Picking the right song….

It’s not as easy as you might think.

Most singers will pick a song that they love without any thought to what might be best song for their voice. Here are some things to consider.

Know your range from the lowest note to the highest note you can sing with ease. Don’t pick a song that has that one or two notes that you know will cause you trouble even though the rest of the song is fine.

Consider transposing it to a key best suited to your range. You may need a piano or guitar player to help you with this, but it is worth it. Some singers/musicians are sensitive to changing the key of an original artists’ song, because to their ears the song just doesn’t sound right unless it is sung in the original. However, I don’t believe in this concept. As a singer it is not out job to sound like the original singer! In fact, it is quite the opposite. We need to sing in the key that is best for our voice range.

When I sing songs recorded by male artists like the Beatles, Elton John or Billy Joel, I definitely have to change the key to suit my voice. Oh sure, I can sing the notes of the original recording, but that is not the best sound for my voice…..and most female voices (almost all female voices!) are going to sound better in a raised key.

Consider this…..Male voices get their “biggest” notes when they reach their bridge and higher, around E above middle C. Great male singers will belt a G or A above middle C and sound fabulous. When a female sings it in the same key, it will probably sound dull. This is because the notes are all under our first bridge. The female voice doesn’t get her “biggest” notes until she is over her first bridge which is around A or B flat. The best female belting voices like Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood, Aretha Franklin, Whitney Houston, Celine Dion are singing way over their first bridge and sometimes over their second bridge at E flat above high C. These are some big, big sounds.

Consider this….Taylor Swift is a huge recording artist. She has not made it in the music business because of her voice. In fact, all her songs barely reach the first bridge. In live concert she struggles with this a lot, but they can fix this in a studio setting so we don’t notice the struggle very much on her recordings (although you CAN hear it).

Young girls love to sing Taylor Swift songs for a couple of reasons. The obvious is the song-writing about love and hurt, and so on. The other is because most of her notes are easy to sing! That’s right!

Ladies, have you noticed that you can sing some male songs really easy? Now you know why. You are singing mostly under your first bridge. Guys, have you noticed that you can sing a female song fairly easily? (don’t worry, I won’t tell anyone!) Again, the reason is because you are singing their songs an octave lower and below your first bridge.

So, in conclusion, consider how you are handling your song choices. If you want to sing your songs better, then train your voice to handle your vocal bridges. Learn where they are and what they feel like. Then you’ll be able to sing any song of your choice well!

I’d love to hear any comments about your voice, or voice troubles. Why not leave a message!

One thought on “Picking the right song….

  1. thanks for all of this advice…I majored in music in college and have great pitch myself so I am having a difficult time understanding how to teach my dughter to hear pitch. She badly wants to sing and writes
    great songs , even won the State PTA contest for song writing, but her singing is off key and very low. Your articles have given me some direction and hope. I so badly want her to be at least comfortable enough to try out for the musicals at her theatre. THANKS!

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