Reading by Ear Part 4



You’ve been reading notes in three moods, so now we’ll add our two new moods, the double light and double heavy.

And with all these moods in the mix, the real focus becomes recognizing the sound of any one mood and distinguishing it from the others.

So choose a random mood, and as usual, start by trying to recognize the mood by its overall feeling. Just the first impression it makes on you.

But then, start to get inside and listen to the quality of the tensions. You can start to develop a process for distinguishing one mood from another by listening to its tensions.

For example, start by listening to the 3rd, is it light or heavy?

If it’s light, then listen to the 7th, is it light or heavy? And when you know the quality of just these two tensions, then you’ll have narrowed down which mood it is.

Or, if the 3rd is heavy, listen to the 6th, and if it’s heavy, listen to the 2nd.

Before long, this kind of process will become very fast, for example, you might hear right away that the mood has a heavy second, and you’ll know which mood it is. And at that point, your ability to get inside the mood, and your ability to recognize its overall feeling, start to blend together into a deeper feeling for the quality of a mood.

So start by recognizing moods at random, and once you know the mood, then read both of the notations inside that mood, silently to yourself.

Now, keep in mind that when you’re reading notes and hearing them inside a tonescape, you’re not necessarily thinking about whether that note is a light or heavy tension, or even about which tension it is. You might just see that a note is the next note higher than the last, and you’ll be able to hear it in the tonescape.

This is a different experience than being able to recognize and name tensions or moods. What you’re really doing when you read is playing inside the tonescape, using your internal instrument. And you can also try playing around inside the tonescape without the notation, just moving between notes, making up melodies, or letting your mind wander and seeing what you come up with.

Of course, you can always turn on that layer of thinking to recognize which tension you’re hearing, to give it a name, and this is part of building your internal instrument as well.

So give it a try. When you’ve gotten the hang of recognizing each mood you hear, and reading and playing around inside of it, that’s when you’re ready to come back for more.

Tonescape Exercises

Level 26 Exercises