Learning Non-Chord Tones During Ear Training

Learning Non-Chord Tones During Ear Training

Learning Non-Chord Tones During Ear Training

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Learning Non-Chord Tones During Ear Training

Q: I’ve been using your Fanatic’s Guide to Ear Training and Sight Singing and Ear Training One Note Complete CD’s for about six months. At first I found the exercises extremely difficult, but I’ve made significant progress, and I can now identify the pitch correctly on the Ear Training One Note Complete¬†Beginning CD about 50% of the time. I feel I’m at a plateau, however, and I wonder if you have any practical suggestions for learning the sounds of non-chord tones. With the Ear Training One Note Complete CD, the only pitches that I really KNOW upon hearing them are C, E, and G. I can make educated guesses on the others, which are sometimes correct. But I can never say with certainty, for example, “That’s an A #,” in the way I might say, “That’s an E.” Similarly, with the Fanatic’s Guide to Ear Training and Sight Singing, I can sing the 1, 3 and 5 of a chord, but I can’t sing any other scale degree without cheating (moving up or down from a chord tone). If I simply try to imagine, “What’s the sound of a major second (or fourth, or flat sixth, or whatever) over this chord?” I draw a blank. Obviously, non-chord tones are much harder — if nothing else, the chord tones are (or, with the Ear Training One Note Complete CD, just were) actually sounding in my ear. My question is if you can suggest any techniques to help ingrain those sounds in my memory? If I start playing the Fanatic’s Guide to Ear Training and Sight Singing¬†CD and I want to learn the sound of a second over whatever chord is playing, what do I do?

A: Learning the non-chord tones notes is usually harder for students so your case is not unusual. My suggestion is to do more work out of the Fanatic’s Guide to Ear Training and Sight Singing. I would do a combination of the exercises found on page 6 and either the two or three note exercises found on page 8-11 and 12-18. You will particularly find these exercises helpful when you start singing the exercises starting on the non-chord tone notes. In general I would focus in on one note at a time. This may help you to master the note. But don’t be surprised if you work on a note for a month and still don’t get it. In this case it’s best to then move on to another note and work with that for awhile. Overtime you will find that all notes come into focus.

Everyone gets this ear training that sticks with it so be patient and don’t miss a day of practice. In your current situation missing one day is like missing 3 weeks.

It is also recommended that you read Bruce Arnold’s Blog at his artist site. It contains more discussion of the musical topics found in these FAQs as well as other subjects of interest. You will also find the “Music Education Genealogy Chart” located here which shows you the historic significance of the music education products found on the Muse Eek Publishing Company Website.

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