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I've decided that I want to improve my singing. In order to give me incentive to practice (and regular feedback), I thought getting a video game might be of help. I know that it's no substitute for actual voice lessons, but I'm not shooting for Carnegie Hall, and I've accompanied various choirs for over a decade, so I know a fair bit about technique. My biggest problem is pitch, and that's what I'm primarily looking to improve.

Is it possible (or, perhaps, reasonable) to use video games in this way? If so, is there any game in particular that's good for real-world vocal improvement (i.e., that rewards traits that are desirable in actual singing), or are they all essentially the same?

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Are you looking for a game that will help you learn to sing, something like rock band or a karaoke machine? Or just a game with good music. Please be more specific. – Reina Abolofia May 11 '12 at 3:39
@ReinaAbolofia I really don't care about the music selection - I'm just trying to improve my voice. I wouldn't think a karaoke machine would help much with that - there aren't karaoke machines that give you feedback on how you did, are there? I'm also thinking this is going to be a by-myself thing, not a social thing. – VolcanoLotus May 11 '12 at 13:57
up vote 1 down vote accepted

Video games are a great way to practice singing, but I would not recommend them to learn pitches. Singing or pitch-matching in video games doesn't really teach you the pitches because the notes are not long enough to sustain for longer than a few seconds.

To improve pitch and overall quality of your singing, try using software specifically designed for that purpose (e.x. SingingCoach ). Slim has the right idea- in most games you can hum the audio and as long as it is in tune, you'll score points.

I highly recommend using audiobooks on singing while driving. It is a great time to exercise your voice and learn new ways to improve it. You may get some weird looks from other cars though.

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What's different about SingingCoach compared to the games? Is it just less forgiving, or does it feature something like the frequency analysis @slim mentions in the comments above? – VolcanoLotus May 16 '12 at 16:49
SingingCoach is designed to help you improve your singing ability (in the same sense that Rosetta Stone teaches you new languages), while video games are more designed for recreational use (i.e. Rockband, Guitar Hero- those games that allow a singing part- which gives you practice, but not instruction.) – Gaʀʀʏ May 16 '12 at 17:21
If you want to get some singing software, do some research on the different applications available. I only use SingingCoach as an example; I am not recommending it over others. – Gaʀʀʏ May 16 '12 at 17:47

The Singstar series on the Playstation 2 and 3 monitors your pitch, gives you visual feedback of that, and a score. Similar titles exist for other platforms.

At the easiest difficulty level, you don't need to be all that accurate, but at the higher difficulty levels it does demand very accurate pitching and timing.

Whether this would help you depends on your particular goals, motivations and learning style.

Bear in mind that the game has no concept of tone. You could sound awful and still get high scores as long as you're in tune and on time.

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Are there any games that do have concept of tone, or even something like inflection or enunciation? That was part of why I asked; I watched a friend ace Rock Band vocals once by...well, it's hard to describe what he was doing; calling it "humming" would be a bit of an insult to humming. I was wondering if any of the singing-specific ones did it better. – VolcanoLotus May 11 '12 at 13:59
@VolcanoLotus Any two singers can sound good despite having wildly different tone, and "good" is subjective, so you won't be able to find software that does anything like that. Some sort of speech recognition might be possible but I'd expect it to be even harder to do for singing than regular speech so you'd be unlikely to get usable results with that either. – Matthew Read May 11 '12 at 16:27
@MatthewRead Fair point, thanks. I just wasn't sure if any of them were empirically better than others. It sounds like not, so I guess maybe the answer in my particular case is just to find whichever one has the song list I like most. – VolcanoLotus May 11 '12 at 19:14
There is PC software (Google "voice training software") that shows a live frequency analysis of your voice through the microphone. You can look at what your idea of a "good" voice sounds like, and watch visual feedback of your own. It depends -- rich -> lots of harmonics; pure -> few harmonics. – slim May 16 '12 at 9:54

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