Purpose of Chordhopper for Adults

Comments and questions about Chordhopper.
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Purpose of Chordhopper for Adults

Postby LadyBluebell » Sun Dec 31, 2017 11:23 am

Hello. I never considered this before, but I am now quite curious.

I understand that the first 9 levels of Chordhopper are similar to a Japanese method which aims to develop absolute pitch in children for the white notes. The other method sounds more dull, forcing, & strenuous, tiring for adults & children. Chordhopper would actually be a fun game.

Levels 1-9 of Chordhopper will establish passive absolute pitch in children but not adults.

Chordhopper goes to 75 levels as I understand it, well beyond 9. But I am not of the understanding that adults require 75 levels to establish absolute pitch whereas children only 9. Perhaps 75 or less would theoretically allow children to develop absolute pitch for the 12 tones. I am guessing by my progress so far that it is roughly 1-1.5 hours per level. (I have forgotten.) Supposing 75 to 120 hours spread out an hour weekly would make completing the program very feasible.

You have other programs to aid the development of absolute pitch for adults. Interval Loader is for relative pitch. Remembering this concept has confused me about Chordhopper.

Most relative pitch ear-training is either intervals, scale degrees, or chords in its basic function. There is much debate on how this achieves or fails when related to actual music. But not getting into this now.

Arguments about scale degree verses intervals when playing or transcribing single melodies. I have personally found drilling both helps. My main instrument is single-line.

Sometimes you somewhat hear harmonically when a single melodic line is played quickly, so learning to recognize harmonic intervals would help to an extent with melodic lines.

One teacher claims he found his melodic transcription began by thinking in intervals & melded into scale-degree as he got better. Thinks scale-degree is a natural progression & more advanced mode. Interesting theory from his personal experience.

Other programs regarding chords. Generally ear-training begins with intervals for melodic intervals make melodic lines. Sometimes melodic intervals combined make various arpeggios, which may be used in melodic lines or as the chordal accompaniment. Chords consist of harmonic intervals combined, stacked upon one another. Thus if you easily recognize each interval by ear, in theory you combine these to learn to recognize chords.

I'm not certain this is entirely true. I have heard some people naturally hear & think in chords or harmony better whereas others are better melodically. I would presume the instrument of study would largely influence this. However, people may tend to gravitate towards an instrument that fits their innate preferred hearing & expression to begin with.

Sorry this is so meandering.

My main query is, "What exactly is the purpose of Chordhopper for an adult? What is its goal? What is it setting out to teach, allow the player to hear?"

Chordal ear-training that begins with triads, these inversions. Seventh chords, inversions.

Some others are based on progressions. Learn to recognize the I, IV, & V chords when heard in music. Then others.

Is Chordhopper meant to train a musician to hear & recognize chords in music? Major, minor, diminished, various seventh chords, inversions. Chord types & positions in C Ionian mode?

Or is there a benefit for adults in the first-place?

Ear-training for my New Year's Resolution. I have been away from your software, but have been doing other activities. Just reevaluating my plans. I had difficulty not understanding where I was even headed with Chordhopper. Would highly appreciate any clarification.

Thank you & Happy New Year!

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Re: Purpose of Chordhopper for Adults

Postby aruffo » Sun Dec 31, 2017 6:57 pm

I'm sure that there are many and varied (and passionate) opinions about the value of chords and intervals to musicianship, composition, and musical experience. I'll leave that kind of speculation aside for the moment and answer the question you've asked: what good is Chordhopper to adults?

The answer: Becoming better able to pick out the notes of chords.

"Non-musicians" are musical "experts" in many ways (as the research has repeatedly shown). However, it is a learned skill to be able to pick out tones within a tonal mass. When someone who has no formal musical experience hears a chord, they may not even recognize that they are hearing more than a single tone, much less be able to pick out any individual pitches within the chord.

Chordhopper forces your brain to start hearing the individual pitches. Like Absolute Pitch Avenue, the operating principle is perceptual differentiation. For example, let's say you hear and recognize a CEG chord. Then you hear and recognize a CFA chord. Your brain will recognize that one part of each sound stayed the same, while the rest changed. Subsequently, through the reinforcement of ongoing practice, your brain will become able to perceive that single part as a separate and unique sound.

The more you practice, the better you will become able to perceive individual pitches in tonal masses. To zero in on them, to lock on to them, to pick them out. To what use you might put that ability, I couldn't say; me, I used it to transcribe a forgotten show tune into sheet music for an audition. And this process will not induce absolute pitch in adults, no matter how far along you play.

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Re: Purpose of Chordhopper for Adults

Postby LadyBluebell » Tue Jan 02, 2018 1:07 pm

Thank you for your helpful reply. I appreciate it.

I have long realized that not only could I not name the notes when the teacher would test a classmate with absolute pitch & entertain us all, I could not hear that many individual tones within the mass to begin with! I can see, & have worked on, various activities in order to merely be able to hear several tones within a mass of tones. A bass player with a chordal ear-training site, Posido I believe, has a 1-10 chordal ear-training that largely does this. I am currently working on 4 tones for a few minutes a day.

Yet part of your answer surprises & confuses me, which is why I am wondering if this goal is more absolute pitch style hearing than relative pitch, without the actual absolute pitch.

Trying to word this best I can... I understand that a number of people with absolute pitch either turn it off when needed or never can hear relatively. They hear the C-ness, E-ness, & G-ness more than a major chord. A D followed by a B must be intellectually calculated to a Major 6.

Someone with good relative pitch hears the flavor of the chord types, feel of the intervals, the relationship among the tones whereas many with absolute pitch don't, as I understand it. (I would imagine they do some, for they probably recognize Happy Birthday played in a variety of keys.)

I can see the benefit of being able to differentiate & listen for the individual pitches within a chord. But most chordal ear-training is geared towards hearing the flavor, the chord type, which I am unsure if Chordhopper does.

I can see how Chordhopper would develop the ability to hear a progression in the key of C. Yet your goal is not to really hear the similarity of the C, F, & G root positions for example?

I believe you have written that Interval Loader is the game / app that gives the greatest musical benefits in the shortest time. The others are a longer journey.

I have heard the argument that certain ear-training practices have little benefit for actual music. Intervals verses scale degrees.

To a lesser extent, particularly in modern pop music, major verses minor is not always clear cut. The feel between modes can vary. Being able to label a chord type & its inversion, like you would do in university ear-training classes, is possibly an exercise that teaches you to do well on this exercise & pass a test, but is not the way a good musical ear works with actual music. I don't really know.

Maybe figuring out which set of notes fit the melodic line & which mode it is in as a whole. Do-based verses la-based minor could vary the personal definition here as well.

This is an F-major chord, these 2 bars are in F-major. F-major is likely either the I, IV, or V, so the rest of the song would give you clues to make your decision.

Perhaps you would need to be aware of inversions, for the feel of whichever key would be somewhat weakened with an inversion.

Yet when you write that the goal for Chordhopper is to hear individual tones within a chord & not feel, are you merely not adding to the plethora of other courses which drill you on triad types, then inversions, then seventh chords, their inversions, open voicings, etc., feeling they are available elsewhere, or do you feel these are self-serving drills with little use outside the ear-training classroom, which merely exist in order for the teacher to have something easy to teach & test? Or one truly needs to be able to hear the individual tones within a chord instead of this muddy conglomerate sounds like a major triad in 1st inversion & that other mass sounds like a minor 7th in 2nd inversion?

My musical ear has always been a weakness. I do hear melodically better than chords.

Is chord feel or flavor, as traditionally taught, overrated or musically unnecessary? While I imagine a major & minor songs still feels different, is being able to label the mud primarily keeping you in a state of only hearing a blend as opposed to a mixture?

A chord, whether played harmonically or melodically, is fundamentally a 3-part ice cream swirl, Neopolitan ice cream. Non-musicians sometimes don't hear that there are several notes played at once. But does typical ear-training kind of keep us in a non-musician state & teach us instead that a chord is vanilla, chocolate, & strawberry ice cream blended together into a milkshake, whereas musical notes played together combine yet maintain their individual properties in actuality. Apart from the fact ice cream melts, musical tones are always combined into mixtures but never blends. Most chordal ear-training fails to take this into account?

I don't deal chordal well enough to evaluate this. I appreciate any insight or clarification you can give me.

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Re: Purpose of Chordhopper for Adults

Postby aruffo » Thu Jan 11, 2018 4:53 pm

From what I know, the "turning off" (or on) of absolute pitch isn't actually a thing. The appropriate comparison, as I understand it, is that of listening to someone talk. When someone talks to you, you hear all the individual letter-sounds (phonemes), and if you were asked name them all you could, but you don't bother because you're busy listening to what the language means.

Miyazaki's research, as well as my own published research, indicate that people with absolute pitch "hear relatively" just as well as the rest of us, and where they appear to be "unable" to do relative tasks it's because they never developed relative strategies. That is, if you could always figure out the A-to-E interval by counting the tones between them, you'd never bother making the effort to learn a different way to do it—and then, once you get to the point where you NEED a different way to do it, you're stuck using the same process you always did.

You're correct to point out that another advantage of Chordhopper is that you learn to hear the different chord "shapes". Even as untrained listeners are unable to pick out the notes of a chord, they are also unable to tell the difference between different chord types. Chordhopper does help with that. I had neglected to mention that because I focused on the one pitch-related benefit.

I'm afraid I don't have enough pedagogical–academic experience to address the qualitative questions that you're asking about the value of different training to practical musicianship. We'd have to ask others to weigh in.

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