Chords : LUSENET : Everything About Teaching and Learning the Piano : One Thread

Hi i am very good at reading notes but i have a real hard time reading intervals and triads. What is the best way for my to study triads and intervals without stopping for five minutses to figure out what the notes.

-- Greg (, July 25, 2001


I have that problem too. I'd like help with that also. =0)

-- hanson (, July 26, 2001.

An excellent way, though slower and maybe more difficult at first, is to train yourself to hear how the music sounds just by looking at the notes, and then playing by ear what you hear in your head. The first step is to learn to sight sing one line (a melody) without the piano. A good teacher can help you with this, or take a basic musicianship class. Once you can do this, you will be able to sing any melodic interval. Then you play the interval on the piano by imitating your voice (playing "by ear"). The next step is to imagine precisely how chords sound when you look at them, and then play what you hear in your imagination, etc.

One musical advantage of working this way is that it focuses on the sounds of the notes: you learn to have the sound inside yourself before you ever produce it on your instrument. As I said, harder at first but in the end it is a very musical way to proceed. It teaches you to look at a page and then play it by ear. If you listen to people who play by ear you will notice that it is generally musical rather than mechanical.

Many many players do not work this way, it's true. They are the ones who have to play a piece of sheet music on the piano to find out how it sounds. But when you think about it, that is an unadvanced kind of reading. Advanced readers do not read a magazine out loud in order to find out how the words sound or what the words mean.

There are some teachers who teach the look of an interval (a fifth is 2 "space" notes with a space in between, or two "line" notes with a line in between) and then you just count the interval of a fifth on the keyboard. My problem with this is that you are playing the notes without prehearing how it should *sound*. And believe me there are people around who can sightread this way at a terrific speed - and it sounds like they are taking a typing test rather than making music.

Anyway, the good part is that no matter what approach you use, the more sight reading you do, the more fluent at it you will become.

-- Alan (, July 28, 2001.

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