What is Your Method of Learning Intervals/Ear Training?

Discussion in 'Music Theory, Lessons & Techniques' started by Mark Lykkos, Aug 8, 2017.

  1. Mark Lykkos

    Mark Lykkos SS.org Regular

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    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. metallifan3091

    metallifan3091 SS.org Regular

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    As far as ear training for intervals, I really enjoy this tool: http://www.musictheory.net/exercises/ear-interval

    musictheory.net also has other tools for note and chord identification on a written staff AND on a fretboard. It's a very useful site for learning and practicing basic ear training and sight reading skills, especially for people that are in the beginner stages of theory.
     
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  3. Sumsar

    Sumsar SS.org Regular

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    I guess it all really depends on what you want to use it for. The purpose for me is to be able to get ideas from my head and on to a fretboard.
    For me it is not important to be able to name the intervals, I just need to be able to make the sound I want.

    For me it came as a bi-product of practicing a lot of scales and arpeggios on the guitar.

    It seems you want to use it for sight-read singing. Since you write here I assume you can play guitar, so my advice would be to learn some simple songs on the guitar just using sight reading, then trying to sing what you play on guitar, so that you use the guitar (or whatever instrument) as a tool for learning to sing/read the intervals.
     
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  4. bostjan

    bostjan MicroMetal Contributor

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    Certainly playing different intervals gives you the perfect reference. When I took lessons, my teacher made tapes with different chord progressions and scales and I was assigned to figure them out by ear and then he'd check them the next week. If you don't have a teacher, try figuring out some songs, then get the proper tabs for them and see how right/wrong you were.

    There are also websites that challenge visitors to figure out intervals by ear. That could be a good starting place, if you aren't ready to figure out songs yet.
     
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  5. Mr. Big Noodles

    Mr. Big Noodles Theory God

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    Your method sounds good. In school, we would do all that plus melodic, harmonic, and rhythmic dictation. Of course, performance was also a part of it. Solfège singing, singing rhythms with Kodály and takadimi syllables, some keyboard exercises, that kind of thing.
     
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  6. Mark Lykkos

    Mark Lykkos SS.org Regular

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    Thanks for the feedback everyone! Glad to know my method is one with some merit to it.

    Most definitely. I write my own music as well so I'm using this exercise to get faster at putting the melodies in my head down on paper when I don't have a guitar or piano with me.
     
  7. Matthias Hornstein

    Matthias Hornstein SS.org Regular

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    Great thread Mark!

    I also do it that way.
    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
     
  8. Mark Lykkos

    Mark Lykkos SS.org Regular

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    Recording intervals sounds like a good idea too!
     
  9. Matthias Hornstein

    Matthias Hornstein SS.org Regular

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    Yes i can highly recommend that!
    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
     
  10. Mark Lykkos

    Mark Lykkos SS.org Regular

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    Haha, yeah, that would defeat the purpose of the whole thing!
     
  11. Eptaceros

    Eptaceros Wayfarer

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    This. You're already on a good track with using familiar tunes to reference interval recognition. Keep doing all of that, and slowly start figuring out music by ear to flex that inner ear. Eventually, you will no longer need to reference familiar tunes; you'll be able to identify and feel the intervals on their own.
     
  12. Matthias Hornstein

    Matthias Hornstein SS.org Regular

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    Yes absolutely!
    + make sure to record the intervals ascending + descending!
     
  13. JohnIce

    JohnIce Singlecoils = tr00

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    I've been taking this more seriously lately. What I've been doing is using my Maschine to record short loops of a chord progression and a drum beat, usually just two chords, and improvising over it. The Maschine is nice because you can change the tempo and key of the loop with a knob. So I'll sit there with something like an Fmaj7-Em7 progression going over and over, and with my guitar just honing in on chord tones and bum tones, which forces me to think about intervals and names of the notes in relation to the chords while I'm playing. When that starts feeling familiar, I change the key or tempo to throw myself off, or add two more chords or whatever to see how what I've been playing over a IV-III for two hours suddenly sound like crap over a I-V.
     
  14. billinder33

    billinder33 SS.org Regular

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    There are some really great phone apps for testing your interval knowledge and ear. SmartChord is the one I use most.
     
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  15. jbrin0tk

    jbrin0tk SS.org Regular

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    Agreed. "EarTrainer" has taken me from someone who had very limited ideas as to what he was hearing when it comes to intervals before (mostly thirds), to now being able to identify all intervals instantly. Also does a lot of other great things with regard to chords, chord progressions, melodies, scales, etc.

    A great app for finding intervals on the guitar neck is GuitarInterval.
     
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  16. Matthias Hornstein

    Matthias Hornstein SS.org Regular

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    Thanks for sharing!
     
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  17. Mark Lykkos

    Mark Lykkos SS.org Regular

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    I didn't know of these apps until now! Thanks for sharing these!
     
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