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Some basic questions about jazz singing and practicing

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Tombolino
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Hi friends,

I have some questions about jazz singing.

Besides playing guitar, I recently started taking voice lessons and have been learning some jazz standards (mostly bossa novas). I have the opportunity to play casually with some jazz folks every week and sing a couple of tunes.

I start by fetching lyrics, getting an mp3 of an version I like and then find a karaoke track of the song.

Im trying to figure out in what key I should sing and practice the songs I'm learning.

-What computer software or apps let you change the key of the mp3?

-How do I figure out what key I should sing the song in? (of course, I know it has to be in a range I can do but I often wonder if should push for ranges I can do that are harder or ...what?

-What programs do you use to chart your songs when there is no fake book available for that song or I dont like the arrangement?

Thank you!

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Hi Tombolino

I am not an expert Jazz singer (or expert any singer !) but I played Jazz piano for a good few years and used to sing a bit so hopefully this will help.

Regarding which keys to concentrate on, I would say Eb is the main one - someone once told me that as many jazz songs originated on horn instruments the flattened keys (e.g. Eb, Bb etc) were used. Contrast this with a lot of rock music that is played on string instruments (guitar, bass etc). Loads of songs seem to be in G, D etc - these keys tend to have sharpened notes...If you look in many of the printed 'fake books' available, you'll see that the songs are in Eb especially.

About transposing software - I'd recommend Transcribe - here's a link...

http://www.seventhstring.com/xscribe/overview.html

Its a very good bit of software. I bought it a few years ago.

Hope this helps

Z

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Audacity is free and it allows pitch changes but I haven't been able to figure out how to do it and I've tried several times. You can drop or lower by steps and change the key but Like I said. I haven't been able to do it. Maybe you're smarter than me :D

As far as what key to sing in I guess the best starting point would be the key the song is in already then go from there. If it's too high go lower if it's too low go higher. But stay in your comfort range.

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Audacity is free and it allows pitch changes but I haven't been able to figure out how to do it and I've tried several times. You can drop or lower by steps and change the key but Like I said. I haven't been able to do it. Maybe you're smarter than me :D

As far as what key to sing in I guess the best starting point would be the key the song is in already then go from there. If it's too high go lower if it's too low go higher. But stay in your comfort range.

tommy,

simple...highlight the entire portion of your recording. click on edit, select, all, then effect, change pitch...you'll see your choices. bob

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H Bob, Thanks for the tip. The problem isn't finding out how, it's what to do once I get there :D In "effects" on the top of the Audacity page there is a pitch link. I've clicked it but don't understand how to use it. I never really know the key of any song I'm singing and I think you need to know that first. :/ It has 2 drop downs one for the song key and the other for the key you wish to change to. Then it has another box for how many steps you want to change. There is also a box with a number value that I have no clue what it means. Wow, I'm so musically inclined huh? I don't know how I manage to get a song together. :rolleyes:

Thanks, I'll play with it again

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Hi,

It depends what you are gonna do. If you want to sit in on some gigs then learn some well known Jazz standards that people know. If you are playing with decent jazz musicians they will be able to play in any key you like. If you are able to work out your keys then find ones that you are comfortable in. Once you've got to know a few musicians then I'm sure they will help you with charts and then you can build up your pad. Have a selection of swing, bossa, ballads and maybe a couple of bluesy numbers.

So basically a good way to practice your songs in your keys is to get friends with a good guitarist or pianist and have a sing through some of your tunes. That's what I did when I first got into Jazz. This way you can build up a set list.

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Thanks! I jam with both C and Eb instruments in the same room.

A minor is too low for me to get into it with gusto, while the octave higher is too high. Wondering if I should just learn how to sing in those keys as well.

I feel/sound best at F, Eb, E, sometimes D.

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