I practice sight singing in the morning. I need some way to check if what I vocalize is correct.

What is very small instrument I can do it with (barring a smartphone that I don't want to turn on in the morning)?

I thought of a korg monotron, but at 50 quid maybe there are better alternatives?

  • 1
    Do you want to check against a tuner or just against a reference pitch? – Carl Witthoft Feb 19 '19 at 13:58
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    A melodica is cheap, and polyphonic. – Your Uncle Bob Feb 20 '19 at 22:06

A harmonica, either a chromatic one, or a couple of blues harps - one in C, another in B, which would between them give all the chromatic notes.

Or, a guitar tuner with an inbuilt mic.

Or, a Stylophone.


I used in our school colored chromatic metallophons for babies (15 $) and plastic recorders (5$) for preparing young people of 16 years for the teacher training college. Even the smallest harmonics for 1.50$ would fit.

My best advice would be: buy a tuning fork, with this you can train your ear: practice all scales, all intervals singing the absolute and relative names, singing all kind of chords:

E.g you get the chamber tone a’ of 440 hertz you can interpolate all intervalls: singing doremi (A major or latido a minor)

practice domiso (triade of A,) ladomi (triade) of a minor etc.

Try to keep the pitch of a’ 440 in your short time memory while listening music or while singing a well known melody.

The benefit for all sight reading will be much bigger than any accompaniment.


A pitch pipe. While not technically an instrument, a pitch pipe has several advantages. They are tiny and very easy to carry around, and they have all the pitches labeled on the devise. The disadvantage of this item is that you can't phonate while blowing into the pitch pipe. You will not be able to play along either. If this is to much of a disadvantage, you might get a small keyboard. You can find some really cheap ones if your not concerned about tone quality.

  • Pitch pipes are notorious for playing out of tune if not blown with just the right force. I wouldn't use them. – Carl Witthoft Feb 19 '19 at 13:59
  • I threw mine away 60 yrs ago. It was out of tune! – Tim Feb 19 '19 at 14:35
  • According to Wikipedia... "Technically it's a harmonica." – BlueJay Feb 19 '19 at 14:52

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