How to Learn Singing “Tension Is a Passing Note” from Sixpence None the Richer

Learning to Sing “Tension Is a Passing Note” by Sixpence None the Richer

“Outstanding vocals and unique techniques make “Tension Is a Passing Note” a perfect model for any aspiring singer. The song primarily utilizes a soft, emotive approach known as a ‘light mix’. This singing style combines elements of chest and head voice, producing a warmer tone perfect for conveying subtle emotions. This technique is also heard in tracks like “Scarborough Fair” by Simon & Garfunkel and “Naima” by John Coltrane.

Vocal Technique

Achieving a light mix requires control over your vocal register transitions. You need to be comfortable with transitioning from chest to head voice and vice versa. Familiarize yourself with vocal register transitions here.


First, you must know your vocal range. Use Singing Carrots’ Vocal range test to find it. Once you know your range, practicing breath control exercises is essential as “Tension Is a Passing Note” requires vocal agility and sustained, controlled phrases. Find relevant exercises in the Breath support article.


Use the Singing Carrots’ Pitch Training tool to improve your pitch accuracy. Record yourself using the Vocal Pitch Monitor to observe your progress. Learn to avoid straining your voice by practicing open throat techniques.

Performance and Final Touches

The song incorporates a technique called ‘phrase shaping’ – giving different weights to different notes within a phrase. Learn how to do it here. Remember, conveying the song’s emotion is as critical as achieving technical proficiency.

Other Songs to Learn

If you enjoyed singing “Tension Is a Passing Note,” you might want to try similar songs. Use Singing Carrots’ Search songs by vocal range tool, and check vocal ranges of famous singers here.