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1c. Other Sight Singing Information

Explaining the Diagram


Here is a more complete explanation of the Diagram.

Notice all the various parts. 1) The Notation or the Page of Music that you read.  2) The Sound or what you sing when Sight Singing.  3) The 3 Bridges between the Page and the Sound - the 3 possible Systems.  Going from top to bottom they are:

  1. 1. “Intervals” - the distance between pitches.

  2. 2. “Tonality System

  3.                     that is: of “Degrees of the Scale” and designated by either:   

  4.         a. “Scale Numbers” (1 2 3 4 5 6 7 1)

  5.                 OR

  6.         b. “Syllables” (Do, Re, Mi. Fa, So, La, Ti, Do)

  7. 3. “Absolute Pitch”, represented by “Letter Names” (A, B, C, D, E, F, G)

The first 2 above are called “Relative Pitch” whereas the 3rd is Absolute Pitch.

Finally 4) is the Steps we need to take to Sight Sing which include going from the Page, using a System(s) and then singing the Sound. Another way of thinking of the Steps is first attach the Sound to the System (eg. Syllables) thru various means and then be sure the System is positioned on the Page so you can make it across the Bridge.

Understand that our “Notational System” is designed more for instrumentalist than for singers, though vocalist use the same “Notational System” as instrumentalist.  Thus people who have instrumental background think that “Letter Names” should be the best System, but that’s NOT the best System for most people, unless you have “Absolute Pitch”.   

When it comes to choosing a Connecting System or “Bridge” System actually any Bridge System THAT YOU CAN RELY ON is fine.  But if you don’t have a Bridge System you can rely on (and most people don’t), I believe you will find that your EAR will make better sense of the “Tonality” Bridge System of either “Syllables” or “Numbers” better than either of the other two systems.  Actually a combination of all three systems is ideal but if you don’t have a dependable system, then you should concentrate on one of the variations of the Tonality System first.

Using Letter Names alone will give you a general feel of how high or low it is in your singing range but unless you have Perfect Pitch, it will be insufficient to attain reading accuracy.

Accuracy with Intervals can be developed to a certain degree but goes against the way most music is conceived by the composer.  They usually develop their songs in reference to a Key (Tonality System).  Thus as we’ve said, a Tonality approach will make most sense to your ear and is the one we recommend.  That’s the system that almost all songs are written.  So the “Tonality” Bridge will most accurately get you across from the Notation to the Sound.  Thus we recommend that you use an Interval approach only as a secondary way of crossing the Bridge.  A Tonality approach will be the most helpful and should be what you emphasize most.

Regardless of what system you work on, one thing is very important:  You need to associate NAMES to the sounds you are trying to sing.  This is very valuable!  It may be a “name” such as “the 3rd degree of the key”, “a Perfect 5th” or “Re” to So” BUT WE NEED SOMETHING.  Why it takes so long to learn our part when the notes are slightly different in “almost repetitions” is because we don’t have NAMES to distinguish the differences.  (Directors note this.)



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