4

I’ve just received a choir piece that contains some (rare) quarter tones on long held notes. For example, a B which slides into a Bᴓ (that's a half flat).

I’ve tried singing the part where it happens. Not for very long, I’ll admit, but with little success. It seems that my brain tends to put the pitch into a category it knows well: either I’m hearing a (low) B, or a (high) B♭. I’m never sure I’m singing the "right"1 note.

How can I ensure that I’m actually singing this "right" note? Do any of you know of some tools out there that could help me train my ear?


  1. I do realise that "right" here can actually have different meanings. Let's say 24-TET. Quite frankly, if I manage to consistently sing something that is not quite a B, nor quite a B♭, I’ll be satisfied anyway.
  • 3
    You could down load an app that is a tuner. InsTuner is a good one as it will show you how close you are to the note. – b3ko Jul 12 at 11:44
  • Be interesting to see what your choirmaster has to say about it. – Tim Jul 12 at 12:05
  • Out of curiosity, what piece is it? – awe lotta Jul 12 at 14:46
  • You say long-held notes but you also say slide. I think you need to practice the slide. Sing up an ordinary scale, "doh re mi .." When you get to the semitones, slow down and slide gradually from the E to the F and the B to the C. If these are really slides then you don't have to settle on an intermediate tone, just slide through it. – chasly - reinstate Monica Jul 12 at 15:36
  • 1
    @chaslyfromUK It doesn't slide through the half tone. It's a portamento from a B to a B (half flat) that is then held for a few mesures. – Édouard Jul 12 at 23:01

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.