A Very Intuitive Way of Teaching Harmony

Thoughts and responses regarding the research at acousticlearning.com.
cjhealey
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Joined: Sat Mar 17, 2007 10:35 am

A Very Intuitive Way of Teaching Harmony

Postby cjhealey » Mon Apr 15, 2013 10:23 pm

This is a wonderful, succinct and effective way of helping people to begin the process of relating harmonic events with their musical labels.
It gives people something tangible about each chord's function to grasp onto for learning.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QZPwzppF ... 8SD3ToKDsw

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D8SD3ToKDsw

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GFuFOCBN ... 8SD3ToKDsw

I think this could make a really simple but effective teaching approach for harmony. Starting with simple songs (Maybe just I, IV and V chords) and adding more complex harmonies.

What do you think, Chris? Do they strike you as a great idea or is that just me?

aruffo
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Postby aruffo » Tue Apr 16, 2013 12:20 am

Very likely. It's an implicit foundation of the Taneda materials.. and I met a quite-good pianist at the University of Florida, and he claimed to be self-taught; when I asked him, he said he had just sat down and explored chords for hour after hour until he knew how to play.

Nikolaus
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Postby Nikolaus » Tue Apr 16, 2013 11:13 am

randomly generate inversion and voicing based on the harmonic function of the song. this way the brain will learn to differentiate function regardless of inversion, because the common theme throughout will be function regardless of inversion and voicing. play the piece, then four note triads or sevenths or whatever and the listener will probably hear the song in the progression. maybe loop the progression, playing it differently each time. use terrible voice leading, even. then test on the individual chord functions. good stuff cj. thanks for sharing.

Axeman
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Postby Axeman » Sat Apr 20, 2013 3:59 am

That was fun and educational. I wonder if continued watching and listening would help to solidify the roots in my ear. I was trying to sing them as it played. cool! Thanks cj!

cjhealey
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Joined: Sat Mar 17, 2007 10:35 am

Postby cjhealey » Sun Apr 21, 2013 2:16 am

The thing I like about it is that it's teaching the functional harmony. You don't have to think about what is in the bass of the chord or work out the inversion, then apply theory and figure it out etc. You can hear it as an over all effect of the music and go "Ahh, this is in the dominant area of the key, and has a particular quality".

My Aural lecturer at uni used to get us to first dictate the top part, then the bottom part of the harmony. Then write down if it was minor or major. Then figure out what chord it must be.

Abso. lutely. friggin. useless. You never learn to identify chords by their implicit function, but having to rely on composite knowledge, which was always slow and impractical.

cjhealey
Posts: 114
Joined: Sat Mar 17, 2007 10:35 am

Postby cjhealey » Sun Apr 21, 2013 2:16 am

The thing I like about it is that it's teaching the functional harmony. You don't have to think about what is in the bass of the chord or work out the inversion, then apply theory and figure it out etc. You can hear it as an over all effect of the music and go "Ahh, this is in the dominant area of the key, and has a particular quality".

My Aural lecturer at uni used to get us to first dictate the top part, then the bottom part of the harmony. Then write down if it was minor or major. Then figure out what chord it must be.

Abso. lutely. friggin. useless. You never learn to identify chords by their implicit function, but having to rely on composite knowledge, which was always slow and impractical.

Axeman
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Joined: Wed Jul 20, 2005 4:20 pm
Location: New Zealand

Postby Axeman » Tue Apr 23, 2013 4:39 pm

It seems like a lot of ear aural training is that way CJ.
Have any of you done any of the http://www.eartraininghq.com/homepage/?utm_expid=37201188-0&utm_referrer=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.eartraininghq.com%2Fhomepage%2F? I am in the process of going through his course but am not convinced yet of the method. The tests are good but the prep exercises are not convincing as to whether they really prepare you for the test. I like the fact that his method is about learning to recognize the degrees of the notes and chords in relation to key centers though. He gets you listening and recognizing short melodic fragments from single to two, three and four note sequences.

confidence
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Postby confidence » Thu Apr 25, 2013 6:43 pm

Entertaining, but I'm having trouble seeing the teaching potential. The problem is that there's a big difference between hearing large-scale harmonic processes in music after years or decades of training and experience, and hearing them when you're not used to thinkind of music in that way. The source pieces are too complicated for anyone who doesn't already know that harmony works in that way to discover it. You could play that Mozart sonata at that speed to beginning students and I guarantee they would never hear the harmonic areas you're trying to point out. They'd just hear a bunch of notes.

There's also the problem of subjectivity. For example I strongly disagree (as do most harmonic theorists who touch on this kind of thing) with the characterisation of chord IV with the big relaxed smiley expression. And the hunched up grimacing chord V didn't really make sense to me either.

cjhealey wrote:The thing I like about it is that it's teaching the functional harmony. You don't have to think about what is in the bass of the chord or work out the inversion, then apply theory and figure it out etc. You can hear it as an over all effect of the music and go "Ahh, this is in the dominant area of the key, and has a particular quality".

My Aural lecturer at uni used to get us to first dictate the top part, then the bottom part of the harmony. Then write down if it was minor or major. Then figure out what chord it must be.

Abso. lutely. friggin. useless. You never learn to identify chords by their implicit function, but having to rely on composite knowledge, which was always slow and impractical.


Not sure I completely agree with that. I think learning to associate harmonic theory with what you are hearing is a complex process that involves assimilating a lot of information. The functional "feel" of the harmony in a global sense is one part of that information, but the movement of the melody and bass are part of it too. Chord progressions arose in baroque and classical music in symbiosis with characteristic melodic shapes. If you can learn that ordinarily the scale progression do-re-mi will be accompanied by the chord progression I - V - I, then you're in a better position to start hearing variations upon and departures from that progression, rather than just trying to guess chords out of nowhere.

In fairness to your teacher, and having been in the situation myself, he may have been struggling with the difficulty of teaching something as potentially subjective as functional feeling when some of the class just don't hear it. In that situation, having learn bass and melodic shapes that you can hang calculated probabilities on is at least something objective to get started with.

cjhealey
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Joined: Sat Mar 17, 2007 10:35 am

Postby cjhealey » Sun May 05, 2013 8:05 am

In fairness to your teacher, and having been in the situation myself, he may have been struggling with the difficulty of teaching something as potentially subjective as functional feeling when some of the class just don't hear it. In that situation, having learn bass and melodic shapes that you can hang calculated probabilities on is at least something objective to get started with.


I dunno. People who get the same two-three years of training with a Kodaly qualified lecturer don't have an issue.

It seems like the bass + Sop method is more of a band-aid then a solution.


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