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Thread: Keys and singing question

  1. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by merlin666 View Post
    Uh, I've been singing this song for years and I never found a high note in it. Time to listen to the original ....
    Yes! That is exactly my point. "Sixteen Tons" is not supposed to have high notes. The melody was written to emphasize low notes, and the original recording does the same. Arranging it at the bottom of the singer's range fits the mood of the song and the story it tells. You must know this already, since you choose to sing it in a key that puts "owe" nowhere near the top of your range.

    If somebody did arrange this song at the very highest top of his/her range, that would probably sound ridiculous. Although I suppose it's possible that a lyric tenor somewhere is singing "Sixteen Tons" with "owe" on high C and it sounds great.

  2. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by acmespaceship View Post
    Yes! That is exactly my point. "Sixteen Tons" is not supposed to have high notes. The melody was written to emphasize low notes, and the original recording does the same. Arranging it at the bottom of the singer's range fits the mood of the song and the story it tells. You must know this already, since you choose to sing it in a key that puts "owe" nowhere near the top of your range.

    If somebody did arrange this song at the very highest top of his/her range, that would probably sound ridiculous. Although I suppose it's possible that a lyric tenor somewhere is singing "Sixteen Tons" with "owe" on high C and it sounds great.
    This is a link to a video of me singing the song with a little help from my friends, haven't figured out how to embed the video.
    https://photos.app.goo.gl/jm6q9qfNm1ux5vHG7
    Last edited by merlin666; 09-21-2019 at 07:14 PM.

  3. #23
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    From the perspective of an audience member I would just like to say that if I want to hear the same old Ernie Ford treatment of "16 tons," then I'll go buy the recording. Ideally I want to hear something original and creative. However, if you insist on merely doing a cover...then do something with it, make it worth my while, give me something unique. Change the strum pattern, sing in a higher key, do something!

  4. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by ripock View Post
    From the perspective of an audience member I would just like to say that if I want to hear the same old Ernie Ford treatment of "16 tons," then I'll go buy the recording. Ideally I want to hear something original and creative. However, if you insist on merely doing a cover...then do something with it, make it worth my while, give me something unique. Change the strum pattern, sing in a higher key, do something!
    I agree with you on that. One group that I play with often goes off on a tangent arguing about how it is "supposed to be played", to the point that someone gets the original on their phone so that we can all hear it. I'm all for making it your own.

    Also, same group argues a lot about what key they want to play it in. When I first started singing and playing I thought, for no reason other than I thought, that I probably had an octave to work with and I made it a point to sing in a key that would keep me in that octave. I took some singing lessons and with but a bit of coaching from a voice teacher I found out that I had two and a half octaves. Even so, I'm not fluent in every key. A few keys in the middle of my range come easy and some keys take me to the fringes and push me. But I like that. I'm always working on my singing as well as my playing, and a little challenge doesn't hurt. I would suggest that people work on keys that aren't so comfortable and maybe even scare them a little. Like everything else, singing is something one can improve on with a little practice.
    Last edited by Rllink; Yesterday at 05:50 AM.
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  5. #25
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    Hi, Jarmo! I've just check major triad shapes (see the figures below). There are 5 shapes. I use C major for this diagrams, but the shapes are same as other major triads. 1st shape is seen in C chord. This shape is movable too. 2nd shape is seen as Bb. According to my guitar book, 3 is not often used, because it is hard to play. 4 is seen as Ab. 5 is E. I see that Bb and E shapes are difficult. I"ve played all of the chords of major and minor triads and now I see that I can play even flat keys. It may be fun to use flat keys in Jazz songs and sing.


  6. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by yahalele View Post
    Hi, Jarmo! I've just check major triad shapes (see the figures below). There are 5 shapes. I use C major for this diagrams, but the shapes are same as other major triads. 1st shape is seen in C chord. This shape is movable too. 2nd shape is seen as Bb. According to my guitar book, 3 is not often used, because it is hard to play. 4 is seen as Ab. 5 is E. I see that Bb and E shapes are difficult. I"ve played all of the chords of major and minor triads and now I see that I can play even flat keys. It may be fun to use flat keys in Jazz songs and sing.
    Guitarists sometimes want to grasp their fingerboard with a so called CAGED concept, notice a fourth lower tuning.

    In terms of open ukulele chords, you could name those also as C, A, G, F, D shapes. If you transpose GEDCA a fourth above with letters as chords, you will get CAGFD. All those chords are C chords in your fretboard diagram. But as you told the G shape is difficult as movable chord. I have never used that concept myself to any advantage, but have always known it with guitar.

    Your post and my reply are off topic though.

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