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Listening to triads--harder than I thought

Posted by WayneConrad on Monday, April 16, 2018

Ear training for triads is harder than it first appeared.  I was fooled by my own brain when I first started doing it.  Here's how:

The exercises and exams on the Triad training go roughly like this:

  • Instructor plays the triad harmonically (as a chord on the piano)
  • Very brief pause
  • Instructor sings the triad melodically (one note at a time)
  • Instructor names the triad

The trouble is that in the very brief pause between the sounding of the chord and the instructor singing the triad, I have to be paying attention and actively identify the chord and sing the triad myself, before the instructor does.  Once she sings the triad, the interval training I've been doing makes it pretty easy for me to know what the triad is.  I don't have much trouble telling a m3 from a M3 or a P4 from a m6, and those are the differences that let you know what chord it is.  But the real trick is in being able to hear the sound of the chord and know its quality, and to hear its individual notes myself without the instructors help.  The first time I listened to some of the lessons, I accidentally let the instructor do the work for me by waiting for her to sing the triad before I identified it.  Since I could identify the triad fine once she sang it, I thought I was doing great, but I wasn't.

I'm going through the lessons more carefully, making sure I listen to the chord and identify it myself before she starts singing and announcing.


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