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1b. A Track for improving the Skills You Already Know

Reading Music Vocally


So if you want to be an independent vocal music reader, how do we go about singing the right notes or pitch?  There are 3 basic paths.  1. Intervals, 2. Absolute Pitch (Letter Names) and 3. Scale Degrees.  We ALL start down the Interval path with the simple elements of Intervals.  We think things like, the notes “go up or down” or “they stays the same” - elemental interval ideas.  Then we probably go on to know that “some intervals are wider and some narrow”.  Very few go further down this Interval path to really know all the interval distinctions, because it’s much harder and it goes against the way most composers and arrangers think when writing their music.  That’s what makes it quite hard.  Composers usually think in terms of Key Structures and only a very bit in terms of Intervals.

Concerning path 2. the “Absolute Pitch” path (Letter Names).  Research has shown that only 1 in 10,000 actually achieve sight singing accuracy down this path.  But most people think Letter Names is the way good sight singers do it.  I don’t think that is true.  However many  instrumentalist try to go down this Letter Name Path for Vocal Reading.  They frequently get a lot of the notes right but still make some mistakes.  “Muscle Memory” helps for Letter Names but is not real accurate except for those who develop “Absolute Pitch”.

That brings us to the 3rd path.  For most the “Scale Degree” path is the best, as (as we’ve said) that’s the way most music is composed and arranged i.e. relating notes to a key.  There are 2 common variations of this path - “Solfege (Syllables)” and “Scale Degree Numbers”.  “Syllables” are much more singable especially when you get into chromatics but “Numbers” make more sense to most people.  With Numbers, people learn to adjust the half step for chromatics without too much trouble.

On this Track we will be using the Scale Degree Numbers System.

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