You’ve gotten comfortable recognizing the anchor, 2nd, 3rd, 7th, or 6th regardless of their octave. So now, let’s change something subtle about the tonescape itself.

[start tonescape]

But first, make sure you’re oriented to the anchor. Here it is: [hum].

Okay, now I’ll change the tonescape [change tonescape, hum the anchor]. This creates a different feeling, it’s subtle.

Then back to the original tonescape [change tonescape, hum the anchor].

And now I’ll make a different change [change tonescape, hum the anchor], and this creates yet a different feeling.

[stop tonescape]

So we kept the same anchor, but changed something about the collection of notes around the anchor, pulling on the anchor. And this change creates a different overall feeling, which we’ll call a mood.

[start tonescape]

So let’s say that the original tonescape is our “neutral” mood. And then the first change was “lighter” [change tonescape, hum anchor].

In fact, we can get even lighter [change, hum], and still even lighter [change, hum], which might make the change easier to hear [stop tonescape].

Now if we return to the neutral tonescape [start tonescape, hum anchor], the second change was “heavier” [change, hum].

And we can get even heavier [change, hum], and even heavier than that [change, hum].

[stop tonescape]

Like “higher” and “lower,” the names lighter” and “heavier” are somewhat arbitrary. But these names also help us, because they describe a relationship that we can start to hear between the different moods.

And each mood is distinct, so you can begin to recognize the particular feeling it creates. You’ll also start to recognize these feelings in songs, because of how the overall collection of notes in a song pulls to the anchor.

So to practice, keep naming the tensions just like before, but now you’ll have a lighter and a heavier mood in addition to the neutral mood that you already know. You’ll still be able to recognize the 2nd, 3rd, 7th, or 6th in any of the moods, because these are more general feelings of position, or tension to the anchor, that don’t depend on the mood.

Once you’ve tried recognizing tensions in each of the moods, click the “choose randomly” button to start a random one of the three moods. Close your eyes and see if you can recognize which mood it is, just by the overall feeling of the mood. Then look to see if you were right, and go on naming the tensions you hear.

Now, it might be tempting to try to make sense of the moods by getting inside of them and listening for differences in the individual notes that make them up. But for now, to start, try to resist that temptation and keep your attention on the overall mood, and the subtle difference in the feelings of the neutral, lighter, and heavier moods.

Once you’ve started to recognize the feeling of each mood, and you’re comfortable naming the tensions you hear inside of them, that’s when you’re ready to come back for more.

Tonescape Exercises

Level 19 Exercises