Friday, September 30, 2011

sight singing "How Deeply You're Connected to My Soul"

Today's lesson gives you sight singing practice in bass clef with "How Deeply You're Connected to My Soul."  If you want a challenge, pause it at the beginning and try to sing it yourself.  The rhythms include lots of dotted quarter eighth patterns and syncopation on the last phrase.  The melody is mostly stepwise motion except on the last phrase. 

Remember that sight singing is all about the relationships of the notes to one another.  It really doesn't matter which clef you are reading as long as you know what key you are in (major or minor) and where the tonal center is on the staff.  Depending on the range of your voice you might be singing a song in a different octave than the one that is written.  This song is notated in C major and it starts on D (re).  I sing it in my range which is an octave above what is written.  Please forgive my warbly voice as I have a cold.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

notating "How Deeply You're Connected to My Soul"

In the last lesson I had you listen to "How Deeply You're Connected to My Soul" and try to write out the melody.  The up and down motion of the melody is fairly easy to follow as it moves mostly stepwise, but the rhythm is a little more challenging.  In today's lesson I walk you through writing out the notation in C major. 

Monday, September 26, 2011

How Deeply You're Connected to My Soul

"How Deeply You're Connected to My Soul" is a song I first learned at a Montessori workshop probably 14 years ago.  I don't know who wrote it, but I love the message.  I was reminded of it this weekend at a workshop I went to called Dance for PD where I learned about teaching dance classes for people with Parkinson's Disease.  Rachel and Jennifer, who teach a Dance for PD class in their community, told me that they use this song for the ending circle where the dancers all hold hands and "pass the pulse". 

Here is the recording of me singing it.  The first time you'll hear just the melody and the second time you'll hear the melody plus two harmony parts.  This song is in the key of C major.  It is a really easy one to notate because almost all of the motion is stepwise except at the very end.  Try to write it out on staff paper.  It starts on D.  I will give the correct notation in the next lesson.

Friday, September 23, 2011

sight singing practice in C major

Today's lesson gives you sight singing practice in C major with the melody and three harmony parts to the chorus of Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah".   It is a very simple melody (msl l lsm m msl l lsm fmr dd)  with a very satisfying chord progression (Am F Am F C G C).  It has the steady ambling feel of a moderate duple meter with the lilt of the triplet underlying each beat.  To capture that 2 and 3 feel it is notated in compound meter.  I really like the way the beginning of each hallelujah alternates between the eighth quarter and quarter eighth patterns.  Look at yesterday's post for a link to Leonard Cohen singing the song.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

chordal harmonies for Hallelujah

Today's lesson gives you practice sight singing chordal harmonies in C major with the chorus from Leonard Cohen's song "Hallelujah".  The chord progression is Am F Am F C G C.  Here is a YouTube of Leonard Cohen singing the song with a chorus joining on the hallelujahs.  Listen to this first if you have never heard the song or if you only know it from the movie "Shrek".

Sunday, September 18, 2011


No lesson today, just a very pretty song sung by Celia Cruz with scenes from Cuba:

Thursday, September 15, 2011

sight singing "Dona Nobis Pacem" in F major

Today's lesson gives you practice sight singing in F major with "Dona Nobis Pacem".

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

listening for parts in Dona Nobis Pacem

Today I would like you to listen to "Dona Nobis Pacem".  I recorded this last night at Community Singers practice.  Listen for low voices and high voices.  Listen for three distinct melodies.  We sing through the song two times.  Can you hear differences between the two?  Does it sound like more voices are singing one part than another?  Can you find the tonic?  Each of the three parts ends on the tonic and two of them start on it.  Try to sing along.  Tomorrow's lesson will have notation.  I didn't put it on today's lesson because I wanted you to listen without the music first.  Listening for parts in music will help you be able to sing harmonies by ear.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

chords in minor

In the last lesson I said that the triads used in A minor are mostly the ones used in C major.  Today's lesson explains this a little more using the song "Poor Wayfaring Stranger".  The keys of C major and A minor (natural) share the same scale tones and, by extension, the same triads built on each of these scale tones.  The exception is the chord built on the fifth scale tone or the V chord.

Remember that in major keys the V chord has a strong tendency to lead back to the I chord.  The V chord contains the 7th tone in the scale which is called the leading tone.  It wants to (or our ears want to hear it) resolve upward the 1/2 step to the tonic (the root of the I chord).   In C major this step is from B to C.

In natural minor the 7th tone in the scale is a whole step below the tonic which takes away its strong pull toward the tonic; so, in natural minor keys, the 7th tone is raised to make the V chord have the leading tone.  This makes it a major chord instead of a minor chord.  In the key of A minor the Em chord becomes E. All of this is very hard to understand with just words.  Watch the lesson so that you can see it and hear it.

Friday, September 9, 2011

major and minor triads

A major triad has a major third followed by a minor third.  A minor triad has the minor third first and then the major third.  Watch the lesson to hear the triads for a C major scale and its relative minor A.  The chords (triads) are mostly the same.  In C major you'll use a lot of C, F and G chords.  In A minor you'll use lots of Am and Dm chords.

Here are some of the previous lessons if you need some background information or a refresher:

I, IV and V chords
major and minor thirds

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

comparing rhythms in 3/8 and 3/4

Today's lesson compares the rhythms in the song "Out of Eternity" as written in 3/8 and 3/4 time.  The rhythms include beat, beat division and dotted notes.  You'll see that sixteenth note rhythms are very simple when you slow it down and tap the eighth note as the beat.

Monday, September 5, 2011

solo sight singing in B minor

Today's lesson gives you practice sight singing in B minor.  It is a pretty easy song that follows the natural minor scale except for a few jumps.  The time signature is 3/8 with the beat being the eighth note.  The divided beat is two sixteenth notes.  Pause the video at the beginning and try to sight sing it on your own before listening to the lesson.

Friday, September 2, 2011

sight singing "Poor Wayfaring Stranger"

Today's lesson gives you sight singing practice in A minor (natural) with "Poor Wayfaring Stranger".  Here is the sheet music for the song with lyrics and chords.