How to Play Any Melody You Hear

Do you want to be able to play any melody that you hear? This is how I do it:

Every note in a key has a “tendency” to want to move a certain way, or to stay put. I’ll explain what I mean by using the notes in a C major scale, but this is applicable to any key. I’m going to use the note name and solfege name of each note, so you can easily understand how to apply this to other keys.

1. C (“do” pronouned “dough”. Think Sound of Music) – This is the tonic note. This note is “home base,” and does not want to move. This note feels strong and final.

2. D (“re”) – The supertonic note has a tendency to want to lead us back down to the tonic. If you play a scale from the top note down and stop on the note before tonic, you will feel a strong sense of incompletion, and instinctively want to finish the scale on the tonic note.

3. E (“mi”) – The third note is called the “mediant” and is the note that tells us that we are playing in a major key, so it’s actually pretty strong on its own. There is not really any tendency for this note to want to move.

4. F (“fa”) – One of the stronger tendency tones, the fourth scale degree (or sub-dominant) desperately wants to resolve downwards to the third scale degree.

5. G (“sol”) – The dominant, like the mediant, is strong and does not want to move.

6. A (“la”) – The submediant is not an extremely strong tendency tone, but tends to want to lead us downwards to the dominant note.

7. B (“ti”) – If you can’t hear this tone’s tendency, you might need to clean your ears! The seventh scale degree is called the “leading tone” because it wants to lead us up towards the tonic (which is scale degree 8, or the next octave’s scale degree 1). Play a major scale and stop one note before the top note. You may find yourself clawing your eyes out at the feeling of incompletion. This note very strongly leads us back to the tonic.

I learned a little melody once that helps you remember the tendency tones and how they want to resolve. Once this was internalized, I could easily hear these tones in melodies and was able to play almost anything I heard. You can sing or play this in any key. “Do” is the tonic, or first scale degree.

“do     re do       fa mi       la sol        ti do”

 This video talks a little more about this topic: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=arB-zoet01g

And, just in case you aren’t familiar with solfege: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JWxUcT7ekCo

Learn to read sheet music for piano?

Heathen Chemistry asked:

Really want to learn how to read sheet music for piano… I heard it makes everything a lot easier.

Enlighten Your Life and Learn How to Read Music

When people are asked if they wish they could have done one thing in their life, the response is almost always that they wished they could learn how to read music. There is something magical about a classical score. To hear a piece written by Mozart or Chopin evokes a whole range of emotions in us. It is as if melody is a language that everyone can understand no matter what their mother tongue is. The same piece can make a room tearful and then euphoric within moments of one another; it is a power that the musician has to convey meaning through their pieces. They make it sound so beautiful and we always wish that we could join in and have the same power.

It just seems way too hard to learn how to play an instrument.

Although it is difficult to learn to read a score from a sheet at first, it can be done with practice if you follow these rules.

The melody speaks to us, and like any language if you can put words in then it becomes much easier to understand. Each note in a scale is denoted a letter between A and G which means that we can very readily allow ourselves to create words and phrases with them. Reading the left hand scale upwards, for example, if we look at the gaps between the lines we find that the notes are A, C, E and G. You can read the first three as a word and make another out of the last one, for example, ACE Girl. Whenever you get stuck, you can remember the word and apply it to the scale.

Some of us find it a bit more difficult to deal with words.

This is through no fault of our own but is simply because we learn in different ways. More artistically minded people find that it is much easier to listen to a piece whilst looking at the score in front of you. By following the notes we attach a sound to them, in the same way that we learn to talk by applying words to pictures. We are then able to get further pieces and have a idea as to how each note should sound – gradually over time you learn to attach the scales on the score to the notes on your instrument.

Nobody said it was easy, but if you learn how to read music then you will find it is a skill that will stay with you for the rest of your life. And if you want to discover the fastest, easiest way to learn how to read music, try Speedy Music Reading.