How to be able to write down the notes in your head and recognize the intervals?
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Old 05-02-2013, 06:28 AM   #1
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How to be able to write down the notes in your head and recognize the intervals?

I've only been writing music for a few months and never played any instrument before and one thing that annoys me is that I'll be making sounds and jamming on my midi keyboard and I find a few notes or chord progressions that I like, but I can't finish them.

I can hear what the next notes should be in my head, but I don't know their names and where they are on the keyboard and by the time I find them by punching random notes (and I don't always find them), I completely forgot the first notes and the progression/melody.

How can I learn to recognize those notes in my head so I can write them down? What's the best way to study them so I can remember them asap.

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Old 05-02-2013, 06:44 AM   #2
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Re: How to be able to write down the notes in your head and recognize the intervals?

I have almost the same problem. My solution was to find a companion that knows his stuff. So that's one and the other solution is to start learning music theory. You should at least know the basics anyway.
There are programs that will help you as well. There are vsts and other stuff out there. What software do you use?
You should memorize some chords and the notes that fit in and then combine it all.

Logic:

there's similar stuff for Ableton as well and some vst's,...

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Old 05-02-2013, 08:19 AM   #3
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Re: How to be able to write down the notes in your head and recognize the intervals?

I read one book about music theory so I know about scales and chords and progressions.

I'm not against learning more but I don't understand how it would help me to know how to read music and learn how notes and chords play together. Seems like it would only restrain me. I might be wrong and I'm open to other ideas.

I already know what the sound is in my head. I can actually sing the melody or progression I want, if I don't write it down quickly I forget. I could record it into melodyne or something and find out what I'm singing but again it would mess with my flow.
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Old 05-02-2013, 08:24 AM   #4
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Re: How to be able to write down the notes in your head and recognize the intervals?

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Old 05-02-2013, 08:56 AM   #5
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Re: How to be able to write down the notes in your head and recognize the intervals?

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Originally Posted by frenchboy View Post
I'm not against learning more but I don't understand how it would help me to know how to read music and learn how notes and chords play together. Seems like it would only restrain me. I might be wrong and I'm open to other ideas.
Why would learning theory restrain you? Still allowed to break the rules when you know them.
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Old 05-02-2013, 02:30 PM   #6
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Re: How to be able to write down the notes in your head and recognize the intervals?

yeah you just need ear training. A friend of mine attended a jazz music school and in one of his class he did interval recognition ; after a month I could play two notes and he'd go "hmmmm perfect fourth".
your brain needs to learn to associate a difference in sound and an interval
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Old 05-02-2013, 03:56 PM   #7
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Re: How to be able to write down the notes in your head and recognize the intervals?

An easy way to learn intervals is; associate an song with an interval.

Jaws = Semitone

Happy Birthday = Major 2nd

The Start of Green Sleeves - Minor 3rd

Rock Around the Clock = Major 3rd

Here Comes the Bride - Perfect 4th

Twincle Twincle - Perfect 5th

Love story - Minor 6th

Jingle Bells (Dashing through the snow) Major 6th

Start of the old 'Milk Tray Add' - Minor 7th

Super Man - Major 7th

Some where over the rainbow - Octave

I have added some more examples on intervals below including youtube links, you should try learn two a week.

Song Name Interval Reference
Beatles: Yesterday Major Second (M2) Descending Youtube
Beatles: Hey Jude Minor Third (m3) Descending Youtube
Guy Beart: L'eau vive Major Third (M3) Descending Youtube
Low Rider Minor Third (m3) Ascending Youtube
Chrono Cross: Galdove Minor Third (m3) Descending Youtube
Cat Stevens: Morning has Broken Major Third (M3) Ascending Youtube
Xenogears: Valley where... Minor Third (m3) Ascending Youtube
Swing Low, Sweet Chariot Major Third (M3) Descending Youtube
West Side Story: Maria Tritone Ascending Youtube
Megaman 2. Dr. Wiley's Castle Tritone Ascending Youtube
Chrono Cross: (Blah, generic) Tritone Ascending Youtube
Blue Seven Tritone Descending Youtube
Saga Frontier 2: Thema Perfect Fifth Youtube
Bach: Little Fugue Perfect Fifth Youtube
Back to The Future Theme Perfect Fifth Youtube
Saga Frontier: Asellus Minor Sixth (m6) Ascending Youtube
Morning of the Carnival Minor Sixth (m6) Ascending Youtube
Chopin Nocturne Op.9 No.2 Major Sixth (M6) Ascending Youtube
Chrono Cross: Home Arni (aruni?) Major Sixth (M6) Ascending Youtube
1942: Vangelis Minor Sixth (m6) Ascending Youtube
Super Mario World Theme Major Sixth (M6) Ascending Youtube
FF7 Tifa's Theme Major Sixth (M6) Ascending Piano, Guitar
Phantom.. Opera: Music of the Night Major Sixth (M6) Descending Youtube
Il etait un petit navire Major Sixth (M6) Descending Youtube
Maman les petits bateaux Minor Seventh (m7) Ascending Youtube
Star Trek Minor Seventh (m7) Ascending Youtube
Pure Imagination Major Seventh (M7) Ascending Youtube
Superman Major Seventh (M7) Ascending Youtube
Bali Ha'i Major Seventh (M7) Ascending Youtube
FF7 Vincent's theme Major Seventh (M7) Ascending Youtube, Original
FF3 Celes Major Seventh (M7) Descending Midi, YT, Piano
Nada Surf: Popular Major Seventh (M7) Ascending Grooveshark
Zanarkand 8 Descending Youtube
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Old 05-02-2013, 04:08 PM   #8
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Re: How to be able to write down the notes in your head and recognize the intervals?

Just incase you don't know the tunes mentioned in the previous post, I found this table which may help..


Musical Intervals Songs To Remember Them By
Major Intervals
Major 2nd Happy Birthday Song - 2nd and 3rd notes
My Funny Valentine - 1st 2 notes
Major 3rd Oh When The Saints - 1st 2 notes
Perfect 4th Auld Lang Syne -1st 2 notes
Amazing Grace -1st 2 notes
Perfect 5th Twinkle Twinkle - 2nd and 3rd notes
Lavender's Blue -1st 2 notes
Major 6th My Bonnie -1st 2 notes
Angels (Robbie Williams) -1st 2 notes
Major 7th Superman Theme
Somewhere Over The Rainbow - 1st and 3rd notes
Perfect 8th Somewhere Over The Rainbow -1st 2 notes
Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire -1st 2 notes
Minor Intervals
Minor 2nd Jaws Theme Music
Minor 3rd Greensleeves - 1st 2 notes
Brahm's Lullaby -2nd and 3rd notes
Minor 6th Love Story - 3rd and 4th notes
The Entertainer - 3rd and 4th notes
Minor 7th There's A Place For Us (West Side Story)
Theme from the Original Star Trek
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Old 05-02-2013, 04:09 PM   #9
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Re: How to be able to write down the notes in your head and recognize the intervals?

that's...not easy. Even more work than just train your ear
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Old 05-02-2013, 04:14 PM   #10
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Re: How to be able to write down the notes in your head and recognize the intervals?

Get a mic. Hum, sing, whatever the other notes in. so u get a whole line. then find it with midi.

Also the best way is probably doing what you are doing. in time you learn how far you must jump up or down to find the note/sound you are looking for.
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Old 05-02-2013, 04:17 PM   #11
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Re: How to be able to write down the notes in your head and recognize the intervals?

ear training sounds like like the best way... it takes time but eventually you will be able to recognize the intervals between notes and even certain chords...

if you have an iphone/ipad i can recommend this little app (there is a basic free version and a pro version):

www DOT karajan-eartrainer DOT com/en/
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Old 06-02-2013, 04:28 PM   #12
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Re: How to be able to write down the notes in your head and recognize the intervals?

Practice (mr. obvious lol). Look up some videos how to play scales, arpeggios etc, then just play play play, learn some theory as you move from scale to scale (it makes much more sense if you can play it and hear the relations/ differences) . You know, people who can write down those notes in their heads are in no way different than you, they don`t have some secret abilities that you are missing, they just have worked more, mostly pure mechanical repeating same stuff over and over until it becomes natural to just reach to keyboard and hands do their stuff on their own. Good luck, just believe you can do it.
Good book for a beginner:
Music Theory for Computer Musicians by Michael Hewitt. Just search for it.
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Old 06-02-2013, 04:52 PM   #13
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Re: How to be able to write down the notes in your head and recognize the intervals?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Yanisaxaddict View Post
Song Name Interval Reference
Beatles: Yesterday Major Second (M2) Descending Youtube
Beatles: Hey Jude Minor Third (m3) Descending Youtube
Guy Beart: L'eau vive Major Third (M3) Descending Youtube
Low Rider Minor Third (m3) Ascending Youtube
Chrono Cross: Galdove Minor Third (m3) Descending Youtube
Cat Stevens: Morning has Broken Major Third (M3) Ascending Youtube
Xenogears: Valley where... Minor Third (m3) Ascending Youtube
Swing Low, Sweet Chariot Major Third (M3) Descending Youtube
West Side Story: Maria Tritone Ascending Youtube
Megaman 2. Dr. Wiley's Castle Tritone Ascending Youtube
Chrono Cross: (Blah, generic) Tritone Ascending Youtube
Blue Seven Tritone Descending Youtube
Saga Frontier 2: Thema Perfect Fifth Youtube
Bach: Little Fugue Perfect Fifth Youtube
Back to The Future Theme Perfect Fifth Youtube
Saga Frontier: Asellus Minor Sixth (m6) Ascending Youtube
Morning of the Carnival Minor Sixth (m6) Ascending Youtube
Chopin Nocturne Op.9 No.2 Major Sixth (M6) Ascending Youtube
Chrono Cross: Home Arni (aruni?) Major Sixth (M6) Ascending Youtube
1942: Vangelis Minor Sixth (m6) Ascending Youtube
Super Mario World Theme Major Sixth (M6) Ascending Youtube
FF7 Tifa's Theme Major Sixth (M6) Ascending Piano, Guitar
Phantom.. Opera: Music of the Night Major Sixth (M6) Descending Youtube
Il etait un petit navire Major Sixth (M6) Descending Youtube
Maman les petits bateaux Minor Seventh (m7) Ascending Youtube
Star Trek Minor Seventh (m7) Ascending Youtube
Pure Imagination Major Seventh (M7) Ascending Youtube
Superman Major Seventh (M7) Ascending Youtube
Bali Ha'i Major Seventh (M7) Ascending Youtube
FF7 Vincent's theme Major Seventh (M7) Ascending Youtube, Original
FF3 Celes Major Seventh (M7) Descending Midi, YT, Piano
Nada Surf: Popular Major Seventh (M7) Ascending Grooveshark
Zanarkand 8 Descending Youtube
never realized how behind I am on learning my ascending and descending youtubes!
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Old 06-02-2013, 04:58 PM   #14
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Re: How to be able to write down the notes in your head and recognize the intervals?

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Originally Posted by Lug View Post
that's...not easy. Even more work than just train your ear

it's actually very easy and fast if you try it

the hard part of ear training is to be able to actually hear the interval in your head, remembering a tune is a lot easier than an out-of context interval
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Old 06-02-2013, 05:11 PM   #15
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Re: How to be able to write down the notes in your head and recognize the intervals?

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Originally Posted by Lug View Post
that's...not easy. Even more work than just train your ear
The method i mentioned is just a way of remembering the intervals, it's not something you have to do. But it can be difficult to remember an interval without associating it with a tune
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Old 06-02-2013, 07:43 PM   #16
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Re: How to be able to write down the notes in your head and recognize the intervals?

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Originally Posted by Yanisaxaddict View Post
The method i mentioned is just a way of remembering the intervals, it's not something you have to do. But it can be difficult to remember an interval without associating it with a tune
Man your advice is really nice. I like it a lot.
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Old 07-02-2013, 02:56 AM   #17
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Re: How to be able to write down the notes in your head and recognize the intervals?

I'm glad that I was of some help.. thanks crude_beats :victory:
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Old 07-02-2013, 10:07 AM   #18
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Re: How to be able to write down the notes in your head and recognize the intervals?

I know it's simple, but what I do is just get down the main one voice melody on ableton, and then I play around with adding the intervals after. I feel like it helps in the discovery process more!
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Old 07-02-2013, 02:17 PM   #19
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Re: How to be able to write down the notes in your head and recognize the intervals?

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I know it's simple, but what I do is just get down the main one voice melody on ableton, and then I play around with adding the intervals after. I feel like it helps in the discovery process more!
I know learning intervals is valuable, especially if you are playing over chord changes and you want to highlight chord tones. But as you said, simply laying down the root and using your ear to harmonize works just as well for laying down tracks. It is handy to know that; a major chord is is built on the 1st, 3rd and 5th degree of the scale likewise a minor chord..

This you may find useful.

Major chord - 1, 3, 5 of whatever major key you choose.

Minor chord - 1, b3, 5 of any major scale you choose.

Due to the intervalic structure, it is useful to know your intervals, so you know that the 1 - 3 is a major 3rd and the 3 to 5 is a minor third in a major key.

1-b3 is a minor 3rd and b3 to 5 is a major third.

Knowing your chord tones will speed things up a little.

I hope this was helpful
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Old 07-02-2013, 11:35 PM   #20
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Re: How to be able to write down the notes in your head and recognize the intervals?

I usually just play the "riff" on an acoustic guitar, then figure out which notes, then write it in MIDI.

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