Tonic Acting as a Crutch in Ear Training

Tonic Acting as a Crutch in Ear Training

Tonic Acting as a Crutch in Ear Training

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The Tonic Acting as a Crutch in Ear Training

Q: A couple questions:

I believe I’m using the ‘crutch’ you touch on in the FAQ section in the Ear Training One Note Complete book. What I’m doing is listening for the C in the last iteration of the chord progression I-IV-V-I and matching it up to the tone being played afterwards.

This is wrong, right? LOL

If so, I’m trying to understand the purpose of the chord progression being played before every note.

So if I understand you correctly, simply listening fifteen minutes a day 10 times will eventually get this embedded into my memory… fini?
Do you recommend active listening or passive listening (letting the sounds pass into my subconscious)?

A: You definitely want a more overall sense of key rather than concentrating on the tonic note. Remember most times in music the tonic isn’t sounding at all times and therefore your ‘sense of key’ has to be there to help you identify notes. The chord progression puts your mind into the key center by playing a common cadence. You could use any common cadence to achieve this. You are correct that by listening a bunch of times throughout the day for short periods of time is the best way to go.
I think both active and passive listening could be of value but keep in mind that mostly active listening will improve your skills. I highly recommend you work with the Fanatic’s Guide to Ear Training and Sight Singing because this book will help you develop a sense of key. It seems like this is one of the things you are missing because your mind is trying to cheat by concentrating on the tonic which can cause people to use a distance or interval method to find the correct answer.

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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