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Thread: That "tone deafness" discussion...

  1. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by kickingtone View Post
    I still say that pitch going "up" or "down" is an approximate convention, and that isolating pitch in this fashion is not a requirement of musicality.
    Obviously, this is my personal opinion, and I would only apply it to vocal technique. As soon as you start interacting with equipment -- a DAW or musical instrument that is not your voice, expertise in pitch etc. becomes essential because it is the language of processing.

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  3. #12
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    I don't have any kind of "perfect pitch" in my own singing, though, I can certainly tell when I'm on or off...but when I listen to other singers, I can hear when they are off relative to the rest of the music. IOW, there's a lost of stylistic interpretation with singing, so you can slide in and out of pitch and even be creatively off...but there are times when your pitch has to be spot on relative to the music, otherwise it really sticks out as "sour" rather than as "style".

    I've heard enough of the AI or AGT videos of the singers auditioning...and boy, the hairs on the back of my neck would stand up at times how sour they were, yet they seem to just roll through it. Even some of the finalists' performances, I could heart obvious clams. I think in many cases the judges were being too kind when they would critique, because they realized that if they boot everyone who goes off pitch...they would run out of contestants real quick.

    So last night I was channel surfing after I shut down at about 1:00AM in the studio...nothing much on, and then I run across "A Star Is Born" with Kris Kristofferson and Barbara Streisand...so I watched it for about a half hour, it had a lot of that early '70s "Rock" vibe (Kristofferson plays the part of a Rock star heading downhill).
    Anyway...I was surprised at how lousy Kristofferson sang. Just awful...but he was on-key. Of course, he was never known for his singing, mostly for his songwriting. Then Babs had a few numbers...and as much as I was never a Babs fan...boy she could sing, perfect, on-key, flawless.

    I think people who want to sing or who work with singers need to be able to tell the difference. Maybe "tone deafness" afflicts some folks...but anyone that can appreciate music or especially if they play an instrument, should be able to tell the difference. Maybe they can't when they sing...but they should be able to when they listen...enough to know that their (or someone's) singing is good or bad.
    I'm just surprised how the majority of the people who ask the "can I sing" question are not able to make their own judgments...though I think many of them are not really asking if they are on-pitch...they just want to know if others like the character/quality of their singing from a "can I make it" perspective.
    The "can I make it" angle is hard to respond to, because character/quality of a particular voice is often about the context and possibly even marketing and promotion, etc. IOW....just 'cuz you have a great voice or a rough/semi-unpleasant voice...it doesn't mean you will or won't make it.

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    Yup Miro........that's always been the sticking point for me with this "can I sing" thread. How is it that the off pitch ones have NO IDEA that they're not on pitch?

    But the video does seem to give some scientific answers to that question. There are people who apparently have a "brain pathway" issue that genuinely cannot hear proper pitch. Wild but true I guess. Those people obviously would not be able to sing on pitch very well.............and would probably never know it. I think we've met some of those people here.
    Just A Song Writer..........

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mickster View Post
    There are people who apparently have a "brain pathway" issue...
    Yeah...I don't doubt that.

    Seriously though...I don't disagree with that notion that some people just can't connect the dots for pitch recognition (they are probably real good at something else), and it's OK...if you can't hear pitch, no problem...give up on the idea of being a singer.

    I've never been bothered by the singers who are genuine, and who understand and accept the critiques and come here to ask for help.
    It's the other ones...who don't/won't take any advice, who argue back in disbelief, or who obviously won't put the time and effort into it.

    I mean...there's only the occasional "naturally born" talent that doesn't need to work at it....the rest of us all need to work at it.

  6. #15
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    Finished up the video. I like that they touched on Dylan, Neil Young, et al by mentioning how they connect emotionally with people and have a genuine delivery. That's worth a ton. As much as pitch. If the song is good and the person delivers it genuinely they can get away with pitch (within reason).

    Who cares if people show up and ask if they can sing? If it bothers you just don't read it. Problem solved!

  7. #16
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    Dylan and Neil Young are not everybody's cup of tea as their styles are not generally "full voice" singing...maybe whinny sometimes as are several other successful songwriters that sing.

    Both Dylan and Young are very much IMO in key / not off pitch unless they mean to be in their styling .. Tone deaf people not only can't sing in key they'd be shit out luck trying to tune an instrument without a tuner....Both the aforementioned singers can easily tune a guitar to sound in tune (though maybe not in A-440) without a tuner...whereas that would be an impossibility for a tone deaf person..

    Doesn't mean they can't enjoy music and even playing and for sure it's not just you're flat out tone deaf or you're not...some are worse, some are better than others...

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  9. #17
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    I remember having real trouble with a student - they would be flat, or sharp, but randomly. I gave them to an expert who played a few notes on the piano - sing this, now sing this. He even tried singing a note and the student had to find it by going up and down the piano keys - "no" he said, "it's not any of them". Twenty years later - he is a singer, working in clubs and theatres and doing pretty well, and he sings in tune, quite nicely. One day, apparently, it just clicked and his pitching ability suddenly started working.

    Maybe it's like dancing - some can, some can't but a few can learn?

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    Quote Originally Posted by rob aylestone View Post
    I remember having real trouble with a student - they would be flat, or sharp, but randomly. I gave them to an expert who played a few notes on the piano - sing this, now sing this. He even tried singing a note and the student had to find it by going up and down the piano keys - "no" he said, "it's not any of them". Twenty years later - he is a singer, working in clubs and theatres and doing pretty well, and he sings in tune, quite nicely. One day, apparently, it just clicked and his pitching ability suddenly started working.

    Maybe it's like dancing - some can, some can't but a few can learn?

    I think learning how to listen is the key to learning how the sing.

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    We were doing a drifters show yesterday and the drummer was really good - my stage manager is an excellent dancer and was trying to copy what the drummer was doing. Two limbs hard, three too hard and four impossible, yet she can do what seems similar in physical movement with her legs and body. Bog standard drums patterns she couldn't do. This seems wrong somehow. Why is music different?

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    It's weird for me, sometimes I think I'm spot on until I hear the recording. Then I'm sometimes pretty flat, and unsure how I didn't catch it when I was singing it. But I'm never sharp - always flat, when off. It could be due to weird things like playback level, one ear on/off phones, both ears covered and music blaring etc... My best takes are usually the 5th-9th. Before and after I'm flat a bit, but the later takes also have a lot more "character", since, by that time, I'm focusing more on emotion and style than pitch.
    "No healthy person waits in line with a slew of geriatrics on a Sunday morning for pancakes" - RFR https://soundcloud.com/andrushkiwt

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