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Solfege - Part 3

Sightsinging Exercise

In the example below I added a few chromatic lines. Before you give it a shot let me point out a few aspects to the sightsinging procedure, i.e. how to prepare yourself before singing the first note.

1) Establish the key: The example below is in D major. Play the note d on an instrument and sing the D major scale up and down with its corresponding syllables. This will establish the overall sound and prepare you for what's coming up.

2) Pick a tempo: it should be relaxed. We tend to try speed up things too quickly in the beginning. Make sure you feel comfortable with the speed and singing the syllables in time. The exercise below uses 8th notes pretty much throughout. For a start you might set the quarter note to around 50 bpm.

3) Count off: Give yourself a measure up front counting yourself in to establish the tempo. At the same time try to 'look ahead' and focus on what you have to sing in the first measure. This 1 bar of preparation is considerably important. It is usually responsible for the entire performance. If this 'setting your mind at ease' with an example isn't happening chances are that your performance will not be successful and end off in a stumbling affair.

4) The one major rule: NEVER STOP - whatever happens. Always sing in time up to the end, even if you just sang two syllables correctly. Next time you will get three .... This is really hard to do. 'Oops, mistake! STOP - Let's start again' = WRONG. Imagine you are on stage and you made a mistake. Would you stop and play the tune again? You gotta prepare yourself that you will make mistakes - learn how to overcome them and look ahead ...

5) Conducting: Now this is a topic I haven't touched so far and it's beyond the scope of this article. I just want to list that here as it is another aspect of sightsinging and setting a tempo. I will at some point need to discuss conducting in detail (I guess video would be beneficial for this one). Anyway, what it comes down to is that we keep a constant tempo throughout our performance. For now you can use a metronome or/and tap the beats with your hands and/or feet (I like to snip).

Enough talk: here's the example

Feel free to post you results in the forum and if you have any trouble or questions - I'd like to hear them as well.

Scales Scales Scales ...

Now that we know all syllables we can go a step further and familiarize ourselves with other scales than major.

I will just show you how you could approach this - the major work will have to be done by you alone.

In general it comes down to practicing what I have introduced to you with the major scale, i.e. sing the scale, sing intervals, sing melodic lines, etc ...

For the purpose of demonstration I will use C harmonic minor as our example scale.

1) Sing the scale up and down.

2) Pick a certain interval within the scale - 2nds, 3rds, 4ths, etc ... (In this example I'm using all 4ths diatonic to C harmonic minor)

3) Melodic phrases

Make up your own exercises! Then apply them to other scales, ie modes, melodic minor, etc..

One Melody - Many Exercises >>