There are definitive notes that singers are aiming for when singing a song. Popular Western music songs are set in a diatonic key that generally consists of 7 notes on a scale. These notes are often identified by the number in which they occur (for example, tonic note or dominant note), the alphabetical musical note (For example, C, A, or G), or the solfege note (for example, do re mi). If you are singing a song and hit the incorrect note, you are off-key or off-pitch. When you sing higher than the right note, you are considered sharp. When you sing lower than the right note, you are considered flat.
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If you are hitting many of the wrong notes in a song, you are generally considered to be pitchy. Now, do note that singing well is not about singing each note perfectly. Our voices are not precisely tuned like a piano or other instruments can be, so all singers are technically pitchy, but to the extent that is meant to be unnoticeable when performing. When you're fully pitchy, though, it can be very noticeable, even to non-musicians.
All beginner singers go through a pitchy phase. It is totally okay to be pitchy from time to time. We are not robots, and we do not need to aim for robotic perfection when it comes to music because that will suck out all the flavor and expression in how we sing. Even great singers have pitchy moments, especially if they're performing day after day and making more opportunities for a pitchy performance to happen. Again, being pitchy is not the end of the world!
A pitchy singer is often lacking one or more of the three: experience, confidence, and ear training. When you're first learning to sing, it can be hard to hit all the right notes at first. But with practice, you will be able to control some of that pitchiness and get better over time. Singers at any stage can also experience stage fright and anxiety that can cause them to be pitchy and shaky when trying to hit the right notes. Beginners also lack ear training, which is the act of training your ear to be able to audibly understand music theory.
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The best way to fix your pitchiness is to practice and gain experience. Gaining experience in singing alone, singing in front of others, and learning the basics of music theory and ear training can lessen your pitchy singing over time. The key is to make sure you aren't putting unrealistic expectations on yourself. Becoming a good singer that has excellent pitch accuracy can take several years of practice, studying, and live performances.
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To ease your worries about being pitchy, take a look at this video. These are some really amazing singers that have performed for years and years, had the best vocal teachers, and had countless rehearsing and studying throughout their careers. Like I said before, great singers can be pitchy from time to time. If you're singing show after show, statistically speaking, you will have more and more pitchy moments! That's just the nature of the game.
Striving for pitch accuracy is very necessary in the music world, but there are limits when it comes to your needs for singing perfection. So many other aspects of singing will make you great, and you don't want to lose your mind too much about hitting bad notes. Many pitchy performances have still touched hearts and made a great impression on the audience, and at the end of the day, that's what matters. You want to get your pitch accuracy around 90% or so to be an A singer, but there is really no need to aim for 100% accuracy.
As a session singer, writer, and producer that has worked with over 200 clients to provide high-quality jingles, singles, features, nursery rhymes, and DJ drops, she currently spends her time engulfed in creating and marketing new music and helpful resources for creators. Her most recent creative collaborations include work with PBS Sound Field, Tribe of Noise, and the National Black Chamber of Commerce. Check out Yona’s latest music releases on her Spotify, her Youtube and share the music if you like it!
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