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  1. #1

    Wink Melodic Dictation Tips

    Well, I asked Marc this question in the TEG Course blog, but Marc rightly pointed out that it goes beyond the course so it would be better over here in the Theory section.

    For those of you who aren't familiar with the term, melodic dictation is basically transcribing what you hear. It's pretty tough to jump into, so you need to start small.

    Any tips on Melodic Dictation Marc?
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  2. #2

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    It's all relative. In order to decipher a melody by ear, you need to be able to identify intervals - the distance between 2 notes. A common way to get started is to choose a familiar melody fragment that illustrates a certain interval...'Jaws' is a minor 2nd.....the first 2 notes of 'Twinkle Twinkle Little Star' are a 5th apart....."Here Comes the Bride' opens with a 4th....and so on. Choose a familiar tune for every possible interval and you'll be well on your way.

  3. #3

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    The interval way is going to get difficult, really quick, when the examples get longer. You have to hear the harmony. I hear lines tied to the chords below. When I do that, it narrows down the possibilities for the notes above.

    I also listen for the peaks and valleys. If it's an ascending scale, I only care where it starts and stops. Filling in the gaps is easy (just diatonic, stepwise).

    Lastly, I see it on the fingerboard in my mind. Since I know the numbered interval of every scale shape, once I imagine it on the fingerboard in my head, I just write it down and translate.

    Marc

  4. #4

    Default a few thoughts....

    A few thoughts in response to Marc...

    Quote Originally Posted by mschonbrun View Post
    The interval way is going to get difficult, really quick, when the examples get longer.

    Hmmm...seems to me even a long line is simply a string of single intervallic relationships. I've found great success in 'inching' my way through a melody in order to learn or notate it.

    You have to hear the harmony. I hear lines tied to the chords below. When I do that, it narrows down the possibilities for the notes above.

    I agree completely. However, the idea of hearing a chord's quality, then identifying how the melody in question uses chord & non-chord tones is pretty advanced, don't you think? While I'd certainly encourage folks to strive to develop the ability to really 'hear' harmony, my suggestion is only meant as a way to get folks started.

  5. #5

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    I hear you!

    When I was in school, I only had three times through a melodic example, so I wasn't able to inch my way around. The only way I survived was to start thinking in longer chunks.

    As for the chord quality, yes, you're right. It's not what you start with, but it is what we strive for.

    Thanks!

  6. #6

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    Interesting to see your thoughts Josh, thanks for popping in.

    I only got 3 passes as well Marc, sometimes I couldn't remember the entire example...

    Whenever I remembered a piece of the example, the interval method worked good, but usually it was too late..

    How do you suggest I could practice this in order to get better?
    *FAVORITE COURSE*



    *WORKING ON*



    A lack of effort will give you a lack of results. (PebberBrown)

    MY GEAR:
    Epiphone 2007 Les Paul Standard
    Ibanez AEF30E Acoustic/Electric
    Fender 2008 MIM Stratocaster
    Epiphone Studio 10s 19watt
    Line 6 Spider ll 30watt
    Yamaha CG172SF
    Digitech RP300A


  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by jimiclaptoncarl View Post
    melodic dictation is basically transcribing what you hear. It's pretty tough to jump into, so you need to start small.
    I think that something that often gets missed is what Jimi wrote here. Dictation is writing what you hear, it's a test of what you can do, it's not a learning experience in itself. This means that, if I am doing a dictation exercise and I came to a point where I am not absolutely certain that I am correct, I should stop the exercise and work on the appropriate material. If I don't, I will be making a habit of not being sure or even worse, a habit of being wrong.

    I have been told many times, "Practice makes permanant, so make sure your practice is perfect." Personally, I often find it hard to follow this, but I do believe it is true.

    Hope this helps you Jimi!

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by jimiclaptoncarl View Post
    Interesting to see your thoughts Josh, thanks for popping in.

    I only got 3 passes as well Marc, sometimes I couldn't remember the entire example...

    Whenever I remembered a piece of the example, the interval method worked good, but usually it was too late..

    How do you suggest I could practice this in order to get better?
    I can tell you what I did and how I got there.

    I actually doodle on paper the first time around. Stepped lines for arpeggios and straight lines for scales. It looks a lot like what you'd see on a sequencer (look). On top of that, I put the chord progression (if I can). That narrows it down. Even if I miss one or two, I can fill those in later. Once I have that down, the second pass is all about getting the important notes. The start and the end, and the peaks. The third time is about simply filling in the blanks.

    I just kept at it and worked on it a lot. I think about music a lot, so I'm transcribing all the time. You can practice wherever you are. That's my favorite part about aural skills; your instrument is attached to your head!

  9. #9

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    I don't know if this will help but you can take a look at it....

    http://www.earmaster.com/pro/

  10. #10

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    There is a sample of their Melodic Dictation at the bottom of this link....

    http://www.earmaster.com/exercises.htm

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