Advice On Female-Friendly Keys For Worship Songs
Many of the current stable of worship songs by writers like Matt Redman, Tim Hughes and Chris Tomlin work well for most men to sing but are so unnaturally pitched for women, they often end up singing harmony just so they can join in.
Brenton Brown's "Come Now is the Time to Worship" and Tomlin's "How Great is Our God" are classic examples. By the time you get to the chorus many women have dropped down the octave or given up all together.
Why Sticking To The Original Key is Rarely a Good idea
Many churches sing songs in the original album key because that’s the range in which they assume the song should be sung. I hate to break it to you, but most worship song studio recordings are pitched in a particular key so as to get the strongest sounding vocal performance from the singer. Consideration for a key that is replicable by a congregation is often way down the list. To be fair to the writers though, it’s actually a very, very difficult task to write a dynamic, interesting melody which all people can sing together, let alone perform it well on an album. So I think song keys for worship should really be considered a bit of a moving target.
Men, Women and Children's Natural Vocal Keys
A man’s stereotypical singing key is Eb whereas a woman’s stereotypical natural key is Bb (think Shout to the Lord - written not surprisingly by a woman). So despite singing an octave higher than a man, women naturally sing at a lower pitch than men.
So when you are choosing to transpose a male friendly worship song into a key for a female singer try 3 semitones (or 3 frets) below as a starting point.Continued on the next page