Pitch is Ear Desire

More than once my voice teacher said, “Pitch is ear desire.”  If a piano is in tune, a pianist might need a little encouragement when asked to sing a pitch before playing.  However, other instrumentalists know that playing in tune requires more than pressing the right valve or key on an instrument.  There a numerous ways of determining whether or not a person is hearing a pitch before singing or playing.  Challenge a student, or yourself, to pause at the end of a phrase, and sing the beginning pitch of the next phrase.  Another way of challenging someone to hear pitch mentally before singing, is to sing a melody staccato on a neutral syllable like “doot.”  There is no time to correct the pitch by sliding into it.  Try it.  Some will discover that It’s not as easy as you might think.

Here’s an exercise that requires the mental hearing of a pitch before singing.  After singing a scale with scale numbers or syllables, challenge the singer or instrumentalist to listen as you play the first seven pitches of the scale, and ask him/her to sing the final pitch (8) or (DO).  Next, play the first six pitches and have them complete the scale, singing (7  8)  or (TI  DO).

The following ear training exercise can be viewed (see teaching tip entitled “Getting Our Ears in Shape”).

      1          2          3          4          5          6          7          (8)

      1          2          3          4          5          6         (7)        (8)

      1          2          3          4          5         (6)       (7)         (8)

      1          2          3          4         (5)       (6)       (7)         (8)

      1          2          3        (4)        (5)       (6)       (7)         (8)

     1          2        (3)       (4)        (5)       (6)       (7)          (8)

      1        (2)       (3)       (4)        (5)       (6)       (7)          (8)

When I harmonize the scale as I lead up to their pitch, the singers tend to find the beginning pitch more easily.  The exercise could be varied by starting with a complete descending scale, then stop on 2 and let them complete the scale by singing.

      8          7          6          5          4          3          2          (1)

      8          7          6          5          4          3        (2)         (1)

      8          7          6          5          4         (3)      (2)          (1)  etc.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.