Study Aids: Ear Training: Solfege Pitch Recognition

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This downloadable study consists of dozens of MP3s compressed into a single 5 Mb *.zip file. Simply download, unzip, create a playlist, set to random play, and do ear training on the run!

Download: Ear-Training-Solfege-Pitch-Recognition-Major-Tonality

The Goal: To learn to recognize the unique sound/feeling of each of the twelve possible pitches with respect to the key center Do, a skill that will pay enormous dividends in your ability to sight sing, sight read, learn new pieces, transpose, and play by ear.

Each mp3 follows the same sequence:

  1. A G7 to C (V7 to I) cadence is played, clearly establishing the key center Do.
  2. A random pitch is presented.
  3. Identify it using its Solfege name.
  4. After a short pause, the correct answer is given.

Listen to an example…

As you do these, keep the following in mind:

  • Solfege is relative pitch awareness in a key center.
  • Unlike absolute pitch, relative pitch does not require any special talent. Relative pitch awareness is a learnable skill, available to anyone who studies and practices the right way.
  • Do not try to listen for intervals (half steps, whole steps, major thirds, minor thirds, and so on). The goal is to hear the unique sound/feeling of each note with respect to the key center and independently of which notes come before or after or whether they are high or low in register.
  • Successful ear training is not the fruit of trying to hear something. It is about being receptive to the sound/feeling you are experiencing and then associating that sound/feeling with something you already know — in this case, functional Solfege names.
  • While all these studies are presented in the key of C, the sound/feelings learned in C, or any other key (based on relative pitch using Solfege) will generalize to all keys. That said, you still need to do the left brain work of mapping the Solfege names in each key to the notes in written music or to the physical keys on the keyboard.
  • Note: If you would like to gain some experience hearing the Solfege pitches in a minor tonality, you could play a minor ii-V7-i cadence instead.

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