Theory and Ear Training (Bridging the Gap!)

    
Theory and Ear Training (Bridging the Gap!)    18:27 on Sunday, August 12, 2007          

Account Closed
(394 points)
Posted by Account Closed

I want to start a new thread here in the Composition section since I feel that composition is where it all comes together. This is the very core of music in any genre. I have asked Dennis a very knowledgeable flutist, and theorist, to discuss some theory, and bridge the gap over into ear training.

It is in this purgatory between science and the fantasy of the ear we will find the roots of composition. Understanding both I believe is one of the keys to modern composition and in playing by ear. Dennis will have his own thoughts, and take this in the direction he believes most helpful. I bow to him and this thread is all his from this point on. Thank you!


Re: Theory and Ear Training (Bridging the Gap!)    19:27 on Sunday, August 12, 2007          

Account Closed
(394 points)
Posted by Account Closed

I also almost failed to mention, Dennis plays the clarinet very well, and maybe that is his primary instrument? Well Dennis? Which is it? Flute or Clarinet?

(For the record I play both as well, but flute is my primary instrument)


Re: Theory and Ear Training (Bridging the Gap!)    23:22 on Sunday, August 12, 2007          

Dennis
(587 points)
Posted by Dennis

Well, I started the clarinet in 4th grade, but the flute is my current major in college. So, clarinet was first, but flute is primary...

I also want to mention that in doing this forum, I am providing my own steps to improve ear training. The theory that I use isthe theory thatI have learned in college. Ear training and theory tend to go hand-in-hand...at least at my university they relate quite closely. If you have any questions regarding ear training...or making your ear hear more than it does when you hear a song/piece, then let me know. I will answer anything to the best of my ability.

Thanks to AZFlutist for starting this!

-Dennis


Re: Theory and Ear Training (Bridging the Gap!)    16:21 on Monday, August 13, 2007          

Account Closed
(394 points)
Posted by Account Closed

I suppose it is not surprising I ask the first question then.

In the other forum you were discussing various well known songs that let a person learn intervals. I especially liked this section since you gave some great examples like the Star Wars Theme. Progressing with those thoughts, do you have some good examples of songs playing in some of the various modes? For instance, lydian and mixolydian, and some in the common ionian. I know how most of the the modes work, but getting modern song examples is a little harder for me. I would love to see some more examples if you don't mind in some of the modes as well?


Re: Theory and Ear Training (Bridging the Gap!)    20:31 on Monday, August 13, 2007          

Dennis
(587 points)
Posted by Dennis

Well, first off...let's get Ionian out of the way...that's basically major...where the intervals are W-W-H-W-W-W-H...Speaking of which...the piece that started this topic on the flute forum is in this mode...My Heart Will Go On...the funny part is that it is quite a sad song...yet played in major mode.

Really, though. Finding songs in each mode really won't help you understand what we were talking about. I can go overthe modes and what types of songs use them...but we were really talking about ear training on intervals. Training you ear to hear where certain intervals are. The use of pop music to start learning this is quite good (at least IMO) because they are mostly scalar using neighbor notes and jumping rather infrequently. This helps you hear the M2, m2, and arpeggiatic leaps. If you start with a completely major piece of music, you can listen for the m2's, and know that it is either from scale degree 3-4 or 7-1. Then after hearing that and knowing where the tension is, and where the tension resolves you can become more active in knowing exactly which of the two options it is.

Ionian mode: major
Dorian mode: Celtic music mostly (W-H-W-W-W-H-W)
Phrygian mode: Quasi-minor; not as sad as minor (H-W-W-W-H-W-W)
Lydian mode: Easy to switch major/minor chords...used in some jazz music (W-W-W-H-W-W-H)
Mixolydian mode: this is a mixture of a major and minor scale...the minor part is scale degree 7 (W-W-H-W-W-H-W)
Aeolian mode: minor...very sad sounding (W-H-W-W-H-W-W)
Locrian mode: not really used...extremely unstable (H-W-W-H-W-W-W)

Those are the modes...here are the songs I use to hear some interval jumps:

P4 - Here Comes the bride
P5 - Star Wars main theme after intro
M6 - My Bonnie lies over the ocean
M7 - 80's song by AHA...Take on me...first "Take on me" jump in the chorus
P8 - Somewhere over the rainbow

M3 ans M2 are easily learned by listening to pop music. and m2 I use the Jaws Theme if I'm having an off day and can't recognize it really quick.

-Dennis


Re: Theory and Ear Training (Bridging the Gap!)    13:50 on Tuesday, August 14, 2007          

Account Closed
(394 points)
Posted by Account Closed

Excellent, that is exactly what I was asking about in the modes. I have pretty much understood the notes of a mode or "science" of the modes, but seeing examples allows me to hear them in my head and see how they branch even outside of the mode in some cases. This is really cool stuff. I remember taking advanced theory in college and even though I could write out songs of my own on paper I never really got a good feel for what they all were going to sound like until I played them, and even then I struggled to understand the connection. I think I had Ionian down and Dorian and that was about it, the rest started to get "fuzzy" in my head.

I know you think this has little to do with ear training, but at least for me, it has EVERYTHING to do with ear training. It allows me go to the next level and break the song down, and now I know when I am trying to figure out a song like "My heart will go on" I have another tool at my disposal and I hear the intervals from a mode perspective. Still, this is pretty advanced stuff, and for the pure ear player almost totally irrelevant.

So staying true to the thread subject and back to bridging the gap from theory to Ear training. Talk about whatever you want, continue with more interval examples or take this down the path you see fit. I am just throwing questions out there to get the ball rolling as it were.


Re: Theory and Ear Training (Bridging the Gap!)    13:53 on Sunday, September 23, 2007          

psmc
(21 points)
Posted by psmc

Hi, great idea for a thread! I'm having a frustrating time trying to compose from my head( patience is not one of my fortes). I think of a melody and go to write it down and it almost never sounds right. Then I forget the melody! Is it worth memorising the absolute pitch of each note? Is that as hard as I think?
Also, when I have a piece written, in the early stage, I find it hard to designate a time dignature that fits...any advice would be greatly appreciated!


Re: Theory and Ear Training (Bridging the Gap!)    20:41 on Wednesday, October 24, 2007          

Dennis
(587 points)
Posted by Dennis

psmc,

I suggest that you hum it into a recording device. No one has to hear it but you, and then you always have it. Then you can write it down (preferably on a computer so that you can replay it and immediately hear what needs to be fixed) and fix the notes that aren't quite high enough or possibly too high. After while you will get the feel for the intervals and understand what you are humming.

-Dennis


   




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