When considering what key to sing in, you need to take into consideration more than just the song itself. Regardless of your vocal range, here’s a step by step process to locating the best key for any song.
Know your vocal range.
To locate your natural singing range, find middle C on the chromatic scale using a keyboard or guitar.
Sing up the scale matching each note that your instrument plays.
When you reach the highest the highest note you can sing comfortably, you have found the top of your natural range.
Repeat this again – only going down the scale starting from middle C. This is the bottom of your range.
Analysing the song’s range.
Now that you have pinpointed your natural singing range. You are going to cross-reference it with the song you intend to sing. Study the highest written notes of that particular song, and how it is required to be sung. Do the same with the lowest notes.
When you compare the notes of the song you want to sing with the limitations of your natural vocal range, you will know whether or not you can sing the track in its original key.
If your range doesn’t fit that’s OK…
Simply sing the song in a lower key to make sure you can hit all the notes or alternatively, make the notes easier to reach by dropping the notes down an octave.
Variables are important to consider.
Depending on the genre, some keys are more appropriate to sing in because of either the instruments, volume or musical style.
A good example would be a Jazz musician in a restaurant setting, singing in a lower key providing a smooth backdrop that compliments the soft music and feel of the performance.
However a lower key would be useless if you were singing rock music while trying to compete with crashing drums and ear piercing electric guitar. Here higher notes are more suitable and easier to hear over load instruments.
If you want to be able to compete with the sounds produced by loud rock music, you are going to have to practice your vocal range and power exercises so you can sing higher and louder.
You need to know your voice well before choosing a different key to sing a song in… as well as the venue and the song. You can alter almost any song by choosing a key that better suits your voice, it’s just a matter of practicing it enough to make it sound right.
Check out Singorama if you are curious how far professional singing training can take your voice. You will be very surprised!