Reading by Ear Part 3



You’ve been getting to know the 2nd, 3rd, 7th, and 6th. But there are still two more tensions from the anchor that we haven’t talked about: the 4th and the 5th.

We’ll get to know these tensions by drawing them out of the tonescape, and also by reading them in notation. And then, you’ll have a feeling for all the notes of a mood.

So here’s how it works. Click the “choose randomly” button to start a random tonescape.

[start tonescape]

Close your eyes, and see if you can recognize the mood, just by it’s overall feeling. I’m pretty sure this one feels “lighter.”

Then, hum the anchor [hum].

Then hum through each of the tensions until you arrive back to the anchor an octave higher, like this [hum: anchor, 2nd, 3rd… anchor].

And come back down [hum: anchor, 7th, 6th… anchor].

Then do the same thing again, going up and back down, but without humming. So, one by one, you have to focus on each tension to draw it out of the tonescape and imagine it in your mind’s ear.

This part might take a little practice. But when you’ve got it, then, each time you get to a 3rd or a 6th, pause on that tension for a moment and try to feel whether it’s light or heavy. This can also help you recognize the mood, if you weren’t completely sure from its overall feeling. So in this mood, we have [sing: anchor, 2nd, 3rd], and I recognize the feeling of that 3rd as a light 3rd. So I know I was right that this is the lighter mood.

Then, pause for a while on the new tensions, the 4th and the 5th, to get to know the feeling of each, relative to the anchor. Move through the notes in between these tensions and the anchor, like this [sing: anchor to 4th and back], and also try jumping directly between these tensions and the anchor like this, [sing: anchor, 4th, 4th, anchor; anchor 5th, 5th, anchor]. You can also imagine these sounds without humming them.

[stop tonescape]

And finally, read each of the two notations, first by humming, and then silently to yourself, inside the tonescape.

Like before, each note in the first notation is only one higher or lower than the previous note, and the notes in the second notation are in random order.

The difference is that now, both notations cover the full range you just practiced, including the 4th and the 5th.

So give it a try. When you’re comfortable reading both notations in any of the three moods, then come on back for more.

Tonescape Exercises

Level 22 Exercises