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Ok, I got blasted last time when talking about using computer programs for sight-reading, but I finally got randomized two-handed chords developed, and I want to know if you think practising these are useful:

[Linked Image]

Such heavy chords are one of the toughest to sight-read fluently and they do occur in music. There are some 30 different chord types here, going all the way to 13th chords. Getting direct practise with these from music sheets alone is not enough in my opinion.

Note: My computer programmer friend hasn't finished programming yet. He has finished programming all the chords but is still working on getting them to follow well-known chord progressions.

Last edited by MathTeacher; 09/18/11 10:47 AM.
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I think you'll get similar comments to what you got last time: Why spend time sight reading junk like this, rather than real music? smile

For example, if you wanted to get practice sight reading things like that, take a look at some Debussy etudes, or some Scriabin. You'd find similar stuff -- and it would be real music. Whatever stuff from those exercises doesn't much occur in real music, you don't need to worry about for your sight reading.

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One of the reasons why just practicing actual is more useful is because you'll actually learn what kinds of chords follow other chords. Your chart is all random and not helpful unless you're trying to read complex music which you probably don't even consider is music.

Secondly, there's not much technique building...you need to realize that even if your brain is able to read such stuff, if your hands don't have the chops there's no point.



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(and you know I hate saying this) But I agree with Mark on this. Why don't you just read a lot of real music? It seems you keep looking for a magical short cut. So no, I don't think it's useful to spend time reading things you would never play.

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I understand your thinking that the way to learn to sight-read chords is (in part) to sight-read chords, but without any musical context these chords don't make any sense, and playing music is all about understanding elements in a context. I don't think that being able to read random chords - or random anything in music - is going to be much help in the long run.

I can only repeat what others have said : Why not work with real musical examples?

Moreover, do you not think - given the length of time that CAL has been around - that other pedagogues in music would have adopted the use of CAL for sight-reading if they felt that it produced good results?

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Originally Posted by Damon
(and you know I hate saying this)....

Believe me, I understand full well. ha

I'm truly baffled that some feel a need to look for some better way than the good old way of getting better at sight reading, which is to sight read. smile

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Plus, I am seeing at least two measures where (if my eyes are seeing these tiny notes corrcetly)there is notated both a natural and a sharp sign,(as accidentals) on one note! Measure 9 has the low A written that way, and again, in m. 17, the bass line G is similarly notated. I see others, as well, but why go through this very unappealing barrage of notes?

I have to agree with everyone about this. Way too unmusical. Read through some Rachmaninoff Preludes and you will also have a wonderful tonal experience. Or some Albeniz for some enharmonic cathesthenics!

There are some early sight reading drills that may benefit the reader with random notes. However, I think it reaches the point of diminishing returns, and, at this level, one should use music that has a linear cohesion to it. Sorry!


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Originally Posted by Lea's Muse-ic
....Read through some Rachmaninoff Preludes....

Absolutely! I would have said that if I'd thought of it. smile
Probably as good a thing as there is for what he seems to be looking for here.


MathTeacher: Why are you looking for something other than actual repertoire?

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+1 to what everyone already said.


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Also types of chords:

In Classical, romantic, and other more traditional styles, you'll be dealing with octaves filled in thirds, fifths, fourths and sixths. You'll also see filled (or not) sixths, thirds.

In Jazz you'll have to be familiar with other intervals, more frequently chords that span a 7th in their outer intervals.

Most importantly, chords are always written in sequence. Whether they're bass octaves, running thirds or octaves, or just chains of sevenths, the important part about chord playing and reading well is recognizing the sequence and having the appropriate hand positions to deal with it.

Also, it seems you'll never understand this, but when you sight read, I'll bet far more often than not the best way is to read the patterns. So learning to recognize and play commonly occurring patterns in music will help you quickly, playing randomized everythings won't.

Your method sort of makes me think of learning how to read aloud. Do you practice by reading books aloud, reading actual sentences, or would you go to a computer and read out from a randomized list of words?

Last edited by Kuanpiano; 09/17/11 11:32 PM.

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Originally Posted by Mark_C
For example, if you wanted to get practice sight reading things like that, take a look at some Debussy etudes, or some Scriabin. You'd find similar stuff -- and it would be real music. Whatever stuff from those exercises doesn't much occur in real music, you don't need to worry about for your sight reading.


Rach 3 first cadenza anyone? ha


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As everyone else has told you, what you're trying to do here is a monumental waste of time. In principle I do like the idea of computer-aided learning. Indeed I developed a program to help me internalize some common chord progressions like the II-V-I progression that occurs all the time in jazz. I had the computer flash II-V-I's in different keys randomly and I would try to play the chords without hesitation. It did help me quite a bit. The difference is that I wasn't just hitting random chords. In tonal music chords follow each other in a progression that makes sense. Your scheme of playing random unrelated chords just doesn't make sense.


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That program would help you read the notes, but it doesn't help you build a sense of style, harmonic structure, phrasing, dynamics, or articulation.

It would be exactly like teaching someone to read using a random word generator that had something like this:

Bik froo flurt madapom drott bi greck wherim ciel bumm.

In other words, you end up practicing the sounds of individual letters, but the meaning is lost.


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Originally Posted by Kreisler
That program would help you read the notes, but it doesn't help you build a sense of style, harmonic structure, phrasing, dynamics, or articulation.

It would be exactly like teaching someone to read using a random word generator that had something like this:

Bik froo flurt madapom drott bi greck wherim ciel bumm.

In other words, you end up practicing the sounds of individual letters, but the meaning is lost.


Or even:

be exactly that had It like would generator using read random this word something: teaching someone had a to

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Originally Posted by Lea's Muse-ic
Plus, I am seeing at least two measures where (if my eyes are seeing these tiny notes corrcetly)there is notated both a natural and a sharp sign,(as accidentals) on one note! Measure 9 has the low A written that way, and again, in m. 17, the bass line G is similarly notated. I see others, as well, but why go through this very unappealing barrage of notes?


Minor second intervals do occur every now and then in chords in music, do they not?


Originally Posted by Kreisler
That program would help you read the notes, but it doesn't help you build a sense of style, harmonic structure, phrasing, dynamics, or articulation.

It would be exactly like teaching someone to read using a random word generator that had something like this:

Bik froo flurt madapom drott bi greck wherim ciel bumm.

In other words, you end up practicing the sounds of individual letters, but the meaning is lost.


Thank you for your calm response. You are right, the chords don't follow any musical pattern. That's because my computer programmer friend hasn't finished programming yet. He has finished programming all the chords (as you see in the opening post) but is still working on getting them to follow well-known chord progressions. He is currently using the follwing chord progression flowchart to get the chords in his program to follow each other musically. Once that is done, is the exercise useful then???

[Linked Image]


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It depends, if he's able to program both the progressions and the voice leading tendencies, then I suppose it might help, but at that point, he's basically programmed the computer to produce Bach chorales, which you could download for free off IMSLP.

I guess the point is - what does the technology bring to the table? As many have said, there is a ton of material available, so what's the point in generating more?

I think a random note generator is helpful in learning the lines and spaces, but after that, it's best to put those notes in the context of real music.


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Minor seconds are half steps. Half steps consist of 2 notes, not one that is notated as first a #, then, in the score, as a natural, and then # again. Look in m. 9 at the low A in the bass clef. Those 2 accidentals are for the same note, not 2 separate notes. Makes no sense at all. The only time you will see such a notation is when the editor is reminding the performer that a previous natural is once again a # or flat, and even that makes no sense in this case. Please check this out.


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Originally Posted by MathTeacher
[to Kreisler] Thank you for your calm response.....

Wait a minute, wait a minute. grin

Do you mean the others weren't? Just wondering....because I think that's how it looks.

Anyway, since a question here still seems to be why you're looking for something other than what everyone else thinks would be better -- why you're looking for shortcuts -- let me guess this....

Math, I think, is very much about looking for shortcuts. If someone gets an answer to a math issue or proves a concept in a longer way than is possible, that's considered not too good, even though the person solved the problem; it's considered inelegant, and if others find a more direct way, that counts a lot.

I'm wondering if maybe that's where you're coming from: the principles and habits of your field.

If so, I'm sure you know that this doesn't necessarily transfer to other areas. It's always worthy of an attempt, but sometimes it just doesn't apply. We're saying that we don't think it applies to this, or that if it does, you haven't found a solution yet. We're also skeptical that there is one, but if we see it, I would think we'd recognize it.

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Originally Posted by Lea's Muse-ic
Minor seconds are half steps. Half steps consist of 2 notes, not one that is notated as first a #, then, in the score, as a natural, and then # again. Look in m. 9 at the low A in the bass clef. Those 2 accidentals are for the same note, not 2 separate notes. Makes no sense at all. The only time you will see such a notation is when the editor is reminding the performer that a previous natural is once again a # or flat, and even that makes no sense in this case. Please check this out.


In this computer program, a note with both an accidental and a flat means two separate notes forming a minor second, which many chords do have. I don't like the notation the computer program uses either, but that's just the way it is.

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You might contact Zenph to see if there's a workaround. That seems like an odd problem they'd be interested in correcting.


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