When it comes to learning intervals by ear, you want unforgettable tunes that will get stuck in your head! Let’s call them Ear Training Ear Worms!
I’ve attempted to curate the most memorable tunes for each interval, as well as the best music videos. Sometimes it’s tempting to jump on current songs because they’re popular with our students right now. This is okay, but in two years those tunes will be the least desirable to the next generation of students because of pop music’s rapid turnover. You’ll be searching endlessly for new songs. Instead, I’ve here opted to include standards that have stood the test of time. Perhaps students haven’t heard them all before. Regardless, these tunes are quick to learn as Ear Training Ear Worms (mnemonic devices) and are valuable to know because they belong to our vast shared musical culture and canon. It’s simply edifying to know this cross-section of music!
You’re reading the companion post to Ear training Interval Dash, off-the-bench teaching strategy [Printables]! This off-the-bench resource teaches intervals by ear and visualizes them spatially without using notation. When all laid out, the interval cards look like a hop-scotch! It’s highly effective in helping students to gain a sound perspective and to learn to identify intervals by ear with accuracy. Plus, it’s fun! …
All of the intervals are indexed below in order from smallest to biggest. This is for ease of finding them, rather than a suggested order of learning them. Some examples have the main interval alternate up and down and could be used for both!
Perfect Unison — Happy Birthday
Minor 2nd Ascending — Jaws Theme
Minor 2nd Descending — Für Elise
Major 2nd Ascending — Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
Major 2nd Descending — Mary Had a Little Lamb
Minor 3rd Ascending — Oh Where, Oh Where has My Little Dog Gone?
Minor 3rd Descending — This Old Man
Major 3rd Ascending — Oh When the Saints go Marching In
Major 3rd Descending — Shoo! Fly, Don’t Bother Me!
Perfect 4th Ascending — Here Comes the Bride
Perfect 4th Descending — I’ve Been Working on the Railroad
Tritone Ascending — The Simpsons Theme
Tritone Descending — Danse Macabre
Perfect 5th Ascending — Star Wars Theme
Perfect 5th Descending — The Flintstones Theme
Minor 6th Ascending — The Entertainer
Minor 6th Descending — Love Story Theme
Major 6th Ascending — My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean
Major 6th Descending — Nobody Knows the Trouble I’ve Seen
Minor 7th Ascending — Star Trek Original Theme
Minor 7th Descending — Watermelon Man
Major 7th Ascending — Take On Me
Major 7th Descending — I Love You
Perfect Octave Ascending — Somewhere Over the Rainbow
Perfect Octave Descending — Mozart Symphony No. 29
Looking for a hands-on approach to intervals?
For ideas on how to teach intervals, remember to check out the companion post, Ear training Interval Dash, off-the-bench teaching strategy [Printables]!
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Video of the Week
The Hanging Tree (Late Intermediate, Level 6), has a haunting quality of a lost father’s voice and bird echoes in a forest. From the print and eBook Madge’s Notebook, A Piano Tribute to The Hunger Games, Early Intermediate to Early Advanced piano, music that is a bright light in a dark world. Or, check out The Hanging Tree eSheet!