HOSTS- Jeremy Burns, Matthew Scott Phillips
TYPE- Ear Training
BUMPER MUSIC- "Everything Else Matters" (Area 47 Music)
ANNOUNCER- Mike Cunliffe
Melodic dictation, the act of transcribing and notating a melody by ear, is a crucial skill for a musician to cultivate. In this episode, we will focus on the Aeolian mode (a.k.a. the natural minor scale). Let's listen!
MELODY- A succession or arrangement of notes forming a distinctive sequence or theme, often repeated or revisited through out the piece. This is the horizontal aspect of music.
SCALE- A pattern of notes, arranged in whole steps and half steps, that span an octave.
MODE- An iteration of a scale where all the notes maintain the same pattern of whole steps and half steps but the starting note is shifted, based on what scale degree you decide to consider the root. The major scale has 7 diatonic scale degrees. Therefore, there are 7 seven diatonic modes that are based on the major scale pattern.
TONIC- The root or foundation of a key or scale. This is scale degree 1. The ultimate directional goal of harmony.
FINAL- The root or foundation of a mode. We discern this from a TONIC because it is not always TONICIZED by a LEADING TONE or PERFECT 5th resolution.
THE FOLLOWING EXAMPLE WILL CORRESPOND WITH THE FIRST EXAMPLE IN THIS EPISODE
WE'VE BEEN GIVEN 3 THINGS
1. MODE- A Aeolian Mode / A Natural Minor
2. TIME SIGNATURE- 4/4 (common time)
3. STARTING NOTE AND DURATION- A natural, 1/4 note
A Aeolian shares the same key signature as C major but we will still be considering the A note to the first scale degree. This is referred to as the "final" in a mode. So let's notate our meter and key signature, as shown below.
On this first listen, we will focus on the rhythms and the note values. Try and count to your self as you listen. As we do this, we are still taking in the contour and overall impressions. It's a good idea to pencil in the note values above the staff, as seen below, to leave room for your notation on the staff. In this case, we have all 1/4 notes until the last measure. On measure 4, we have a dotted 1/4 followed by an 1/8 note and a 1/2 note.
On the second listen, let's focus on the contour, the overall movement and shape of the melody. We know it starts on the root. It moves up during the first two measures and then back down again during the last two. If we were visualize this arch, it might look like this.
Now we want to add notes to these beats. Our given starting note is on the 1st scale degree (A, in A Aeolian). From our rhythms, we've guessed this to be a 1/4 note. Following the arc, we could step up from A (root) to C (3rd) in the first measure. The same sequence, a 3rd up, repeats it's self in the 2nd measure, moving from C to the E (5th). In the 3rd measure, we hold that E for the first half of measure 3 and begin it's decent on the second half of measure 3. Finally, on measure 4, we have a B note (2nd) suspending from the previous measure on a dotted 1/8 note and resolving to the root on the pick up to beat 3.
Use this forth listen to review your work and make sure you didn't miss anything. If you can't immediately identify a note, some educated guesses might get you there. Engage theoy brain!
This is the time to confirm all of your prior decisions. Keep engaging your theory brain as you double check the rhythms, the contour and the cadence. When we overlay the contour from our original impressions on top of the final melody, it appears to be pretty much spot on!
CONTINUE USING THESE STEPS AS WE TAKE ON THE
-You don't need to have perfect pitch to learn good aural skills. Rather, you need to sharpen your skills of RELATIVE PITCH.
-Always try to sing DO (scale degree 1) and SOL (scale degree 5) and keep them in your head as you do these exercises.
-We've talked about identifying what note you are on by singing down, or up to the tonic. This works for all notes but it comes a little easier when singing from the 3rd and the 5th. As we get into more complex modes, this may not be as easy.
-Consider addressing the first and last measures first. Then use the following listens to fill in the middle sections.
-Get a kick start on identifying melodies by singing (or humming or whistling) the MAJOR scale and some patterns based on it.
MUSIC STUDENT 101