOTE. But the second "interval" goes into the next octave. So if your NOTE is Bb, the notes you are choosing should be ABOVE the Bb an octave above your Bb NOTE. Clear? Same as above, you start with a constant bass note, when you are solidly singing these things in tune, you move to moving the bass note around.

    You should also be able to name the interval/extension relationship

    Play notes Bb Gb

    sing Bb Gb/F#

    say Minor sixth/augmented 5th

    or Bb F (up an octave and a half)
    say Perfect 12th

    You'll want to get your teacher to play some of tehse for you, so you're singing and naming them "blind" as it were.

    Then you go to closed position triads, open position triads, 4 part chords, 4 part chords with 1 extension, 4 part chord with 2 extensions.

    Hearing with clarity and understanding and being able to relate what you are hearing to others by using your instrument is what being a musician is all about.
  6. ?? I hear the first two notes as a perfect fourth or are you thinking of this as fifth in bass up to root to then up to the fifth above?

    Actually this raises a good point, in that it is very useful as a bass player to know and hear what the inverse of an interval with an octave is such as up a fifth is down a fourth or up a major third is own a minor 6th (and vice versa of course) etc. It enables you to carry on a line of any interval for ever by constantly switching direction.

    Fifth for me is the last post BTW.
  7. FractalUniverse

    FractalUniverse Guest

    Jan 26, 2002
    Valparaíso, Chile
    no, i was just talking about the moment when the lead instrument appears... when you ask someone to sing the opening theme from star wars...they are going to sing that part... that lead starts with the root of a major scale, then the fifth, 3rd, 2nd, root, octave (that's the part i'm talking about)
  8. Savino


    Jun 2, 2004
    great post ed,

    never quite done it that way, this is the MOST important skill a musician should have.

    listen up, fellas
    ED = Smart
  9. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    Thanks, but I'm just coughing up what I'm working on with my teacher. My girlfriend would say that the other part of the equation would be FUQUA = a**...
  10. flatback

    flatback Supporting Member

    May 6, 2004
    I can empathise with your situation. I just wanted to pass on a bit of info that might be helpful. First, all of the above info is really helpful for serious practice, but for really gaining an ability to find pitch and key, sing very simple songs...childrens songs, songs you already know, like I've got the whole world in my hand or silent night or mary had a little lamb. Do it in the car or shower or bedroom or where ever.
    It is really hard to practice memorizing interval relationships if you can't sing a simple memorable melody. Once you can sing say happy birthday confidently and in tune with the right pitches, change the key.
    This advice was given to me by Charlie Haden who grew up singing with his family on radio...It really is a great way to train your ear and voice at the same time without also trying to grapple with the intellectual theory at the same time. Separate them. Get the singing and simple song thing down learn where you vocal range is where your voice splits into registers, and then grapple with trying to sing tritones and sevenths. But start with 3rds and stepwise melodies, you will progress and gain confidance quickly.
    If you cannot sing simple major/minor tunes and stay on pitch and in key, then the more complex intellectual interval training will be very frustrating and discouraging.
  11. Ed, you seems to have answers to a lot of my questions! ;)

    About singing, I am learning to sing as well! I could sing some pop songs ok, and some major and minor scales ok, but not others.

    For example, I find singing this very fast very hard
    root -> major 2nd -> major 3rd -> root -> major 2nd -> minor 3rd
    I eventually got it, but have to start it very slowly, and increase the speed. Sometimes I will just screw up one of the 3rds!

    And now, I am working on singing this (descending from octave root):
    octave -> major 7th -> major 6th -> octave -> minor 7th -> major 6th

    And fully agreed on the statement that "You can transcribe what you can't sing!", and dang, some of the tunes that I am trying to work on, just have so many notes that does not belong to the major/minor scales, sometimes, I thought I have it in my head, but when I tried to sing it, it goes way off tune!

    Ed, anymore advice for me? :hyper: :hyper:
  12. Humph


    May 23, 2004
    Warren, NJ
    Thanks for all the advice.
    I have started ear training lessons. We are practicing out of an old book by Robert Ottman, called "Music for Sight Singing". The book is AWESOME, it has short 8 to 16 bar melodies. The melodies vary, Haydn, Bach, American folk, etc...
    I practice out of that book and sing along to Don Hermans "Accompanied Rudiments Course". Which is all 12 keys with intervals.
    I have noticed a huge difference. Lots of more work to go.
    So far so good.