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mailman
04-24-2009, 10:07 AM
How does one find the right key for their singing voice?

If I'm totally comfortable vocally with a certain song in a certain key, does that mean I should transpose all the songs I want to do into that key? Or will different songs perhaps be just as comfortable for me even though they're in a different key?

The same question applies to uke tuning. Will a certain tuning (key) be "right" for a certain voice (based on singing key) regardless of the song?

I find this all to be quite confusing....

deach
04-24-2009, 10:14 AM
I obviously have no idea but would love to find out.

HaileISela
04-24-2009, 10:16 AM
I think it depends mostly on the ambitus (range) of the melody. If the melody is too high in a certain key, transpose it down. too low, transpose it up. but it's not like there's the "perfect key" for your voice. just try.

one example, I found a song that is very beautiful because of it's high melody. the melody was too high for me (and wouldn't sound good an octave lower sung) so I transposed it down step by step until I found a key which allowed me to sing those sweet tones in my voice range.

SailQwest
04-24-2009, 10:25 AM
If I'm totally comfortable vocally with a certain song in a certain key, does that mean I should transpose all the songs I want to do into that key?

No.


Or will different songs perhaps be just as comfortable for me even though they're in a different key?

Yes. A lot of it depends on the melody line of the vocals, and what the sustained notes are in the song. Ideally, the sustained notes will be at a very comfortable spot in your vocal range.


The same question applies to uke tuning. Will a certain tuning (key) be "right" for a certain voice (based on singing key) regardless of the song?

I think most people pick a uke tuning that's right for the uke, rather than their voice. Typically sopranos, concerts and tenors are gcea; baritones dgbe. And a lot of people have mentioned that they like their sopraninos tuned agf#b.


I find this all to be quite confusing....

I do, too. We frequently will try out a new song in 2 or 3 keys to decide which to do it in. Plus, if Rich is singing the melody, it's usually a different key than if I am.

cpatch
04-24-2009, 10:39 AM
The same question applies to uke tuning. Will a certain tuning (key) be "right" for a certain voice (based on singing key) regardless of the song?
No...use a capo to change keys.

mailman
04-24-2009, 10:51 AM
I intend to buy a capo, and learn how and why and when to use it. I looked at some yesterday, actually. Saw one I liked by a company called G9(?), G7(?)...something like that. They didn't have the banjo/mandolin size in stock, though.

What I need is some face-to-face time with some other uke players to learn more about music. As wonderful as UU is, it's not the same as actually interacting one-on-one in real time with someone. That's the way I seem to learn the best.

mailman
04-24-2009, 10:58 AM
The capo I saw was by G7th....

Just found it on the web, copied the picture, but when I tried to paste it here nothing came up. Me and technology again....

grappler
04-24-2009, 11:44 AM
Great info there

HaileISela
04-24-2009, 12:04 PM
I intend to buy a capo, and learn how and why and when to use it. I looked at some yesterday, actually. Saw one I liked by a company called G9(?), G7(?)...something like that. They didn't have the banjo/mandolin size in stock, though.

What I need is some face-to-face time with some other uke players to learn more about music. As wonderful as UU is, it's not the same as actually interacting one-on-one in real time with someone. That's the way I seem to learn the best.

The capo is awesome to get the tuning higher (you simply move the 1st fret further up the fretboard), like for example: put the Capo on the second fret and your standard fingering for C is D, G is A, F is G and so on. but it gets a little tricky to transpose down sometimes.

Kanaka916
04-24-2009, 12:55 PM
Hey mailman,exactly where are you located?

mailman
04-24-2009, 01:50 PM
Between Buffalo and Rochester, NY....closer to Rochester. Why? Are you close?

Weasel
04-24-2009, 02:26 PM
The key doesn't make a difference, only the range of the melody's pitch (like said above).

The great thing about our voice is that it can expand, but it doen't expand without practice. If there is a song that is just barely out of your comfort range, don't transpose it to fit, practice it the way it is and your range will expand and that song will fit in your new comfort range.

I am naturally a baritone, but have expanded my range to a high Bb all the way down to a low D(below the bass staff), nearly a 4 octave range!

buddhuu
04-25-2009, 12:35 AM
Like SailQwest, we typically try out a song in 2 or 3 keys. We have 3 singers so the key will depend on the song and who is taking lead vocal.

For messing around on my own, the way I find the key for me is simply to sing the song with no instrument then, once I find where it's comfortable, find the starting chord for that starting note.

I occasionally use capos if there are certain chord voicing shapes that sound best. Otherwise I just transpose ad hoc and play the chords from the new key rather than using a capo.

Raygf
04-25-2009, 01:55 AM
The key doesn't make a difference, only the range of the melody's pitch (like said above).

The great thing about our voice is that it can expand, but it doen't expand without practice. If there is a song that is just barely out of your comfort range, don't transpose it to fit, practice it the way it is and your range will expand and that song will fit in your new comfort range.


Be careful here. Vocal range can be expanded, but, in most cases not just by practice. In most cases, without some study and training you can do more harm than good. Some simple vocal warm ups can get you to reach those notes just beyond what feels comfortable.
Take hitting a baseball or golf ball. I could go to the batting cage or driving range and hit balls all day long and maybe see marginal improvement and definitely several days of sore muscles because I am not in great physical shape. The real way to improve is to warm up, study proper technique and have someone watch your swing or listen to you sing and give you pointers.

Please don't get me wrong, I agree that practice will help strengthen your voice, but some simple vocal warm ups demonstrated by a good voice instructor will help much more than just singing the song over and over again. The trick is to find a good teacher. I'm sure Rochester has plenty of descent choral directors and vocal teachers that could help.

Here is a link to a good example of a simple vocal warm up to get you started. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U9pwK21LJOo

Raygf
04-25-2009, 02:39 AM
How does one find the right key for their singing voice?
If I'm totally comfortable vocally with a certain song in a certain key, does that mean I should transpose all the songs I want to do into that key? Or will different songs perhaps be just as comfortable for me even though they're in a different key?
The same question applies to uke tuning. Will a certain tuning (key) be "right" for a certain voice (based on singing key) regardless of the song?
I find this all to be quite confusing....


You don't want to transpose every song to one key. That would quickly become boring for you and your listeners. One song may feel great in a certain key, but not in another and it may not sound too good either. Other songs may feel just as comfortable to you in a different key. It really is all about the range of your singing voice and the range of the melody of the songs you want to sing.

Capos are great for changing the key quickly without learning new chords for the song. I use capo on guitar, but not on ukulele.

Learning to transpose songs is a great way to improve and expand your playing. Try learning some movable chord forms/shapes (some people call them closed chord forms) that you can move up and down the neck. This can make transposing quicker and easier. For instance a C major chord can be played 5433 or 9787. Learn where all of the C major chords are on the neck. Then all the Gs, etc., etc. Mark Guiterrez presented this idea in a workshop at last year's Windy City Ukefest and it really moved my playing forward.

Take G 4232, C 5433 and D 7655 or 2225 and play a tune you know that uses these chords. Now slide all these same chord shapes up one fret and you're playing in G#/Ab. Move it up 2 frets and you get A major. 3 frets and you have Bb. Moving down 1 fret gives you F#/Gb. 2 frets down and F becomes open position and Bb and C are closed position (which just means no open strings).

Try not to let yourself get confused by all this. Play and sing what feels good and most of all enjoy making music. :shaka:

MysticRatboy
04-25-2009, 03:10 AM
As stated before depends on melody line. More specifically sustained notes.

After taking singing classes for a more than a year now, I have gained singability of at least 5 more notes higher. And increased overall power.

Somehow psicologically feels a lot better to sing at its original range (or at least close) than transposing to a lower key that makes your voice lose the brightness.