Now that you’re getting to know the 4th and 5th, you also can start to recognize these tensions alongside the other tensions in each mood.
To practice this, we’ll take the same exercise you were working with before, but we’ll add the 4th and 5th as well. So now you’re listening for all the notes of a mood.
So like before, start a random tonescape and see if you can recognize the mood, first by its overall feeling, and then by whether it has a light or a heavy 3rd or 6th. And then go on naming each tension you hear.
Once you’ve got the hang of that, try the second exercise that brings all the tensions from all the moods you’ve worked with so far together with the neutral tonescape.
Adding the 4th and 5th into both of these exercises can make things seem a bit more challenging at first. You’re at the point where you really want to start relying on the immediate feeling of a tension, without having to count its distance to the anchor. It’s similar to the way you’ve already been recognizing the overall feeling of a mood.
If you find yourself getting stuck, you can use some of the techniques from past lessons, like, if you hear a tension you don’t recognize, stop and listen to it, rather than trying to guess what it is. If you keep listening passively, eventually you’ll hear a tension that you do recognize, and you can keep on going from there.
Or, if there’s a particular tension that you keep missing, also just stop and listen, and pay extra attention to see if you can recognize that tension next time it comes around.
But most of all, you’re at the point now where you can really start to experiment with finding your own techniques to develop your listening. You can ask yourself, what are all the layers involved in naming these tensions? How can I pull those layers apart and zero in on just the one that’s getting me stuck?
Asking questions like these can be deeply introspective, and really, it’s this skill of listening to yourself that’s at the heart of developing your musical ear and your musical imagination.
Because nobody can really tell you exactly how to develop a new perception—you can get pretty good pointers in the right direction, but ultimately, it’s up to you to figure out how to make all these ideas a part of yourself.
So whenever one of these exercises feels challenging, try to have fun with it. Meet it with patience and lots of experimentation. Play with it and eventually you’ll find your way in.
So give it a try, and when you’re comfortable naming the tensions in each mood, and all together with the neutral tonescape, that’s when you’re ready to come back for more.