Thursday, February 26, 2004

Tone Deafness


First of all happy New Year!

Monty my dilemma is that I do not sing, but I write poetry which is turned into songs. When I try to turn the poetry into songs I do not know what I am doing. How can I get the melody for this when I do not sing?

Please help!

- Anthony

Hi Anthony,

I wrote about adding melody to existing words in my last column. If you play an instrument, that column may help you. However, some of my advice there does also require doing a bit of singing.

When you say you do not sing, I'm not sure what you really mean. You might mean that even though you can hear a tune in your head, you don't control your voice very well or are embarrassed by the sound of yourself singing. If this is the case, don't sweat it - songwriters don't have to be great singers. The advice in my last column should help. And if you'd like to improve your skills (it never hurts to do that!) maybe you can join a choir or take private lessons. I took private lessons myself for a while to improve my singing voice and it helped a lot!

The other thing you might mean is that you can't really even hear a melody in your head. Some people believe they are "tone deaf" and are unable to hear and reproduce different pitches. Such people claim that they "can't carry a tune in a bucket." True tone deafness is very rare. If you are really tone deaf it means you can't tell the difference between one pitch and another. Music would sound like meaningless noise to you. So if you can enjoy music, then you probably aren't tone deaf. There's hope for you yet. You can improve your singing with practice! See the paragraph above!

Of course you can always follow the last bit of advice in my answer to Ryan above, and find a writing partner who sings like a bird to add melodies to your poems!

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