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TimboSax

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jbtsax's recent post looking at pitch discrimination, and my subsequent distinctly average score on the test, got me thinking about some recording I did on Sunday with my daughter.

I was messing around with a tune that we might cover in the band, but which I'd like to do differently to everyone else. I put down some tracks to play to the lads in the band and see what they think, when Shanti came in and asked if she could record vocals. We had a great time doing it, lots of laughs (and as a side point, she now wants to put together a simple recording setup in her bedroom and do lots more :D ), and we ended up with something that I quite like.

But here's the thing: she says that she can hear some places where she sounds out of tune, whereas I don't hear that. I hear a "human", natural voice rather than some autotuned perfect robot. It's not perfect, there are some wavers, but I don't listen to it and hear parts that are out of tune.

I wonder if it's a question of her having a better perception of pitch than me? Or is it a question her expecting perfection (all of the music she listens to is autotuned), and when she hears natural variation she feels it is out of tune?

Here's a link to the recording, I'd be interested in what you hear.

https://soundcloud.com/timbo_music/get-lucky
 

Clivey

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Shes got a cute wee voice Tim. and setting up a small recording setup is a piece of cake these days and very cheap to do if you know where to look for the bits an pieces needed. Certainly a more enjoyable way to spend time than Farcebooking and ****ting as all my young Nieces and Nephews do all the time.
 

Sue

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I thought it was very sweet Tim and like you, heard a 'natural voice'. She's a talented young lass :)
 

Colin the Bear

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Yes, it sounds a little off key, but very alive and charming singing.

I'm not sure if the effect on the guitar isn't affecting the way the vocals are perceived. Does the vocal track sound ok to her without accompaniment

You have to remember young ears aren't as worn as old ears and can hear more and better.

I was thinking about the pitch discrimination test and although I made mistakes of higher or lower I could hear they were not the same. When playing it's more important to know notes are the same or harmonising than how different they are or flat or sharp. I've always had bother tuning stringed instruments to standard tunings (thank heavens for the tuner) but not to an open tuning. These little tests are good for the ego. They point out our fallibilities and make us listen harder and closer.
 

TimboSax

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Shes got a cute wee voice and setting up a small recording setup is a piece of cake these days and very cheap to do if you know where to look for the bits an pieces needed. Certainly a more enjoyable way to spend time than Farcebooking and ****ting as all my young Nieces and Nephews do all the time.

Thanks Clivey. I've ordered her a USB mic for her laptop, which comes with Sonar LE (I use the full version of Sonar, so we'll be compatible!), she can borrow my keyboard, and I then I think she's sorted. It's all her idea, let's see where she goes with it...:thumb:
 

TimboSax

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Yes, it sounds a little off key, but very alive and charming singing.

I'm not sure if the effect on the guitar isn't affecting the way the vocals are perceived. Does the vocal track sound ok to her without accompaniment

You have to remember young ears aren't as worn as old ears and can hear more and better.

I was thinking about the pitch discrimination test and although I made mistakes of higher or lower I could hear they were not the same. When playing it's more important to know notes are the same or harmonising than how different they are or flat or sharp. I've always had bother tuning stringed instruments to standard tunings (thank heavens for the tuner) but not to an open tuning. These little tests are good for the ego. They point out our fallibilities and make us listen harder and closer.

Thanks Colin. Good call on the guitar, although she says it doesn't make a difference to what she hears.

I agree with you about the difference between being able to discriminate notes vs the ability to identify flat vs sharp, I hadn't thought of that distinction. I too have had interesting times with an acoustic guitar, wondering why the thing appeared to be possessed by the tuning devil!
 

jbtsax

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A well done performance. I did hear a few spots that the voice was not quite up to pitch, but that did not detract from the amateur recording as a whole. Her strong point is certainly mastering the style of the song. She will and should be her own hardest critic, that's how we as musicians grow and improve.
 

aldevis

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My slightly judgmental comment based on a limited knowledge.
I think she is pleasantly slightly out of tune, as young people tend to be. On the performance point of view, I would define her performance as perfect.

On the other hand, it sounds like your daughter is in that unpleasant phase of human development in which the body does not respond completely as expected. In my case this phase started when I was about 11 and ended in my late 30s. A normal person should be over in not more than a couple of years (a girl usually between 11 and 14, a boy 13-17, at least in my times).

This could suggest that maybe your daughter does not identify herself in her own voice; the recorded sound is not exactly what she wanted to sing and she considers it "out of tune".

In my old days I was always amused that part the admission exam for the vocal courses at the academy was about having a fully developed voice. And it was the only instrument with a minimum age.

On a more technical point of view, air support is what will help her control and tone production.
On an even more technical point of view, it seems to me you are using some detuning effect on the guitar (some digital vibrato?); that does not help tuning.

I might well be wrong, BTW: I am in the middle of an insomniac crisis....
 

TimboSax

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A well done performance. I did hear a few spots that the voice was not quite up to pitch, but that did not detract from the amateur recording as a whole. Her strong point is certainly mastering the style of the song. She will and should be her own hardest critic, that's how we as musicians grow and improve.

Thanks jbtsax. From the comments people have made, I think people are hearing what I am hearing, and Shanti is perhaps being over critical, expecting perfect pitch, when I am more interested in the overall performance. This suggests that my ears are ok (ish) :D
 

TimboSax

Deputy junior apprentice 2nd class
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928
Locality
Cambridgeshire
My slightly judgmental comment based on a limited knowledge.
I think she is pleasantly slightly out of tune, as young people tend to be. On the performance point of view, I would define her performance as perfect.

On the other hand, it sounds like your daughter is in that unpleasant phase of human development in which the body does not respond completely as expected. In my case this phase started when I was about 11 and ended in my late 30s. A normal person should be over in not more than a couple of years (a girl usually between 11 and 14, a boy 13-17, at least in my times).

This could suggest that maybe your daughter does not identify herself in her own voice; the recorded sound is not exactly what she wanted to sing and she considers it "out of tune".

In my old days I was always amused that part the admission exam for the vocal courses at the academy was about having a fully developed voice. And it was the only instrument with a minimum age.

On a more technical point of view, air support is what will help her control and tone production.
On an even more technical point of view, it seems to me you are using some detuning effect on the guitar (some digital vibrato?); that does not help tuning.

I might well be wrong, BTW: I am in the middle of an insomniac crisis....

Thanks Aldevis. I think you're on to something. She's 12 and her voice has certainly filled out in the last year or so (and I assume will continue to do so). Her breathing and air support is something we worked on when we were recording (as well as warm up exercises etc).

There were two guitar parts, one had a tremolo effect, the other a wah. I recorded using my live rig DI'd, rather than using modelling within the DAW as I usually do when recording, because I wanted to make sure that we could replicate it when playing live (which we're doing tomorrow and Saturday, as part of The Vees World Tour [(c) The Vees])
 

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