HOSTS- Jeremy Burns, Matthew Scott Phillips
TYPE- Ear Training
BUMPER MUSIC- "Banish Misfortune" (Traditional Irish jig arranged by Area 47 Music)
ANNOUNCER- Mike Cunliffe
Melodic dictation, the act of transcribing and notating a melody by ear, is an important skill for a musician to cultivate. In this episode, we will focus on the Mixolydian mode. It has one small difference from the major scale, or Ionian 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.
THE FOLLOWING EXAMPLE WILL CORRESPOND WITH THE FIRST EXAMPLE IN THIS EPISODE
The overall GENERAL IMPRESSION of this melody, without worrying about the actual notes, feels like it moved slightly up, then back down (beyond the starting note). From there, it moves back up, and then further down. It finally rests in an area similar to where it began. We were also able to get the rhythms for the first measure. So we notate it them.
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. Notice that on the final measure, we have a dotted half note to fill the entire measure of 3 beats.
Before we attempt to notate this melody, we must first find the starting note. Using our "sing down" method, we found that we couldn't go down easily from that note (granted it can be a little foggy with modes). That means our starting note is on the 1st scale degree (F, in F Mixolydian). From our rhythms, we've guessed this to be a quarter note. Notate it!
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 REMAINING MELODIES
-You don't need to have perfect pitch to learn good aural skills. Rather, you need to sharpen your skills of RELATIVE PITCH.
-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.
-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