Ear Training Through Solfege: Lesson 1

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Ear Training Through Solfege - Lesson I: Major Patterns

The first of a series of lessons focusing on ear development.

A masterclass by benxiwf

Hello All,

Over the next several months, I am going to be presenting several lessons on ear development using movable-do solfege. If you have never done any exercises to develop your ear or if you think you could use some improvement (couldn't we all?), I think that you will find these lessons useful. If you rely heavily on an instrument, your knowledge of theory, or your notation program to aid in your composition, you will reap the benefits of using your inner ear to compose if you dedicate yourself to mastering the material presented here.

These lessons will focus on pattern recognition using solfege. This will aid in developing an understanding of tonal and not so tonal relationships and will allow you to accurately sight-read or notate music without the aid of an external instrument. This practice will help instrumentalists and singers to perform with better intonation and musicality. This can even greatly benefit those with perfect pitch to develop tonal relationships rather than just identifying certain pitches. While most lessons will be melodically based, I will also introduce a rhythmic solfege lesson at some point.

Anways, on with lesson I! The goal of this first lesson is to start to get a feel for how solfege works in relationship to a major key and to start to develop an ear for hearing basic patterns in a major key. I assume a knowledge of the most basic music theory, but even those without much understanding at all should be able to quickly understand the theory present.

PART A: Open [attachment=11176:Ear Training Exercises.pdf]. First, let us correlate a relationship between a major key and the corresponding solfege syllables. We will use C major as a starting point as it is easiest to understand from a theory standpoint. This is how our solfege relates to a major scale: I II III IV V VI VII I C D E F G A B C Do Re Mi Fa Sol La Ti Do

Now refer to [attachment=11178:Ear Training 1.mp3] and practice singing the major scale using solfege. (DISCLAIMER: I am not a singer, nor pretend to be one).

PART B: Now refer to Part B on the Ear Training Exercises.pdf. We will now sing patterns using Tonic (I chord-C) and Dominant (V7 chord-G7) patterns. Tonic patterns may include Do-Mi-Sol in any octave and Dominant patterns may include Sol-Ti-Re-Fa in any octave. Open Ear Training 2.mp3 [attachment=11179:Ear Training 2.mp3] and follow the instructions given to practice singing these patterns. You should practice singing these patterns until you can sing them all from the Ear Training exercises.pdf without the help of the audio file.

PART C: Now refer to part C on the Ear Training Exercises.pdf. These patterns will start on one of the Tonic notes, which I refer to as anchor tones and move only by diatonic (no accidentals) steps upward or downward. Some may find this easier than the previous section and may want to focus on mastering these patterns first. Please refer to the audio file: [attachment=11180:Ear Training 3.mp3] You should practice singing these patterns until you can sing them all from the Ear Training exercises.pdf without the help of the audio file.

QUIZ TIME: PART A: Now let's test your understanding of what you have done so far. Get a piece of manuscript paper out or use your notation program with the sound turned off. Open [attachment=11181:Ear Training 4.mp3]. You will hear me sing the patterns from part B (Tonic and Dominant Patterns) in a new order. Feel free to pause the music after I sing each pattern and try to find the solfege notes that I used. There will be eight patterns. I give you the tonality at the beginning of the recording.

PART B: Now open [attachment=11182:Ear Training 5.mp3] This part of the quiz will work the same but using the patterns from Part C (Steps) in an unfamiliar order. There will be eight patterns.

Check your work: the answers to the quiz are here: [attachment=11177:C Major Solfege Quiz.pdf]

How did you do? Create some new patterns for you to sing for homework using only major scale patterns. It really doesn't make any difference what key you choose. If you have mastered these patterns, you have mastered them in all major keys. Try it!

Let me know how you liked this lesson and if there is anything I can do to make them more enjoyable or helpful in the future.