The Tuning Point more than just the right note!



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The Tuning Point….
more than just the right note!

Tune It….. or Die….
HOW TO

TUNE THOSE

CHORDS!
Susan Lamb

a cappella Gold, BASS

2001 International Quartet Champion

Sweet Adelines, International

July 2006



Objectives


Identify elements of in-tune singing and how improving vocal production can result in finer tuning
Learn an easy way to apply the “P-theory”


Learn chord tuning


Learn rehearsal techniques to help clean up synchronization problems



The Tuning Point… page 2

Elements of In-Tune Singing



Correct Breathing,

Notes & Words & Intervals
Matched, Open Vocal Qualities
Correct/ Matched Vowels
Synchronized Delivery
Proper Balance & Tuning
Matched Dynamics & Textures
Consistent Energized Tone Flow and Energy


The Tuning Point… page 3

Elements Of “In-Tune”


THINGS YOU CAN DO

Correct Breathing


Develop better vocal production and knowledge.

Individual vocal improvement


Correct Notes and Words



Get learning tapes- learn to self correct- Tape YOURSELF and listen!

Duet with other parts listening


Accurate Intervals

Each note maintains proper relationship to “DO”


Duet tapes.

Tuning exercises to strengthen your ability to hold the right pitch [1/2 steps & church tuning exercise]

Know your relationship to the melody and between the other parts and to “Do”

Pythagorean tuning

Chord tuning: Learn chords and chord voicings

CHORD walks


Matched, Open Vocal Qualities

Sufficient resonance is used

Vocal textures are matched


Duetting

Unison to four”



Vocal exercises that increase resonance


Correct and Matched Vowels

diphthongs and “finishments”


VOWEL MATCHING EXERCISES [know your best vowel and use it]

Agree on how to turn vowels and finish words


Synchronized/ Unit Delivery

Starts and releases, inner word & phrase

synchronizations and breathing are together

Listen to and learn the plan.

Doot-doot-doot” singing exercise



Rehearse breathing, starts and releases

inner word & phrase synchronizations for unit


Proper Balance and Tuning

Chords are “tuned” correctly

Appropriate register mix from all voices [coning]

Proper chord balance- the barbershop “cone” sound

Dueting

Proper chord tuning

Proper Pythagorean tuning


Unit Delivery of Dynamics/ Textures

All voices able to support dynamic extremes and

planned textures

Plan interpretation and dynamics that are “doable” for your group’s level. Remember to do them!

Strengthen vocal production to expand dynamic flexibilities

Develop character and texture in your voices


Consistent Energized Tone Flow and Energy

Matched energy and tone flow from each singer results in unit and a sense of forward motion and vitality.

Find the energy and put it into the music

Feeling” the music the same way; applying the same amount of body language and energy will help you deliver the music as a unit



Same mental mood/ mental energy



The Ultimate Goal?

A mesmerizing performance….

The performance elicits pure emotional response from the listener!

The longer you keep the judges in their right brains, the higher your score!


Add the right amount of spice and interest

Rehearse until you do not do it wrong…..

Share and Show your joy and passion to the audience…



The Tuning Point… page 4


Pythagorean Tuning Chart




A scale tone tuning method that helps you to stay in the key.

The basic concept is to sing the 2nd, 3rd, 6th and 7th tones and any sharps in the key signature slightly raised…


1. find the key of the song

2. mark beside the notes the “cent” value of the note



Comparison of Pythagorean Tuning System to Equal Tempers Scale
Scale Position "cents"

DO

0


DI +14


RA -10

RE’ +4


RI’ +18


ME’ -6



MI +8

FA

-2


FI +12


SE’ -12

SOL +2


SI +16


LE’

-8


LA +6


LI +20


TE’ -4


TI +10







(1)

(#)

(b)

(2)

(#)

(b)

(3)

(4)

(#)

(b)

(5)

(#)

(b)

(6)

(#)

(b)

(7)




Key of

C

C#

Db

D

D#

Eb

E

F

F#

Gb

G

G#

Ab

A

A#

Bb

B







G

G#

Ab

A

A#

Bb

B

C

C#

Db

D

D#

Eb

E

E#

F

F#





Cents=Musical interval 100th of a semitone or 1/1200th of an octave.

(Onion Skin)



D

D#

Eb

E

E#

F

F#

G

G#

Ab

A

A#

Bb

B

B#

C

C#







A

A#

Bb

B

B#

C

C#

D

D#

Eb

E

E#

F

F#

F##

G

G#







E

E#

F

F#

F##

G

G#

A

A#

Bb

B

B#

C

C#

C##

D

D#







B

B#

C

C#

C##

D

D#

E

E#

F

F#

F##

G

G#

G##

A

A#







Cb

C

Dbb

Db

D

Ebb

Eb

Fb

F

Gbb

Gb

G

Abb

Ab

A

Bbb

Bb







F#

F##

G

G#

G##

A

A#

B

B#

C

C#

C##

D

D#

D##

E

E#





+ or – as compared to Equal Temperment



Gb

G

Abb

Ab

A

Bbb

Bb

Cb

C

Dbb

Db

D

Ebb

Eb

E

Fb

F







C#

C##

D

D#

D##

E

E#

F#

F##

G

G#

G##

A

A#

A##

B

B#







Db

D

Ebb

Eb

E

Fb

F

Gb

G

Abb

Ab

A

Bbb

Bb

B

Cb

C







Ab

A

Bbb

Bb

B

Cb

C

Db

D

Ebb

Eb

E

Fb

F

F#

Gb

G







Eb

E

Fb

F

F#

Gb

G

Ab

A

Bbb

Bb

B

Cb

C

C#

Db

D







Bb

B

Cb

C

C#

Db

D

Eb

E

Fb

F

F#

Gb

G

G#

Ab

A







F

F#

Gb

G

G#

Ab

A

Bb

B

Cb

C

C#

Db

D

D#

Eb

E





The Tuning Point…. Page 5


Basic Rules for CHORD TUNING

[don’t confuse scale intervals with chord spellings]

ROOTS

MIDDLE OF NOTE AND STRONG

OCTAVES

CONED, OPEN, LIGHTER, general rule is 50% volume on the upper note

3RDS

HIGHER AND LIGHTER AND CONED

Minor 3rds

Just a little lighter and do not raise it,

Sing on the low side of it.

It is the “flavor” of the chord

5THS

STRONG AND OPEN, ESSENTIALLY THE MIDDLE OF THE TONE

FLATTED 7TH

FLATTED, HAS A STRONG FEEL TO IT especially when in CHOPSTIX position

Major 7th

These are challenging, and easier said than done. The root and the seventh are better tolerated if the octave apart voicing. Requires accuracy and stamina.

SIXTHS

SOUND-ALIKE” VOICES [esp. when close to the fifth]

The 6th tone needs to be a bit on the high side, and gives the “flavor”

NINTHS

[sometimes a chopstick

but different feel]

IMPORTANT TO MATCH VOCAL QUALITIES, try more “blending” quality. Usually a tender feel, use your ear! In the inverted position, the ninth [actually the second] will need to be strong and usually will be moving to the root to resolve the tension.

Augmented

Most of these are used in passing; they need to be sung on the high side as their name implies- augmented [increased in pitch] the other parts must hold steady

Diminished

[Demented]

Usually sung lower as the name implies…

The eleven chords used in BBS harmony

Major triad barbershop 7th major sixth

Major seventh major ninth ninth

Minor triad minor sixth minor seventh diminished triad augmented triad


The Tuning Point…. Page 6


PYTHAGOREAN TUNING


A scale tone tuning method that helps you to stay in the key. The basic concept is to sing the 2nd, 3rd, 6th and 7th tones and any sharps in the key signature slightly raised…….

Compared to Equal Temperament Tuning, there is more or less

space” between some note intervals than others…..




COMPARISON OF SELECTED FREQUENCIES







EQUAL-TEMPERAMENT SCALE

PYTHAGOREAN SCALE

Scale tone

Interval from Root

LOG CENTS

Freq Hz

LOG CENTS

Freq. HZ

A

Unison

0

220.000

0

220.000

A#/Bb

Min. 2

100

233.082

90

231.7695

B

Maj. 2

200

246.942

204

247.500

C

Min. 3

300

261.626

294

260.7407

C#/Db

Maj. 3

400

277.183

408

278.4375

D

Perf. 4

500

293.665

498

293.333

D#/Eb

Aug 4/ Dim. 5

600

311.127/311.127

612/588

313.242/309.026

E

Perf. 5

700

329.628

702

330.000

F

Min. 6

800

349.228

792

347.6543

F#/Gb

Maj. 6

900

369.994

906

371.250

G

Min. 7

1000

391.995

996

391.111

G#/Ab

Maj. 7

1100

415.305

1110

417.6562

A

octave

1200

440.000

1200

440.000


IF you want to delve deeper into the Pythagorean tuning concept, read on…





The frequency value tells you how many vibrations per second to create any given pitch.




Equal temperament tuning spaces 12 tones of the octave and EQUAL distance apart- the space from any tone to the next [half] step is always the same = 100 log cents.




Pianos, keyboards and pitchpipes are tuned this way. This allows the instrument to be played in any key with relative accuracy but does not allow creation of the harmonic structure that locks and rings a barbershop chord.




Pythagorean tuning requires that certain steps in the scale be raise or lowered to establish the harmonic structure which creates the overtones and ring of the barbershop chords we so love.




Let’s look at some of the tones on the chart.




do” [A] remains constant.




Now look at E [fifth or ‘so’] Notice the difference in frequency between Equal Temperament and Pythagorean. [700 and 702] Not very much.




Take a moment to find the notes that are higher; maj 2= B; maj 3=C#; maj 6=F#; maj 7=G#; Aug 4=D#.




So that is why we sing the 2, the 3, the 6 and the 7th and the raised 4th higher




Okay- now find the notes that are lower; min 2=A#/Bb; min 3=Cnat; perf 4=D; min 6=Fnat; min 7=Gnat.




So as a rule, anything lowered from the key signature is tuned lower. But as you know, we generally have a tendency to sing on the low side so we don’t have to put much effort in here!! There will be times, though, that you will experience the ‘feel’ of this.




So now you can understand why checking notes on a pitchpipe or keyboard won’t give you the correct Pythagorean tuned notes, except for “do”. Try to use them only for beginning note learning and checking. Once you are past that stage, drop your dependence on them and begin to rely on your ears.



Important Note- do not worry if you do not understand all of this jargon! Just remember the basic concept of

raising the 2 and 3 and 6 and 7 tones AND sharped notes of the scale.
The Tuning Point page 7


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