#1
I ask because there was always this curious problem around my father. Whenever I sang in his presence he would always say "you're too high"...etc, even if I was singing along to a track and so forth. Now I'm not going to claim to be the best singer in the world, but I know for damn sure I can sing in tune and tell when I'm on the right note and so on. I don't imagine anyone incapable of doing that much would be able to play an instrument. One time when he told me I'm too high I backed it down about 3 notes in the name of sarcasm and was obviously out of tune only for him to say "see, thats better." There was nothing I could do but laugh and roll my eyes.

I remember another time I played and sang Peter Gabriel's "Solsbury Hill" only for him to say "You know that was a lot higher than your regular speaking voice." Well no kidding, pretty well everyone speaks in the lower relaxed area of their own vocal range.

My realization of whats going on came to me when I heard him sing karaoke. The particular song he was singing (I don't remember which) when up higher to a note an octave above the root. Instead of following it higher his voice dropped an octave and stayed in tune... an octave down. And then I heard him sing other songs the same way, rejoining the correct octave when the song came back to the correct range.

As far as I can tell he can identify the note and how to sing it correctly but is unable to hear what octave it belongs in. I call it "octave deaf" when he is otherwise aware of the tone. Has anyone else seen or heard of a case like that? It was frustrating too because well... good luck trying to tell a baby boomer they're wrong about anything. No matter if I had a book of facts in my hand, or an electronic tuner proving my point.
#2
A more likely explanation is simply that he can't hit the note in the correct octave, so to stay on pitch goes for the octave below instead.
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#4
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A more likely explanation is simply that he can't hit the note in the correct octave, so to stay on pitch goes for the octave below instead.


I don't think that is it. I believe he his capable of going higher like that and has more range than just one octave. Also if that were the case then he wouldn't think that I am always singing too high unless its a particularly low song.
#5
i've seen tabs here doing a bit of the same thing...it's usually the faster stuff though.
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#6
I'm not a great singer but think I do the same thing as your dad. It feels uncomfortable to sing higher notes and I feel I lose the strength and masculinity of my voice there (possibly due to lack of practice). I'll drop an octave lower. Some songs I sing decent like Basket Case or Losing my Religion, I think I sing the whole thing a whole octave lower, yet I'm not really conscious about it. Certainly not tone deaf and get the correct octave while transcribing instruments, but I remember having trouble identifying octave on my first few tabs.
Have definitely seen too high AND too low octave in tabs on this site, yet the notes being good - so I expect this to be pretty common and can probably be learned by training ear
#7
Your dad has an untrained ear. That's about it.
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#8
Quote by Supernaut1985
As far as I can tell he can identify the note and how to sing it correctly but is unable to hear what octave it belongs in. I call it "octave deaf" when he is otherwise aware of the tone. Has anyone else seen or heard of a case like that? It was frustrating too because well... good luck trying to tell a baby boomer they're wrong about anything. No matter if I had a book of facts in my hand, or an electronic tuner proving my point.
Rock lead singers tend to be tenors, and even extend that range with falsetto.

If you examined choral music, you'd see the basic male parts are written for baritones, and they expect that a baritone can't hit much above E4. (The E above middle C).

This is the reason the Star Spangled Banner gives choral directors shit fits because the range is over an octave and a half, it's tough to key for average untrained vocalists. You sort of have to shoehorn it into the range of the singers you have on hand.

A harmony part can sound similar to the true melody, so if you're only backing down 3 notes, then maybe you're singing a harmony part.

The point being, you need to get with sheet music for some common melodies, and a piano, and actually take the time to figure out what your range is.

I'm right and my dad's wrong just doesn't cut it. The truth may be somewhere in the middle. He may be used to singing choral baritone parts, and you may not be as good as you think you are at higher registers.

In choral music the baritones and the sopranos sing an octave apart. So, if I'm going to sing along with most sopranos, I sing an octave down and everything is copacetic.
With certain songs arranged for female vocals, a full octave is a bit much, and I capo the guitar up a couple of frets and only sing down a b7th. (Martina McBrides, "Independence Day", comes to mind for this treatment). A yeah, A male singer can get away with that song, as it's posed from the viewpoint of non gender specific 3rd party....

Unless you want to sing bass or falsetto, certain alto singers can give trouble for a baritone. They're too high to sing at the same octave, and too low to sing an octave down. So, you re-key, or takes your chances.
Last edited by Captaincranky at Apr 27, 2013,
#9
It would seem that I put out the wrong idea somehow. I do know what harmonizing is, how it works, I understand why its done and why someone might sing on a different octave relative to their voice range and why someone might transpose a song to accommodate a voice. Also I understand that just because somebody CAN reach certain notes doesn't necessarily mean they should or will do it well. For example I could hit the notes of "walking on the moon" by The Police... but I don't think it would sound too good and wouldn't try it while anyone is in listening range.

But that all goes beyond what my point is. I'm talking about simply identifying a note and in the correct octave. For example if a person were to pick the open high E string on a guitar and sing that E exactly... and not just any E but THAT E in that octave and being able to identify it as such. If need be it could be proven by singing into a tuner. Maybe the idea being put out here is that there is no "correct octave."

The point of my works was that my dad could reproduce an E but I don't believe he could tell which octave it belongs in. The fact that another E would harmonize with it is besides the point. Also whether that E is in his range or not is also moot because that shouldn't prevent one identifying where it lies. That stems my "octave deaf" question.

Yes I may not be as good as I think I am. I never said I was great and try to stay humble in all aspects of life as there isn't much worse than being humbled by someone else. But to my credit I have sang around amateur musicians and a music teacher on one occasion and haven't found one who shares his opinion.
Last edited by Supernaut1985 at Apr 27, 2013,
#10
Quote by Supernaut1985
The point of my works was that my dad could reproduce an E but I don't believe he could tell which octave it belongs in. The fact that another E would harmonize with it is besides the point. Also whether that E is in his range or not is also moot because that shouldn't prevent one identifying where it lies. That stems my "octave deaf" question.
So maybe he puts his E in his octave. Unless he would be playing another instrument and couldn't tell.

In any case the best advice I had for you, I've already given. Sit both of you down at the piano, and do what test you think you need to do, with 6+ octaves in front of you. Mmmm-kay?

An octave is supposed to be the first musical interval people learn to recognize. But I suspect you still may need to attach a definition to the phenomenon..Now listen, that's an octave....E........e.......

Who knows, maybe you've discovered a new disease.
Last edited by Captaincranky at Apr 28, 2013,