Two Higher and Lower


Tonescape Exercise

Anchor, Two Higher, Two Lower


Now that you’ve gotten the hang of the anchor, higher, and lower, you’re ready to add the notes “two higher” and “two lower.”

So the notes you’ve been calling “higher” and “lower” become “one higher” and “one lower.” It sounds like this:


This can feel quite a bit more challenging at first, but it’s the same technique. You want to place yourself at the anchor, then listen to each note, and work your way from that note back to the anchor to hear how many notes higher or lower it is than the anchor, like this:


Remember to keep yourself oriented at the anchor, and really feel each new note in your body as a tension that wants to pull back to the anchor. Eventually, you want to be able to recognize these tensions without having to hum them.

Like before, the first note you hear will always be the anchor, and that’s to help you get oriented. If you lose the anchor, you can always just listen and wait until you hear the anchor again, then orient yourself back to it.

The biggest challenge when you add new notes is staying oriented to the anchor. This is different from trying to remember the anchor. Even if you can remember the anchor, or hear what note it is, you still want to intentionally create the feeling of being at the anchor. That you’ve placed yourself there and the other notes are stretched away from you, wanting to pull back to you. This is a experience that’s not inherent in the notes themselves, but in the way you perceive their relationships to one another.

[tonescape starts]

You can also listen and find the anchor in the tonescape, because it’s the lowest note [play], the middle note [play], and the highest note [play] in the tonescape. So it’s framing the sound, and it’s also slightly louder, because there are three of the anchor and only two of each of the other notes.

But you really do have to create the feeling of the anchor more actively in a tonescape, whereas in most music, the anchor is emphasized by the way the notes move in time.

When the tonescape ends, each of the notes disappear one by one, like they’re being vacuumed up into silence.

[notes disappear]

It sounds cool, and it shows you each of the notes that are in the tonescape. The very last note you hear is the anchor, and that’s another way to get oriented.

So practice this at least once every day, but not for more than 15 minutes at a time. What matters most is that you listen regularly. Remember that this is like building a muscle, and you don’t want to overdo it. Try to find the best time during the day when your focus is right for this kind of listening, and be sensitive to when you start to get tired.

Then, once you feel confident naming each note you hear in the tonescape, that’s when you’re ready to come back for more.