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Country Vocals Lessons: Ear Training - Intervals

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[MUSIC]
All right, so we have talked about how,
for singers, it's not just about
the sound that you produce.
That's only part of your instrument.
The other absolutely essential part of
your instrument is your ears.
You cannot really be successful
as a vocalist producing sound,
unless you are hearing the sound and
responding to what is being expressed
according to what you hear.
So it's essential as singers that we
develop our listening abilities and
our understanding of music and
sound and tone based on what we hear so
that we can respond with
our instrument accordingly,
so that we can respond vocally
to what our ears are hearing.
This will come into play when
you are talking about pitch,
when you're trying to sing in tune.
And, especially when you're
trying to work with a track or
an instrument and sing in tune with
other instruments that don't have
the flexibility that you have as a singer.
So, let's work a little bit on,
ear training.
We are going to identify
specific intervals.
Intervals are notes that are related by
a certain amount of
space between the notes.
And we define in our western
system of music, we define our
family of notes by
the interval of a half step.
Remember that's how we build the pattern
of all our scales based on those
patterns of whole steps or
the combination of two half steps,
like here's a whole step, whole step,
half-step, whole, whole, whole, half.
That's the pattern of half steps and
whole steps that defined the major scale.
So the piano again is perfectly laid
out in half step increments for
us to study intervals, and
how these relationships between notes
work based on how many half
steps are in between the notes.
So [COUGH] like when we talked
about building the major triad,
we talked about the root or
the one being the bottom note, and
then building on top of the root
to make a chord, you start with
>> [SOUND] The fifth,
the fifth tone of the scale,
which is always one,
two, three, four, five,
six, seven half steps.
So on the piano you can see so
clearly that to get to the fifth
root of a C [SOUND] scale.
You have to go seven half steps, one,
two, three, four, five, six, seven.
So we called that interval, from the root
[MUSIC]
to the G, we call that a fifth,
a perfect fifth.
So there's a limited number
of intervals that we
use in our building of melodies,
and our building of chords.
And they all are various
numbers of half steps.
This is one half step,
the distance between a C and a C sharp.
We call that, one-half step.
Or if you are riding the scale C, D
it would be a half step below
the second note of the scale.
So that would be a flat two.
[MUSIC]
So from C, to C sharp is a half step below
the second scale, that's a flat two.
[MUSIC]
I have all kinds of great tricks to help
you identify,
what the interval that you're hearing is,
and this is one of my favorites
[MUSIC].
That half step interval is the jaws
theme that we all know and love,
[MUSIC]
when you sing it,
[MUSIC]
that is a very familiar sound.
[MUSIC]
So, try singing a half-step.
[MUSIC]
That's a half-step built on C.
Let's try it on F,
[MUSIC]
half-step above F.
[MUSIC]
Now in Western music,
the half-step is the smallest
interval that we ever use.
In Eastern music, Indian music,
you will hear melodies
that use quarter tones which divide
even into smaller increments
below like smaller than a half step where
[MUSIC]
that would be somewhere in between a root
and a half step above.
[MUSIC]
And Western ears that just sound that just
sounds out of tune because
we don't use those, but
in Eastern music they
use them all the time.
It's part of their vocabulary.
Their ears are, trained, they're
accustomed to hearing what we call quarter
tones or the space that's halfway
between a root and the half step above.
Well we're gonna stick
to western music here.
We're gonna study all the relationships
between these notes by half steps, so
here's the first interval
a half step interval.
[MUSIC]
That's jaws, here's a whole step
we're gonna build it on C
[MUSIC].
Here's a whole step two steps right?
Is a whole step, so up one, two
[MUSIC]
from C to D that's a whole step interval.
If you do it in F, it's F two half steps
up, half step, another half step is G.
So here's a whole step built on F.
[MUSIC]
So, here's a trick for
remembering what a whole step sounds like.
[MUSIC]
Do, re,
do, re, mi.
Those are all whole steps, do, re, mi.
One, two, three,
each of those is a whole step.
This is what it sounds like on a B flat.
[MUSIC]
A half step up would be,
[MUSIC]
right?
[SOUND] That's a half step above,
let's sing a whole step above.
[MUSIC]
Hear the difference?
[MUSIC]
That's a whole step,
here's a half step
[MUSIC].
Here's the Jaws
[MUSIC].
[MUSIC]
Okay, I'm gonna
demonstrate now each interval.
Starting on C,
starting with the half step,
[MUSIC]
That's going from C to C sharp or D flat,
that's a half-step up,
[MUSIC]
Jaws.
Here's a whole step,
[MUSIC]
That's a whole step.
The next half-step up
would be from C to three
half-steps,
[MUSIC]
That's a minor third, we learned about
that when we built a C minor triad
[MUSIC].
Three half steps up would be,
[MUSIC]
Let's hear what that sounds like,
[MUSIC]
So that's Greensleeves,
[MUSIC]
That first interval is a minor third.
[MUSIC]
That's a minor third, so
from the root to the minor third,
[MUSIC].
This interval is a major third,
very familiar because we just
built major triads, right?
So on C, here's our major triad,
[MUSIC]
C,
[MUSIC] E, [MUSIC]
And G, that's our major triad.
So it's built with the major
third in the middle,
the root and the third note of the scale,
that's C to E, that's a major third,
listen to that
[MUSIC].
[MUSIC]
That's the trick for
major third,
[MUSIC]
Or you can think about a major triad,
[MUSIC]
One more time, major third
[MUSIC].
This interval is called
a perfect fourth and
yes,
[MUSIC]
Building on the root,
it is four notes up in the scale C,
D, E, F.
F is the fourth tone of
the C major scale and
this is what a perfect fourth
interval sounds like,
[MUSIC]
That's a perfect fourth.
[MUSIC]
It's also the beginning of
Amazing Grace, perfect 4th,
[MUSIC]
Here is an interesting interval
called a tritone or a sharp four.
It's not a commonly used interval so
when we hear it
it sounds remarkable,
it really gets your attention
because it's not common to
hear it in western music.
But this is what it sounds like,
built on a C,
a tritone is a sharp four,
[MUSIC]
It is raising the fourth tone, the F,
[MUSIC]
a half-step while making it sharp.
[MUSIC]
So
that's the sharp four,
[MUSIC]
And if you know this song
from West Side Story
[MUSIC]
Maria, that's the trick for
remembering the tritone.
This interval is a perfect fifth,
[MUSIC]
Starting on the C, one, two, three, four,
five, we refer to it as a perfect fifth
[MUSIC].
And it sounds like this,
[MUSIC]
This is the guys from Wizard of Oz,
remember, the soldiers, the witches,
minions from Wizard of Oz?
[MUSIC]
They're singing perfect fifths,
it's also Twinkle, Twinkle,
Little Star, the beginning of Twinkle,
Twinkle, Little Star,
[MUSIC]
That's a perfect fifth
[MUSIC].
Gregorian Chant,
if you're into that like I am,
perfect fifths are used
a lot in Gregorian Chant.
Cuz they weren't really allowed to use any
other intervals,
[MUSIC]
Except perfect fourths and perfect fifths.
Here's a perfect fourth,
[MUSIC]
Perfect fifth
[MUSIC].
[MUSIC]
The next interval is a minor
sixth, one, two, three,
four, five, six, flat, so
this would be a six in the key of C.
One, two, three, four, five,
six, but we're down a half step.
[MUSIC]
That's a minor sixth,
from the C to the E flat,
let's listen to that again,
[MUSIC]
Go down, Moses,
[MUSIC]
It's got a nice,
dark scary movie sound.
[MUSIC]
That's a minor sixth,
[MUSIC]
Now a major sixth which is a half step
above that, the next half step up interval
[MUSIC].
I don't know if any of you have heard
the NBC logo from years back,
[MUSIC]
That's a major sixth
[MUSIC].
Sing a major sixth,
[MUSIC]
That's the beginning of,
what is that, Jingle Bells?
[MUSIC]
That's a major sixth,
and My Bonnie lies over the ocean,
[MUSIC]
That's a major sixth,
[MUSIC].
This is a minor seventh interval,
our next interval,
[MUSIC]
That's a C,
half step up from the major sixth.
[MUSIC]
Six, half step up from that,
this is called a minor seventh,
[SOUND] Another great song
from West Side Story,
[MUSIC]
The song's Somewhere.
That beings with a minor seventh interval,
[MUSIC]
Minor seventh,
[MUSIC].
It's the interval that sits on the top
of a minor seventh chord, [SOUND] And
on top of a dominant seventh chord,
[MUSIC]
That's a minor seventh
[MUSIC].
Here's a major seventh, one, two,
three, four, five, six, seven,
[MUSIC]
That's a major seventh interval.
[MUSIC]
That Ah-Ha song,
remember that one?
[MUSIC]
That's a major seventh in that song,
it's also in Somewhere Over the Rainbow if
you'd go from the first to the third note.
[MUSIC]
So
the third note of that melody,
[MUSIC]
It's a half step below the octave,
which is a very recognizable interval,
that's an octave.
[MUSIC]
Is a half step
below the octave, so
that's a major seventh
[MUSIC].
Okay, you've now been
introduced to every discrete
interval singable in
western music built on C.
We can do each of these intervals,
we can play them and sing them in any key.
And you would describe the interval
in terms of whatever the root or
first note is.
So we just described all those intervals
in C, let's build them on F or
at least a few of them,
just to give you an idea.
So here's an F,
here's a half step interval built on F,
let's see if we can sing
it without playing it.
So half step, the smallest increment,
[MUSIC]
That's a half-step up,
[MUSIC]
That's our half-step interval on F.
Let's do a perfect fifth on F,
[MUSIC]
That's our perfect fifth
[MUSIC]
That's our perfect fifth.
So you can build an interval on
any note as long as you refer to
the interval as being built on whatever
note you choose to start with.
It's always in relation to the root, so
now you know everything you
need to know about intervals.
[MUSIC]