Technical question. If my vocal range is E2 to D4, what key(s) should I be able to sing “The Weight” by The Band in? One of my band members and I disagree, and I would like the opinion of a professional.

  • So - what key is it originally in, what are its highest and lowest notes originally?
    – Tim
    Jun 19 '20 at 19:02
  • It's not your total range which is important, it's where you can sing best and most comfortably within that range that counts. Your band should let you sing it in the key you want as long as they can play it in that key.
    – PiedPiper
    Jun 19 '20 at 19:03
  • I sing it in C, but they are used to doing it in G. I guess what I’m asking is if the highest note in the key of G is higher than the highest note that I can sing according to my vocal range. I don’t read music ... thus the question.
    – Carl
    Jun 19 '20 at 19:19

The original key is A and the range of the song is roughly an octave plus a whole step. The lowest note in A is an E2 and the highest an F#3, the lowest notes as a brief pickup on some phrases of the verse (i.e. at 0.30) and the highest in the verses and chorus (i.e. at 0.22-0.26). FYI You should easily be able to sing it in the original key since the low notes are very brief and almost ghosted.

With your usable range you can technically sing this song anywhere between A and F, a total of 9 keys. That being said I don’t think the song would sound very good any higher than in your key of C, especially if you want to keep the character of the original version.

In your comment you asked if the song would be too high in the key of G but I would think your band has in mind to do it a step lower than the original, which would be a step below your range. A minor 7th higher, which would put it in the stratosphere would be a step above your range. You can probably get away with singing it in G a step below the original but it would be in your low register.

Another thing to consider is the range of the background vocals which can start to get pretty high. Those can be sung an octave lower but they would have a different character that way.

  • 1
    Seems like key A will be at the bottom end of OP's range, and songs like this need a bit more balls that one gets down there. Good point about other singers - it's not easy to find one good key' and their parts are just as important as main vox. Although having knowledge of ranges may help, I've found that trying out keys is the best way. And relying on 'I can't sing along to the original in the chorus - it's too high'. Spent many happy hours finding the 'best' key for 5 or 6 singers, and that at best is usually - a compromise.
    – Tim
    Jun 20 '20 at 9:56
  • @Tim I agree, trial and error is the best approach, and not just for the singer but for the band as a whole. Some songs in certain keys just resonate better and that can’t be determined by a formula. Also most singers voices and most songs seem to have a “sweet spot” for lack of a better term and if you can manage to line those up then you’re on to something! Jun 20 '20 at 15:47
  • Been working on that (and a myriad of other things musical...) for 50 odd yrs. They all seem like the Holy Grail. Another 50 yrs, and I could be a millionaire...
    – Tim
    Jun 20 '20 at 16:49
  • @Tim Well I guess if you like Indiana Jones movies the search and the journey can be the best and most interesting part...provided you don’t fall off a cliff or get run over by a giant boulder! Jun 20 '20 at 16:59

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