Changing key affects a song’s message.

I’ve been practicing singing and playing Lilac Wine for an open mic night. It’s a simple enough song (except for the annoying barre chords) but what I’ve discovered is that singing in a different key affects the song’s meaning.

Below you’ll find two soundcloud files of me singing a portion of the song. One starts in E minor, the other A minor. One is higher (more head voice) and the other lower (makes better use of resonance). I like them both for different reasons — one makes me sound vulnerable and in the other I think my tone is warmer and I have better control. Both were recorded using garageband, my computer’s microphone and a $60 nylon string yamaha guitar (i.e. not the best recording on the planet), but I think they show that it’s important to kind the right key for your voice depending on the meaning you want to convey.

Please give some feedback!

About Alison Armstrong

Alison Armstrong BMus./BEd. (Queensland University of Technology), Dip. ABRSM (Performance- Singing) I have trained to teach Music (Elementary, Middle and High School) and Drama (Middle and High School). This is my 7th year as a teacher.
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2 Responses to Changing key affects a song’s message.

  1. WMcRae says:

    Hi Mrs A. Before I listened I assumed I’d like the lower version more, but actually I preferred the higher one. (The wriggly baby sat a bit stiller during that one too.) I think partly it’s an element of surprise — it’s higher than one normally hears folk/pop etc. So vulnerable but also with a touch of virtuosity. Nice!

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