Aural/Ear training

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Heuy, Oct 20, 2010.

  1. Heuy

    Heuy New Friend

    Jun 11, 2010
    Darwin, Australia
    Hey anyone got any good tips on developing ear training?

    Returning back to music after a long break, I am trying to get back into playing as well as listening.

    I have been practicing interval work on ear training package I purchased over the internet 'Ear Master pro' been using it every day for about 3 months now at least half an hour a day. However, I find I am struggling a bit especially with defining between minor and major 3rd's. even trying to remember a song that kicks off with this intervals doesn't seem to work for me.

    Anyone any suggestions in tuning ones ear? I am hoping that I just need a particular route to follow or am I just getting old and at 47 my hearing is on the way out, thus a lost cause and bye bye any form of improvisation playing?

  2. keehun

    keehun Piano User

    Feb 4, 2010
    The minor/major 3rd is quite difficult when you are starting to learn, I think. For me, it feels really unnatural for my vocal chords to sing the minor third interval, but I can.

    If I'm really stuck, I use the theme from "Catch Me If You Can" Introduction.

  3. Markie

    Markie Forte User

    Jan 4, 2009
    Clarksburg, WV
    I find I am struggling a bit especially with defining between minor and major 3rd's.
    One way is to notice how it makes you feel. Major 3rds are happy sounding, minor 3rds are sinister or sad sounding.
    For learning intervals and patterns for jazz, you might want to check out a spit book.
  4. Glennx

    Glennx Pianissimo User

    Aug 16, 2009
    When we studied solfège (ear training) in school - and later when I taught it in high school - what always seemed to work for beginners trying to learn the basic intervals was to find well-known songs that start with each of the intervals. For example:

    octave => Over the Rainbow, The Christmas Song
    major 7th => Old Man's Tear (by Don Ellis) [not many of these around!]
    minor 7th => Somewhere (from West Side Story)
    major 6th => My Bonnie (Lies Over The Ocean)
    minor 6th => Theme from Love Story (descending)
    perfect 5th => Theme from Star Wars, Chariots of Fire theme
    diminished 5th => Cool (from West Side Story)
    perfect 4th => Blue Bells of Scotland, O Christmas Tree
    major 3rd => D'ou Viens-Tu Bergère? (trad. French Canadian folk song)
    minor 3rd => What Child Is This
    major 2nd => London Bridge
    minor 2nd => Theme from Jaws (the shark motif)

    These are mostly all ascending intervals, but you can find songs that open with these as descending intervals, too. (ie. major 6th is 'Music of The Night' from Phantom of the Opera, etc.)

    To sensitize your ear to the difference between major & minor thirds, play an open fifth (C & G) on the piano, then sing the E. Singing is much better than humming. Use the keyboard to help you find it. Once you lock onto the E, slide it down 1/2 step to the E-flat. Repeat until you can sing either note spot-on on your first try. Then work up to being able to recognize major & minor root-position chords by ear, focusing on that all-important middle note.

    A final suggestion: sing major scales to yourself while driving to work, waiting for the bus, waiting in the cafeteria line, etc. Sing:
    _ step-wise up & down
    _ up & down in thirds
    _ go from the root to each of the other scale notes (ie. C-D-C, C-E-C, C-F-C, etc.)

    This will help like nothing else to build your sense of a tonal centre and the relative position of each note of the scale to the root (tonic). You'll be amazed. Have fun!
  5. turtlejimmy

    turtlejimmy Utimate User

    Jun 6, 2010

    I keep hearing reference to a "spit book." Can you tell us what this is specifically? Thanks!

  6. Markie

    Markie Forte User

    Jan 4, 2009
    Clarksburg, WV
    Hi Turtle,
    Yes , I think I can explain the spit book. First a little background.
    The next time you listen to an extended improv, notice that the structure is based on little motifs or "patterns" that are played on different areas of the staff. For example (going up the staff):
    cdef defg, efga, fgab: Notice the pattern?
    This is one very simple example.
    The spit book is based on four universal patterns (Scale, Pattern, Interval, Triad) that's found in just about all western music forms from classical to rock. Its a book that can be used with play alongs and even with a live band. In short, it can be used in the moment because it uses a technique called "improvisational reading" and if a person can read music at a high school level, they can usually improv the same day.
    As for getting the intervals in your head, the spit book can help get your ears use to the different intervals and have fun doing it.
  7. edfitzvb

    edfitzvb Forte User

    Jun 10, 2008
    Woodlawn, VA
    Does anyone have any titles for spit books? It seems to me that one could almost create one by "stealing" licks/riffs from performers they hear and admire. Still, Christmas is coming....
  8. Markie

    Markie Forte User

    Jan 4, 2009
    Clarksburg, WV
    You can sometimes find it used (I'm a big "buy it used fan") on ebay.
    The "licks" are based the 48 most common chords from Major 7 to Half Diminished. Say for example a song is in Cmajor7. The person turns to the C major 7 page and begins to play.
    The removable pages allows the person to have the C Major 7 page and the sheet music to the song they are playing on the same music stand.
  9. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    Major and minor (as well as diminished and augmented) are very easily trained in the appropriate sections of the Arban book. I really prefer playing as much as possible. It attaches the whole body to the experience.
  10. turtlejimmy

    turtlejimmy Utimate User

    Jun 6, 2010
    That sounds really useful to me now. Thanks, amigo!


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