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Interval identification

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ldavis04
(@ldavis04)
Reputable Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 228
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Hello

I have been working on identifying intervals lately (musictheory.net has some great exercises). I start by selecting 2 intervals (say a M2 and M3) and then increase from there (say m2, M3, P4, TT, etc). I don't have any difficulty identifying intervals in the lower/mid octive ranges...I usually score 90+ out 100, however the higher octive ranges have been a problem (the exception being the TT, I seem to get that one everytime)..I'm doing pretty darn good if I can get 60 out of a 100.

I've had a lot of hearing tests through the years (I was in the military) and have never been diagnosed with high frequency hearing loss. Anyone else have experience with this issue? Hope it didn't get worse over time? Can the issue be corrected with more practice?

Cheers!

I may grow old, but I'll never grow up.


   
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NoteBoat
(@noteboat)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 4921
 

The range is definitely an issue. But I'd also guess the way you're going about it contributes a bit.

Two things affect range: one is physical (as we age, we lose the ability to hear higher pitches) and the other is mental - that part of it falls into a field called psycho-acoustics; we can either hear things that aren't really there (called ghost tones) or we can over/under estimate the difference between pitches, and that effect seems to grow as the pitch gets higher.

As to your method... in my experience, some intervals are easier to identify than others. We can pretty easily hear the difference between consonant intervals and dissonant ones - that's whey you always seem to get the TT - but our ability to identify an interval isn't linear; working from smaller to larger as you are may not be the best way to go.

In my opinion, the easiest interval to hear is the octave, followed by the perfect fifth. After that, it's thirds and sixths; then distinguishing fourths from fifths, followed by seconds and thirds. Then you get into the non-diatonic ones... b2/b9, b3, and b6 will all sound the same at first. You hear the dissonance, but not with quite the right "color". It can also be tough to hear the difference between a b7 and a b6.

It's generally easier to identify an interval UP than it is down, and easier to identify melodic intervals than harmonic. But if you work at it systematically - and it helps to equate intervals with specific songs (Here Comes the Bride has a perfect fourth between the second and third notes; Nobody Knows the Trouble I've Seen begins with a descending major 6th, etc) can help a lot.

But regardless of your state of hearing, yes - you will improve over time.

Guitar teacher offering lessons in Plainfield IL


   
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Arpeggio789
(@arpeggio789)
Active Member
Joined: 9 years ago
Posts: 4
 

It could be that the human ear is more attuned to mid range frequencies. Even though I can certainly hear high (as well as low) intervals, I find them a little harder to decipher.
As to your method... in my experience, some intervals are easier to identify than others.

True. Better to recognise that is the case and avoid frustration thinking it's your own glitch. I used to have problems distinguishing between a sus2 and sus4 chord, probably because if you mistake the 5th of a sus2 chord as the root then it could be a sus4 chord.
It's generally easier to identify an interval UP than it is down, and easier to identify melodic intervals than harmonic.

It is, and can be very useful once you get it.


   
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The_guitar_guy
(@the_guitar_guy)
New Member
Joined: 9 years ago
Posts: 1
 

I found this site quite useful for learning intervals and training the ear http://sheldonconrich.co.uk/store/products/guitar-sense-intervals-and-ear-training-in-colour/


   
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