Tuesday, January 29, 2008

13. It's the Intervals, Stupid

As mentioned before, quick recognition of intervals seems like one of the keys to sight-reading well. That is, I expect my sight-reading to be faster and easier if I can learn to see this

as a sixth with E as the lower note (bass clef) rather than as an E and a C. Why do I think that? Well, first, as soon as I know I'm dealing with, for example, a sixth, my fingers automatically take on the proper positioning for playing a sixth. Second, when I try to force myself to use intervals, sight-reading seems a little easier.

One problem is that, for the larger intervals, and to my untrained eye, it's hard to quickly see what interval I'm dealing with. For example, the difference between a sixth and a seventh is hard to see in an instant.

I figured I need to learn to "attend to the distinctive features" of the different intervals, as one of my psych professors would say. So here's something I've tried -- no idea whether it's useful or not.

I sit down with a piece of music and scan along one clef as quickly as possible and call out the different intervals.

For example, for this music:

I'd say "5, 3, 1, 6, 8, 6, 5, 5, 6, 8, 8, 9," etc.

Will this help? Who knows?


Luke Cage said...

These are all great blogs, they are motivating and inspirational, don't quit sight reading for a 3rd time keep going it will become easier for you. You just have to believe in yourself. i have been sight reading for 6 months now and i love it. i have been learning to play for 2 years now and for the last 3 months i practice a minimum of 3hrs a night.

Anonymous said...

I'm terrible at reading music, and prefer to read chord calls. The notes on the staff swim in front of me, so I usually just fake it. Today I was plodding through the notation of a song that I love, and I realized that the only group of notes I could play with any speed was the Dsus2 chord. All of the other combinations of notes were intervals, which I haven't bothered to memorize. I know Dsus2 well, so my fingers can go right to it. I understood why my teachers urged us to learn the intervals! It is much easier to look at a group of notes as a named whole rather than a bunch of individual notes. It's more meaningful that way, and easier to memorize. Only problem with that theory is that it is going to take so much work to memorize everything.