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Forum Contributor 2016, The official SOTW Little S
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Hello everyone!

I'm sure a majority of you have heard of MacGAMUT, an ear training program that many music theory students must use for assignments. I have been assigned harmonic dictation 1 and 2 this week and I don't know where to begin! We have discussed harmonic dictation in class very little, and in practice mode, I can't even get one right (nor seem to figure out what I'm doing wrong).

Does anyone know any tips to facilitate me in harmonic dictation?

Thank you in advance!
:):mrgreen:
 

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When I took freshman eartraining in college, the first step we were taught in harmonic dictation was the "1-7 Line". We used numbers in our sight singing as opposed to solfege, so you could call it the "Do-Ti Line" if you use moveable DO.

As the progression is being played, have tonic (1 or DO) in your head. In a diatonic progression, all of the chords will contain (or fit with) the note 1 or the note 7 (DO or TI).

If the chord has 1 in it, it's one of these chords: I, ii, IV or vi. If the chord has 7 in it, it's one of these: iii, V or vii.

After generating the 1-7 line, which you can often do with just one listen, then start working on getting the bass line. That will give you some more information about how to choose which chord from those lists are being used.

Next, work on getting the melody. Once you have the melody, the bass line and the 1-7 line, you should have enough information to figure out the progression.

Take it a step at a time, and it will work out for you. Like anything else, the more you do it, the easier it gets.
You can do it!!
 

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Forum Contributor 2016, The official SOTW Little S
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Discussion Starter #3
When I took freshman eartraining in college, the first step we were taught in harmonic dictation was the "1-7 Line". We used numbers in our sight singing as opposed to solfege, so you could call it the "Do-Ti Line" if you use moveable DO.

As the progression is being played, have tonic (1 or DO) in your head. In a diatonic progression, all of the chords will contain (or fit with) the note 1 or the note 7 (DO or TI).

If the chord has 1 in it, it's one of these chords: I, ii, IV or vi. If the chord has 7 in it, it's one of these: iii, V or vii.

After generating the 1-7 line, which you can often do with just one listen, then start working on getting the bass line. That will give you some more information about how to choose which chord from those lists are being used.

Next, work on getting the melody. Once you have the melody, the bass line and the 1-7 line, you should have enough information to figure out the progression.

Take it a step at a time, and it will work out for you. Like anything else, the more you do it, the easier it gets.
You can do it!!
Hmm...that's an interesting way to look at it! Thank you!
I've also played with the program a little, you can choose to bring out different voices and change the instrument for certain voices. It makes it a lot easier. I'm probably going to do this for the assignment, and work on it with all the same voices the same volume and instrument for practice later.
 

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I like that, Glenn. Just a clarification. "If the chord has 1 in it, it's one of these chords: I, ii . . ." That would be ii-7, right? Otherwise a ii chord (triad) has neither 1 nor 7 in it . . . or do I need to hit my second, double espresso before posting anything else? :bluewink:

bluessaxgirl - I usually identify where the I/Tonic chords are. Then what kind of cadences lead up to them, i.e. V-I, IV-I, IV-V-I, V-vi (deceptive cadence). Then I work the bass line. I really like the idea of the Do and Ti that Glenn suggests, though. I think in the future, I might identify the tonic chords and cadences, then identify the chords containing Do or Ti, then do the bass line etc...

Thanks to both of you. This is what makes SOTW cool; never to late to find alternate ways of doing things you've been doing for decades.
 

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I like that, Glenn. Just a clarification. "If the chord has 1 in it, it's one of these chords: I, ii . . ." That would be ii-7, right? Otherwise a ii chord (triad) has neither 1 nor 7 in it . . . or do I need to hit my second, double espresso before posting anything else? :bluewink:
You are correct, if the ii chord is just a triad, it won't have the 1 present, but if you are singing your 1-7 line along with the progression the 1 will "fit" with the ii chord.
 

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theory/chord structure knowledge (extensions) will help in a big way, if they are 'conventional progressions'. So i agree and find it interesting what DukeCity and Gary said... on a slightly different topic... intervals. when i was at school i used the program auralia to crunch hundreds of intervals "every second day"... i would customize the settings to playback only half the scale... ie... set 1 was min/2 up to P5... and the second set was P5-octave. i'd do either 50-100 intervals on each set. then i would customize it further to focus on the "problem intervals"... i.e. only maj6, min7, maj7 and do 100 intervals on that little problem area. after you've worked out the layout of the answer buttons if you went with the first reaction it would only take about three seconds per interval... i really prefer aural stuff with a saxophone instead of a piece of paper and pencil. it's really easy to get frustrated, just chill, i just thought about it then... why not make an mp3 of something you can listen to walking between classes, either on a piano yourself, or in a program like sibelius. that means you only have ten minutes of frustration six times a day, instead of 60 minutes straight.

"oh, there's so much stuff to do..." i managed to find a 40 berklee aural video somewhere. and from what i can remember there was alot of really getting into the sound of the scale/home key, then gradually getting further away. plus, she seemed like an awesome awesome teacher who was probably really nice as well. focus on the primary colors, and eventually use other pencils in the box of derwents. "i'd give you a half mark if you could say 'chord three' was minor and 'chord seven' was a dominant chord".
 

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one thing that i started to do, which helps more and more as you get up the levels in macgamut is to write down all the ones you can't hear yet and practice them on the keyboard. you can get a better feel for each group of chords when you have control over what's being played. also working on one progression at a time helps instead of boucning between then as you do when "practicing" in macgamut. best of luck.
jess
 
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