View Full Version : Why fixed references?

04-02-2005, 02:45 AM
Not doing nuttin, just ear training my lazy broke behind....

I use GNU solfege and Functional Ear trainer advanced...

FET advanced gives 2 notes, then you need to name the interval... before each question it gives the option of what kind of reference point you want, I chord, II-V-I, or I-IV-V-I.... or no fixed reference.

I read in some of the previous threads that fixed references were recommended. Why is that? the I chord sounds very differnt than the c-note, as does an F chord vs. an F note. Also, depending on whether I choose the II-V-I or the I-IV-V-I or the I,,, the succeeding notes sound different, or have different characters. Anyway, I had been using no reference of just the I chord, wondering why I should use the chord progression reference... whats the benefit/downside.

04-02-2005, 03:29 AM
Let's see if I understood this correctly...

If the first one you get is in the key of C and you use the C major chord then the next example is in F and you use the F major chord there is a chance that you might just hear that as the IV chord of C. Sometimes it is difficult to quickly get the feel for an entire key with just one chord. A ii-V-I will make sure any new key is immediately centered in your ears...and if they play the root and the b6 it will sound like those notes within the key, not just a minor 6th interval.

I don't know about you but I never found it to be that much harder to just start without a reference point. You eventually want to do it without the reference.

04-02-2005, 04:23 AM
Yes, I have been doing it with no reference, or just the I chord...

But I read that it is more beneficial to do it with the references. The trustworthy Guni has even said at Berkely they train with the references to learn tensions. Now I'm not sure what he meant by that....

Namely in this post - http://www.ibreathemusic.com/forums/showthread.php?t=157

It seems people are recommending the fixed reference, as well as the ear training instructionals people buy...

I want to know why they recommend it... using references.

-I'm guessing that for most people, its supposed to help them recognize the colour or character of the tone

04-02-2005, 09:09 AM
Ok now I understand.

Referencing is simply taking something you don't know and putting next to something you do know. When you first start ear training everything you hear is just kind of a concept within your head that you can't explain in actual numbers so you start by simply guessing until things start making sense. But once you know the basics it is easier to learn more advanced stuff by putting it next to things you already know...it saves the whole random guessing part until you stumble across something that makes sense method that we all start with.

If you learn to recognize the 7 notes of a major scale and you want to learn all 12 chromatic notes what's going to be easier, doing excersizes that play randomly from all 12 notes where you could have 3 or 4 flats or sharps in a row or having a ii-V-I to center the key followed by 2 notes of the key (say the 5th then the 2nd) that you have to identify then 1 chromatic note? In the later you would easily be able to reference what you don't know with what you do know. But if you were just starting out and a b6th was played in the former method there would be quite a few blind guesses before you got a grip on what was going on.

I honestly never had that much trouble doing intervals unreferenced which is why I mentioned it before, but if there is something that you flat out cannot hear properly it is always easier to get in your ears if you compare it to something that you can immediatly pinpoint. Take melodic transcriptions without an instrument for example. Is it easier to do them with or without hearing the I chord? That answer is pretty obvious...but you deffinatly want to eventually be able to do it without hearing something before hand.

Whenever I learn something new in ear training I say to myself that if I can't sit on a noisy bus and be able to write out what is going on I don't know it well enough...that's what I was getting at when I said you should eventually get this to be un-referenced. It is faster to learn things if you start by referencing things rather then doing blind guesses, but you can't always have someone or something to play the I chord for you. You don't want to have to rely on anything but your own ears.