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What is Your Method of Learning Intervals/Ear Training?

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  • What is Your Method of Learning Intervals/Ear Training?

    Hey guys!

    What are your methods for training your ear and recognizing intervals? This is something I myself am currently putting more time and effort into because as both a performer and a writer I think it's an important skill to have!

    In terms of reading and identifying note intervals from note to note, I just drill myself on them so that I can recognize what they are based on where they relate to each other on the staff. When it comes to being able to identify intervals by ear and also being able to sing or play them on demand, I've been making a list of melodies that are very familiar to me and picking out the intervals in them.

    For example, if I wanted to sing a Major Second interval going down, I think of the first two notes in the main riff of "Rebel Rebel" by David Bowie because that very first interval is a Major Second going down. I'm working on putting this list together for all intervals going up AND going down.

    After all this I can start to apply this to sight reading music much better, even singing melodies on the page without having to play it first on an instrument! Because I'll be able to A) identify what the interval is, and then B) know what it's supposed to sound like!

    Does anyone else do something similar? If not, what are your methods?

  • #2
    Basic theory class had us doing intervals by familiar melodies. I found though that when taking dictation, very often the harmonic content obscured the actual vertical relationships as well as the melodic voice leading. It does take a fair bit of work to get good at it. That was 40 years ago. I still suck at it.
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    • Mark Lykkos
      Mark Lykkos commented
      Editing a comment
      Cool! Thanks for the response!

      I think I know what you mean when you say that interval dictation messed up the vertical relationships and voice leading. My very first harmony teacher in college was very old school and had us think only horizontally for SATB harmony writing, and when we got a new teacher for harmony II who had us think both horizontally and vertically, suddenly everything just made sense all of a sudden.

  • #3
    I have recorded all the intervals plus the openings of the songs (with that specific interval) that i know pretty good so that i can relate to that better.
    It helped me a lot.
    I go through my recordings (at random order) and try to hear what interval it is. If i am not sure i grab my guitar and figure it out.
    Make sure that you don't "name" the file after the interval. I would take away all the practise if you know it before hearing it


    • #4
      I just taught myself how to play by ear. If that doesn't get the fretboard into your ear nothing will.
      - The urge to save humanity is almost always a false front for the urge to rule it. - H.L. Mencken


      • #5
        Originally posted by Idunno View Post
        I just taught myself how to play by ear. If that doesn't get the fretboard into your ear nothing will.
        Yes that's true. But could you figure out just by ear what interval that is if i play you two random notes? I'm sure you could figure it out with your guitar for sure, but also just by ear? I am really curious