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Thread: Disappointed with Ear Training

  1. #1
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    Unhappy Disappointed with Ear Training

    After a year of Ear Training, after using all kinds of methods, techniques, software etc I came to the point of complete frustration with my ears.

    I still can't recognize simple intervals.
    I can sing them. Give me a tone and ask me to sing a major or minor triad - I will do it easily. Ask me to sing almost any interval from a given tone upward or downward no mater - I will do 20 times in a row without any mistake.

    But I won't recognize an interval when you play it. 60-80% of correct answers no matter how fast you play.

    I can hear difference between major and minor triad well but if you play one for me I won't tell which one you just played.

    I even have some Perfect Pitch skills, I can recognize some notes and can sing a middle C or A right away. But it won't help me with intervals.

    I tried to dedicate a complete month for ear training - every day - at least three hours a day, I studied intervals. But when it comes to test I fail.

    I always thought that persistence and patience make success but I just don't know what else I can do.

  2. #2
    Registered User Color of Music's Avatar
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    Don't get discouraged. I think you're letting you're frustration get the better of you. I noticed you said that you can sing them just fine. I think that is your problem. To sing an interval, you need at least two people!

    Secondly, you're lacking application: ie: Actual songs! This is how you train your ear! Running drills tires one out and it's definitely not fun. However, listening to songs are - especially tunes you like.

    What I'm getting at is the application of song association. IOW, you need to hear the songs that contain the intervals given you trouble! I've written replies in several threads that have links to songs that have the intervals from Unison to the Major seventh!

    To determine intervals, all you need are two notes; therefore, once you hear it the first time, listen through the entire song to hear how many times said interval appears.

    Here's an example: Happy Birthday (Chipmunks) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wFh-rX_Sfhs

    Like I said, you only need two voices. Listen, to the children (0:31) as they sing the song. They're singing intervals.

    Hang on and I will find where I posted the example songs for interval training or direct you to my posts that have them.

    What I want you to do is listen for the first two notes of the song and tell me what they are. When you read the post, you will see that I have put the intervals there already; however, all the songs are in various keys, but still just listen for the first two notes. (Note: some songs have three notes listed, but look at the two notes that are separated by a dash (ie: F, Bb-D - this interval, btw is a major third.)

    Post #3: http://www.ibreathemusic.com/forums/...ad.php?t=19485
    Last edited by Color of Music; 01-15-2013 at 12:31 PM.

  3. #3
    Registered User JonR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Guitarrero View Post
    I still can't recognize simple intervals.
    I can sing them. Give me a tone and ask me to sing a major or minor triad - I will do it easily. Ask me to sing almost any interval from a given tone upward or downward no mater - I will do 20 times in a row without any mistake.

    But I won't recognize an interval when you play it. 60-80% of correct answers no matter how fast you play.

    I can hear difference between major and minor triad well but if you play one for me I won't tell which one you just played.
    Not sure I can help, because your situation seems very strange, almost the opposite of mine.
    I can't sing intervals reliably at all - even if I get them right, they'll probably be out of tune.
    But I can easily recognise a minor triad from a major when someone plays them.

    However, your choice of language is a little odd. You say "I won't recognize an interval when you play it". But then you say "60-80% of correct answers".
    IOW, you will recognise an interval 60-80% of the time. 60% is admittedly not great, but 80% is a damn good score! (When I've done tests like that, I get between 70-80% at best, which I'm perfectly satisfied with.)

    Given your results I'm not sure what you mean when you say "I can hear difference between major and minor triad well but if you play one for me I won't tell which one you just played". Is that "never"? or do you mean you can't reliably tell (100% of the time)?

    I do understand that hearing a difference between two sounds is not the same as being able to tell which is which . But once you can characterise a major triad as something like "strong", "smooth", "bright", "happy", with minor (in comparison) as "moody", "dark", "sad", "intense", or something similar, that ought to help.

    Quote Originally Posted by Guitarrero View Post
    I even have some Perfect Pitch skills, I can recognize some notes and can sing a middle C or A right away. But it won't help me with intervals.
    Right. PP is not much use with RP (relative pitch). Of course, good PP can help you work out intervals ("if that's C and that lower note is A, then it must be a minor 3rd"), but that's not the RP skill you need.
    Quote Originally Posted by Guitarrero View Post

    I tried to dedicate a complete month for ear training - every day - at least three hours a day, I studied intervals. But when it comes to test I fail.

    I always thought that persistence and patience make success but I just don't know what else I can do.
    How good are you at working out songs by ear?
    Can you find notes (or melodies, bass lines, riffs) by playing along?
    Can you hear chord changes, such as I-V, or I-IV?

    This is what that ear training is all about, to help you with that sort of thing. Ie, your score in ear training tests is neither here nor there, it's how accurately you can tell what's going on in real music that matters. That can actually be easier, because there are common changes and uncommon ones. And the common ones (which matter) are not very numerous. (How many permutations of I, IV and V can there be? )

    My RP is by no means perfect (always room for improvement!) but I'm pretty comfortable with hearing most common changes, and with transcribing songs. (I can't get all the details in real time, I usually need to slow things down, but that's no problem.)
    And when I'm actually playing music, and improvising, my ear is good enough(maybe 90% as good as I'd ideally like).

    IOW, if you're not doing much transcription from actual music, I suggest forgetting exercises altogether, and focussing on actual music. Don't try and guess things just from listening (that's hard to start with); try and play along, finding single notes here and there. Don't expect to get everything (other than in very simple songs) without needing to find some way to slow a track down, or without needing to repeat it many many times.
    My ear was truly terrible when I first began playing (worse than average, even among non-musicians, from what I could tell). But it has improved a lot over the years. And I did it by learning from records and tapes (yes, way before CDs and MP3s ), never used ear training exercises.

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    I am not good with my ear as well.. But hey hey! Here's a theory of mine which I hope will help you not get discouraged. :)

    ********

    I like to associate music with colors, or should I say, every note has its own colors. What we are facing is the issue to identify the colors.

    Over the days since we were born, we have been seeing millions of colors. Red, for example, there could be so many different shades of red; pink, dark red, blah blah.

    But since the day we have been born, we have not been using our ears to differentiate the different colors of music and we are just only getting started.

    For an artist on the job of choosing colors, he needs to have seen so many different colors before he could decide on the colors he wants for his artwork. But it comes naturally because he had been seeing millions of colors over his days being alive.

    Then, for a musician to hear colors, he will need to have heard so many different colors before he knows the colors he wants for his songs.

    For an artist, he had been seeing colors for at least 12 hours a day and say, it took him 20 years of seeing colors before he successfully did his first painting.

    If hypothetically, we need to spend the same amount of time we did with our eyes before we are able to know the colors of what we hear, that will amount to at least 12 hours a day over a span of 2 decades. If we are 20 now, we can only achieve it at 40.

    Well, it does look really long, doesn't it?

    So, if you would, don't be dismayed by not achieving what you wanted to achieve! This is because be it an artist or a musician, we get better as we practice. We can never get worse than how we are if we keep practicing, can we?

    My bottomline is, the duration to achieve what you want needs time, and the time needed isn't 1 year or 2. It is actually a lifetime of work. In fact, a lifetime of improvements. You practised for 3 hours, you are better after 3 hours. You practised for 1 year, you are better than you are 1 year ago. :) We will eventually reach our goal, but even after we reached our goal, we are definitely not going to sit back there and let it be. We will continue practising it to get better and better, don't we?

    So, please keep practising and don't give up! Music is for a lifetime, not for a spasm of thrill!

  5. #5
    Registered User Color of Music's Avatar
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    I wanted to add alot more to the last reply, but it seemed like a jumbled mess. What I was gonna say/ask: to the OP: How well are you at sight-reading? I ask because although your having trouble with sound recognition, what about visual aid? (ie: Grandstaff, Note Location, Accidentals, etc ...)

    I ask because if you have a simple scale in front of you + an instrument, can you tell what pitches are by where they are located - provided you have a reference point? IOW, if you see a note on the second line in the treble clef, what is this note? If a piano is present, where is this note located and what does it sound like?

    Well, the reference point is middle C, count up to G on the piano, but staff as well. Every wholetone (two halfsteps up or down) means that note moves in the same direction as well.

    You have to move up four notes (two lines and two spaces on the staff) don't you? This interval would be a perfect fifth. C up to G is a perfect fifth. Or if you wish to count halfsteps, this would be seven. There are seven halfsteps from C up to G

    Starting on the third space in the treble clef (C), let's go [B]down[B] to G. What's the line below C? B. From C down to B is a halfstep. Continue on down from B to G. You move down two notes or four halfsteps, don't you? Two notes is how many halfsteps? Four, plus one more 5. There are five steps from D to G. This is the interval of a P4.

    Notice how when we went down a perfect fourth, we ended up on the same note - only an octave lower? This is because we're within the perfect octave (P8) Now, the P4/P5 doesn't split the octave - the A4/d5 does; however, you needn't know what that is right now or the proper term for it.

    My point is while you can decipher them by ear, I think you need to hear and see them to really get it as the ear can only tell the listener so much!

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    Thank you all for the answers and encouraging words!

    I'll try to respond in order of replies.

    Quote Originally Posted by Color of Music View Post
    Secondly, you're lacking application: ie: Actual songs!
    It's an interesting idea. I never thought about ear training that way. I'll give it a try.


    Quote Originally Posted by ToneDeaf View Post
    Well, it does look really long, doesn't it?
    I know.. I don't expect things come at once. It just as if you are trying to walk up an ice run.. If you do it too slowly you find yourself down again..



    Quote Originally Posted by JonR View Post
    60% is admittedly not great, but 80% is a damn good score!
    I mean you'll make 50% if you are just guessing and don't hear anything (it's either minor or major 50/50 ). So 60-80% it's just 10-30 percent better than absolute deaf and dumb. It's not that much I think..

    Quote Originally Posted by JonR View Post
    major triad as something like "strong", "smooth", "bright", "happy"
    That was first thing to try. But the problem is that certain minor triads followed after certain major triads sounds really bright and happy. It's confusing.

    Somehow certain perfect fifth played after certain intervals sounds more like perfect fourth.

    It confuses me all the time. Maybe I cannot listen to a new interval without trying to connect it somehow with previous one.

    Quote Originally Posted by JonR View Post
    Is that "never"? or do you mean you can't reliably tell
    Sure I meant I can't reliably tell.

    Quote Originally Posted by JonR View Post
    Can you find notes (or melodies, bass lines, riffs) by playing along?
    Can you hear chord changes, such as I-V, or I-IV?
    Nope, can't do it either.

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    Oh no, I don't mean it that way! What I meant was that it is a long journey. Getting a good ear takes longer than expected. What important is that you are practising daily and improving with every minute you are doing. :)

    **********

    Anyway... I don't how much this is going to help you, but I'm going to write how my practices and understanding of pitches are. Hopefully, they are of some help to you.

    1) Singing to the note played -> I recognise singing to the exact note played when I feel the vibrations in my mouth. I have never been able to sing in key, that is, if the song is in A minor, I have no idea what note I am singing or if I am singing in harmony (most of it). But singing to the exact same pitch of a note is easy.

    2) When I drill, I would sing the first interval, I. Once I am comfortable with the note, I will pause for a while. I will then raise or lower my pitch to the desired note I want it to be while I keep the first interval ringing. For example, I'll play the first interval while I raise my singing pitch up to V.

    Once I feel I am somewhat there, I play V on my instrument and check if I am in the same pitch as it is. If I am not, I will adjust my voice until I am there. Once I am comfortable, I will pause for a moment (3 seconds or so) and sing the first interval again with V ringing. I repeat again and again until I get them correct.

    After, I will add another new interval in, say, III. Well, I, III, V are important so I prioritise getting them right first. Here's an example how I move them around:

    |I -> V -> III -> V -> I -> III -> V -> III -> I -> III -> I :||

    And I keep adding more and more into it. The next one will be the VII interval.

    *Do note that there are minor and major thirds. They are annoying because they are just half a step away from each other. I hate them because they still confuses me, even now.

    3) Transcribing. I like transcribing simple songs, note for note. Youtube is my best friend for this. I play guitar, so I would just youtube for licks. And listen to interesting ones. Usually, these people who uploaded their videos tells you the location of the notes. I do not look at them until I finally transcribe the entire lick, which usually takes me 6 hours or so. That's how bad I am.

    After that, I will wait for 3 days before I listen to them again and start transcribing the exact same lick again. Usually, my versions differs. So I have to keep figuring until I get them sound right.

    And again, I will wait for another 3 days before I transcribe again. Once I do not have any changes or am left with only 2 to 3 different notes, then I checked for the correct notes.

    Yes, I use Audacity to slow the lick down for transcribing purposes.

    *I sing the interval changes too.

    Having corrected my mistakes, I will practise them over and sing them over until I feel comfortable with it, at a slower tempo of course.

    **I do transcribe songs too but only when I had the published songbook for verification. But only the melody. No chords.

    4) Chords changing. I remember asking how to sing a chord here in August last year... (I am going to look back on myself 1 year ago when August 16, 2013 arrives. :D) Anyhow, from that, I, too began my practices to sing the root of the chord. Now, I do get the same vibrations in the mouth when I do that. It is not as strong though. And I do practise likewise on how I did for the single note intervals.

    6) Major/Minor identifications. For this practice, I would record lots of power dyads then I will play either major 3 or minor 3 over them, recording again. After that, I will play them back and try to identify if they are major or minor. I am not doing so well at this though.

    5) Transcribing chords from songs is really difficult. I am not able to transcribe the chords of a song yet sadly. I can't really advise on that. But I am able to hear the chord changes of a standard 12-bar blues (I - IV - V progression) now!

    6) Then there is tonal center and functional harmony. I can't advise on them though because I am not at that level yet. Gotta need the experts to help you on that if you want to know what they are.
    Last edited by ToneDeaf; 01-15-2013 at 05:37 PM.

  8. #8
    Registered User Color of Music's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Guitarrero View Post
    Thank you all for the answers and encouraging words!

    I'll try to respond in order of replies.

    It's an interesting idea. I never thought about ear training that way. I'll give it a try.
    Interesting! Not even to tell what pitches went up, down or stayed the same? Surely, you've heard music before. This is what I did. I got my head wrapped arond sounds before I ever learned notes. It is essentially this forum's mantra (At least it should be)

    Quote Originally Posted by Guitarrero View Post
    That was first thing to try. But the problem is that certain minor triads followed after certain major triads sounds really bright and happy. It's confusing.

    Somehow certain perfect fifth played after certain intervals sounds more like perfect fourth.

    It confuses me all the time. Maybe I cannot listen to a new interval without trying to connect it somehow with previous one
    Your second problem, I really think this is where seeing, the chords/intervals help. Are the test completely aural or is there some visual aid of some kind? I don't know if you've read my second reply in this thread (Post #4 relating #2) Are you using instruments to play intervals on?

    Also you mentioned how applying the descriptions is confusing because of the chords that follow. Again, this is where seeing - not just hearing helps.

    For instance - here's A major: A-C#-E. Here's A minor: A-C-E. Clearly, you can see that one chord has a sharp while the other one doesn't. (IOW, the third has been lowered in the second chord: C# ---> C) But you'll hear it when you play it.

    You do know your major and minor scales, right? There's also your harmonic and melodic minor scales, but you're dealing with triads, so worry about major and minor.

    This is your major scale: C-D-E-F-G-A-B-C. Take the first. third and fifth notes and this will give you a Major triad: C Major = C-E-G

    When we take the third note and lower it, it becomes a minor triad: C-Eb-G. You will hear a darkness or sadness here compared to a major chord.

    If we take that same minor triad, but lower the fifth (C-Eb-G ---> C-Eb-Gb), the sound of this chord becomes even darker. This is a called a diminished chord. This type is the darkest of all four triads.

    If we take the major chord, but raise the fifth (C-E-G ---> C-E-G#), we have an augmented triad. This chord sounds brighter than the major chord and therefore. is the brightest of all four triads.

    We have the different qualities due to the altered/changed intervals from note to note. Intervals are measured in semitones and tones (aka halfsteps and wholesteps) In fact, that is what makes up a scale.

    Remember, the C Major scale? C-D-E-F-G-A-B-C. Well, here's the natural minor scale. (Note the specific name as there are three minor scales to choose from)

    C Natural Minor: C-D-Eb-F-G-Ab-Bb-C. What pitches differ from the major scale and remembering how flats/sharps change pitches, how are the three bolded pitches affected? However, you only need to focus on one of these pitches: the third!

    1-3-5 from the major scale gives you the major chord, but 1-b3-5 gives you the minor chord. So, listen out for that particular note in the triad as it is three halfsteps from the root as opposed to the major third which is four halfsteps away.

    Here's a video explaining major/minor chords (and augmented and diminished) in context (Stop the video at 4:02 as it goes beyond where you are right now) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jl486jbRwUo

    Here's a video explaining how each is formed and intervals in general. This video focuses on thirds: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CYT0yWos6G0

    "Major Thirds and Minor Thirds"

    Both videos you can see and hear what is being explained here!

  9. #9
    Registered User JonR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Guitarrero View Post
    I mean you'll make 50% if you are just guessing and don't hear anything (it's either minor or major 50/50 ). So 60-80% it's just 10-30 percent better than absolute deaf and dumb. It's not that much I think.
    Well yes 60% is a little better than random, but it's still significant (10% better than 50% is actually a 20% improvement ); and I still think 80% is good.
    But of course it's understandable you want to improve.

    Can I ask if you've analysed your results in terms of which intervals you find most difficult? (For me, it's the bigger ones. I tend to get 2nds 3rds and 4ths well enough -all varieties - but have problems with 6ths and 7ths.)
    Quote Originally Posted by Guitarrero View Post
    That was first thing to try. But the problem is that certain minor triads followed after certain major triads sounds really bright and happy. It's confusing.
    Interesting - can you give examples?

    Sounds like two things happening here.
    1. The difference between a major triad and minor triad on the same root ought to be plain enough. Do you have a problem with that?
    2. When it comes to major and minor triads on different roots, then you're listening for two different things: chord quality and relative position of root. I can see that that could make things harder.
    Quote Originally Posted by Guitarrero View Post
    Somehow certain perfect fifth played after certain intervals sounds more like perfect fourth.
    Right - again, sounds like the issue of pairing intervals is causing the problem. You're hearing melodic intervals as well as harmonic ones.
    When one triad chord follows another, you're hearing several possible melodic intervals: each chord tone coud go - in theory - to any of the 3 chord tones in the next chord, and you could pick up any of those 9 potential moves, every one perhaps a different interval. The harmonic intervals in each chord might well seem less significant, or easily obscured.

    With two successive intervals, you have fewer moves, but there are still 4 melodic intervals.

    Of course, real music is all about these kinds of sequential moves! And (IMO) it's actually melodic intervals (not harmonic ones) that our ears are naturally drawn to.
    Quote Originally Posted by Guitarrero View Post
    It confuses me all the time. Maybe I cannot listen to a new interval without trying to connect it somehow with previous one.
    Yes, that's how it seems.

    One thing that should help - I find it's helped me - is playing and singing these intervals myself. Eg, I take my guitar, play a C note, sing that, play a G a 5th higher, sing that. Do it a few times, so I get the feel of it. Then play a C chord, and sing root and 5th. Sing the 3rd too of course, back and forth with the root.
    Also, singing up the scale can help: C D E F G, 1-2-3-4-5.

    So when I hear a test interval, I try and separate the tones, sing each one. This is not easy (because I'm a lousy singer!), but it goes along with a (more or less fuzzy) perception of the specific quality of the interval on its own.
    It's about using different approaches to try and narrow it down.

    Quote Originally Posted by Guitarrero View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by JonR
    Can you find notes (or melodies, bass lines, riffs) by playing along?
    Can you hear chord changes, such as I-V, or I-IV?
    Nope, can't do it either.
    Not at all? Or just not well?

    This is what really counts. I find it hard to believe you can't find any notes that fit, when playing with a recording (unless your instrument is out of tune). If you can find just one note (in a whole song), that's something to build on.

    As I think I said, my ear was terrible when I began learning guitar, especially with chords. I had real trouble learning anything by ear. I might get single notes in melodies, but would often get chords wrong. (I still remember one time when I thought a song was in D and it turned out to be in F! - just because I found an A note in the melody and knew the chord wasn't A.)

    But - with the help of a 1/2 speed tape recorder, and plenty of repeats - I could hear and identify single notes. Not intervals or chords, mind; but single notes in succession, which enabled me to build up everything else. (Chord guesses came from bass notes, and from more trial and error playing along.)

    I never tried any ear tests and I suspect, if I had, the results would have indicated that I should not be a musician at all! Screw that... I just kept trying, and got better.
    Last edited by JonR; 01-16-2013 at 01:25 PM.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by JonR View Post
    IOW, if you're not doing much transcription from actual music, I suggest forgetting exercises altogether, and focussing on actual music. Don't try and guess things just from listening (that's hard to start with); try and play along, finding single notes here and there. Don't expect to get everything (other than in very simple songs) without needing to find some way to slow a track down, or without needing to repeat it many many times.
    My ear was truly terrible when I first began playing (worse than average, even among non-musicians, from what I could tell). But it has improved a lot over the years. And I did it by learning from records and tapes (yes, way before CDs and MP3s ), never used ear training exercises.
    You are right JonR! Thats what I did with Jess Lewis version of Guthrie Govan's "Emotive Ballad" song. I didnt expect to get everything in the song right away, but my ear was able to hear things bit by bit. Slowly I began to pickup the song by figuring out what notes and intervals she's playing.

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    Hey, first post here.. I think I have the exact same problem.. I've been playing music for a while, listening for much longer, studying piano for a few years. If the thirds are on the same root I'll get them right 100% of the time, and I clearly "feel" them differently, one is darker the other is brighter.. But then, as you said, some major thirds on some roots sound much darker than minor thirds on others, so I won't get the interval right some of the time..

    Also, what you said about absolute ear, sometimes I can hear a note in a song and know exactly what note it is (it usually reminds me of a note I know in a different song).

    I've tried connecting the interval with a song, but as I said as you change the root the "feeling" of the interval changes..

    Any suggestions on what/how to study?

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtzlplk View Post
    Hey, first post here.. I think I have the exact same problem.. I've been playing music for a while, listening for much longer, studying piano for a few years. If the thirds are on the same root I'll get them right 100% of the time, and I clearly "feel" them differently, one is darker the other is brighter.. But then, as you said, some major thirds on some roots sound much darker than minor thirds on others, so I won't get the interval right some of the time..
    I guess you're hearing two different relationships, in that case.

    In isolation, all major 3rds should sound the same. C-E, D-F#, E-G#, F-A, etc - all identical.
    Of course, pitch memory - and maybe absolute pitch - will tell you they are different, but what matters is the way in which they are identical. You need to hear the "major 3rd-ness" of them, outside of any contextual difference.

    However, the relationship with the tonic of a key is also important. In that case, the interval is not in isolation, it's in a musical context. There is now a 3-way set of relationships to hear and listen for.
    Take F-A in key of C. OK, F-A is a major 3rd; same "kind of thing" as C-E. But if a key of C has been established in our ears, then we hear F and A relative to C as well as to each other. We hear the C-F 4th and the C-A 6th, which is bound to colour our perception of the F-A 3rd. In particular, it will indicate a "IV" harmonic function relative to I. In that sense the F-A is secondary to C-E.
    Turning it around, if the key was established as F, then F-A is "tonic", while C-E is "dominant". C is now 5th of F, and E is major 7th.

    Similar differences apply to how we will hear a D-F minor 3rd - if the key is C major, F major, Bb major, D minor, A minor. The D-F itself doesn't change, but of course we hear it functioning differently as a harmony in those various contexts.

    And there are, of course, differences again if the interval is between chord tones other than the root.
    C-E sounds very different as 3-5 of an Am or 5-maj7 of Fmaj7 than it does as 1-3 of C. D-F is different as 3-5 of Bb, 5-7 of G7, 7-b9 of E7...

    But all these relationships matter. So while it's important to recognise a "major 3rd" (or whatever) for what it is, functional relationships with keynotes may matter more.

    In truth (putting it as simply as I can ), every single note has a 3-dimensional interval relationship:
    1: with keynote (tonic or modal root)
    2: with chord root (and other chord tones)
    3: with previous melody notes

    #1 has only one answer.
    #2 has several: the interval with the root is most important, but we hear all the other intervals anyway, so may as well be aware of them.
    #3 has one immediate answer (melodic interval with previous melody note), but melodies work in phrases, and our memory holds all the previous notes (albeit with increasing vagueness).

    #2 is a "vertical" relationship: simultaneous harmonic intervals, referring downward. (Intervals and chords are often inverted, but we tend to intuit the more consonant version. Eg, we're likely to hear E-C as an inverted major 3rd rather than a minor 6th - dependent on context of course.)
    #3 is horizontal, or linear: melodic intervals in time.
    #1 is a mix of both. On the tonic chord, then of course every note has a vertical #2-type relationship with I. On other chords, we remember the keynote, perhaps subliminally, so it's a horizontal relationship.

    As for study, I'd say keep working with songs, but use simple ones. And experiment yourself with playing single notes against both keynotes and different chords in the key.

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by mtzlplk View Post

    I've tried connecting the interval with a song, but as I said as you change the root the "feeling" of the interval changes..
    I'd trust your feelings. To me if the the sound changes then the label should change. 1 b6 b3 1 sounds very different than 3 1 5 3 even though the intervals could be the same. Intervals are knowing the distance traveled, but numbers are both the distance and the direction like if you're traveling north. I want a speedometer and a compass. If every time a note sounds dark it is also labeled dark then things become easier.

    JonR is right in that several measurements or relationships can be taking place. The trick is to be able to prove to yourself which ones your ear is actually perceiving. Test if a note is really your 1 by putting positive tendencies on it: louder lower etc..

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