beginners' intonation training apps?
  • Geremia
    Posts: 223
    What are some good, free apps or computer programs to help beginning singers with intonation?
  • davido
    Posts: 608
    This might be the wrong approach for a singer with intonation problems.
    Unless the singer has hearing loss, intonation problems are the result of faulty vocal technique, issues which need instruction to resolve. The human body will try very hard to properly match or reach pitches to the point of creating tension and injuring itself. So trying to match a synthesized computer pitch will not solve the real problem for folks: faulty technique.
    The tried and true methods for intonation issues are personal or choral vocal instruction. (And knowing exactly what one is to sing before opening one’s mouth - insecurity can contribute to intonation problems)
  • EarMaster. Far and away my top recommendation. I use it school-wide, for K-8 and adults. It is cheap ($4 a month) and worth $100 a month. Take a beginner singer, and put them through built-in the starter course, with your guidance.

    SingTrue is useful. However, you'll spend a few bucks on that too. You can spend $4 for a very, very limited solution (SingTrue) or a $4 a month for a few months on a hugely powerful, total solution in EarMaster.

    @davido I disagree with your assessment. I did my Master's thesis on the subject, and there are many, many individualized factors beyond vocal technique, a substantial number which can be addressed via a program EarMaster. (There are other programs, like through MusicFirst, which offer similar, though less substantial, solutions.) Of course vocal technique is a huge part of the pie chart, but it's not the whole pie.
  • davido
    Posts: 608
    sergeantedward, is your research thesis available?
  • donr
    Posts: 969
    I use and have used a free guitar tuning app to fix some of my own pitch issues. Some people have no idea they are sharp or flat, they just sing as if everything is just fine. Some people have issues with hearing the pitch and recognizing that that the pitch they are singing does not match the one they are singing. So they have learned the pitch wrong for their whole lives.

    If your student(s) down loads the app, plays a pitch on the piano or other app or instrument, sings that note, then checks it against the tuner, they will see that they are sharp or flat and can adjust accordingly.

    Only by knowing where you are can you know how to fix it. Once they begin to learn what the note should actually sound like, will they be able to sing it properly.

    IMHO.

    I have suggested this to some members in my choir and I can tell who is doing it and who is not.
  • CatherineS
    Posts: 690
    I know a guy who diligently taught himself to sing in tune using a guitar tuner and keyboard. It worked! But it required a huge effort on his part and I don't know many people who would stick with a project like that.
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,423
    i tried out a tuning app recently and was SHOCKED (but not that much) about how out of tune I sing and a lot of things in my life became a lot clearer
  • Earl_GreyEarl_Grey
    Posts: 872
    This is probably one of those both/and situations. Nothing can replace the human interaction of private voice lesson, but as a supplement such tools are useful. I work with a lot of voice students who are not musicians (i.e. seminarians). I can't simply give them some sheet music or exercises to practice on their own between lessons. I have found 3 programs all of which have pros/cons and limited success.

    Ear Master https://www.earmaster.com/
    Auralia & Musition https://www.risingsoftware.com/
    Meludia https://www.meludia.com/en/

    Of course the biggest issue is getting them to do the work. Too many expect miracles in just a lesson or two.

    Another option would be to record some sight reading exercises.
  • Liam
    Posts: 4,535
    Do you believe . . . in Auto-Tune?
  • Geremia
    Posts: 223
    Thanked by 1bhcordova
  • Geremia
    Posts: 223
    image
  • SponsaChristi
    Posts: 321
    i tried out a tuning app recently and was SHOCKED (but not that much) about how out of tune I sing and a lot of things in my life became a lot clearer


    Tuning apps are very detailed and are enough to drive a person mad compared to your regular tuner. I invested in a Korg chromatic tuner with a drone. I don’t have pitch issues with singing, but I play the oboe and work on intonation by playing intervals with a drone note and listen for pitch stability and learn to adjust quickly.

  • Earl_GreyEarl_Grey
    Posts: 872
    That's a good idea. The apps can be good for general pitch comparison and the like, but not very good for matching pitch while singing. I think I will try a chromatic tuner with my voice students and see if the visual feed back helps.
  • Ruth Lapeyre
    Posts: 341
    Hi Earl_Grey

    Do you still teach seminarians how to sing? So do I at Sacred Heart in Detroit. I have a number of students with intonation problems so thank you for the links you posted. I have also found that just encouraging them to sing as much as possible will also help. For those who persevere it can work wonders.
    Thanked by 1CHGiffen
  • bhcordovabhcordova
    Posts: 1,044
    Does anyone find that singers who also have a musical instrument background have as many problems with intonation?
  • MatthewRoth
    Posts: 1,526
    uh, I speak only for myself (and I'm hoping to find a voice teacher here, as it happens: David's comment at the top of the thread describes my situation succinctly): I sing flat, and I was always a little flat more than I ever was sharp when playing trombone back in the day.
  • Earl_GreyEarl_Grey
    Posts: 872
    When it comes to singing, we may very well have the correct pitch in our mind, but due to faulty singing technique the pitch we produce may not match the pitch we intend. The fundamental pitch is determined my the vibration of the vocal folds, but our vocal tract has a major influence on the overall vocal sound that others hear. If the vocal tract is not shaped correctly to tune the overtones the pitch will be perceived as flat/sharp etc. This is often due to excess tension in muscles that should not be tense, or perhaps not enough muscle tension. While other wind instruments are more rigid/fixed, the human voice is in a constant state of flux and needs to be constantly tuned/fine tuned throughout the singing process. Also, the fact that we perceive our own voices differently than how others perceive our voices is a major hurdle to overcome. Much of voice training is overcoming habitual use of the voice.

    While singing training either through private lessons or through a good choral program will improve singing technique, listening exercises are still required to train the inner ear and mind to perceive the pitch. How can a singer sing a particular interval unless there is a concept of that interval in the mind? And singing alone is different than singing with an ensemble where the singers have to tune to each other.

    I find the students I work with (mostly seminarians) struggle in both areas. When I was teaching mostly high school aged voice students I focused on singing technique almost exclusively. They already had the music in their ear and needed help refining their voices to audition for the H.S. musical and the like. Now, in addition to that, I find many don't even have a concept of a scale, whole or half step (not to mention rhythm) and so much remedial work is needed. I don't get enough time with them to correct all the faults, but basic ear training and musicianship should have been learned at a much earlier age. That doesn't seem to be happening today. I suppose most people are growing up with bad musical/vocal models or no music at all.
    Thanked by 2MatthewRoth LauraKaz
  • MatthewRoth
    Posts: 1,526
    Elementary music curricula unfortunately serve mostly as an introduction to "music," whereas they should focus much more on vocal music. I know that I did solfège, and others do as well even today, but it doesn't stick, it seems, if they even have music at all. I also fear that kids (will) have less and less exposure even in middle-school or high-school band, because of cuts, cuts, cuts.
    Thanked by 2LauraKaz Earl_Grey