Any general tips for someone just starting out?
Yes, just start listening. The “1 voice” folder of tracks in TADOH may be best for those new to ear training to start with. They’ll assist in your development of a feeling for the sound of each “interval”, or relationship between two notes–in this case the piano in relation to the bass drone. Also, watch some of the videos, including this one:
How are notes named in this course?
First, check out The Fundamentals of Practical Ear Training video below. They’re named in common terms used by millions of musicians all over the world: Sometimes called a “degree system”, notes are named in relation to a primary note referred to as the “tonic” or “key” note. In The Audio Dictionaries and 24-note Mel, this note is imposed by the bass drone. There are only 12 names that need to be used to name every note; the rest are different octave versions of the same 12. If you imagine going up adjacent keys on a piano, the 12 notes are: 1 (“one”), b2 (“flat 2”), 2 (“two”), b3 (“flat three”), 3 (“three”), 4 (“four”), #4 (“sharp four”), 5 (“five”), b6 (“flat six”), 6 (“six”), b7 (“flat seven”), and 7 (“seven”). 1 (“one”) is simply the main or “key” note of the music; so, here, that’s the bass note and any of its octaves.
What are “octaves”?
(See the video above.) Octaves are higher and lower sounding versions of a note. The different octaves of a note maintain the same “feeling” or “degree of tension or release” as one another. You can imagine a woman and child singing the same melody together: the child will be singing at a higher octave even though the melody sounds the same. Or, in visual terms, you might imagine octaves being like lighter or darker shades of the same color.
I don’t want to read a textbook when my goal is ear training. Does this course have lots of lectures and theory?
A primary goal of these works is the creation of a direct line between perception and understanding without detours through theory or analysis. So, there’s no need to read anything with these works. Just listen. Notes are played over a bass drone, repeated, then named.
Does TADOH present every possible harmony?
There’s really no such thing as “every harmony” or “every chord” for a number of reasons. TADOH presents every possible combination of 1 to 3 notes across two octaves. And it can be argued that, in most musical contexts, the essence of each harmony can be represented by 3 notes. When there are more notes in a given chord, some are probably either already implied by the harmonics of the essential notes, were already played in the preceding chord chord so don’t represent a change, etc.
Why is TADOM called a dictionary of melody? Two notes isn’t really a melody.
A pitch succession—two notes in a row—is the essence of all melody. If you clearly hear the movement between any two notes, then you hear any melody. Especially if you also recognize their relation to the current context (represented by the bass drone). Rhythm, as embodied by melody, can be thought of as, essentially, relative differences in note length as well as absolute “size” or “scale” (i.e. long vs. short). The experience of a very short note is fundamentally different from that of a long note. It’s more “harmonic”. In addition, there are only three relationships that two notes can have in terms of their relative lengths: same, first longer than second, or second longer than first. So, in TADOM we have four representations of every possible permutation of two notes across two octaves: long-short, short-long, short-short, and long-long.
I get it. . . there’s a lot here. Now how do I focus on areas I want to work?
Using the included playlists and making your own is a great way to focus on a particular scale, difficult harmonies, etc. Watch this:
How do I load The Audio Dictionaries and the other ear training works on here? Just drag and drop?
Yep! Watch this:
1) All files are made to be easily drag-n-dropped into iTunes. Even if you don’t use iTunes to listen to or organize your music, it may be best to use it in order to convert these to other formats or whatever your preference is. After dragging them into iTunes and they’ve been processed by the program fully, you can click through File->Library->Import Playlist in order to utilize the playlists. As I mentioned, this is not at all essential. Listening to a full shuffle of all tracks or creating your own playlists is encouraged.
2) The tracks are made to flow seamlessly. If they don’t, it’s due to the playback system you’re using. Some systems may insert a small space between tracks. It may be due to your settings or the default settings. You may also want to try a different music playing application. I’ve tested quite a few that played back seamlessly (iTunes, iPhone, foobar2000, etc.). But systems and versions are all different; so if you’re getting a small break between tracks and it bothers you, try something else. You might also run into skipping on some older computers.
3) The tracks in all courses were designed and mixed to be played back in stereo. If you’re listening on a single speaker, just listen to the left or right side only (or move the “balance” dial or slider to one side) and you’ll get a fine mix. Trying to combine the sides into mono will mess with the mix in a probably undesirable way.
Most technical and other questions will be best and most quickly answered by other users in whatever music forums or communities you’re a part of. Please feel free to send questions to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll try to respond directly but may also point you to the website where I’ll post the question and answer so that others may benefit as well.