Is it better to master certain interval types before moving on to others? | Easy Ear Training

Is it better to master certain interval types before moving on to others?

This really depends on how you personally progress as you learn intervals.

Learning to recognise intervals is quite a specific skill, but it gradually builds your overall relative pitch ability.

This means that there aren’t hard “dependencies” about what you should learn first or how you should build up your ability.

You can choose to build your skill:

  • “Broadly”: learning all intervals a little bit
  • “Deeply”: really mastering each type of interval before introducing more to your training.

Generally, we would recommend focusing on a small number of intervals and really mastering those (ascending, descending, harmonic, use in real music, relationships with chords etc.) before introducing more. This builds a more robust sense of relative pitch and avoids overwhelm.

The RelativePitch app is intentionally designed to be flexible. You can complete a lesson fully before moving on, or focus on the easiest difficulty of all the lessons in turn. Most students find themselves doing a bit of both.

This means that you may, for example, get stuck on distinguishing perfect fourths and perfect fifths in their harmonic form, and have difficulty completing that lesson. But you can:

  • Spend some time on the easier levels of later lessons
  • Use Custom Mode to pinpoint particular configurations you struggle with
  • Try using other instrument sounds.

Then when you return to it later you’ll probably find you are able to complete that lesson more easily.

We recommend aiming to complete each lesson fully before moving on to the next – but be fairly relaxed about continuing on if you find yourself getting stuck!

You can always return later to complete the harder difficulty levels.

This is actually one of the most rewarding parts of ear training: the exercises you do may be very specific, but you find they pay off in many varied ways.

Much of the work you do on different listening skills turns out to be very complementary and build your overall musical ability!

Similar questions answered on this page:

  • Should I learn all the intervals at once?
  • How long should I spend on each interval type?
  • What’s a better way to train with RelativePitch? Complete each lesson fully before moving on, or complete the first difficulty of all the lessons first?

Posted in: Intervals, Relative Pitch

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