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Recognizing intervals at first seems very difficult,
and to be able to recognize any one seems like an
impossible task. But if we break it down into simple
parts, this branch of ear training becomes very straight
First, you'll need some method of having notes played
to you. You can get someone else to do it, or you can get
a computer program that will do it for you. Often these
programs come with many other built in features, and this
can really help you with your ear training. There are
some floating around on the internet. If you can't obtain
one for any reason, you'll have to do it the old fashion
way, and see if you can sucker someone into playing
intervals for you.
What the person or machine will do is play unknown
intervals for you(while you're not looking) and then you
must identify the unknown interval.
The way to do this is to first start off with very few
intervals, that sound completely different, and then add
them gradually. For now, we'll concentrate on two
intervals, the major second and the octave.
Get someone to play some intervals to you, telling
them they're only aloud to play either a major second or
an octave. You'll have to identify whether it is a major
second or an octave. What you'll want them to do is to
play the notes in succession, and not at once. Because
there are only two intervals, you have a 50/50 chance.
Also, because the two are so different, you it's easier
to tell the difference between them. This method is
better than trying to learn them all at once, or trying
to learn two that are closely related. For example, if
you were trying to learn the major second, and the minor
second at once, you'd mostly likely become confused,
because they are so close to one another. In the method
above, the person could throw a trick at you and play a
minor second, and you would say it was a major second.
Even though you'd do this, you'd still know it was
definitely not an octave, and that's what's important.
So practice with the major second and the octave, and
once you get good with these, you can start adding more.
I'm going to make a list or which ones you should add
first, but if you feel that adding a different one at
some point is more appropriate for some reason, feel
augmented fourth/diminished fifth
Intervals such as the augmented fifth are exactly the
same as the minor sixth, so they're not learned
It will take a long time to become good at this.
Something that I feel can really help you is applying
tunes to every interval. When you hear the interval, you
can compare the interval to the tunes you use for this,
and then you can match the interval with the correct one
and know what interval it is. This is a memory device,
because it is easier to recognize the beginning of a
familiar tune than it is to recognize an interval
standing by itself. Eventually you'll be able to
recognize intervals simply by comparing them to the
intervals you can hear mentally, and you'll dispense with
I know a few tunes for some of the intervals, so I'll
write them here. But what you can do is see if you can
find a song that YOU know that has the interval as the
first two notes. I haven't just listed songs here, I've
listed other things that help me remember the interval.
Whatever helps you to remember will work.
major second do re...(first two notes of the major scale)
perfect octave somewhere... over the rainbow....
perfect fifth star wars theme
major third West Minster's chimes (backwards)
perfect fourth auld lang syne
minor third o Canada
major sixth my bonnie lies over the ocean...
minor second smallest interval
major seventh (sounds very dissonant)
minor sixth don't know one
augmented fourth/diminished fifth don't know one
minor seventh don't know one
Notice that for the major third, I've written
'backwards' beside it. This is because in the song, the
higher of the two notes is played first.
That's something I should have told you before. When
learning these, get whoever is playing them to always
play the lower note first. After a while, you can tell
them to play either note first. The reason for this is
because if you wanted to compare a backwards interval to
a song where the interval isn't backwards, you'll have to
mentally rearrange the notes in your head. This is
difficult at first, and not something you should worry
about when first learning intervals. After you've had
some experience, you can practice this too. Just like
everything, it gets easier with practice.
Remember, don't try to be smart and learn them all at
once. You'll become really confused. Pick two, learn
which one is which, then start adding more. When you have
about a few, you're going to start making lots of
mistakes, and that's fine. Just learn from your mistakes,
and eventually, with lots of practice, you'll be able to
tell the interval between any two notes.
Things to remember from this lesson:
1. Learning to recognize intervals takes a lot of
practice, but it is not impossible.
2. To practice, you must have someone or something sound
an unknown interval for you, and then you must try to
identify it. Make sure they sound the two notes in
succession, and not at once. Also, at first tell them to
sound the lower note before the higher note.
2. Start by learning to choose between only two intervals
which are already very different.
3. Gradually add more intervals, until you are choosing
between all of them.
4. To help you with this, see if you can compare the
unknown interval to familiar tunes which use a specific
interval as their first two notes.
5. Practice lots, and eventually this will become easy.
"...Get someone to play some intervals to you, telling them they're only *aloud* to play either a major second or an octave..."
Also: I think it would be useful to talk briefly about "Why" learn to recoginze intervals.
Keep up the good work.
keep that filthy language to yourself
Great lesson! Some more intervals incase you're interested in including them: minor second - "Jaws", major second - "Happy Birthday to you", minor third - "Que Sera, Sera", tritone (augmented fourth) - prelude to "The Simpsons theme", minor 6th - "Close Every Door to me" (Joseph and Technicolour Dreamcoat), major 7th - "Maria" (Westside Story?).
I thought a major and minor scale only differed with the 3rd and 6th (semi-tone down) so isn\'t a minor second the same as a minor second?
Or are you calling a minor second a semi-tone?
Ask a Question about this Lesson
I think this lesson is not to bad.Many people dont even have a clue what intervals
are.This is a free eye opener.I do my intervals in a diffrent manner.This lesson
will help meney beginners out,thats cool!!!!!!