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Ok, practicing my intervals and playing M3 and m3. If I do them one after another, and move from a low register to a high one and visa versa, I tend to cling onto the old tones and it's making it very difficult.

Do I have to wait a significant time, like 10 seconds, to do the next interval? This is especially a problem playing a M3 and then an m3 in a higher octave.

Has anyone had this problem and how did you change your ear training?

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You should not have to wait too long before listening for the next interval. If your ears are trained well enough, you should be able to listen to a passage of music and hear what notes/chords/intervals are played without a problem at any reasonable speed.

My guess is that you just do not have enough experience distinguishing between these intervals yet and could use some more ear training. It also sounds like you are playing the interval which may not be the best for you to learn the intervals as you may associate it more with the shape you're playing then the actual sound.

There's a lot of software out there specifically designed for ear training and I suggest you find one you like and use it to help with ear training as it is very useful to musicians.

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Every interval has a specific sound - but everyone of us may perceive that differently. But you can build some personalized mnemonic aid especially for you. Custom as it were ;-)

I'll tell you some of mine just to give you an idea of how this could work for you.


I'll start off with the b7th: Leonard Bernstein - my hero, as conductor and composer

-> 'Somewhere' from 'West Side Story': (Maria/Tony:) There's a place for us...

There's (1st) a (b7th) place (6th) for (4th) us (2nd) -> only the first two notes matter. They are part of a dominant-7th-chord (mixolydian scale)


A difficult one #4th: Ennio Morricone - my super-hero, as a composer for film-music

-> 'Once Upon a Time in the West': Orchestral part underneath the famous guitar melody and all over the place as quasi Leit-Motiv...

A - D# - E - A - D# - E - D# - E -> You will never forget this - definitely get the movie...


b6th: again Ennio Morricone

-> 'Cockey's Theme' from -> 'Once Upon a Time in America': the Panflute playing this unforgettable melody...

G - Eb - C - D - Eb - C - D - Eb - C - D - Eb - C - D - D - C - D


Now go and find your own ones for the 3rds - I didn't want to influence you on these ones. If you find them on your own the mnemonic effect will be much stronger because it's your choice.

Once you have found your favorite melodies and mnemonic helper you will never ever again miss a beat ;-) Never forget - it's all about music, listening and recognition. Systematic theory comes second - but it will, definitely...

Happy listening!

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  • If you use 'Maria' for a minor 7th, it's a no-brainer to use all the rest of 'West Side Story' for an augmented 4th. The show's all ABOUT the augmented 4th! Every song (except the afterthought 'I Feel Pretty') features it heavily. Feb 17 at 2:32
  • Actually it’s ‘Somewhere’ for the minor 7th... ;-)
    – mramosch
    Feb 21 at 13:29
  • However ‘Maria’ would be perfect for the augmented 4th. I didn’t mention the whole augmented 4th featuring because it is mostly buried in the ‘Jet Theme’ which is a perfect 4th plus an added augmented 4th. So it is not at the beginning of a melodic phrase, and if you take the tailing and heading note of the phrase it is a major 7th. I could also have taken ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’ which is, like the West Side Story, built around the augmented 4th, but there it is mostly used as a chord and hence not ideal for basic interval training...
    – mramosch
    Feb 21 at 13:39
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Your problem MAY be that you start on one note - call it a 'root', and the interval to the next note isn't that difficult to recognise. When you then move to a different 'root', the sound is blurred by the interval that's produced by the second/third notes. Try keeping the same 'root', and listen to different intervals just from that note. Then choose a different 'root', and do similarly. Eventually, you'll go from an interval from one root to another from another, but give yourself a fighting chance first.

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I wouldn't read too much into the change of register. It just IS difficult to tell them apart, possibly because both intervals are contained in a major triad - C to E is a major 3rd, E to G a minor 3rd. So they're both part of something we know as 'major'.

Remembering intervals in relation to a well-known tune can be useful. But we really need to recognise e.g. a minor 3rd from two different tunes, one where it's 1-3 of a minor key, another where it's 3-5 of a major key. Maybe also one where it's 5-♭7 of a dominant 7th chord. All different flavours in context.

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