View Full Version : Interval Recognition Excersise....

Shred Fan
01-11-2004, 10:46 PM
Hey guys, this is something I tried last night that I thought I should share with you because it may help you.

It may sound a bit over the top, but as Jim Steinman said "If you don't go over the top, you'll never see whats on the other side" (extra points for anyone actually knows who Jim Steinman is).

Ok, I figured I needed to work on my ear a little, and the best place to start is the recognition of intervals, build my sense of relative pitch. So in conjuction with the info of all various articles and lessons I had read all the time, I came up with my own method.

Essentially what we want to do is get the tone of certain intervals into our mind. So to get FULL concentration on what I was hearing, I turned off the lights, closed my eyes and sat there with my guitar.

Reason for this, we all know when one sense is inactive, all others work overtime, suddenly the mind is more apt to focus on what I was hearing.

So then I proceeded to play major seconds all over the fretboard. After a few minutes I started to hum them as well. I ...

1. Hummed while I played it
2. Hummed after I played it
3. Hummed before I played it and then checked accuracy

Then I did the same process with a minor third. Then Alternating.....A-B-A-C-A-B-A-C. Attempting to sing all the while.

I only did it for about 15 minutes and when I woke up this morning I could still pretty accurately hum a major second and a minor third without a guitar. Quite remarkable results given the small time I put in.

I guess doing it this way makes the best use of time, for me anyways, when working on interval recognition and I recommend you all give it a try.

So I think doing this (I guess the eyes closed bit is probably the only new thing to you guys in this post) for only 20 minutes a day, working on different intervals and revising old ones every day for a month or so will drastically improve your ear.

This coupled with the good old what I call the "tape test". You get a tape recorder, play the interval twice, on different notes, eg. minor second .....A-A# , C-C# and leave a pause and say "minor second". Do this with the intervals you have learned, good revision, if you are inaccurate time to cut the lights and work some more.

Ok that is it, like I said it is a little over the top, sounds like something someone like Steve Vai would do (its just short of sleeping with a constant A440 in your ears in an attempt to gain perfect pitch). Well, enjoy, give it a try, and I'd like to hear your opinions.

Please note: This is just something I came up with, though most of it was picked up from various articles and things I have heard over time, I assimilated them all together using the best bits to get this technique that I thought I should share with you because you may be able to benefit from it. I in no way claim to have come up with everything myself (just making that clear).

Enjoy. Let me know how you go.

-Shred Fan

01-12-2004, 03:37 PM
Originally posted by Shred Fan
(extra points for anyone actually knows who Jim Steinman is).

He is a master sculptor of music and lyrics which are notable for their imagery, grace, lucidity and aptness of phrase. He is a non-conformist in an industry dominated by the predictable. He is an intelligent virtuoso boiling over with fresh ideas, explosive music and biting commentary. He is blending old and new schools of theater and rock and then taking it one step further. He is Jim Steinman - artisan of the Epic Rock style and father of the Power Ballad. Jim Steinman is forever expanding the boundaries, breaking new ground, and improving on perfection. (from jimsteinman.com)

Do I get extra points?

Shred Fan
01-12-2004, 11:05 PM
Yes extra points for you Koala, though are you not familiar with his music? He wrote Meatloaf's Bat out of Hell for starters, back then a 10 minute rock song with so many different sections was completely unheard of.

Anyways...doesn't anyone have anything to say about my excersise?

01-13-2004, 01:16 AM
Hey - your excercise is great!
Ear training is the most over-looked part of musical training!
I recommend that everybody do your excercise!
Great stuff!


Shred Fan
01-13-2004, 01:32 AM
Thanks a lot SeattleRuss, I'm glad you liked it. Yes ear-training is indeed something that is a little overlooked, I definately need to work on it more.

After ages working on my picking chops and achieving a nice speedy technique, I've come to realise there as just as important things such as good bending, phrasing and ....eartraining! That I spent to little time on before.

01-13-2004, 04:39 AM
Right. It has been said that for every lick or phrase you play, if you were to "freeze" the action mid-phrase, you should be able to sing the next note.
It's interesting - there are some instruments where if you can't "hear" a note, you simply can't play it. Instruments like fret-less anything, (bass, violin, cello etc.), or any brass or wind instruments that depend on embrouchure to play them. The people that play these are getting ear training every time they pick up their instruments!


02-28-2004, 01:59 PM
musictheory.net has a flash-based ear training program for interval recognition.

One problem, I have too bad of a voice and an inexperienced ear, so I can't really depend on manual methods.

Question though, the site I posted does have some interesting programs to develope several aspects, and I honestly am only posting it for the good will of any musician that may stumble here, and nothing more.

I'm not associated with it, and it's free, so there's no real "spamming", but this site seems to be bit strict in that area, is it ok if I point out the site from time to time?