Mental Process of Hearing Scale Degrees or Solfege

Mental Process of Hearing Scale Degrees or Solfege

Mental Process of Hearing Scale Degrees or Solfege

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Mental Process of Hearing Scale Degrees or Solfege

Q: I bought the Ear Training One Note Complete guide. I want to make sure I'm approaching it right. When I listen, sometimes notes sound like something to me: e.g. a bell, a shimmer, a chisel hitting rock-- basically I hear a certain quality to the sound. I get these images. Visual not aural.

I do consciously avoid the solfege stuff altogether. I spent 4 months learning that way and it still didn't get me where I wanted to go in terms of real-time playing.

I would like to know what your opinion as to listening to the quality this way with the mental images. It is different from solfege, but still a mental event, although much quicker. Is this good, bad, indifferent? Should I cultivate it, avoid it, or just notice it when it happens?

Want to make sure I approach it right before I spend the long hours working.

A: I have a feeling that the images you are seeing are more related to perfect pitch rather than relative pitch. Try seeing if you get the same images if you just hear a note without reference of a key center and let me know what happens.

You don't have to use solfege or any identifying thing to recognize the notes on the Ear Training One Note Complete CD and you could use a visual context. But you do have to use something to identify the notes when you sing them. (You should be working out of the Fanatic's Guide to Ear Training and Sight Singing book too). Many students shy away from the singing side of ear training but if they only realized that this is how they develop their inner voice for improvisation and composition I think they would be more serious about it.

So to recap you can use visual identification for listening but obviously not for singing. Since it's better and quicker to have one system that works complimentary to each other I would recommend either solfeggio, note names, degree names or some system to make each note relationship to a key unique.

Best regards,


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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