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fretie
06-24-2012, 12:26 PM
I recently figured out that my voice is in the alto range. Now I would like to transpose some uke songs into a key or keys that suit my voice as a lot of the songs sung at our uke meetups are either too low or too high for me.

How would I know what keys are the better ones for someone with my singing range?

chiefnoda
06-24-2012, 12:31 PM
Hi Fretie

My singer is an alto, although she had a good range. She preferred to sing jazz standards (usually written in Eb) in key of C. So I suspect you will feel comfortable in C. It also depends a lot on other things but as a general rule, a song ends on a C note if it's key of C.

You can also benefit if you get a capo. An easy way to transpose up and see what key is best for you.

Cheers
Chief

fretie
06-24-2012, 02:50 PM
Hi Fretie

My singer is an alto, although she had a good range. She preferred to sing jazz standards (usually written in Eb) in key of C. So I suspect you will feel comfortable in C. It also depends a lot on other things but as a general rule, a song ends on a C note if it's key of C.

You can also benefit if you get a capo. An easy way to transpose up and see what key is best for you.

Cheers
Chief

Thanks! Very helpful reply. Hadn't thought of trying a capo to check out different keys...I need to do a little research on your capo idea. Chord shapes are still the same or do they change when a capo is attached....?

salukulady
06-24-2012, 03:06 PM
I am an alto. I prefer most of my songs in the key of G. F and A work also.

fretie
06-26-2012, 06:07 PM
I am an alto. I prefer most of my songs in the key of G. F and A work also.

thanks...I'll give those keys a closer look, as well as the key of C that chiefnoda mentioned.

mikelz777
06-26-2012, 06:14 PM
Thanks! Very helpful reply. Hadn't thought of trying a capo to check out different keys...I need to do a little research on your capo idea. Chord shapes are still the same or do they change when a capo is attached....?

With a capo, you can change the key without having to change the chords. You can play the song the same way each time. Without the capo, you'd have to play different chords to play in a different key. The chords will change with each change of key.

chiefnoda
06-27-2012, 05:33 AM
I need to do a little research on your capo idea. Chord shapes are still the same or do they change when a capo is attached....?

Chord shapes do not change but the actual pitch changes. Capo is essentially a barre:

if you play 2 2 2 0, you are playing D chord. If you play 4 4 4 2, you play E chord. Now, if you capo 2 and hold the same shape, 2 2 2 0, in effect you are fretting 4 4 4 2..... I think it's easier if just try it :-)

You can experiment if you can convince someone else to barre a fret, and you pretend the other hand is not there.

Cheers
Chief

Uncle Rod Higuchi
06-27-2012, 06:03 AM
May I let you in on a little secret, for those of us who tend to perform alone, ...

I've been known to tune my performance uke about a half-step to a full-step LOWer than gCEA!! Oh my!

That way I can use my regular songbooks without having to transpose each song or 'play' them with
different fingerings. I don't have or use a Capo and would probably find it constraining as I generally
play a soprano uke as it is. :)

Any way, if you can play your regular music, but just find it a bit low or high, you might benefit from
re-tuning one or more ukes, higher or lower in pitch, so you can use the regular fingerings in a more
comfortable range.

Just a suggestion :)

keep uke'in',

fretie
06-27-2012, 07:39 AM
Thank you for your very helpful replies; I am learning a lot!

Uncle Rod, your modified tuning to suit your vocal range is a clever idea.

seeso
06-27-2012, 07:56 AM
Theoretically speaking, any key can be good for alto, just as any key can be good for a bass, tenor, soprano, etc. The vocal range for the alto voice would lie somewhere between the E note below middle C (E3) to the 2nd G note above middle C (G5). Since 12 major keys exist in that range, no one key can be considered "best" for a alto.

That said, I think the comfort keys for female singers are A, Bb, and C.

cheesegasuki
07-07-2012, 06:45 PM
I'm an alto, and I tend to prefer singing in the key of C or G. It's more a matter of singing within a range of notes you're comfortable in, and that will vary depending on the song. With "Leaving on a Jet Plane" I prefer G over C. I tend to drop down below other singers (men included) and sing half an octave down. You can expand your range higher and lower with regular practice and vocal exercises.

Jazz and folk/country songs tend to be alto-friendly. I also sing a lot of music written for male vocals, but that might be my musical taste more than anything else.

Tootler
09-07-2012, 12:58 PM
May I let you in on a little secret, for those of us who tend to perform alone, ...

I've been known to tune my performance uke about a half-step to a full-step LOWer than gCEA!! Oh my!

That way I can use my regular songbooks without having to transpose each song or 'play' them with
different fingerings. I don't have or use a Capo and would probably find it constraining as I generally
play a soprano uke as it is. :)

Any way, if you can play your regular music, but just find it a bit low or high, you might benefit from
re-tuning one or more ukes, higher or lower in pitch, so you can use the regular fingerings in a more
comfortable range.

Just a suggestion :)

keep uke'in',

I do the same. I have a capo but find it gets in the way. I keep one uke tuned ADF#B and one tuned FBbDG and the rest in GCEA. When I go out to sing, I take at least two in different tunings depending on what I have planned. I take the capo as well just in case but I'm really not comfortable with it though I have used it.

barefootgypsy
06-20-2013, 10:03 PM
I sympathise, I find it tricky to find songs I can sing comfortably. My natural range is "mezzo-soprano", ie up to top F - but in choirs I like to sing alto because I like to sing the harmonies, and the sopranos have to sing top Gs and As..... too high. However, singing in the upper range of my voice, whilst easy, I don't think it's easy on the ears of listeners, as I don't have technique.....! So I sing lower when I can. It depends on the song. F is good for me, I think. I've recently sung songs in D (right at the bottom of my range and not quite comfortable) and A (much higher, easy but not easy on the ear!)

Amarena
05-14-2014, 09:56 PM
My voice range is G3 to C5. I used to have to transpose most of beginners' songs (in C) in A, which was a bit less easy to play. I strung my tenor ukulele one step lower, using soprano uke strings and now I can use C chords shapes while really playing in Bb, the same for G to F songs . Most of the songs are easier now.

acmespaceship
05-16-2014, 11:28 AM
The best key for your voice will depend on the song. Some melodies soar high with a wide range, while others stay low. The mood of the song matters, too. I might sing a ballad at the top of my range, while I'd rather sing blues in a lower key.

I'm a soprano, though I think I sound better toward the low end. Some songs I sing in C, others in G. Lately I've been liking the key of A when a song needs room for sopranos and altos to harmonize (like when the uke club takes The Sloop John B chorus a cappella and angels weep and dogs bark).

Freeda
05-16-2014, 01:09 PM
The best key for your voice will depend on the song. Some melodies soar high with a wide range, while others stay low. The mood of the song matters, too. I might sing a ballad at the top of my range, while I'd rather sing blues in a lower key.

I'm a soprano, though I think I sound better toward the low end. Some songs I sing in C, others in G. Lately I've been liking the key of A when a song needs room for sopranos and altos to harmonize (like when the uke club takes The Sloop John B chorus a cappella and angels weep and dogs bark).
This. Depends on the song. Also, as you practice your range will expand. I'm a barbershop lead, which is alto/second soprano... I like Dm above all else.