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Solfege - Part 2

Triadic Chord progressions

The following exercises involve being able to sing, recognize and feel triadic chord progressions by arpeggiating the chords and singing the bass line.

It would be good practice to record all of the examples.

I - IV - V - I

In the example below we arpeggiate each triad, but at the same time we also want to sing the bass for each chord. Record yourself singing the bass and arpeggiate the triads on top of it. Reverse the process, record the arpeggiated triads and sing the different bass lines as indicated in the examples. And of course this all should be performed with the correct syllables....

Exercise 4

In this version the bass goes down to the F, up one step to the G and up to the C. Also notice that I transposed the top staff down an octave to better fit my voice range.

Up to now we sang all triads in root position, thus starting on the root, going up to the fifth and down again. In this next example we will make use of voice leading to move smoother and more musically from one chord to the next. As a result we have to sing inversions of the triads.

Exercise 5 moves from C root position (c e g) to F second inversion (c f a) to G first inversion ( b d g) and back to C root position.

Exercise 5

Click here to listen.

Pick other common chord progressions and apply exercises 4 and 5 to these. Examples: I - VIm - IV - V or I - II - V - I or I - V - VI - IV ...

Regarding I-V-VI-IV: A few months into my studies at Berklee I met up with a couple of guys for a drink (yeah right, sometimes we did have some spare time to frown upon our hobbies :-). The juke box was playing U2's 'With or Without You'. I remember sitting there having a chat not really listening to the tune when out of nowhere I suddenly was thinking 'Ah, the bass line is Do Sol La Fa'. It's not that I didn't know this before but this was my first experience of matching sound and syllables. It just showed me that the Solfege I was practicing was sinking in.

I mention this as I want to point out the practical side of Solfege and how it started to work for me. This was just the beginning. The more I dug deeper into this technique the more I was able to recognize and identify music by ear.

And BTW what can be a better practice than analyzing the music that is all around us: TV, bars, radio, shopping mall, elevator, ....
(Warning!!! Excessive Solfege may damage your sex appeal ...)

Cycle of Fourths >>