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Thread: another 'singing flat' problem

  1. #1
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    another 'singing flat' problem

    Hi! I've noticed that when I sing with acoustic guitar, the vocal recording is flat?
    I suspect that for some reason, the angle that I'm receiving the sound from my guitar is causing me problems? any ideas/solutions would be appreciated.

    Also, I recently recorded rehearsal at a large stage venu and when I played it back - on the stage - my vocals sounded in key, but when I listened to the recording at home I can tell that I'm singing just a little bit flat???

    Can anybody suggest best placement for monitors on stage?

    Thanks

  2. #2
    Registered User Malcolm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by justcliff
    Hi! I've noticed that when I sing with acoustic guitar, the vocal recording is flat?
    I suspect that for some reason, the angle that I'm receiving the sound from my guitar is causing me problems? any ideas/solutions would be appreciated.

    Also, I recently recorded rehearsal at a large stage venu and when I played it back - on the stage - my vocals sounded in key, but when I listened to the recording at home I can tell that I'm singing just a little bit flat???

    Can anybody suggest best placement for monitors on stage?

    Thanks
    As you are not getting hits. Most of us sing flat. Ever wonder why the hymnals like the flat keys, very seldom are horns involved, so it must be something else - congregations sing flat. Check out how much is in F or one of the flat keys.

    As to monitor placement - right in front of me. LOL I have no experience with the best placement for voice.

    Perhaps this will get it started.

  3. #3
    Registered User JonR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by justcliff
    Hi! I've noticed that when I sing with acoustic guitar, the vocal recording is flat?
    I suspect that for some reason, the angle that I'm receiving the sound from my guitar is causing me problems? any ideas/solutions would be appreciated.

    Also, I recently recorded rehearsal at a large stage venu and when I played it back - on the stage - my vocals sounded in key, but when I listened to the recording at home I can tell that I'm singing just a little bit flat???

    Can anybody suggest best placement for monitors on stage?

    Thanks
    Best placement for monitors is simply wherever you can hear them clearest. IOW, pointing directly up at you, wherever you are; and with no obstacles in the way. (Eg, if you are holding a guitar, does the guitar or your arms obstruct a straight line between the monitor and your ears?)

    When practising acoustically (no mics or gear), you can hear your voice (and guitar) more clearly if you sit or stand facing a wall, as close as you can get, so the sound reflects back. Even better if you can sit facing a corner, because that will focus the soundwaves directly back at you.
    (Apparently, this is how Robert Johnson sat when he made his recordings; people seemed to wonder why he sat facing the wall, and thought he was just shy or nervous. Nope... )

    As Malcolm says, singing flat is quite common, but - IMO - is nothing to do with flat keys. (Name any flat key and it will be a half-step sharper than another key...)
    It's because we usually have to raise our voices to pitch them musically. Our natural speaking pitch is at the low end of our range (whatever that might be). So we are (almost) always aiming upwards to get a note - and sometimes we just don't make it!
    This is especially the case in pop/rock music, where it's conventional for male voices to be high, stretching for the top of their range. (High pitch = intense emotion!) In addition, in blues it's standard to sing certain notes flat deliberately - b3, b5, b7 - to varying amounts, for expressive purposes. All singers - even classically trained ones - swoop up to notes, but blues singers make an art of swooping slowly. And rock is, of course, heavily influenced by blues techniques.

    It may be that a few singing lessons are in order (to train you to hear your vocal pitch more accurately without technical assisitance!), but as long as you focus on it in practice - and remain aware of the issue - you should improve.

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