Robert Estrin - piano expert
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How to Sight Sing Intervals

Learn this very interesting technique to hone your ear and musical ability

In this video, Robert teaches you an interesting technique to improve your ear and musical ability.

Released on August 2, 2017

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DISCLAIMER: The views and the opinions expressed in this video are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Virtual Sheet Music and its employees.

Video Transcription

Hi, this is Robert Estrin at and and somebody asked me, how do you learn how to site sing intervals? Well it's tough you know, you could site sing scales, Do, Re, Mi, Fa, So, La, Ti, Do, Ti, La, So, Fa, Mi, Re, Do and that could be extremely helpful in being able to understand your music because when you put it into syllables, the scale, the intervals become very clear to you but how do you practice intervals other than just site singing a lot of different music? Well, I've got a really neat exercise to show you and it's really hard and I'm hoping I don't mess it up for you.

Well, the first one, I started very young and it was easy to do. Do Mi Re Fa Mi So Fa La So Ti La Do Ti Re Do, Do La Ti So La Fa So Mi Fa Re Mi Do Re Ti Do. Now, what am I doing? I'm going up by a third down by a step, up by a third down by a step all the way to get to the top then down by a third up by a step down by a third up by a step. Now, why is this helpful? Well, it helps you to understand how to sing your thirds and how to hear them more importantly. Well, later on, I got to thinking, why stop there? Well, I can tell you this it gets really hard once we go to the next step which is singing an exercise in fourths.

Do Fa Re So Mi La Fa Ti So Do La Re Ti MI Do Do So Ti Fa La Mi So Re Fa Do Mi Ti Re La Do. Try that it's really hard but it gets harder. Let's try fifths. Do SO Re La Mi Ti Fa Do So Re La Mi Ti Fa Do Do Fa Ti Mi La Re So Do Fa Ti Mi La Re So Do. Do I dare go further well, I've come this far let's see what happens. How about sixths. Do La Re Ti Mi Do Fa Re So Mi La Fa Ti So Do Do Mi Ti Re La Do So Ti Fa La Mi So Re Fa Do and lastly, we are going to try sevenths. Do Ti Re Do Mi Re Fa Mi So Fa La So Ti La Do Do Re Ti Do La Ti So La Fa So Mi Fa Re Mi Do. You can see I've had a lot too much time on my hands when it comes to solfege. I kinda was obsessed with it as a kid and it's how I hear all music because everything I listen to automatically goes into solfege syllables so I know all the notes as long as I have a reference pitch cause I do not have perfect pitch where I remember the starting pitch. Well sometimes I do but I can't depend upon it which is why solfege could be such a great tool for someone like me. I hope this has been helpful for you once again Robert Estrin at and
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Mike McKenzie * VSM MEMBER * on August 3, 2017 @9:40 am PST
Ah, but the intervals on the 3rds, for example, are major, minor, minor, major, major, minor and minor then the major 2nd to return to return to the tonic. Not to mention about working back down the scale. Would one benefit from singing all major or all minor 3rds? Where might we end up doing that. Think I'll go to my keyboard but I don't think it is going sound very good to my ear. )
Robert - host, on August 3, 2017 @4:19 pm PST
It is more helpful singing diatonically (notes of the scale) than all the same size intervals. If you sing all major thirds, you are only covering all the whole steps which isn't as fundamental as understanding where you are within the key which is the benefit of utilizing solfeggio.
Mike McKenzie * VSM MEMBER * on August 3, 2017 @6:24 pm PST
That makes sense. I've never studied solfeggio. Would the same be true for 4ths, 5ths, etc? I.e., degrees of the scale as opposed to actual major or minor intervals? On a related topic, I had a discussion with a musician friend a few days ago about 'immovable' vs. 'movable' Do. For him Do was always the same note, not the tonic of any given scale. Do was a specific pitch, not a relative pitch. Your thoughts?
Valter Lellis Siqueira on August 2, 2017 @6:06 pm PST
Thank you for the excellent suggestion! * VSM MEMBER * on August 2, 2017 @2:15 pm PST
I've been watching your videos for several years and this one is my favorite so far. I think this will really help my playing by ear and improvisation. I'm sure it would help sight singing, too, but I don't do that any more because I have lost my sight.
Andreas Schloesser on August 2, 2017 @12:33 pm PST
Dear Robert,
thank you for your beautiful expert videos. I watched each of them for a year.
Especially your last video ‘How to Sight Sing Intervals’ reminded me of my childhood. That time I’ve been instructed playing akkordeon, singing, and music theory for kids. Additionally I was a child opera singer in Berlin (The Magic Flute, Albert Herring…). We leanrned about syllables (system Do Re Mi Fa …, as well as system bi to gu su la fe …) in our theory lessons but we never used them in singing, even not in the opera training.
Now I have a granddaughter of 10 years playing clarinet and she uses syllables only. She has serious problems understanding me when I say: “please, play Fis instead of F.” Her clarinet teacher is French. So I am a bit confused.
My question and proposal for one of your next videos is:
When are syllables better to use than the C D E F G system? And do prefer different countries different systems?
I never heard about a sonata or symphony written in Mi major or su minor even not by French composers.
Best greetings from Germany
Andreas Schloesser
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