I'm Vocalizing! 2 - Lesson 5. Chromatical Noodling
MP3 Tracks - Digital Download
To sing chromatically, means to sing in half steps (semi-tones). (For example, any two immediately adjacent keys on a piano or keyboard, be they black or white, form half steps.) A standard musical scale consists of a combination of whole and half steps but in this exercise you are concerned only with half steps. This exercise really helps to train the ear, the eye (in following along with the music provided) and voice at the same time. Chromatic intervals can be tricky. Record yourself while you do this exercise to make sure you are singing the intervals correctly. There is a series of six ascending groups followed by six descending groups. This cycle is repeated after a key change. Many people have a tendency to make the descending intervals too wide. Be sure to check yourself of have someone else listen to you.
What to listen for:
The guide vocals demonstrate the exercise with the basic pure vowels, a, e, i. o, u initiated by the consonants I, z, t, m, b, n, which are then repeated backwards (n, b, m, t, z, I). However, you may find other vowels or syllables easier. Some people may find the pitches go too high. Try taking weight off your voice by lightening the sound (try a child-like voice). If you still have trouble, drop down an octave. If you listen carefully, you will hear some of the voices drop an octave and then rejoin the upper voices when they feel comfortable.
Who doesn't want to be able to sing on pitch? World music challenges our ear and our abilities to sing unusual intervals. Half steps are not unusual in music but they can become quite challenging to sing in some contexts. It will be beneficial to spend some time on this one.
*A note about register breaks: The chest register corresponds to the range of the speaking voice and has a different quality in sound than head register which is more associated with opera singing. For example, many people experience a yodel or change in their voice quality from the D to F above middle C.
Listen to a sample: