When we begin singing, we often hear things like “you are singing off – pitch”, “she is hitting the notes perfectly”, or “the tone of his voice is amazing.”
Every singer wants to sing on pitch, hit the notes perfectly, and have an amazing tone. To do so one must know what they mean. But what do these terms even mean?
Pitch : When we sing the vocal cords vibrate at a certain speed. In other words, Pitch is the frequency of a sound from high frequency to low. When the vocal cords vibrate at a faster speed it emits a higher pitch. Likewise, when the vocal cords vibrate at a slower rate it emits a lower pitch.
Notes : The musical symbols that help in indicating the location of the pitch are called notes.
Tone : The Tone is the colour of one’s voice. The quality of the voice. It can be described as shrill, warm, dark, etc. Before one learns to sing on the pitch, they need to keep some things in their mind which are extremely essential when it comes to singing. One’s posture, breath, and the tension while singing and how it affects their vocal cords.
Vocal cords : The tiny bands of tissues situated inside one’s larynx which helps in producing the singing voice are known as vocal cords. The vocal cords vibrate at different speeds to create different pitches.
How to sing on pitch
Now that we know what pitch means we come to the real question. How to sing on pitch?
There are different ways through which one can learn to sing on Pitch.
One of the ways you can learn to sing on pitch is through Pitch Matching. Pitch Matching is a skill in which one is able to sing a note by being able to hear a note through an external source for example a guitar or a piano etc. To learn the skill of pitch matching one must follow a few steps:
Select the note : Select a note that you want to sing. Keep in mind while selecting a note preferably choose a note which is within your middle range and then work your way forward.
Play the note : Use a guitar, piano, or any instrument to play that particular note, If you don’t have an instrument, Don’t worry you can download digital instruments or a tuner app on your phone.
Visualise the note : After playing the note try to visualise the note in your head. Try to create an image of the note before singing it.
Now try singing the note.
A frequently asked question is “If I able to match the pitch correctly or am I singing on pitch or not?”
It can be difficult to understand whether you are singing correctly or not because oftentimes you are not able to hear yourself when you sing.
Record yourself singing : To check whether you are successfully matching the note or not. Record yourself while singing the note. Listen to the recording and identify whether you have sung it correctly or not.
Check whether you are singing correctly or not : If you are singing lower than the chosen note then you are singing flat. In order to match the pitch, try to uplift your voice higher and try matching the pitch. And if you are singing higher than the note then you are singing sharp. In that case, try to lower your voice to meet the pitch. Keep repeating it till you sing the note correctly.
Develop muscle memory : Once you get the note right. Try to remember the sensation that you felt while singing. By repeatedly singing your vocal cords will slowly memorise the impact and the feeling that it is supposed to make while singing that particular note. Thus, practising regularly will help in developing muscle memory
We often come across the term “Pitch Perfect” there are plenty of questions surrounding it. What does it mean? Can everyone learn how to be pitch perfect?
When one can sing any note by just naming it or by thinking of the note in their head it is known as “PITCH PERFECT”. It is also known as “ABSOLUTE PITCH”
Regarding the question of whether “Can people learn to be pitch perfect?” There has been a lot of talk about this particular topic. Many believe that it involves the work of genetics; they simply believe that some people are born with being pitch perfect. It has also been seen having absolute pitch runs in one’s family thus genetics are partially involved. On the other hand, some scientists believe that absolute pitch or pitch perfect is a redundant concept, Regardless of varied opinions, there are numerous researches underway on the topic of absolute pitch. It is not necessary to have an absolute pitch for singing in tune. Though singing on pitch is an essential skill, the good news is that you can always learn to sing on pitch.
It can be extremely daunting if you are struggling in the beginning. There are a few other ways in which you can kick start your match pitching journey.
Listening and humming : Listen to the note on repeat and try to visualise the note in your mind and hum the note.
Sing along : If you are struggling to sing the note and match the pitch, try to sing the note along with the note when played.
As mentioned above, keep recording yourself and be brave and listen to the recordings and rectify your mistakes.
Slide through the pitch : Try sliding up and down the pitch. Sing the note and if the pitch seems incorrect slide away from the note and sing again. It will help you realise the difference between the correct pitch and the incorrect pitch.
- Play the note
- Visualise the note in your head
- Sing the note
- If you are unable to match the pitch try sliding up and down the pitch. Till you are able to match the pitch.
Practising is one of the essential keys. Consistency and regularity in practice are crucial for learning to sing on pitch.
Now that the importance of practice has been highlighted; It is also true that practising can become monotonous and boring from time to time. Especially given the repetitive nature of the exercises for attaining the skill of singing on the pitch. To make learning and practice more interesting and exciting you can explore and download different apps and games which focus on singing on the pitch for example Pitchy Ninja. To break the cycle of monotony keeps switching between practising different musical skills.
Singing on pitch is one the many skills that a singer wants to acquire. Remember a singer needs to learn many different skills such as vibrato, falsetto, belting one’s voice, etc. from the world of music to become proficient in the art of singing.
Last but not least, enjoy the process and keep singing.
You also may want to explore How to sing better? to understand few more singing techniques. If you are looking for more help, musicmaster can provide highly qualified tutors for 1 to 1 live western vocals classes.