How to Learn Music Pitches

Music pitches are the basis for all western music. It is possible to develop the ability to hear pitch. A daily commitment and a strict training regimen are required to learn the pitches of the musical alphabet. In music, pitches are what are heard and notes are what are seen on a score. The treble and bass clef are used in music to represent pitches that are high and low. The higher pitches have a faster frequency, and the lower pitches have a slower frequency. Learning to tell the difference between these frequencies requires a step-by-step approach.

Step 1 Identify the difference between a high pitch and a low pitch by using a piano. On the piano, pitches are consecutively higher as you move to the right along the keyboard. Have a friend consecutively play two pitches to see if you can identify which pitch is higher. Do the same with the lower and middle pitches of the piano. Pay special attention to how the higher pitches sound in relation to the lower pitches. Each person has a different interpretation of what high and low sounds like. Take your time to develop a solid understanding of this basic concept.

Step 2 Learn the names of each of the 12 chromatic pitch and how they replicate at the octave in the musical scale. Each pitch has octave relationships that sound very similar to each other. For example, all Cs on the piano have a similar sound; the difference is how high and low the C is.

Step 3 Analyze how individual pitches sound in relation to each other. Pick two pitches on the piano and compare them. Listen carefully to see if you can notice a different in texture between the notes. One commonly used example is the difference between an F-sharp and a C on a piano. The F-sharp sounds sharper and gives off a harsher vibration than the C. Each pitch has its own characteristic sound. In the beginning stages, stay with one octave.

Step 4 Practice with a friend by having him play a pitch on the piano to see if you can identify it. If you get the wrong pitch, have him play the pitch you guessed several times until you start to get a feel for the pitch. Once you accurately identify two pitches, add a third pitch. Continue to add pitches until you have learned all 12 chromatic pitches. When you accurately identify all 12 pitches within an octave, learn the pitches outside the octave, which is easier to master since you already learned the quality of each pitch.

Listen casually to the notes. Learning to identify pitch is something that comes only with a relaxed approach to listening.


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