HOSTS- Jeremy Burns, Matthew Scott Phillips
TYPE- Ear Training
BUMPER MUSIC- "Lydia (Beautiful One)" (Area 47 Music)
ANNOUNCER- Mike Cunliffe
For a direct download of this episode, click here:
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 Lydian mode. 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- C Lydian Mode (1 sharp)
2. TIME SIGNATURE- 4/4 (common time)
3. STARTING NOTE AND DURATION- C natural, 1/4 note
C Lydian shares the same key signature as G major but we will still be considering the C 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:
Measure 1= 1 quarter note, 2 eighth notes, 1 whole note.
Measure 2= 1 quarter note, 2 eighth notes, 1 whole note (repeat of measure 1)
Measure 3= 1 quarter note, 6 eighth notes
Measure 4= 1 whole 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 (or the final). It moves up, down then up in the 1st measure. It moves up, down and then further up in the 2nd measure. In the third measure, it moves up, down, further up and then descends all the way back to its origin. It might look like this.
Now we want to add notes to these beats. Our given starting note is on the 1st scale degree (C, in C Lydian). From our rhythms, we've guessed this to be a 1/4 note. Following the arc, we could step up from C (final) to G (5th), down to F# (4th) and back up to G in the first measure. The same sequence occurs in the second measure but the note on the 3rd beat jumps further up to A (6th). In the 3rd measure, beats 1 and 2 are a repeat of measure 2, beginning a decent straight down the scale. Finally, on measure 4, we skip scale degree 2 (D) and land on the final (C) on the downbeat and hold it throughout the measure (whole note).
(LOOSE ENDS AND CONFIRMATION)
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 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 LYDIAN mode and some patterns based on it.
MUSIC STUDENT 101