If I’m not tone deaf, why can’t I sing in tune?

Having a “nice” singing voice is multi-faceted, but you first need to figure out if you’ve got problems with your pitch, your tuning (or both). Before you go further, you may want to take a tone deaf test to ensure that you are, in fact, capable of hearing the notes needed in order to sing in tune.

Once you’ve checked your ears, it’s time to evaluate your voice. You need to not only listen while you sing, but also after you sing by recording yourself and listening to it.

1. Listen while you sing

Play a reference note (either with a piano or keyboard or a digital tuner) and try to match the note. Hold the note long enough so that you’ve got apt time to hear the note, judge it, and decide whether you’re on pitch. A digital tuner works nicely in order to visualize where you’re at with matching the pitch.

2. Record yourself and listen back

First, try using a free audio program like Audacity to record your voice. Similarly to the first exercise, you’ll sing with a target note and try to mimic the exact pitch. Listen closely to the recording to see if you’ve correctly matched the pitch. Sometimes we get accustomed to our own voices, so you may want to have a friend listen.

3. Try the SingTrue app

The SingTrue app for iPhone and iPad is designed specifically to help you go from realising you’re not tone deaf to being able to sing reliably and easily in tune.

Download on the App Store


Gaining control of your vocal pitch shouldn’t be a hard task and you should be able to move to bigger things in no time. Without perfecting your pitch first, practicing your tone, phrasing, expression, enunciation, and other singing aspects will all be in vain. Practice pitch first and the rest will follow.