Aural Comprehension Guide
David Loberg Code Western Michigan University
The following page shows various conceptual models of how you might
perceive a melody that you are sightreading. In the fixed pitch model, you
sightread by identifying pitch names. This makes each note unrelated to
any previous or subsequent notes, and makes transposition difficult. Unless
you have perfect pitch, this is probably not an effective way of sightreading.
In the second example, the melody is sung as a string of intervals. This
strategy makes each note completely dependent upon all previous intervals.
Get one interval wrong and the whole melody is off. The third example uses
scale degree syllables. This relates all of the notes to the tonic and the
tonic scale, giving you a fixed reference point for each note. If you have
the tonic in your ear, you can miss a note and still get back on track.
The disadvantage is that this system does not distinguish between alternate
forms of various scale degrees (e.g., M3 and m3 are both '3') in the way
that solfege syllables do, as illustrated in the fourth example.
David Loberg Code, School of Music, Western Michigan University,
Kalamazoo, MI, 49008. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Revised: 28.Feb.99 (c) 1999