Sunday, October 06, 2013

Singing Out Of Tune

I sometimes watch The X Factor, The Voice, American Idol, and America's Got Talent. I've seen way too many "singers", who sing out of tune. You can call it "pitchy", if you want. Why don't we call it what it is? It is having a condition called "amusical". Without music. Without musicianship. There is a mathematical relationship between intervals. If you sing it too wide or too narrow, within a very small margin of error, then you need to WORK on your interval accuracy. You have to use your hearing in conjunction with your voice and it takes PRACTICE to be good at it and LOTS OF PRACTICE to be professional at it. Some of the best musical ears will be those of trombonists, fretless stringed instrumentalists, and some singers. There is no getting around the practice to develop accurate interval singing. There is not a trick or a formula or a meter to accomplish this. Look at it this way: do you want to be a good singer or do you want to be a bad joke? Most people (including friends and family) either cannot hear your badness or they are just being polite or loving and not wanting to hurt you.

What does a professional hear, when someone sings out of tune? They hear laziness or incompetency or a person who was not born with it and has refused to do the work. You cannot fool a pro. So, if you haven't done the work, you may just be fooling yourself, or you don't have the pride or integrity or artistry to improve.

Two things you HAVE to hear and do: 1) Sing intervals accurately and 2) HEAR the accompaniment and yourself in relationship to the accompaniment and be in tune with it. These things are obvious to a professional.

I don't find bad singers to be funny. I think of them as sad or pitiful or in dire need of help. If they continue to sing poorly or severely out of tune, they have either done the work or they haven't. If a person has brain damage, singing in tune may not be possible. Most people who sing out of tune simply need training. I find the TV shows making fun of non-artists to be about as intellectually stimulating as bad slapstick comedy.

The more a person can hear in music, the better the singer, the person will be. If you can sing all major and minor intervals, up to 13ths and if you can hear all chords and identify and name them up through 13ths (including all altered tones, if any) you will have the musicianship to handle the melodic and harmonic interval issues, providing you can sing what you hear in intervals and in chords.

What if you don't have the time to do the work? You will be as good of a singer as you find the time to do the work.

What are you going to do about it?