HOSTS- Jeremy Burns, Matthew Scott Phillips
TYPE- Ear Training
BUMPER MUSIC- "Dorian Is A Little Grey Today" (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 Dorian mode and some of the chords that compliment it. It has one small difference from the minor scale, or Aeolean 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- D Dorian Mode (no accidentals)
2. TIME SIGNATURE- 2/4
3. STARTING NOTE AND DURATION- F natural, 16th note
D Dorian shares the same key signature as C major but we will still be considering the D 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.
The overall GENERAL IMPRESSION of this melody, without worrying about the actual notes, feels like it moves down in the 1st measure. From there, it moves back up (beyond the starting note) and slightly further up, in the 2nd measure. In the 3rd measure, we have a similar arc and rhythmic pattern to the 1st measure. The 4th measure begins further down and moves back up. The 5th, and final, measure is a downward resolve. In my mind, the ARC of the melody looks kind of like this:
On the second listen, we want to focus on the notes themselves. Let's try to figure out their rhythms and notate these note values above the staff. Notice we have a repeating rhythmic pattern in the 1st and 3rd measures. Likewise, notice we have a repeating pattern in measures 2 and 4. The melody ends just before beat 2 of the last measure, and holds that note until the end of said measure.
Now we want to add notes to these beats. Our given starting note is on the 3rd scale degree (F, in D Dorian). From our rhythms, we've guessed this to be a 16th note. Following the arc, we could step down from F (3rd) to D (final) in the first measure. If we hold the D (final) and A (5th) in the back of our mind, we will know the notes of the 2nd measure. So notate what you know so far!
Now we are able to identify the remaining measures. In the 3rd measure, we heard the same rhythmic pattern as the 1st measure. However, it starts slightly lower than the previous note, D. It feels like scale degree 7, moving back down. It continues to walk down the scale but stops at the 4th (G) in measure 4, beat 1. From there it moves back up by step to A. We feel like this piece ends on the final (D). So if you can't immediately identify the note before it (first note of measure 5), 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