Does Ed Sheeran sing out of key on a few studio songs?

  • A few songs in which I believe this to be the case are One and New York from the album X (Wembley Edition).

    Is it just me, or does he sing out of key on these songs?

    Please note: this isn't to say that he is a bad singer. It just seems strange to me that an artist of his caliper would produce music with such mistakes.


    Maybe you could point us exactly where you think he is out of key?

  • To start with, even the best singer doesn't hit every note perfectly right. As such, singing out of key is a gradual thing.

    For the two songs you mention, I would not say that Ed sings out of tune. On contrary, his music has a quite produced feeling, and it wouldn't surprise me if some sour notes have had their pitch corrected. I wouldn't swear on this though, but it is a common technique in popular music.

    So again, I don't hear anything particilarly out of tune here. Perhaps you are getting tricked by the falsetto singing style which kind of gives that feeling?

    I understand that no one is perfect. Hence the pitch correction you mentioned. I also understand falsetto and believe that I am not being tricked by it. My question was more of a technical one, I guess. I am looking for a definitive "yes, his pitch is off" or "no, he doesn't sing sharp or flat in these tunes." It would be especially useful if there were a tool for assessing such a question that one could employ to know for sure.

  • I personally didn't hear any notes that struck me as particularly off --you might need to specify particular notes for us to hear it --but I can hazard a guess as to why those might be in there, if they are.

    For a long time, the trendy sound was a highly-produced, auto-tuned sound with computer perfected pitch. The pendulum is swinging back, and people now want something more organic sounding. So the decision may have been made to not auto-tune notes that were naturally just a little bit off.

    In addition, many great singers of the past (Billie Holiday and Ray Charles being two particular examples) deliberately used imperfections in tone, rhythm and pitch. That gave them a richer and more nuanced palette of emotional colors for their songs.

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