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View Full Version : Play an interval like one would sing it (bad title)



Factor
06-02-2005, 10:45 AM
It is possible to sing the root note of a chord when it is struck on a guitar or piano without much effort or training. Likewise with the fifth and the third.

My question is this:

How can I develop the ability to play these intervals if the chord is unknown? If I know that the chord is Em, I instantly know that the fifth is B and I will have no problem matching the sound of the fifth in my head with the knowledge of the note B.

But let's say that a pianist plays a Dm chord. I can't hear that this is an Dm chord, but I can hear the minor quality. I can proabably sing the third at once, but how can I learn to play it instantly on the guitar with the same ease?

I've been thinking of recording lots of random chords, let the recording rest for a while, and try to play the fifth of each random chord while listening.

Is this just another case of "practice, practice, practice"?

Los Boleros
06-02-2005, 02:24 PM
It is possible to sing the root note of a chord when it is struck on a guitar or piano without much effort or training. Likewise with the fifth and the third.

My question is this:

How can I develop the ability to play these intervals if the chord is unknown? If I know that the chord is Em, I instantly know that the fifth is B and I will have no problem matching the sound of the fifth in my head with the knowledge of the note B.

But let's say that a pianist plays a Dm chord. I can't hear that this is an Dm chord, but I can hear the minor quality. I can proabably sing the third at once, but how can I learn to play it instantly on the guitar with the same ease?

I've been thinking of recording lots of random chords, let the recording rest for a while, and try to play the fifth of each random chord while listening.

Is this just another case of "practice, practice, practice"?This is kinda like saying , "what can I do to speed up the virtuoso process":D Not everybody will get perfect pitch so most of us have to rely on relative pitch. The ability to know what intervals sound like. When someone hits a chord and I don't know what it is, I will usually play about four cromatic notes anywhere on my instrument and from that I can tell which major or minor chord it is even though I dont actually hit the tonic. Its familiarity with the third and and the fifth. I know guys that can do this after hitting one note. (after hitting any random note and comparing it to the chord, they can identify the chord) They have familiarity with all eleven possibe intervals. I think that vocal training can help you a long way. For now, just worry about training your ear for the 1,2,3,4,5,4,3,2,1 of any pitch. Start low, like a low E. Sing in a major key the 1,2,3,4,5,4,3,2,1 and work your way to F, then F#, all the way up the neck. For a real vocal training, do it for the EEE sound, then the OH sound then the AAAAh sound theyn the UUUU sound. it whould take about half an hour to complete this excersise. If you did it once a day for a month, you would become a great singer. Rock solid and reliable.:D Your ability to hear basic intervals would also improve.

silent-storm
06-03-2005, 03:04 AM
I posted this drill I've been doing a lot in another thread. Maybe not exactly what you're looking for, but great for hearing entire scales/chords instead of just individual notes

Close your eyes and randomly place a finger on the fretboard. This is your root. Now choose a random mode, say phrygian. Without opening your eyes play from your starting note all the way up to the highest possible note on the 1st string, then descend to the lowest note on the 6th string, then up to your starting note, without ever looking at the fretboard, so you are playing only by ear.

Now do this but use your randomly selected note as the 5th of the scale, then the 3rd, etc, etc, you get the point.

Factor
06-03-2005, 09:10 AM
Hmm, without having my guitar nearby, I do think I would resort to playing my "inner map" of the fretboard instead of playing by ear, but I'll give it an honest shot :)

Thanks for the advice Rudy.

forgottenking2
06-04-2005, 06:34 AM
I do a very similar exercise that involves playing a random tone (from the chromatic scale) in all possible places on the guitar in quarter notes to a constant beat. That will not only train your ear but also your ability to map out the fretboard in real time (don't get technical on me, you know what I'm trying to say :D ) .

I also practice intervals and I do sing a random interval to a constant pitch or to a random pitch in my head, like when driving (my radio is being fixed so I HAVE to do something to keep sane while driving in Houston traffic <!!!!> ).

Those exercises have helped me quite a bit. I think the singing part of it is the one I've found most helpful. If you can sing an interval then you're able to identify it on the spot and that somehow applies to chords... with chords is more like a flavor thing, you know the flavor of the chord so you can pick it out.

I've done other crazy ear training things... like finding the pitch of a squeaky door or a chair and stuff like that... singing harmonies to an home appliance's hum (my brother and I started doing this to anoy people but it helped our ears quite a bit).

So in short... it IS a practice practice practice thing. But you can find some pretty fun exercises just like with technical stuff.

I hope this helps.

dusura
06-04-2005, 06:53 AM
"But let's say that a pianist plays a Dm chord. I can't hear that this is an Dm chord, but I can hear the minor quality. I can proabably sing the third at once, but how can I learn to play it instantly on the guitar with the same ease?"

If you know what key the song is in (which is not an unreasonable assumption in most cases) then it is possible to know what minor chord you are hearing. Say you know the song is in C then it is possible to hear the chord as it functions in the current tonality i.e. II-. Then you know it is Dm. You need to develop your ability to hear notes within the context of the current tonal center (C in this example).

When I hear a Dm in a song in C I hear the notes as solfege symbols relative to the tonal centre: Re (root of Dm), Fa (third) and La (fifth) - so I know it is Dm and not some other minor chord.

If you need help in developing this ability have a look at Bruce Arnold's ear training material. Also, there is a free program called "Functional Ear Trainer" that you can use.