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What does it mean when someone says a song is not in their range? Does it simply mean they can't hit the highest or lowest notes of a song or is it something that I'm missing? Look at the link to the article I posted below and read the first 2 paragraphs. What exactly does she mean? If a song isn't in your range what can you do to put it in your range? I thought you just transpose it to a different key and sing it whatever octave the tessiture of your vocal range is.

http://blog.smule.com/tuesday-tips-how-to-know-what-song-is-suited-to-your-voice

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    Tessitura relates not to one's vocal range, but the notes in a song itself. When there are a lot of higher notes, the song is said to have a high tessitura. – Tim Mar 21 '17 at 23:31
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What does it mean when someone says a song is not in their range? Does it simply mean they can't hit the highest or lowest notes of a song...?

That's exactly what it means.

If a song isn't in your range what can you do to put it in your range? I thought you just transpose it to a different key and sing it whatever octave the tessiture of your vocal range is.

Yes, this is a very popular way to make a song that is not normally in a singer's range fit the singer. At the same time, transposing a song often changes the sound and feel of it in subtle ways. Many singers and musicians prefer not to transpose music and would rather pick a different song to sing that fits their range.

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As someone who sings a lot of music (nowadays mainly in the shower), I end up singing a lot of music that's outside my range for at least a few notes (or outside my most comfortable range in several notes). By "outside my range", I mean I cannot hear myself sing the note at all, and by "outside my most comfortable range", I mean it takes me more effort to sing the notes (such as the C that's 2 octaves above Middle C).

Whenever the song gets out of my (most comfortable) range, I transpose the section an octave (up or down as necessary). In general, I do not prefer transposing what I sing into different keys--it's more difficult to remember that way, and in classical music, the key of the piece is often in the title (such as Mozart's "Symphony No. 40 in G Minor") and therefore looks bad in transposed versions.

  • If you're singing in isolation, or even in the shower, how do you know you're singing in a particular key? Absolute pitch? In which case, what's wrong with knowing you can't sing in the written key, and transpose the tune? Not that Mozart 40 was written to be sung in any case. – Tim Mar 21 '17 at 23:35
  • @Tim, you guessed right--I have absolute pitch. My memory of music is good enough that I can remember specific recordings, so I often rely on them as the originals I base my sung versions on. I find it harder to remember a transposed version, especially since I can no longer base it on the recording. I normally shift sections an octave on the fly. – Dekkadeci Mar 22 '17 at 11:32
  • So - you now need to work on being able to transpose on the fly. There is no reason with songs that they have to be in a certain key, for the most part. The original key can't be called the proper key - although some of the people I play with believe it to be so. Wouldn't it be good to think of a song in Eb, but then be able to sing it in F#? All to gain, nowt to lose! And of all people, those with absolute pitch are very capable of recogising their own range... – Tim Mar 22 '17 at 11:42
  • @Tim, I've found that I'm significantly less accurate at singing transposed versions the moment the music modulates. I'm only a bit less accurate on average if the music doesn't switch keys, but I cannot transpose atonal music on the fly at all. (If I have heard the song in more than one key, I can sing versions in those keys accurately.) I do think of several songs as having no native key (and therefore I am OK with singing them in whatever key I want), but they tend to be folk songs, children's songs, or Christmas carols like "Lightly Row" or "O Christmas Tree". – Dekkadeci Mar 22 '17 at 14:59

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