Rate this topic

Recommended Posts

I've been singing Swedish traditional music with a vocal ensemble this spring. I sounded good in the ensemble, I think. The leader (the teacher) was happy with my singing. At home when checking with a tuning app (on cellphone) I could not sing the correct intervals. Eg. I was supposee to sing G-E but would hit Eb instead of E. After some practice and testing I hit E. Is ensemble singing easier? What is going on?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It does not have to do with a specific interval but a melody line within a song.  If you are going to practice with scales or intervals use an app that PLAYS the scale or interval so you can hear the change and not have to guess the pitch while looking at sheet music or "hearing" the song from your memory.

There is also the possibility that the actual words, syllables or vowels you are singing are throwing you off.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree with MDEW that you need to be practicing with something playing back that interval to get it stuck in your head. I would add, as a teacher, I've seen with 8 out of 10 students that a 6th interval is incredibly difficult to sing. I don't know exactly why. At first, I thought it had to do with bridging properly, which is something you want to check, since usually using a 6th in a melody involves crossing your passaggio. However, since it doesn't always do that, and yet still seems to be a problem interval for most students, it's possible that it simply has to do with the dissonance of it at such a large jump in pitch. If that is the case, and this is what has helped my students, then you need the repetition to get the muscle memory and get the interval stuck in your head.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, Draven Grey said:

I agree with MDEW that you need to be practicing with something playing back that interval to get it stuck in your head. I would add, as a teacher, I've seen with 8 out of 10 students that a 6th interval is incredibly difficult to sing. I don't know exactly why. At first, I thought it had to do with bridging properly, which is something you want to check, since usually using a 6th in a melody involves crossing your passaggio. However, since it doesn't always do that, and yet still seems to be a problem interval for most students, it's possible that it simply has to do with the dissonance of it at such a large jump in pitch. If that is the case, and this is what has helped my students, then you need the repetition to get the muscle memory and get the interval stuck in your head.

Good point. I did not think of the interval in terms of G being the root of the scale and E being the 6th. I was thinking of the G as being one of the notes in a chord and E being a note in a separate chord in the over all chord progression.

This would also lead to WHY you were able to sing the interval with the ensemble . For one, you had other singers singing that note along with you and you could hear the "Chord" being produced by the different singers. And ,if you were singing by yourself, you could "Hear" the chord played by the instruments.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
11 hours ago, Draven Grey said:

I agree with MDEW that you need to be practicing with something playing back that interval to get it stuck in your head

You mean building muscular memory, then that would depend on the persons memory of relative pitch

 

11 hours ago, Draven Grey said:

, I've seen with 8 out of 10 students that a 6th interval is incredibly difficult to sing. I don't know exactly why. At first, I thought it had to do with bridging properly, which is something you want to check, since usually using a 6th in a melody involves crossing your passaggio.

I think a 6th is just such a large jump that the vocal chords are having to strech and or compress in such a short space of time that its a lack of muscular coordination that hitting the correct note therefore after is so dificult 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 hours ago, Lord Zefron said:

You mean building muscular memory, then that would depend on the persons memory of relative pitch

 

I think a 6th is just such a large jump that the vocal chords are having to strech and or compress in such a short space of time that its a lack of muscular coordination that hitting the correct note therefore after is so dificult 

I don't mean muscle memory when talking about getting the pitch in your head. Singing in pitch is first an aural skill, not even a hearing skill as much as a listening skill. However, when I mention muscle memory at the end of what I wrote, I'm talking about the particular interval jump mentioned, G to E. You can train the muscle position of specific pitches with a generalized/neutral sound color as well. In my post, I was talking about both, first learning to hear the dissonance of the interval, and after getting that stuck in your head, practicing that part of the song over and over to learn the feeling of it as an automatic response.

As for the jump. Moving across one of the bridges, I would agree that the muscle positions change quite a bit for a jump like that. I would add that I've also seen the same issue much lower in the chest register, where the muscle changes aren't nearly as extreme. I would also add that, while I used to think difficulty on a 6th had to do with a quick muscle position change, that idea hasn't held true for a 5th or 7th. Only the 6th seems to be the difficult interval time and time again.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If you are having difficulty in making the pitch change in relation to a scale degree, switch it up by practicing the interval as a chord change. ex  use the chord progression of a G major to an E minor  You would be singing the Root note of G followed by the Root note (Octave)of E minor. More likely than not, the interval of a 6th  indicated a chord change anyway.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 6/7/2018 at 4:28 PM, MDEW said:

It does not have to do with a specific interval but a melody line within a song.  If you are going to practice with scales or intervals use an app that PLAYS the scale or interval so you can hear the change and not have to guess the pitch while looking at sheet music or "hearing" the song from your memory.

There is also the possibility that the actual words, syllables or vowels you are singing are throwing you off.

So you don't like practicing intervals but rather melodic lines? I myself don't sing intervals but rather  lines. C3-E3-G3-A3 would have intervals but it's more than just intervals. Is this what your talking about? Isn't drilling intervals just missing something about real melodies?

Today I tried C-D-E-G. I played C-D-E on the piano and had G silent only singing it. I ended up (according to my tuner app) a bit higher than G. When singibg C-E I sometimes come a bit high. Is this common? Does this have anything to do qoth tge fact that a natural third is higher than a equal temperament third or is this just a technique issue?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi.. 

I have very good personal experience with interval training.  I started very late(37+).  I had no knowledge of music.  But now I have come very far(over the last two years), now I can notate by hear, recognize the root note and even make out notes in real time.  

The idea is to give yourself time for this.  Hearing like singing is a learned trait and takes time.  The best way to start is with a great app called functional ear trainer.  That is a really good starting point.  

If you need any ideas, hit me up.  I am happy to share my knowledge with you.. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The best exercise I've found yet for this is to pick a home note and then sing a spacing an equal amount up and down from that note. You can check with an instrument to see if you are right.

Augmented and diminished chords lend naturally as a starting point to understanding this due to their their even spacing of notes, with augmented being 4 note spacing and diminished being 3 note spacing.

But really just take a note, then sing:

+1 ,-1

+2, -2

+3, -3

+4, -4

+5, -5

And so on from that note. Then randomize it so you can do them on command.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would like to point that although the question asks about Singing Intervals, the skill in question is much more about reproducing a given melody with precision. These are related but different skills.

If you will have use for precision with interval identification, for example say you want to come up with some interesting harmonies and you don't have an instrument to use as reference, then ok.

But trying to break down melodies and reproduce them interval by interval often leads to a worse performance in intonation and precision. For whatever reason which I honestly don't know (probably related to our language) we process phrases in a different way. I would suggest practicing a scale or even the phrase itself against the harmonic context that is appropriate.

The context can make an exact same note sequence sound consonant or totally dissonant (which often makes you gravitate to different notes that would be consonant on said context).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

At a vocal teacher you often learn to sing with another instrument be it piano or vocal (if it is a ensemble).

Would it be important to learn to sing alone without an instrument or does that just come naturally after singing with another instrument? For me, singing alone is very different from singing with a instrument. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 6/29/2018 at 7:12 AM, ilovemyself said:

At a vocal teacher you often learn to sing with another instrument be it piano or vocal (if it is a ensemble).

Would it be important to learn to sing alone without an instrument or does that just come naturally after singing with another instrument? For me, singing alone is very different from singing with a instrument. 

You can develop the skill if you want by alternating using a reference, and not. If you will not be singing alone, I would not place that as a priority.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

very cool post ILM!  The volley between Draven and Mdew took much concentration for this blockhead to track.

It's good reading, really made me think about the relationship between muscle memory and relative pitch which is good vocal geek session for me. 

I had the chance to sing in an Episcopal choir for nearly five years. I wanted to do it as a musical challenge to myself since I read no music, and the choir members were super talented singers (some of them paid staff who have day jobs in the L.A. opera, and other hollywood productions  . . . .  these were not only great vocalists but they were adept at sight reading music. The weekly compositions were almost always classical and complex. The only reason I made the cut (bass section) and was given the chance to sing with them was my good sense of relative pitch. I relied heavily on the pro singer standing next to me (a vocal teacher at a local university on the side). 

After speaking with several of these pro singers, and the conductor, about the key elements in achieving their skill sets, the consensus was, mastering intervals.  I did not have the discipline to practice them. Not too motivated because I wasn't going to be getting any singing sight reading gigs anytime soon.  I'm certain however, that practicing intervals will strengthen both muscular coordination, and relative pitch! Intervals also helped me improve my recognition of notes on sheet music. 

btw, these pro singers did not stop practicing intervals just because they mastered them, that actually enabled them to use them as a training exercise/warm up.

That's why I also thought what aravindmadis posted seemed like a good example of the benefits of mastering intervals.

On 6/24/2018 at 7:37 AM, aravindmadis said:

Hi.. 

I have very good personal experience with interval training.  I started very late(37+).  I had no knowledge of music.  But now I have come very far(over the last two years), now I can notate by hear, recognize the root note and even make out notes in real time.  

 

chimp vocalist.jpeg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now