Monday, January 21, 2008

8. Read Intervals, Ignore Notes

Today I've noticed that if I consciously try to ignore the individual notes in a two-note chord, and instead look at it as an interval with a given top or bottom note, it makes the reading easier.

For example, instead of seeing this:
as a C and an A (in treble clef), I see it as a sixth, with a C as the lower note.

I knew from the start that that would help, but today found that an "I am NOT going to look at the individual notes!" attitude is helpful.

I'm finding that one key to making sight-reading work, is to have the music trigger movement of my hands rather than result in some kind of intellectual process. As soon as the interval is recognized as a sixth, my hand automatically adjusts itself to the shape needed to play a sixth.


Luke Cage said...

this was a very informative piece thank you very much. i have been reading all of your blogs and they are inspirational.

Anonymous said...

My daughter is 6 and has been taking lessons for about 6 months now. I notice that in the materials she's been given (Alfred piano course), she's basically been taught intervals almost exclusively. They teach her basically from the beginning to recognize 2nds, 3rds, 4ths, and 5ths. It hasn't been until very recently that she's even been taught what note matches to what line on the keyboard. Before this, she was either told C position or G position and she uses intervals to figure out what she should be playing.

So the result was that sometimes she would play songs in the wrong key (because she has no idea what the beginning note is). But she knows the relative pitches she should be playing because she knows the intervals.

Personally, I can't read music worth a lick, which is probably why I never advanced far in piano or guitar. But I know what note belongs to what line (Every good boy . . .)

After reading this entry and relating it to my daughter's instruction, I now realize why she "reads" music better than I do even though she doesn't know what middle C is--she recognizes intervals pretty quickly, while I have to decode each and every note.

Anonymous said...

Hello, thank you very much for your blogs - so inspirational.
I'm just starting sigh-reading at piano. A good help are apps ("games") for Android and iOS devices where you can practice the reading of intervals, like