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Old 11-23-2012, 07:45 PM   #1
glooper23
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Identifying 4th and 5th harmonic intervals

I'm using an app exercise to practice distinguishing between perfect 4th and 5th harmonic intervals. I successfully made it through the harmonic 2nds and 3rds, however I am now stuck. I've spent hours upon hours creating all sorts of theories and methods for differentiating the two, and none of them work flawlessly.

Does anyone have a suggestion? I know the major 2nd and minor 3rd like the back of my hand, however most other intervals are difficult to distinguish by ear.

I don't want to continue practicing if I'm not making any progress or I'm learning the wrong way. Any help is appreciated.
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Old 11-23-2012, 08:03 PM   #2
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Perfect 4ths sound more "resolved" than perfect 5ths.

In other words, If you are familiar with solfege (do re mi...), perfect 4ths sound like 'sol' (5th scale degree) to 'do' (tonic) and perfect 5ths sound like 'do' to sol'.

Hope this helps. I'll elaborate more if I need to.
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Old 11-23-2012, 08:18 PM   #3
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^You have it backwards (although the solfege bit is right).

It's just practice. Don't try and find tricks or anything like that, just keep listening.
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Old 11-23-2012, 08:21 PM   #4
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I just have a list of easily recognisable notes that I use as an identifier for intervals, so in the case of a 4th I use the first couple of notes of the mexican hat dance. "I dance, I dance, I dance" is all 1-P4 1-P4 1-P4.
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Old 11-23-2012, 08:24 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jazz_rock_feel
^You have it backwards (although the solfege bit is right).


I'm sorry, I meant that perfect 4th sound more resolved melodically (as opposed to harmonically) then perfect 5ths.
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Old 11-23-2012, 08:25 PM   #6
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^What does that mean? A descending 5th is the most "resolved" melodic interval, followed by an ascending fourth.
Quote:
Originally Posted by guy_tebache
I just have a list of easily recognisable notes that I use as an identifier for intervals, so in the case of a 4th I use the first couple of notes of the mexican hat dance. "I dance, I dance, I dance" is all 1-P4 1-P4 1-P4.


He's talking about harmonic intervals, not melodic.
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Last edited by jazz_rock_feel : 11-23-2012 at 08:27 PM.
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Old 11-23-2012, 08:35 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jazz_rock_feel
He's talking about harmonic intervals, not melodic.

I fail to see how they apply differently.
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Old 11-23-2012, 08:37 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jazz_rock_feel
^What does that mean? A descending 5th is the most "resolved" melodic interval, followed by an ascending fourth.


Apologies again. I should be more clear with my answers. I was talking about ascending intervals, hence why I said perfect 4ths sound like 'sol' to 'do' and perfect 5ths sound like 'do' to 'sol'.

Not that it matters anyways because apparenty TS was talking about intervals played harmonically. Sorry about that.
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Old 11-23-2012, 08:39 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jazz_rock_feel

It's just practice. Don't try and find tricks or anything like that, just keep listening.


^This.
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Old 11-23-2012, 08:41 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by guy_tebache
I fail to see how they apply differently.


Melodic intervals are played separately, as if it was a melody. Harmonic intervals are played at the same time, as if it the note on top was a harmony to the note on the bottom.

sorry for double post.
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Old 11-23-2012, 08:46 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dumbface12
Melodic intervals are played separately, as if it was a melody. Harmonic intervals are played at the same time, as if it the note on top was a harmony to the note on the bottom.

sorry for double post.

I understand what a harmonic interval is, I just dont see how the same principals for identifying them dont apply. Maybe its just a natural thing for me to go from one to the other...
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Old 11-23-2012, 08:52 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by guy_tebache
I understand what a harmonic interval is, I just dont see how the same principals for identifying them dont apply. Maybe its just a natural thing for me to go from one to the other...

With melodic intervals it's easy to have little tricks like you mentioned, but that's a lot more difficult to do with harmonic intervals.

The best way to go about it is to not try and separate the notes to hear them melodically, but just intuitively know what a perfect 4th/5th sounds like.
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Old 11-23-2012, 08:54 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by glooper23
I'm using an app exercise to practice distinguishing between perfect 4th and 5th harmonic intervals. I successfully made it through the harmonic 2nds and 3rds, however I am now stuck. I've spent hours upon hours creating all sorts of theories and methods for differentiating the two, and none of them work flawlessly.

Does anyone have a suggestion? I know the major 2nd and minor 3rd like the back of my hand, however most other intervals are difficult to distinguish by ear.

I don't want to continue practicing if I'm not making any progress or I'm learning the wrong way. Any help is appreciated.

When you hear a harmonic interval, train your ear on splitting them, so that you can pick out the high and low notes.

Once you've identified the two by their sound, (not by the actual note name, cuz that'd be impossible unless you had perfect pitch, or an instrument in hand to figure them out), it's just a case of now hearing them as melodic intervals, so you can work out the distance.

Eventually, you won't have to split them. The sound of the double stop will be instantly recognizable.

Takes time, dude,
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Old 11-23-2012, 09:17 PM   #14
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Excellent replies. Thank you!
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Old 11-23-2012, 09:23 PM   #15
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I was going to comment but then MDC nailed it.

You separate them until you don't have to any more.
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Old 11-23-2012, 09:33 PM   #16
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Ehhh, I don't like the idea of separating them. It seems like more work than just learning to recognize, but everyone learns differently. For me it was way harder to try and separate and hear them melodically than just get the sound of the intervals into my ears.
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Old 11-23-2012, 09:35 PM   #17
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If you go the splitting route, a good way to remember 5ths and 4ths are:

Perfect 5th: Star Wars (First measure after pick-up)

Perfect 4th: Bridal Chorus http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bridal_March
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Old 11-24-2012, 05:24 PM   #18
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Some more advice.

In Isolation a perfect 4th falls naturally down a semitone to a major 3rd.
If you can hear the sequence of Root - 4th -3rd in your mind's ear then you should be able to work out the 4th.

for the 5th i tend to sing a major arpeggio. Root -3rd - 5th and this gives me a good idea of which interval i am trying to work out.
So when faced with whether an interval is a perfect 4th or 5th. you can start by singing a major arpeggio. the 4th falls to the 3rd, and the 3 rises comfortably to the 5th.
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Old 11-25-2012, 06:34 PM   #19
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Solfeggio, glooper, solfeggio.
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Old 11-25-2012, 07:02 PM   #20
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Song associations.

Here comes the bride.
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