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Ear Training b5 - b6 - b7

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [DB]' started by ErikP.Bass, Nov 8, 2018.

  1. ErikP.Bass

    ErikP.Bass Supporting Member

    Nov 23, 2004
    I’ve been working with the Functional Ear Trainer app lately, chromatics in a major context, and am finding that despite the cadence I sometimes hear the upper notes b5 to b7 as if the 5th was the root / final center. I’m wondering if anyone else has dealt with this and what they found helpful to work through it.

    A bit of background, I went to music school and my ear training teacher focused heavily on hearing intervals stacked atonally so we didn’t really work too much with solfege. Unfortunately we also didn’t wind up covering all the intervals so I have less experience with m6 and above (song mneumonics etc.).

    All this being said I’ve been breaking from scalar practice and focusing more on chords and progressions; thanks to this and the app I’ve been listening with an ear towards function and resolution tendencies.

    I’m an EB guy but dig the DB crew too which is why I’m posting here. Hoping this all makes sense...please share any thoughts, suggestions and experiences. Thanks!
  2. shwashwa


    Aug 30, 2003
    just start with a few interval and gradually add in more. focus on the harder ones. one day, they will sound so distinct and unique you'll wonder how you couldnt hear it.

    Ear Training
    ErikP.Bass likes this.
  3. There’s your root problem (no pun intended). Go back and work on the earlier stuff first. Get used to hearing wide intervals, like 9ths to 11ths as well.

    Sometimes context helps:

    b5 interval
    - in diminished chords
    eg. C-Gb in C°
    - or M3-m7 interval in a dom7 chord.
    eg. C-Gb in Ab7.

    b6 interval
    - M3-octave in first inversion chords
    eg. C-Ab in an Ab/C chord.
    - also #5 interval in augmented chords.
    eg. C-G# in C+

    b7 interval
    - in dom7 chords
    eg. C-Bb in C7 chord.

    Also... Start with an interval and look for as many chords as you can that uses that interval.
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2018
    ErikP.Bass likes this.
  4. ErikP.Bass

    ErikP.Bass Supporting Member

    Nov 23, 2004
    Thanks for the advice and the link. I’ll definitely check it out.

    I plan to keep drilling away until they sink in just like I did with the others. I just think it’s funny how these sometime flip on me. I love how with the tendencies I can hear the intervals I know quite clearly regardless of key or octave.

    Undortunately I don’t have a keyboard at home which was what I used in school. I’ve always wanted to get a small upright for my home though.
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2018
  5. ErikP.Bass

    ErikP.Bass Supporting Member

    Nov 23, 2004
    This is great! Thank you. I appreciate your input. I definitely need to try extending beyond the octave and explore context as well.
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2018
    Groove Doctor likes this.
  6. The thing that helped me learn the intervals, a lifetime ago, in University, was a popular song reference that contained that interval:

    m5: opening interval of the chorus of Maria, from West Side Story.
    m6: opening interval of sax solo in Baker Street
    m7: opening interval of the Theme from Star Trek (the original series).
    ErikP.Bass likes this.

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