Intonation when singing – how to practice it?

Intonation when singing - how to practice it?

There are fantastic singers who seem to have a limitless vocal range. You seem to be able to sing anything and never have any problems with your voice. But if the tones do not fit properly, doubts arise. Neither the best voice nor the greatest talent can hide insecure intonation.

If you have only ever worked on your voice and repertoire, but never really on your intonation, you may one day have to start practicing all over again. Just as the correct understanding of rhythm is a basis for all musicians, so is clean intonation the basis for harmonious interaction with other musicians.

But where does unclean intonation begin?? What is still accepted as artistic design and at what point does it become unpleasant for the listener??

What’s the reason some singers can’t hit the notes right? Do they hear it and just don’t know what to do about it, or does it just sound good enough to their ears and so they don’t even think of tweaking it?

  • When do we speak of an intonation problem?
  • What are the causes of crooked intonation and what can be done about it??
  • 1. Cause analysis: Why the tones cannot be reached? Are it technical errors or the lack of imagination of the frequencies?
  • 2. Learning to play an instrument
  • 3. Intensive (listening) to music
  • 4. Playing a melody or individual notes slowly on the piano (or another tuned instrument), "recording" them by ear and play back.
  • 5. Singing tone sequences in slow motion in a controlled manner
  • 6. Learning to pitch (pitch engl. for pitch)
  • 7. Intoning double sounds and voiced and unvoiced consonants
  • 8. Practice controlled phrasing
  • 9. Singing and recognizing intervals – singing chromatic scales

When do we speak of an intonation problem?

Intonation weaknesses can have a variety of causes. In the beginning, difficulties with intonation are often due to the fact that the vocal technique is not yet balanced, or that the correct frequencies have not yet become fixed in the memory. so it lies at the end. For advanced singers, the weakness is simply measured by one’s own aspirations, i.e., whether and how accurately one actually wants to sing.

Of course, there is always some room for maneuver – this is called artistic freedom. A slightly crooked intonation can even become a recognition feature. However, this only works if it is clear to the listeners that this is intentional and doesn’t happen because you can’t do it any other way. In addition, such a daring "game" must Of course, also be coordinated with the accompanying musicians. Otherwise it can happen that they do not want to accompany you again.

Even though blues phrasing often results in "greased" If you want to make a good transition, you can hear very clearly whether the singer knows which target note he or she is aiming for. If the target note is not clearly prepared in the mind, the tone will be sung after a "slide" end in nowhere. This results in a blurry picture of the frequencies and then the listener doesn’t know what it is that the singer doesn’t like very much.

What are the causes of crooked intonation and what can be done about it??

The most common causes are probably

  • Lack of a mental image of the exact pitch
  • lack of vocal technique (control over vocal fold vibration)
  • not enough energy
  • too much breathing pressure
  • inaccurate intonation of consonants and double sounds
  • anatomical problems (swelling of the vocal folds, nodules, etc.).)

Nine steps to improved intonation

1. Cause analysis: Why the notes cannot be reached? Is it technical errors or the lack of imagination of the frequencies?

To find out if it is perhaps your vocal technique that is causing the notes (especially in high register) to become increasingly unclean, simply sing the same melody once in a softer "heady" voice Sound. So choose a mode that requires little power.

If you notice that the notes are much better, you can assume that you have anatomical problems (vocal folds) in your loud "chesty" voice mode you sing with too little energy. You have here the possibility to either change the mode from a certain pitch or with more energy and if necessary. more volume to stay in powerful mode.

However, if you find that the same problem occurs when singing softly, it is more likely that you have not yet fully understood the spacing between the notes.

2. Learn to play an instrument

Instrumentalists, who can often intonate very precisely when singing due to their good hearing, usually know little about vocal technique. When they sing, it may not sound optimal, but most of the time they can place the notes correctly, simply because they know in which frequency range the note should be located. So it’s not always about having a perfect voice and a balanced technique. Sometimes a simple vocal sound with a very good intonation is enough to make your performance successful.

So in the end it doesn’t matter HOW you sound. It is important that your tones are intonated correctly. You don’t have to know how to play an instrument perfectly, but you should already know how to play a piano or a piano. having a keyboard or a guitar at home. take a few hours of lessons and work with the instrument a little every day.

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