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Thread: More comfortable in natural keys?

  1. #1
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    Default More comfortable in natural keys?

    Hi again everyone! I haven't been able to look around the forums as much as I would have liked to, because I don't have internet at home. But I have been playing everyday since I got my uke

    Lately I have started to sing while I strum, and it's been more difficult that I had imagined, but at the same time (in a weird sort of way) it has also been easier.

    Since I don't have a computer or any form of tuning device, I tend to drop or raise my tuning a half step over time. I have never thought of this as being problematic as long as I don't play with someone else.

    But today while at work I tuned the uke while using the computer to play reference notes, and after I noticed that my voice was harmonizing much more with the chords!

    Does our voices go best with natural keys? Can anyone link me to some theory concerning this?

  2. #2
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    My voice range is not so good and I notice it I drop the tuning it sounds and matches a whole lot better.....

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Whiskat View Post
    … and after I noticed that my voice was harmonizing much more with the chords!

    Does our voices go best with natural keys? Can anyone link me to some theory concerning this?
    Hmmm…

    I would NOT think that humans would sing more "in tune with" a well-tempered A440 based scale than any other well-tempered scale,… but I've no info/research to back that up.

    (( The choice of A being at 440Hz is rather arbitrary. I think.))

    It COULD be that your instrument is now tuned better with ITSELF, and that you're resonating ("in tune") more with it, as the characteristics/power of the chords are now more "clear" to your ear.


    I'm a huge fan of the Snark SN-1 tuner, by the way, as a cheap ($10-ish) way to stay properly and portably tuned up.

    Mahalo e aloha.

  4. #4
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    Personally, I've never noticed that being tuned perfectly to A=440 made my singing any better than when the whole uke was, say, a quarter tone lower.
    Uke can't always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, you just might find uke get what you need!

    YouTube: www.youtube.com/uke4ia

  5. #5
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    It COULD be that your instrument is now tuned better with ITSELF, and that you're resonating ("in tune") more with it, as the characteristics/power of the chords are now more "clear" to your ear.
    This isn't very likely, I can tune it more or less relatively (from string to string) perfect by ear. This is something I've checked before with a tuner. What it could be though is that the song I'm singing is in C because that's what they sing in on the record, and I'm not able to adjust my voice to the chords? I don't know, it all just seems so weird, so I thought it might be because it wasn't tuned natural.

    I don't want to buy a tuner, but thank you for the tip. I feel like it steals the potential of training the ear by tuning

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Whiskat View Post
    I don't want to buy a tuner, but thank you for the tip. I feel like it steals the potential of training the ear by tuning
    What do you listen to when you tune your uke "by ear"?

    …a recording of whatever song you're working on?


    With a tuner, you could still ONLY use (let's say) the "g" string tuned to the tuner, and then tune the other strings to your correctly tuned "g" string. Just a thought.

  7. #7
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    (Before I read this thread I had no idea about any of the subjects written about in any of the links I have put below.)

    I read these posts with interest because I have always tried to make sure I sing with a concert pitch tuned instrument. After reading all posts I thought, 'So why do we use 440 hz?'. I typed 'why 440 hz' into Google and this is the link to Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A440_%28pitch_standard%29

    I then went to here and read about 432 hz: http://www.abovetopsecret.com/forum/thread322096/pg1

    I then did a search for 'why 432 hz' and got here: http://www.omega432.com/music.html

    Why this interests me is not because I am a conspiracy theorist, but for purely selfish reasons. Even if I warm my voice, I can only sing for about 30 minutes before my throat gums up and I struggle, and as singing for me is what I do best, it cheeses me off. I've vaguely looked into why my throat does this and it's to protect it. So, I am going to try tuning to 432 hz and see if it has any effect on my voice and I'll let you know the results.

  8. #8
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    First session using 432hz as the tuning pitch.

    Just to let you know, I do play my own songs, but I mainly sing Hank Williams. Here are a couple of songs I recorded at 440 hz to give you an idea of my voice (all of the vocals were done by myself) http://www.myspace.com/569900536

    The signs were not very good before I had even started as it felt like I had the start of a cold in my throat and my chest felt a bit... Chesty..? (I had asthma as a child, but not as an adult, so feeling chesty is not normal for me) Normally I wouldn't have sung, in order to protect my voice, but I thought the claims that 432 will not harm a voice needed to be challenged.

    Tuning my guitar to 432 made it seem a little dead to start with, the strings have been on a couple of months, and some of the strings were wavering in pitch after being lowered, but things improved as the session went on. I retuned my resonating uke and there was no problem at all.

    I didn't bother to warm my voice up either, but I started with tunes that are not too taxing. It felt easy and although my mind was in analytical mode, I was also aware that I was singing well. I sang a couple more and everything was going fine, then I got to a song I normally struggle with unless I'm in top form, 'Long Gone Lonesome Blues'. The yodelling chorus is tough, but not last night. The transitions from low to high and back again were amazingly easy and I had never felt so comfortable. The first WOW!

    After about 40 minutes I could feel a small amount of gum in my throat, but using 440 I would of had plenty of gum there by now and be struggling to cope. (By the way, trying to clear a gummed up throat by 'clearing your throat' is apparently the worse thing you can do as a singer as it damages your vocal chords even more) I carried on and sang two more songs that I would normally find impossible when my throat was gummed up, and they were great. The amount of gum in my throat didn't get any worse, and the only thing that happened was I started to feel more chesty. I sang for about an hour in total, a very rare thing for me, and only stopped because I felt tired. This morning, I am still chesty, so I don't know what's going on there. I've taken some extra vitamin C.

    Ok, I'm definitely going to continue using 432 for a while just to see if it was a fluke last night and I will report back in about a week or so. I'm happy to answer any questions or take on board suggestions if I can.

  9. #9
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    Just to make it clear before anyone asks, I am only interested in 432 hz as a singer who is trying to save his voice. If it has far reaching social benefits, great, but I think all music does that anyway.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by iakeo View Post
    What do you listen to when you tune your uke "by ear"?

    …a recording of whatever song you're working on?


    With a tuner, you could still ONLY use (let's say) the "g" string tuned to the tuner, and then tune the other strings to your correctly tuned "g" string. Just a thought.
    I normally just tune it from the C-string without regard to wether or not it is actually a C, as long as I'm playing by myself it doesn't matter (?). If I am playing with others I can just tune it to one of the other instruments.

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