Playing and Singing at the Same Time

Posted: 2/6/2009 1:27:38 PM

From: Chillicothe, Ohio USA

Joined: 1/29/2009

Just wondering if anyone else on here is brave enough to try this. Or maybe I'm just insane. :)
Posted: 2/6/2009 2:46:50 PM

From: Croxley Green, Hertfordshire, UK

Joined: 10/5/2005

Not a contributing forum member, so not "on here", but otherwise yes...


Hmm. Thinking about it, that's gotta be so hard - keeping two things in tune at the same time. Serious multitasking required.

Maybe if you attended the Veena Vadini School.
Posted: 2/6/2009 5:29:36 PM
Thomas Grillo

From: Jackson Mississippi

Joined: 8/13/2006

I've attempted to sing, and play theremin, and it's difficult. I imagin, that with practice, one certainly can master this extra layer of multi-tasking, as demonstrated by Carolina Eyck.
Posted: 2/7/2009 7:49:34 AM

From: Canada

Joined: 8/1/2008

I agree with GordonC, keeping two things in tune at the same time is extremely difficult. It is fairly easy to sing and accompany yourself on a guitar or piano because you don't have to worry about keeping your instrument on pitch.

It is possible to play the MIDI theremin effectively and sing at the same time but that's another ball o' wax and pitch is not a concern if you are using a note on/note off mode of control (as opposed to pitch bend).

When you sing and play an instrument simultaneously, I think it's important that the two tasks not impinge upon one another. You need to have full, separate, freedom of movement and neither should compromise the other in any way.

MANY HAVE TRIED. Whether or not they have succeeded will remain a matter of personal opinion.
Posted: 2/7/2009 10:20:12 AM

From: new haven ct.

Joined: 7/8/2005

Do we mean singing a contrapontal melody, or just dovetailing what we're trying to play?
I often sing to myself what I'm trying to play. It helps me stay in tune, plus allows me to "read" music using standard solefege.
Posted: 2/7/2009 3:58:21 PM

From: Chillicothe, Ohio USA

Joined: 1/29/2009

When I perform this task, I either sing the soprano line and play the alto line of a piece or I play in the lower register of my theremin, following the bass line of the progression. I find it is not that difficult to do if you focus on each line a a "sing" part. I had to do something similarly difficult when I studied at the Kodály Institute in Kecskemét, Hungary. Each week in solfege we had to learn to sing one line and form hand signs for the second line simultaneously. Even more difficult we were also assigned the task of signing in harmony with a partner and signing their vocal part while singing something completely different. I feel this intensive experience prepared me for the task of singing and playing.
Posted: 2/7/2009 4:02:19 PM

From: Chillicothe, Ohio USA

Joined: 1/29/2009


enjoyed the links, by the way. I have seen the Eyck video, and while she is singing in unison with the theremin part, it is extremely expressive. Such a beautifully effortless sound. As to the primary school link, that is some weird stuff!
Posted: 2/7/2009 6:47:51 PM

From: Croxley Green, Hertfordshire, UK

Joined: 10/5/2005

Yup, people can do some amazing stuff, and your training in Hungary certainly sounds like an applicable skill.

I never quite got the hang of full blown multitasking. The closest I come is reading out loud to my daughter whilst thinking about other stuff - unravelling some knotty problem or composing a forum posting for instance - but the problem is that when I do so I have no awareness or recollection of reading. I know I do it OK because Laura tells me when she doesn't understand, which is seldom, and because occasionally I am startled to hear myself shouting when the story demands it.

Somehow I think the ability to play theremin while thinking about something else wouldn't work out quite so well for me.
Posted: 2/7/2009 6:55:58 PM

From: Chillicothe, Ohio USA

Joined: 1/29/2009

Gordon, I'm going to be at Without Touch 3.0 in March for more awesome training--can't wait! I have signed up for a couple of lessons, and I am thrilled to be immersed in the theremin culture for a weekend. I am hoping to make known my skill at the festival for the purpose of constructive criticism and any other feedback. Also, I believe some of the pieces recorded professionally at my last gig on Friday night demonstrate my technique or style, whatever one chooses to call it. Video should be available soon in any case at If you visit the site now, it's just blurbs about my musical experience and influences, but the vids should be on there in a couple of weeks at the most.
Posted: 2/8/2009 2:05:51 AM

From: COSpgs

Joined: 1/30/2009

I sort of tend to inadvertently sing along with my lines, uh "Glenn Gould" style, if you will.

That said, when it comes to working the theremin out to harmonize with my voice, I tend to just hit a nice strong drone on the theremin and sing over the pedal tone, anything more complex than that is too tough for me to think about.

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