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#1744081 08/31/11 08:46 PM
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I am taking AP Music Theory in school and am really struggling with ear training and dictation. I think I have the ear of a mule lol. Have any of you taken music theory classes? Do you have any tips for training your ear? Or getting better at dictation? If only I had perfect pitch...


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Have you looked at teoria.com? They have some nice tutorials that might help.


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Originally Posted by chobeethaninov
I am taking AP Music Theory in school and am really struggling with ear training and dictation. I think I have the ear of a mule lol. Have any of you taken music theory classes? Do you have any tips for training your ear? Or getting better at dictation? If only I had perfect pitch...


You're one post away from the 1000th! Make it count! smile

Meanwhile here's a free online ear training site: WebET


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I finished Theory IV-Aural last semester with a B+, which is incredible for me, because I have the worst ear in the world. I tried MacGAMUT and various other ear-traing courses but I swear by the following CD and workbook by Michael Horvit.

http://www.amazon.com/Music-Ear-Training-Workbook-CD-ROM/dp/0534627668

It IS pricey, but you might be able to find it cheaper online somewhere else.


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This is a good program IMO... (This is the program I used at least... smile )



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I've used Earmaster Pro recently and found it useful.

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It's just hard, unless we're someone with a very rare talent for it. I had to work real, real hard at it just to do OK. But boy did I learn a lot! thumb

I can promise you that your ear is a lot better than what you said. smile
This stuff is just hard. You'll get better as you go along.

BTW, I'm not sure perfect pitch is a huge help with this kind of stuff.

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turn on the radio and dictate melodies and bass lines. its great practice.


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Practice makes perfect! You can try the programs above to help you get started which really help, but they can get quite boring. Whenever, I hear a pitch I try to recognize what the pitch is, and I also like to get tunes down too! It's a bit excessive, but I find it fun to do, and it really does help. Also, I play a lot of brass instruments which requires a good ear to identify pitch. Now when I hear pitches I suddenly know what the pitch is. (Not perfect pitch though, since this doesn't always happen.) Overall, it's just that practicing will help you. (It NEVER comes that quickly. It sounds like your starting out more intense ear training, so don't worry you'll get better!) A simple trick is to think of a piece that starts on a certain note. This is more of a clutch though and shouldn't be used often. Anyway best of luck!

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Originally Posted by Mark_C
It's just hard, unless we're someone with a very rare talent for it. I had to work real, real hard at it just to do OK. But boy did I learn a lot! thumb

I can promise you that your ear is a lot better than what you said. smile
This stuff is just hard. You'll get better as you go along.

BTW, I'm not sure perfect pitch is a huge help with this kind of stuff.


Actually it is. We had one person in class with perfect pitch. Got a 100 on every dictation test.


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Originally Posted by DameMyra
Actually it is. We had one person in class with perfect pitch. Got a 100 on every dictation test.

We need more data. Can't tell much from 1 person. grin

But seriously folks ha ....yes indeed, for dictation it's obviously a big advantage. I'm not sure if it is for much else in "music theory."

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In some ways I feel keyboard players are at a real disadvantage when it comes to developing aural skills. We press a key and a note sounds. We don't have to worry about pitch like other instrumentalists.

Another thing that really helped me was singing in chorus. If you can, join a choir or singing group.


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I do not have absolute pitch, and I never missed a single point in any aural skills test, quiz, audit, etc. my entire time in college. And I dictated most melodies up to 16 measures in the first take (which is not really that impressive when you compare it to Mozart, haha!)

I am very sorry, but I do not know of great methods to train your ears to be better, because it always just came to me. However, I'm sure there are many great ways to do so!

One thing I would definitely recommend though is to become very, very acquainted with intervals... Two notes played together, play lower note then upper note, and play upper note then lower note. Have someone else do this at the piano for you, and you, without looking, try to guess the intervals.

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Originally Posted by Orange Soda King
I do not have absolute pitch, and I never missed a single point in any aural skills test, quiz, audit, etc. my entire time in college. And I dictated most melodies up to 16 measures in the first take (which is not really that impressive when you compare it to Mozart, haha!)...

....and I also did very well on those kind of things despite not having perfect pitch. The things I had more trouble with, like figured basses and transposing, and some aspects of analysis, don't seem to have anything to do with perfect pitch, and I don't see how perfect pitch would have helped.

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Originally Posted by Mark_C
Originally Posted by Orange Soda King
I do not have absolute pitch, and I never missed a single point in any aural skills test, quiz, audit, etc. my entire time in college. And I dictated most melodies up to 16 measures in the first take (which is not really that impressive when you compare it to Mozart, haha!)...

....and I also did very well on those kind of things despite not having perfect pitch. The things I had more trouble with, like figured basses and transposing, and some aspects of analysis, don't seem to have anything to do with perfect pitch, and I don't see how perfect pitch would have helped.


If you are talking written theory then perfect pitch doesn't help. Figured bass, transpositions, analysis, form, part-writing, modulation...for me, those were a piece of cake. Singing an octatonic scale or sightsinging Stravinsky, a totally different story.


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Originally Posted by DameMyra
....Figured bass, transpositions, analysis, form, part-writing, modulation...for me, those were a piece of cake. Singing an octatonic scale or sightsinging Stravinsky, a totally different story.

I think I would have been glad to trade with you. grin

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Originally Posted by Mark_C
Originally Posted by DameMyra
....Figured bass, transpositions, analysis, form, part-writing, modulation...for me, those were a piece of cake. Singing an octatonic scale or sightsinging Stravinsky, a totally different story.

I think I would have been glad to trade with you. grin


Me here.

Sight-singing atonal music is fun, by the way.

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You should focus on relative pitch more than absolute pitch because I think this is what they really test (with intervals etc.). smile



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Originally Posted by ChopinAddict
You should focus on relative pitch more than absolute pitch because I think this is what they really test (with intervals etc.). smile

+1 (at least) smile

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Originally Posted by Mark_C

BTW, I'm not sure perfect pitch is a huge help with this kind of stuff.


It is! That part of the mark was what got me a good grade for theory in 2nd year (100% on every dictation!) - since my attendance mark was apparently appalling.. It balanced it =)



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