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Close Chromatic Framework Ear Training

Just as Scale Degree Ear Training develops aural comprehension of the diatonic framework, this exercise trains musicians in a chromatic framework. Interval recognition is an important part of this framework, however it is more than just identifying individual intervals. The framework is formed by the network of intervals known simultaneously and in cross-reference to each other. You know what A to C is because we also know A to C# and A to B, and you know what each pitch's place is relative to the others.

While interval recognition is in important reference and verification, to goal is to begin hearing the framework- each note having its place and knowing its place because you also know the place of every other note in consideration. To obtain this skill, pitch memory is perhaps a more fundamental tool than interval recognition. Imagine that each note is being played by a hand bell, and then recall which hand bell made each sound as you identify each tone presented. To develop this skill, it is essential that you being with a small set of pitches- here we begin with all the chromatic notes contained within a perfect fourth.

You might find it easiest to being by imposing the melodic minor scale, degrees 5-8 on these notes. The lowest note could be thought of as the 5th scale degree, and the top note the 8th. The middle notes on the right in blue are the raised 6th and 7th scale degrees, and the notes on the left in red are the lowered 6th and 7th scale degrees. Practice singing the top of the melodic scale up and then back down: "MI FI SI LA, SOL FA MI" (for LA based Minor*) between every example drilled to help keep you locked into the framework. Recognizing and singing the patterns for the top of the harmonic minor scale, natural minor scale and dorian scale can also help you lock into the framework. Eventually, however, you should train to just hear the framework of the notes presented, and not think of them as part of a scale.

After mastering the set of notes contained within a perfect fourth, expand your set of pitches by adding a chromatic pitch both above and below. You can use minor scales as a crutch to gain proficiency with the larger set of pitches. In adding pitches beyond this, SonicFit recommends the following: return to a set of pitches a perfect fourth apart, and as the same set of pitches displaced up the octave above the first. Learn to quickly shift octaves while maintaining the chromatic framework of these 6 notes. Only after improving proficiency with a displaced octave should you attempt chromatic frameworks larger than a perfect fifth. Settings for all of these options will be forthcoming.

 

* if using DO based minor, these would be SOL LA TI DO, TE LE SOL