Thursday, October 6, 2011

Contest Give Away!

Are you a music learner? Are you an iPhone or iPod Touch user?  Well, here's a chance to add a FREE, cool app. to your menu from DLP and our friends at EasyEarTraining. Its perfect for honing your listening skills on the go and a great compliment to the DLP Kore Series.

The RelativePitch App includes:

Training Mode: 14 lessons guide you from beginner to expert, teaching you all the intervals in the octave.

Testing Mode:Check your progress by trying to get the highest score in testing mode. If you distinguish intervals correctly, you’ll unlock new levels and new challenges in training

Custom Mode: If you’re having trouble with one specific piece of training, set up a custom training and testing session to target your problem spots.

So what is relative pitch? Unlike "perfect pitch", relative pitch is common among musicians, especially those who are used to "playing by ear", and a precise relative pitch is a constant characteristic among good musicians. Unlike perfect pitch however, relative pitch can be improved with practice! Thanks to EasyEarTraining this app can help do the trick!

3 ways to win. Enter as often as you like between October 6th and November 1st!

1. Comment on this blog
2. Like us on facebook
3. Re-post this link on twitter

Good luck - we look forward to announcing the winner on Thursday, November 3rd!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Why You Can't Sing

This post by Christopher Shea appeared in the WSJ on September 28, 2011.  

Why do people sing badly? Usually NOT because they have tin ears, a study finds. 

Twenty-five nonmusicians and 13 musicians attempted to match pitches, using either their voices or synthesized vocal-like sounds triggered by a moveable "slider." Musicians were nearly perfect using the slider and close to perfect using their voices. Nonmusicians were 97% accurate using the slider (although it took them longer), showing that most could recognize pitch. But when they sang, their pitch-accuracy rate fell to 59%.

To isolate possible causes, the researchers had 31 nonmusicians also match vocal tones that they themselves had recorded. Three types of bad singer emerged: those who couldn't match tones even using the slider (a very small group); those who could match pitches with the slider but not with their voices, suggesting that their problem was poor vocal-muscle control; and those who could match with the slider and self-match (vocal control was fine) but who couldn't vocally match the synthesized sound. For that group, the largest of the three by far, the problem appeared to be mentally translating the sound of the synthesizer tone (its "timbre").

If I’m reading the study correctly, this seems to offer hope to the bulk of us poor singers, since vocal control and timbre-translation could likely be improved through study and practice.

"A Frog in Your Throat or in Your Ear? Searching for the Causes of Poor Singing," Sean Hutchins and Isabelle Peretz, Journal of Experimental Psychology (forthcoming)