How do find out if you are tone deaf?

Had a look at this and decided not to do the test.
The reason is that I don’t want to know if I am tone deaf via this test.
My mother who was musical convinced me at an early age that I was tone deaf and this influenced my inclination to sing on any occasion.
Fast forward 50 years and start to play the guitar again, joined the community, and was persuaded to give singing a go.
My only chance was to take singing lessons and my teacher doesn’t think I am tone deaf, even the stand in teacher to cover holidays though I was alright, so that is good enough for me.
I never going to be great singer but I can live with that.
PS The lesson that Justin has just released “Learn how to sing” is great and hopefully will persuade those that are hesitant to give it a go. Wish that lesson had been around six months ago.
Michael :notes:


Honestly, I don’t think any of us here are tone deaf as such. Wikipedia has an interesting article on this topic that you may want to check out.

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Jozef @Jozsef
Thanks for the link very interesting article.
Fancy calling it Amusia, makes a lot of sense calling it that rather than some long Latin name.

Quote from Wikipedia

recognize familiar melodies, the loss of ability to read musical notation, and the inability to detect wrong or out-of tune notes.[8] Clinical, or expressive, symptoms include the loss of ability to sing, write musical notation, and/or play an instrument.[9] A mixed disorder is a combination of expressive and receptive impairment.[citation needed]

Not being able to discern different pitches, I am going to find that out in ear training.
The other one loss of the ability to read musical notation, of course that assumes you could in the first place, I can’t but in the process of learning thanks to Justin

Hi Michael,
It just makes me a little sad to read how a parent can say something like that to you, that really shouldn’t happen… my wife found out two and a half years ago that her mother was also wrong when I bought the piano and said now played various songs with 2 hands … how good that you went to do it anyway, … that’s really great :sunflower:
Greetings ,Rogier


Indeed :broken_heart:

Sometimes all it takes is one unkind remark to turn a person off for decades, or even for their whole life. I think a lot of us here can attest to having our musical journey sabotaged by something like that.

I guess the lesson to take away is, when we are speaking to other people, especially young people, to be generous with our praise and sparing with our critique. Let’s all try on every occasion to not be Michael’s mum on this one :slight_smile:


Roger @roger_holland
Brendan @direvus

Thought I best come to defence of my mother, I don’t hold it against here, in a way she was probably not far wrong, I may not be tone deaf but my ability may be at the wrong end of the scale. She gave me great encouragement in other directions and lead me to a career in engineering which I really enjoyed.

Back then never sure my guitar was in tune, all I had were pitch pipes, getting the sixth string in tune with the pitch pipes was a nightmare but sort of tuned the rest of the strings using the fifth fret method.

I was always science based at school so never had any music lessons so my ability was never really tested.

I believe if you have some ability then you can improve it otherwise there would be no point in Justin’s doing his Ear Training Course, which I have just started, will be interesting to see how I get on!!!



Hi Michael,
I’m glad…very glad… to read that you don’t blame her and that it all worked out well for you…my wife does blame her mother that she always got to hear “your ena eldest sister can play music …that does not apply to the others”. Now she has the feeling that a few beautiful and instructive years with music have been taken away…but that makes me an even better boy friend :innocent: since I put her behind the piano and that the beginning is not so difficult …(then guitar at least to play several chords simultaneously without pain etc) :sunglasses:
Greetings Rogier

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I don’t want to do the test too, today I can do better than yesterday that’s enough for me, don’t have great expectation but enjoying the process.

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Silvia @SILVIA
Totally agree, try to keep moving forward and enjoy the journey
Michael :notes:

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For sure, no offense intended towards your mum. I wasn’t imagining her as some kind of villain.

Ooof, that’s rough. I have tried tuning strings by ear and found it slow and frustrating, and like you say, was never really confident whether I had got it right. Hooray for modern technology on that one!

Hope that the ear training works out for you. Let us know how it goes. I had a go of Justin’s idea to try figuring out a familiar melody on the fretboard by ear, and thought that was useful. Slow and difficult, but useful! Have also been trying to ‘tune in’ to my voice, by bringing up the tuner in Garage Band, playing a note on the guitar and then trying to sing or hum it into the mic. Sometimes I can find my way to the note pretty quickly, other times I’m way off. But the instant feedback of seeing my pitch on the tuner in real time is really helpful. At least this way I can tell what’s going on. I also have a much better idea what my vocal range is like (C#2 to A3).

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Brendan @direvus

Don’t worry no offense taken, perhaps with hindsight I might of just said “at a young age” rather than bringing my mother into it.

I don’t really think I am tone deaf it is just that I have not really used that skill, so I am hoping Justin’s Ear Training Course improves things.

As you say tuning your guitar the old way was not easy, imagine my delight at the beginning of this year when I decided to give the guitar another go after a gap of more than 50 years to find out there were such things as clip on tuners and apps, problem solved.

Cheers Michael :grinning:


Brendan @direvus

Just wanted to check some things on my vocal range, which I did not have to hand when I responded before.

When I checked it a little while ago my vocal range was G2 to E4 I think that makes me as bass/baritone, why can’t I be one or the other.

At my singing lesson this week during the warm up I noticed the teacher went further along the keyboard, when I asked her she said my vocal range had extended.

I recorded myself singing Take me Home Country Road last week and the range was C3 to A3 I think this may probably my Tessitura range, sorry about the jargon but just learnt the word yesterday but I think it means the range you are most comfortable singing with.

I only started to learn to play the guitar at the beginning of the year, really not sure how I have ended talking about this sort of thing, but isn’t life interesting!!!

Cheers Michael

PS I think this might have strayed away from the original topic, if the mods want to move it that’s fine.


I too learn here every day!

No worries; listening and singing yourself is and endless loop that keeps us sharp and trains both our ear and voice; it’s not unlogical that a discussion goes in that direction because one helps the other and better more and better singing improves your ear!

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Nice, I just learned that word in the last week too. Plus learning about the different vocal “registers” like modal, fry, falsetto and whistle. Interesting stuff.

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Brendan @direvus

More jargon, heard of the last two, not sure what they mean, sounds like more research on Google.

I think this thread started with Justin’s new lesson on singing. I have had a try with the first part where you play note and to try to sing to match the pitch with help of a tuner. Only had a quick go with G2, C3, A3 and E4, to my surprise hit the pitch almost straight away, based on this I agree with my singing teacher I am not tone deaf which is a bit of a relief.

Michael :notes::notes::notes:

I asked this on another thread (no response so fa!) but what do you mean by pitch?

Pitch is how high or low the note is.

Thanks but compared to what? To the one you are trying to match or something else?

Dictionary definition:

1 [mass noun] the quality of a sound governed by the rate of vibrations producing it; the degree of highness or lowness of a tone: her voice rose steadily in pitch.

OK. That cleared it up :slight_smile: