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#2140277 - 08/28/13 02:06 PM Is this / What is 'Intervallic Reading'?  
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Every now and then I see the term "Intervall(ic) Reading" here on PW. I've tried to find out exactly what it is but Wikipedia doesn't explain it and Google hasn't given me any obvious results; only pages mentioning the (huge?) benefit of using that technique.

From what I've been able to piece together from Google and older PW posts, I've gotten the idea that it's the technique of moving ones fingers according to the difference between successive chords rather than according to the absolute notes.

Like the difference between a C chord follwed by a Cm chord; one would "read" the difference in the middle note and move the fingers accordingly.

Hope someone can help me figure this out.


English isn't my native language so pardon any typos and grammatical slip-ups.

Interesting Fact: A mere 5% of the world's population has english as their native language.
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#2140281 - 08/28/13 02:17 PM Re: Is this / What is 'Intervallic Reading'? [Re: OakOMalm]  
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To break it down, lets say on treble theres an E written on the score. Next note is a G, in your head, you aren't thinking "ok this is a g let me hit that". You are seeing the G and noticing its exactly 1 line above the E, which tells you that you are basically skipping one note and hitting the next. You think okay, this is 3 intervals higher (NOT half step/whole step semi tone/tone) and hit that note. so while you may KNOW its a G, you are just reading it as 3 intervals above the E. it helps skip a lot of thinking power you need for other things. I personally don't know if the finger thing is part of it legitimately. For me however, I do use that for how I do my interval reading. So if I hit that E with my 2, the G i'll know is 1 line up and hit with my four, because I know it skips 1 finger. No idea if thats standard practice, but thats how I do it!


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#2140293 - 08/28/13 02:46 PM Re: Is this / What is 'Intervallic Reading'? [Re: OakOMalm]  
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Sweet06, what puzzles me about intervallic reading is that for beginners it is first encountered in situations where your fingering shortcut works, for example E = 2 so the note a third up (G) = 4.

But eventually you will get to music where you need to use your fingers differently. For example the G might need to be played with 3 or with 5.

So what always puzzles me when I read about intervallic readers is how do they negotiate that, when the keys to be played no longer line up with the fingers? Maybe it's that you have to be thinking about which key you're going to play and how far away it is, rather than just thinking about moving a certain distance of fingers (e.g. finger 2 to finger 4). But for teachers who teach intervallic reading, how do they encourage their students to do that?


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#2140333 - 08/28/13 04:47 PM Re: Is this / What is 'Intervallic Reading'? [Re: OakOMalm]  
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well i work out my fingers would be ahead of time. If I'm sight reading I have a habit of looking ahead as much as I can... usually 2-3 measures ahead, esp with longer notes or rests. If i glance and see the notes rising quite higher and its a 3rd I have to hit next. I might just use 2 to hit the next note. Of course I didn't do this at the very start, I did like you said the finger # associated with the score. Now tho, its all contextual. Its less about finger #'s and more about key placement. I can feel out what two keys higher is, whether i hit the first key with my thumb and the 2nd key with my 3 or with my 2.

to summarize. While early on I used finger numbers along with intervallic reading, now I use less of my finger numbers and more of knowing where the key is based on the key im currently playing, on the keyboard itself.

also, pianostuden88, im definitely a beginner! I'm not even 3 months in! So my very very beginning stages are still clear in my head. amazing the progress that can be made in just 2 and a half short months.

Last edited by Sweet06; 08/28/13 04:49 PM.

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#2140360 - 08/28/13 05:56 PM Re: Is this / What is 'Intervallic Reading'? [Re: OakOMalm]  
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I think what you're describing is still intervalic reading, you're just associating the intervals with space on the piano as opposed to your finger numbers. This is what my teacher teaches, she's not to keen on me thinking in terms of finger numbers as I play.

#2140361 - 08/28/13 05:59 PM Re: Is this / What is 'Intervallic Reading'? [Re: OakOMalm]  
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i'm quite sure its still intervalic reading. I'm not seeing a note and thinking "ok G lets find G on the keyboard". I'm thinking, ok this is 1 line up so i just need 2 notes higher than where I am currently. I don't think one should use finger numbers for anything outside what they are meant for, as a guide to hand changes and ease of playing.


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"The joy is in the practicing. It's like relationships. Yeah, orgasms are awesome, but you can't make love to someone who you have no relationship with!"
#2140394 - 08/28/13 06:50 PM Re: Is this / What is 'Intervallic Reading'? [Re: OakOMalm]  
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Initially I could not get the whole interval thing as it didn't come naturally, but then I am only ten months in and a lot of things don't come naturally. The tendency after you have learned the note names is just to see the note and then find the key which is fine when the notes are close but as soon as you have jumps of a 4th, 5th, etc I was always hesitating. Interval reading has really made a difference to my sight reading when I began to readily see them and place my fingers accordingly. Yes you do find yourself in the wrong position sometimes but as Sweet06 stated reading ahead is important. Daily,focussed practice for sight reading is the key.


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#2140400 - 08/28/13 06:59 PM Re: Is this / What is 'Intervallic Reading'? [Re: OakOMalm]  
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yep! so if its a 5th, it'll always be space/space or line/line. meaning both notes will land on the same pattern (both being a space or both being a line). I notice these types of patterns pretty quick so that I can lodge them in my brain. its all about doing what you need to do to LOWER The amount of time it takes to decipher what key to hit. Sure, if its a fifth and your thumb is hitting C and pinky G I can see the C know to hit it then because the G is on a line as well, hit that with my pinky. I'm not hitting the G with my pinky because I saw the note and said to myself "G", then looked for G on the keyboard. I'm hitting that note because I saw the spacial difference between the easily identifiable C note and the G (they are both line notes on the treble score, middle C). I actually was reading that way BEFORE I knew what it was. IDK why or how I came to that conclusion. I just thought it'd be the easiest way to hit the correct notes at the right time.


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"The joy is in the practicing. It's like relationships. Yeah, orgasms are awesome, but you can't make love to someone who you have no relationship with!"
#2140414 - 08/28/13 07:20 PM Re: Is this / What is 'Intervallic Reading'? [Re: OakOMalm]  
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Thanks for the info, folks! Seems to me that Intervall(ic) Reading is really a combination of reading and execution; one needs to master the skill of seeing the intervalls on the staff as well as being able to play any note with any finger.

I can imagine this technique works pretty well for simple, single note, melodies but what if the hand playing the melody has to play chords? Feels like it could get messy rather quickly if one doesn't consistently use the same chord fingerings.

As an example take this chord sequence:
C-E-G , C-F-A , B-D-F-G

I can't see how one would (easily) apply Intervallic Reading to that sequence.

Last edited by OakOMalm; 08/28/13 07:26 PM. Reason: Added example.

English isn't my native language so pardon any typos and grammatical slip-ups.

Interesting Fact: A mere 5% of the world's population has english as their native language.
#2140420 - 08/28/13 07:52 PM Re: Is this / What is 'Intervallic Reading'? [Re: OakOMalm]  
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Well, if you see a line of notes going up a scale from C to C, do you have to think "This is C, play C; this is D, play D; this is E play E" etc.? Or do you notice that they go up and up and up, piano key by adjacent piano key? If you answered the second, that is intervalic reading as opposed to naming every note. Or if you see E on a line, and G on another line, and you know they are a third apart, so you "skip one piano key" so that you are going "two up" without thinking "the next note is G, where is G?", then that is also intervalic reading. It's one of various things we do when we read music.

#2140425 - 08/28/13 08:01 PM Re: Is this / What is 'Intervallic Reading'? [Re: OakOMalm]  
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OakOMaim, intervallic reading works with chords, also, AIUI. You recognize shapes and patterns.

Sweet06, thank you for the explanation. I'm impressed that you've worked this out for yourself, and only 3 months in. Sounds like you're doing great.


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#2140430 - 08/28/13 08:18 PM Re: Is this / What is 'Intervallic Reading'? [Re: OakOMalm]  
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As an example take this chord sequence:
C-E-G , C-F-A , B-D-F-G

I'm not quite to this point yet, but I'd assume you just take the bottom note, for example C in the C-E-G chord and start for there. So 1 on C, the E is up a third, and G up another third (this is immediately apparent without figuring out the notes based on the fact that it skips the space and uses the next line) so you just play 3 on E and 5 on G. The point of identifying the interval is to not need to know the note, and it's good for chords because you just needed to know one of the 3 notes.

#2140435 - 08/28/13 08:58 PM Re: Is this / What is 'Intervallic Reading'? [Re: OakOMalm]  
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Originally Posted by OakOMalm

As an example take this chord sequence:
C-E-G , C-F-A , B-D-F-G


As said before, you start with the (perhaps root) C and then go up a third followed by another third. In the next phrase, you again start with C but this time the two thirds (or third and fifth) are shifted up by a second. Finally, start with a second below C (B) and then take two third steps followed by a second step. Does this make any sense?

The huge advantage with this reading is that it makes is much easier to transpose to another key. All you need to know is which keys are in each scale. Thus playing scales is not just about warming up your fingers, it is a way to visualize a specific key. Once you "see it" you can also transpose to it.



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#2140437 - 08/28/13 09:13 PM Re: Is this / What is 'Intervallic Reading'? [Re: OakOMalm]  
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Bamburg & Amaruk, sorry, I think I was a bit unclear. What I meant by "C-E-G , C-F-A , B-D-F-G" was play all three notes C-E-G simultaneously as one chord (not a broken chord), followed by C-F-A simultaneously as one chord and finally all four notes B-D-F-G simultaneously as one chord.

I can't see how Intervallic Reading would help with this; there's just too much going on. For example, the change from "C-F-A" to "B-D-F-G" would be all of the following done in parallell (assuming right hand 1-3-5 on C-F-A):
* Thumb down a 2nd
* Find D with index finger
* Lift middle finger
* Find F with ring finger
* Move pinky down a 2nd


Last edited by OakOMalm; 08/28/13 09:25 PM. Reason: Spelling/grammar

English isn't my native language so pardon any typos and grammatical slip-ups.

Interesting Fact: A mere 5% of the world's population has english as their native language.
#2140448 - 08/28/13 09:58 PM Re: Is this / What is 'Intervallic Reading'? [Re: OakOMalm]  
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Originally Posted by OakOMalm

I can't see how Intervallic Reading would help with this; there's just too much going on. For example, the change from "C-F-A" to "B-D-F-G" would be all of the following done in parallell (assuming right hand 1-3-5 on C-F-A):
* Thumb down a 2nd
* Find D with index finger
* Lift middle finger
* Find F with ring finger
* Move pinky down a 2nd

But do you necessarily start your thinking in terms of fingers?

C-F-A
you want to play BDFG
B and D straddle the C that you are on
You're already of F
you move down from G.

If you jump from one spot to the other in hopscotch, do you think of your feet or do you concentrate on the spots and your feet happen to land there in the right order? Do you relate to the space or to your feet?

#2140590 - 08/29/13 08:31 AM Re: Is this / What is 'Intervallic Reading'? [Re: keystring]  
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Originally Posted by keystring

But do you necessarily start your thinking in terms of fingers?

...

If you jump from one spot to the other in hopscotch, do you think of your feet or do you concentrate on the spots and your feet happen to land there in the right order? Do you relate to the space or to your feet?

I think I'd concentrate on the spots were the feet should land.

Maybe I'm overanalyzing this a bit but I just want to figure out if Intervall(ic) Reading is a technique I'm already using or not, perhaps subconsciously. Based on what you helpful folks have said, I'm quite sure I am using it to some extent combined with fixed hand positions and finger-to-note association.

I guess Intervallic Reading can be best trained by playing pieces that promote non-fixed hand positions.



English isn't my native language so pardon any typos and grammatical slip-ups.

Interesting Fact: A mere 5% of the world's population has english as their native language.
#2140592 - 08/29/13 08:42 AM Re: Is this / What is 'Intervallic Reading'? [Re: OakOMalm]  
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I would bet that you already are using it as part of your arsenal. I also suspect that the push for intervalic is actually a reaction to the idea of naming every single note, so that people aren't locked into that. Hm - just thought of something cool. "The piano is very geographic."

#2140668 - 08/29/13 11:44 AM Re: Is this / What is 'Intervallic Reading'? [Re: OakOMalm]  
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I would recognize the triads and see the root being F and just hit it. That's just pattern recognition because thinking of all that is to much


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#2140804 - 08/29/13 02:32 PM Re: Is this / What is 'Intervallic Reading'? [Re: OakOMalm]  
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I think reading in intervals can be very handy - but I find I kind of do a little bit of both. Sometimes I look at music I can see right away "that's a C Major chord" just. Or if I see two notes with only one spaces between then I know that's a third-basically I know to skip a note. So I am not reading every single note name. However, I do read the notes sometimes as well. Its just whatever comes to me faster.

I think the more you get used to reading in general and the more you learn about intervals the more you will automatically do this.


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#2140939 - 08/29/13 08:12 PM Re: Is this / What is 'Intervallic Reading'? [Re: OakOMalm]  
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To do intervallic reading with chords, there are several applicable options. See what notes stay the same as you move from one chord to the next. See which intervals widen or shrink as you move from one chord to the next. In the case of all root position chords, your hand knows the shape of the chord and keeps that shape. The interval reading comes as you look at how far higher or lower you need to move to reach the next one. My eyes usually follow the lowest note of the chord.

Please work on this. I cannot stress enough how much this matters. As an intermediate pianist still playing count-lines-and-spaces, recognize the letter, find the key, I nearly quit. Today I have a BA in music and teach piano. Every advanced pianist reads intervallicly. Yes, we double-check with the letter names of lines and spaces, but it's a rare mind that can read this way effectively.

#2141735 - 08/31/13 09:47 AM Re: Is this / What is 'Intervallic Reading'? [Re: OakOMalm]  
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Thanks for the info, folks!

So, to sum it up, would you agree that:

Quote
Rather than being a single specific technique one can train, Intervallic Reading is the end result of practicing several different sight reading techniques that help the pianist avoid fixed hand positions and note-finger associations.


English isn't my native language so pardon any typos and grammatical slip-ups.

Interesting Fact: A mere 5% of the world's population has english as their native language.

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