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minor 6th and minor 7th

Discussion in 'Music Theory [DB]' started by thesneakyjesus, Aug 20, 2007.

  1. Okay, I know this is going to sound crazy...

    but I can't figure them out.

    I can't get them to 100% identification at music theory.net.

    It's my downfall. I usually sit at 95% with my recognition, but those two intervals played on the piano just sound the same to me.

    Any ideas? Anyone have similar trouble


    check that out, put it on only minor 6th and minor 7th ascending.

    What is your percentage out of 100?
  2. TroyK

    TroyK Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2003
    Seattle, WA
    I think speak for all of us when I say "huh?"
  3. MarkMyWordsXx


    May 17, 2006
    hes saying these 2 intervals sound the same to his ear. what can i tell you, practace untill you get it. you cant fake a good ear
  4. yodedude2

    yodedude2 Supporting Member

    thanks for the link. i'm embarrased to admit i'm hovering between 50 and 60 %,:eek: but i will be working on it. later, ron
  5. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    Try to displace the lower note up an octave and sing down to the other note. This will give you the inverted version:


    The descending major 3rd will sound like a doorbell, and the descending major 2nd will sound like the first two notes of "Mary had a little lamb". Inverting intervals makes them easier to sing, and therefore easier to identify. YMMV.
    Seth Miller likes this.
  6. TroyK

    TroyK Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2003
    Seattle, WA
    I followed the link and at least I understand better what you're talking about, but here's what I suggest. Get off-line and get to an instrument and play these intervals. An intune piano is ideal, perhaps a fretted instrument with intonation set would be next best and your bass, of course, but that requires you to play in tune and if you're not hearing intervals that can be tricky.

    In the key of F, a minor 6th is F to D-flat. I don't love the term "minor 7th", but I'm pretty sure that they mean a flat 7, which in F is F up to E-flat.

    You will hear the difference when you play them.

    Then go through the keys and keep playing those intervals and you'll get it. They're different intervals and they don't sound the same.

    You can also take a key and play set intervals modally through that key, which I think works very well also.

    In F, start with 3rds. F to A is a major 3rd. G to B-flat is a minor 3rd. A to C is a minor third. B-flat to D is a major 3rd. Go up until you hit F two octaves up and then come back down. You'll hear the key and you'll hear 3rds and recognize the difference between major and minor ones.

    Then do 4ths, 5ths, 6ths and 7ths. Octaves won't hurt either, but most people can hear and play octaves. 9ths, 10ths, 11ths and 13ths are cool too, but that kind of becomes another exercise.

    Then pick a different key and go through again.

    I don't think there is anyway that an on-line program could be as good for you.

    Just my opinion, of course.

  7. Bassist4Life


    Dec 17, 2004
    Buffalo, NY
    Those are tricky intervals. It makes it even more difficult when the root note changes. Take it slow. Be patient. Try to sing the interval out loud. Again, it might be a little tricky because the pitches are kind of high. When you sing the m7, you can sing up a couple of half-steps and you'll hit the octave. I believe that singing will help you improve your interval recognition.

    Good luck,
  8. I couldn't agree more. Singing really is the best thing. Most of my students nod politely when I say this but flat out refuse to try it. I don't know if it's shyness or if they figure "I'm not a singer so why should I sing"... but it does wonders, even if you can't sing. And not just for ear training but for soloing, practicing, copying, transcribing, etc.

    Also, there was another thread on this but it may help to pick out a few familiar tunes with those intervals in a prominent part of the melody (preferably the first two notes).


    Minor 6th: Black Orpheus
    minor 7th: Somewhere/West Side Story, Star Trek Theme (the original)

    It may also be helpful to think about the intervals in more natural contexts, like the minor 6th exists between the 3rd tone and the octave in a major scale/triad, or you could think of it as the 5th tone and the minor 3rd above the octave in a minor scale/triad. For a minor 7th, sing the root an octave higher and then work your way downward to the 7th. Easier to deal with when you look at it that way as the interval is smaller.

  9. Thank you all for your responses.

    First and foremost...
    I do have to bite the bullet and sing. Period.

    Secondly though,
    I have had some people with pretty good ears check this thing out, and when the root changes so randomnly, it's really tough! It sounds very... Monkesque. Those intervals are just so awkward with out a given harmonic context that they sound crazy.

    On my bass, it is VERY clear. The invervals have a distinction I'm used to dealing with, especially because I write a lot playing chords all over my bass, I heard the range of a bass well.
    When played on a piano, that's in tuned and tempered well, the intervals sound so much different, especially spanning like 4 or 5 octaves.

    But I digress.
    I should just start shredding and singing.


    I think everyone should give it a shot

    100 (or 50) attempts on musictheory.net's interval trainer. Just the minor 6th and minor 7th intervals checked. I usually give my self only 3 listens.

    What's your score?
  10. Hate to brag but 100% out of 50 attempts. I did have to hit "play again" a few times before answering. But I have a good natural ear. If only my technique was that good.

    Here's another tool, that lets you maintain a common root tone:

    It's not as fancy and user-friendly but it's another option.
  11. bassbuddie


    Jan 8, 2003
    I pay with musictherory.net since a few month. Becausem the root is always changing, it's confusign if you play only with the minor 6th and minor 7th.

    Continue to play 5 minute a day, don't be too agressive, let your ears assimilate the sound and you'll get better with these two. I had the same problem with the m6 and m7. and now I hit 80-90%
  12. eoreilly


    May 17, 2006
    I've been "training" with that site for a month or two now, and I've almost reached my goal of having 100 correct ascending intervals in a row without using the "play again" feature. I can usually get up to 70 or 80 and then I make a stupid mistake like calling a tritone a minor third, or inverting some interval by calling a major third a minor sixth.

    Coincidentally, the minor seventh was the one that gave me the most trouble when I first started. The way I solved it was sitting at the piano, closing my eyes, playing the intervals, and really concentrating. I try to get a "visual" of each interval. That way, I don't have to think about tricks or nursery rhymes when I'm listening, I just hear a minor sixth and immediately "see" it as a minor sixth.

    I think its a good trainer, because the results I'm getting from it now are much better than when I started. I'm not sure how much of it has crept into my playing, but I'm sure it doesn't hurt.

    Don't think, however, that this replaced time spent in heavy, concentrated listening at the piano and with your bass. I think that is much more important. I think of this is as a way to test the development of your ear, not actually develop it.
  13. Ben Rolston

    Ben Rolston Supporting Member

    Aug 30, 2006
    Ann Arbor, MI, USA
    I think that a good way to hear the difference between the two intervals is to sing the resolution, where each pitch wants to resolve to. Minor 6th wants to go to the 5, and Flat 7 wants to go to the octave.

    Of course in a band context you can't really sing these in order to figure out what people are playing, but maybe on could get to a point where they could.
  14. eoreilly


    May 17, 2006

    any method that can get it in your ear is good to start with. then, once you can slowly figure out the interval, you can work on purely hearing it. focusing on the character of each interval that sets it apart from every other interval. in my opinion, thats what you need to do in order to hear these things in music.
  15. When I was studying ear training at University (many moons ago), our tutor asked us to find songs with prominent opening intervals for all the possiblilties up to an octave. We had to use only melodies we knew really well (and could sing the opening notes confidently everytime).

    For a m6 I used 'Chanson D'Orfee'
    For a m7 I used 'There's a place for us'

    Rack your brain - search your memory - find a tune you know and love for every interval and you will never struggle again!

    Good luck!:)

  16. thedbassist


    Sep 10, 2006
    As previously recommended definitely try singing the intervals but if you really can't get it and you have some orchestral experience just remember the d to b flat in the beginning of the Shostakovich Symphony no.5 1st mvt.
  17. endorka


    Oct 15, 2004
    Glasgow, Scotland
    I can hear these intervals pretty well... I agree with those relating the intervals to popular tunes as a training exercise, the one I use for those are the first notes in the melody for the Incredible Hulk tv program (m6) and, as mentioned previously, the original Star Trek theme (m7).

  18. dbg


    Aug 29, 2007
    Wow, that's a great link thesneakyjesus. I'm currently working on my intervals and have a few observations.

    a) Others have mentioned singing but i find "imagining" the tone also helps. So I might play an E and try to hear the G# (minor 6 desc.) in my head then check to see if I'm right.

    b) Practice intervals very fast. The point is to avoid thinking and go with your gut.

    c) Don't worry about using an "on-line" program. The interval is the same regardless of the sound of the instrument.

    I tried the link you gave and got 82% for minor 6's and 7ths. Like I said I'm practising my intervals but am in kind of a rut with the 6's. (haven't done 7ths). Overall for all intervals up and down I got 70%. More work to do.
  19. Michael Eisenman

    Michael Eisenman Supporting Member

    Jun 21, 2006
    Eugene, Oregon
  20. natbers78

    natbers78 Supporting Member

    Jun 3, 2006
    Toledo, OH
    Are you familiar with the Eccles Sonanta? The first two notes of the first mvmt. are D-Bb. That's what really solidified my ability to hear a m6. I always think it's the saddest of all intervals. :crying: :D

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