Prior Learning Portfolio
Harmonic Ear Training- OEART-320
Objectives: Using a step-by-step approach to identify all types of chords and progressions quickly and easily.
Teaching music over the years and going to seminars I have developed a step by step approach that has helped me to not only recognized chord types but also playing the inversion of these chords. I have found that this principle helps the students I teach was they take the Trinity exams here on Island. This principle is to use the scales and find the triads of these scales. These scales include the Major, Minor, suspended, Octatonic, and the Augmented scales. Finding the triads within the scale, by using the circle of fifth you are able to play the chords in all the scales and their inversion. Not only is it good for helping you to practice these chords and their inversion, but it allows you to identify them based on their sound. For me, this comes with Practice and learning the features of each chord type, but also understanding the chord types of a major scale and the interval number position of that chord helps you to recognize chords better. Since all major scale has a tonal structure as follows 1- Major 2- minor 3- minor 4 major 5- major 6- minor and 7- diminished. Knowing this allows you to recognize the chord type of each interval in the scale. One important factor is understanding the intervals between each note within the chord can also help you to recognize the chord type. When teaching my students I also use a website that allows you to recognize different chord types.
One easy way I have used to recognize progression is using the circle of fifths (or fourths). This is often time used to look at major and minor scales but the layout of the circle also looks at progression for every scale. Within the circle, you have the V -I -IV progression it also shows the VI – II – V – I – IV and more. To better demonstrate my knowledge on the subject, please refer to the video on Chord types and progression
Objective-: Gain a solid foundation in ear training to enhance all your musical pursuits
One great way of building up your ear training is listening to the root note in a rendition. Normally I would do intervallic exercises when working with the school choir. In order to help them identify these intervals, I have them do what I call the power of association. Have them sing the intervals and then use familiar songs that use these intervals at the beginning of the verse or chorus in order to help them remember the interval. This I found to be very effective. However, for a musician, this is slightly different in that intervals follow a pattern when they are being played. This pattern is what we call progression. What I have done is to develop a chart from the circle to determine where the interval in each progression will most likely lead you to. The circle of fifths also allows you to use non-diatonic chords as passing chords within your progression. These non-diatonic chords are chords not found within the tonal structure of a scale. A detailed explanation can be seen in the video chord type and progression
In music it is important to add spice to your playing, this can also be achieved by the use of secondary dominants chords. A secondary Dominant is simply the fifths of the chord you are going to play next. This could be either a major triad or a major or minor dominant 7th chord. The secondary dominant is a chord played out of the diatonic scale the music is in. These secondary dominant chords can be used as passing chord since they resolve to would be the fifth of the Major scale or (the one). This helps to create a tension to the music as it gives an illusion that the key has changed when it resolves to its new dominant, which is just for a while. So, in essence, the secondary dominant creates a sense of more than one dominant sounds in the scale.
To explain diatonic chord and secondary dominant chords, it is important for us to have an understanding of chromatic scales which helps us to understand chromatic chords and their classification. A Chromatic scale consists of all the notes in every scale, these notes ascend and descend by a semitone. From this chromatic scale, you can find all the chords from every scales with their tensions. Chromatic has many classification one such classification is called secondary dominant chords. This is considered to be the most commonly used secondary chord. In fact, it can be heard so many songs. The secondary dominant chord is also considered as a borrowing chord. Its purpose to create an illusion within a song by having two tonal sound within the song. This does not change the key to the song while giving another tonal sound within the song. Chromatic chords can be identified by recognizing chords that use accidentals these chords would be formed from the diatonic scales.
To help one identify chords it is important to understand the concept of guided tones. This follows a simple principle by using the third and 7th of the chord along with the bass note to help you identify the chord type of Major minor and dominant chords. With a diminished chord, you would add the b5. And to recognize chords with tension those notes would also be used as a part of the guided tones. However other factors must be taken into consideration. All chromatic chord will have an accidental as it contains notes that are not on the major scale. Then determine if it is a major triad or major-minor dominant 7th chord. Then we would look at the diatonic chord root that the chord would be a fifth of in the diatonic scale. Not all chromatic chord is a secondary dominant chord such as a chromatic chord. And an easy way to recognize secondary dominant is to identify the accidental relative to the fifth you are looking at. To better demonstrate my knowledge of secondary dominant and chromatic chords please refer to the video on secondary dominant
Objective-: Apply practical techniques and exercises to improve your performing and composing, arranging, and transcribing or improvising skills.
In music no matter how knowledgeable you are on the principles, and application of the knowledge is very important. Thus it is important for a structured approach to help you improve your abilities in any area of music you specialize. It is important that you have an in-depth knowledge of your instrument. It is vital to understand that how you structure your practice will have a lot to do with the outcome of your practice. It is normally a given that one has to put in hours on their instruments but to make it worthwhile one should have a schedule of the different things to practice and develop. For a pianist it’s important to practice scales but if you are practising for five hours just scales alone can be boring and you experience diminishing return. One thing I have always done with my students and even in my practice times is to utilize these scales in different ways and create melodic phrases from the scales.
Another thing I have always done looking at chords, not only would I try to play them but I found out that when I write the chords and inversion out, I remembered the notes in each chord and that allows me not only to play them but I could visualize the chords even before I played them. After doing that I would play these chords using what I call the box format (finding the inversion nearest to the chord I am playing). This I do all the way around the circle of fifths. This not only let me play all the inversions, but I am able to play all the chords in every major scale.
Here on Island being a music teacher I found it helps students to understand the rhythmic structure of a song before they read the notes helps them to read the music and even notate a music they try to compose. What I also do when reading and practising music, I just break it down in sections until I complete the entire song. While playing theses structure it is always important to use the proper finger techniques, this develops when playing the scales, knowing what finger to use is important for the ease of play on a piano or keyboard and this will greatly improve your playing and your speed on the instrument.
The next thing you can do to improve your musical skill is to practice learning songs, not only will you get familiar with the usage of chords and understand how they are used. It helps you to hear progression and be able to identify songs with similar progressions. The more you practice playing songs from the score it allows you to be disciplined in your playing and allows you to write chord charts even better. Playing songs and from different genre also helps you to develop a chord vocabulary. What I have found playing music over the years chord voicing is different in some genre, example gospel styles are different depending which coast you are from. And the chord voicing is different from Jazz more so classical. However, learning to play these styles helps you to interpret the styles better and even to understand when a simple triad would work best than a complicated structure with added tension and tri-tones.
To improve my imprecision skills what I did was to listen to a lot of Jazz music Charlie Parker, Duke Ellington, Count Bassy and more. Apart from just listening, I found that I had to understand the concept of improvisation which is about knowing your instrument and scales. With this, you can create motifs that will help improvisation to have a structure and tell a story. I then also realize it all about using these scales, modes and chords to create melodic lines that tell a story. Before I could play what I feel or sing the phrases as I play them, I use to create a simple eight-bar melody over a simple groove using modal forms and chord and scales relation. I later expanded on the chord and scales relation and looking at the extended chords of the chords I’m playing and them as accidentals. An example of exercises I used when practising is entitled Practical Approaches.