Why Do I Sing Out of Tune on Higher Notes, but My Low Notes Are Fine?

Have you ever wondered why your high notes always seem to be a little bit off-key, while your low notes sound just fine? You’re not alone! Many singers struggle with this issue.

Let’s explore some normal causes of pitch discrepancies in singers, and provide some tips for how to correct them.

Let’s discuss a few things that can cause higher pitches to be out of tune.

Higher notes are generally harder for most people. 

Singing high notes requires your voice to be more balanced than low notes. Most people either work a bit harder when singing high notes or shy away altogether. Both of these options can lead to less than favorable singing, as well as pitch issues.

However, when we return to our lower range, we’re usually closer to the pitches that we use to speak, making singing accurately in this pitch range much easier.

Usually, the cause of off-pitch high notes is tension. 

Tension is a common enemy of good singing. When we sing high notes, the vocal cords are stretched thinner and must vibrate faster than when we sing lower notes. When we sing with tension, this can negatively affect the vocal cord vibrations, which can cause pitch problems.

Typically, when this happens, the pitch is pushed flat. It often feels weighty and less free because of the extra weight on the vocal cords.

Some solutions for singing high notes out of tune…

1) Drop the Jaw

Dropping the jaw helps us in a few ways. It helps us take advantage of more resonance, which can give us more sound for less effort. It also allows us to release our tongue out of the way, which is often the source of tension.

2) Narrow the Shaping of the Mouth

A wide shaping negatively affects our singing at the cord level. We need those vocal folds to come together effortlessly to sing high notes in tune, and keeping a narrow shaping in the mouth and throat makes that much more likely.

3) Relax your throat

If you feel the pressure of tension in your throat, you’re working too hard. It’s that simple. This extra weight on the voice can help push high notes off-pitch. So, try to sing those higher notes with more of a speech level pressure and you’ll be much more likely to sing them on pitch.

4) Bring head voice down. 

This is a great way to warm up your voice if you are the type of singer that pulls weight up as they sing. Instead of starting in chest voice and trying to take a full sound upward, start off singing head voice, and try to take that lighter feel down. This can really help balance your voice if you’re used to carrying too much weight up.

Want to sing high notes more easily? Check out our how to sing high notes article.  

Another interesting point about singing high notes in tune shared in the video…

The higher you sing, the more space there is in-between the notes. So, it can be more difficult to sing with accuracy the higher we go.

This is why it’s easier for male barbershop quartets to be in tune than a ladies group (if you’d like to understand this concept better, learn more about hertz and how they work pitch).

In Summary…

There are several reasons why people can have difficulty singing high notes. One of the most common is tension. But that can easily be overcome when you follow the steps mentioned in this article.

Alright all, I hope this helps! Want to join in the conversation? Ask your own singing questions for free by joining our Sing Fam community. Find out more here.