Singing in tune is fundamental for professional singers. Choir singing in harmonies becomes very interesting if the singers sing flat or sharp or even totally out of tune. Singing with a good pitch is a skill that can be improved by practicing. Even the best of the best occasionally face problems with the pitch. So how to get rid of pitch problems?
Difficulties to Recognize the Pitch
The ability to hear and produce right pitches is a skill in which one can improve. The best way to do it is with a qualified singing teacher who is specialized in working with pitch problems. Some mobile apps can also be helpful in practicing the right pitch. Singing games like SingStar base on this: the ability to repeat the pitches of the song as precisely as in the original recording.
Difficulties To Produce Pitches
The ability to produce pitches can be disturbed by several reasons. It can be lack of singing and practicing the muscles needed. There can also be ”locks” in the voice production system that prevent the muscles from working as they should. These locks can be a result of a physical condition (e.g. a surgery, a trauma, laryngeal infection, medication) or be caused by psycological issues (e.g., self esteem, perfectionism, psycological trauma, stage fright, anxioty, fear). Quite often it is simply just lack of exercise. Once the person starts to sing regularly the pitches become more correct every day.
Pitch problems are also common in the phase when one is practicing a different way to use their voice – like learning a new way to use the voice. During the learning process many singers experience instability in the voice production system as the muscles learn new ways to work together. Learning new movements requires innervating and gaining stability by repetition.
Flat Or Sharp Singing
Singing flat tones happens to most of us. There are several reasons that cause flat singing, some of which are tiredness (not enough energy), a new song, very high or low range, constriction in the larynx and not enough elongation of the vocal folds. However, a very common problem is in the mouth: the tongue has an effect on the movement of the larynx.
Note to classical singers: Lowering the larynx is an essential part of the classical sound. When lowered too much it can cause flat singing and problems to reach the high pitches.
The most typical reason for sharp pitches is overdoing – usually with the breath. Pushing too much air from the lungs can cause sharp tones and it is not good for the health of the vocal folds either.