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Ear Training: Melodic Interval Recognition

Learning Goal

To recognize the unique sound/feeling of the following intervals: minor 2nd, major 2nd, minor 3rd, major 3rd, perfect 4th, tritone, perfect 5th, minor 6th, major 6th, minor 7th, major 7, octave…

How to Use

Download the Zip file, unzip, create a playlist, set to random play, and do ear training on the run!

Each mp3 follows the same sequence:

  1. Two random notes are played, one after the other.
  2. Identify the interval.
  3. After a short pause, the correct answer is given.

Listen to an example…

A Critically Important Word of Caution…
There are two commonly-prescribed methods for learning to recognize various intervals.

  • Method #1: Sing up a musical scale until you reach the interval of interest. For example, to learn the sound of a perfect fifth, sing the first five notes (Do-Re-Mi-Fa-So) of the major scale. The first and last notes form a perfect fifth.
  • Method #2: Sing the first notes of a familiar tune that starts with the interval of interest. For example, to learn the sound of a perfect fifth, sing the first few notes of “Twinkle, Twinkle”.

But, there are two fundamental problems with the “sing up the scale” and “sound likes the beginning of…” methods:

  • They are incomplete, because they teach intervals only in a very specific context, ignoring all other possible contexts.
  • They are misleading, because there is a danger that this will turn into [context-dependent] Solfege training, not [context-independent] interval training.

The correct, general-purpose way to study intervals is independent of context… because the goal is to hear the unique sound/feeling of each pair of notes independently of any key center and independently of which notes came before. Got it? Good!

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