Singing On Key or Off Key
Michael Jackson, 1984, Wikimedia Commons
If you can remember the first time the Moon Walk was performed on stage (and I don't mean anything related to Neil Armstrong) and know the words to "Billie Jean," "Thriller" and "Beat It" even if you haven't heard them in years, you might be of a certain age. Or not. Often hailed as the King of Pop, Michael Jackson's popularity spanned many decades. His death in June took the music industry and fans by surprise, and in the days following, you may have heard Michael Jackson music played over and over again on radio and TV stations.
While Michael Jackson was a persona from the time he was young, his success can be attributed to more than simply stage presence and personality. Michael Jackson was a musical genius.
You know a Michael Jackson song when you hear it because you know the "sound" of him. All of us "make" sound with our voices. All of can "sing," but as we know from watching outtakes from American Idol try-outs... not all of us can sing "well" and few of us have perfect pitch.
Have you ever thought about how it all works? Have you wondered what variables influence pitch and range?
These Science Buddies' science fair project ideas take a look at the mechanics of sound and pitch:
- Comparing Vocal Ranges: How High and Low Can You Go? (Science Buddies' difficulty level: 3-5)
- Correlation Between Relative Pitch and Age, Gender, or Musical Background (Science Buddies' difficulty level: 7)
Maybe there is a reason you can't tell a musical A from a C!