Ear training exercises

Is it overly ambitious to train one’s ear to sing the m2, M2, m3, M3, P4, P5 and P8 intervals properly? Should not only professional singers do this? Consider that when you learn these seven (7) intervals, you will still be one interval short of those used in singing “Happy Birthday” (see below). Do you consider that singing “Happy Birthday” properly should be only done by professionals?… I did not think so either.

This first video is a good introduction of “intervals”. It goes beyond what is needed for Gregorian Chant since no 6th, 7th or Tritone intervals are found in chant. But all he explains on 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th is relevant. Also, what he explains on the Octave (P8) is very good to know even though P8 intervals are rarely found in Gregorian Chant.

These self-tests below are the foundation of ear-training. Take them without moderation. Only the “beginner level” is necessary for chanting. Try to recognize the interval, but there is no need to recognize the note names (C, D, E, etc…). Please persevere. Do not get discourage if you fail to recognize the intervals initially. Try again. You will succeed after a few attempts.

First test: m2, M2, P8. m2 is also called “half step” or “semitone”, M2 is also called “full step”, P8 is also called “octave”)

Second test: m3, M3, P5, P8

Third test: P4, P5, P8, Tritone (reminder: P8 and Tritone are never encountered in Gregorian Chant). Focus on the difference between P4 and P5.

Fourth test: descending intervals M2, m2, M3, m3, P4 and P5 (and Tritone, not needed in chant).

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