TECHNICAL QUESTIONS

When you sing in the Session Window, MelodEar displays the square of the pitch you are singing , like this :

If the pitch you sing is not displayed, please check the following points :

  •  Make sure the mic icon is ON (black) like this : (IOS) (Androïd)
  • In the SETTINGS : Make sure the auto-scroll is ON   ( it could just be that the note you are singing is off the current screen)
  • Make sure your headphones are recognised by your device. Make sure you use official quality headphones and adapters for everything to work smoothly
  • Make sure you are not in the free version of MelodEar

For each of this levels of practice , I think it is great and healthy to alternate 3 wayss of working :

1 singing the numbers / 2 still reading but not naming the numbers anymore / 3 singing by ear

Here it is not a gradual difficulty thing between 1 and 3, it’s just that each way of working has its own specific quality for the learning.

1. singing the numbers : is great to clarify what you are doing and also planting the seeds in your memory. Overmonths, singing the numbers will get you memorize naturally the degrees of the modes. Be careful not to rely too much on the reading though, and make sure you rely on your harmonic ear to relate to the chord and the mode.

2. still reading but not naming the numbers anymore : is the perfect transition between 1 and 3 🙂

3. singing by ear : is the reality check : if you Ear has worked properly, you should after a while be able to do by ear what you did with the reading, thanks to body and ear memory. If there is nothing left when you work by ear, it maybe that you need to consolidate more 1 and 2, OR that you rely too much on the reading.

LEVEL 1- SINGLE MODE PRACTICE

see the chapter ‘ the beginner’s playground’ in the ‘musical questions’ section of this FAQ.

skills associated :

. being able to read and memorize a single mode

. improvise on the mode singing the numbers

. improvise in the mode without reading, just by ear

. being able to distinguish and sing tones (1 square between the notes) and semi-tones ( no square between the notes). This skill will allow you to be a good reader. Be patient : this skill will come gradually : the more modes you know, the better you will be at reading.

LEVEL 2 : bi-mode practice

. learn all the melodic pathways between the 2 modes in your Ear ( lesson 7 of the MelodEar Training)

Use the skip button between chords, so you can take all the necessary time to find the next note when you switch mode

. Improvise between the 2 modes with the skip button

. Gradually add more modes ( 3, 4, 5)

LEVEL 3 : JAZZ STANDARD PRACTICE

same method as in lesson 7 . always start to work on the passages from one mode to the next in the tune before you play in the whole standard.

LEVEL 4 : play with melodic patterns

first in a single mode

second in the bi-mode practice

3d in a jazz standard

For starters, it is important that you start with a one-simple-mode practice to figure out the basic process of MelodEar, NOT a tune with several modes or a jazz standards. The latest are way to hard to process at once, unless you are already very advanced.

Please follow the chapter ‘ THE BEGINNER’S PLAYGROUND’ in the ‘musical questions’ section of this FAQ, you will then be guided step by step

1. Go to the standard section of the library, pick up the tune you would like to edit 

2. drag the stripe of the tune to the left and copy them to ‘ my songs’

3. go to the ‘my songs’ section of the library and EDIT it from there

1.Open the song you would like to transpose and go to ‘Edit’

2. In the edit section tap the multiple selection button :

3. select the 1st and last bars of the section you would like to transpose (or of the whole tune if you would like to transpose the whole tune), the whole section will appear in dark. Then use the arrows to transpose by semi-tones , and the b/# to change the key if necessary.

 

In the IOS version of MelodEar YES ! On Androïd not yet , but it will soon !

How do I create a new chord on IOS ?

1.Go to the Edit window :

2. In the Edit window, press the + next to the chord title  :

3. In the create chord window :

. Enter the notes of your chord as it would be in C with the vertical keyboard ( you can preview it with the play button), and give it a name. 

After doing this , the chord will be in your chord options permanently , you will be able to use it with any note and its compatibility with the modes will be all taken care of by MelodEar.

In the IOS version of MelodEar YES ! On Androïd not yet , but it will soon !

How do I create my own mode on IOS ?

1.Go to the Edit window :

2. In the Edit window, press the + next to the mode title  :

3. In the create mode window :

 

4. Create your mode by shifting the notes of the default mode , and give it a name. You can do everything you want : add notes, remove some, rename them…

. Give it a name and you’re done !

Once you created your chord, it will be in your mode options permanently, and its compatibility with the chords of the library.

is  the major 7th ( seventh)

7 is the minor 7th


MUSICAL QUESTIONS

YES, absolutely ! You can really start from scratch with MelodEar, you just need a little guidance, the use of your Ear and the vocal keyboard in MelodEar. The musical understanding will come step by step on the way.

We are aware that the interface of MelodEar can be impressing because all the layers of complexity are appearant at once. You may be facing a huge number of names and notions to process, and be overwhelmed, or just tell yourself it is not for you because you don’t understand anything to the chord symbols, the modes names, the interface even… But the good news is that you can ignore all that names and stuff , and just go straight to the practice !

Please follow the next chapter ‘ BEGINNER’S PLAYGROUND’

 

The 1st key is to have fun learning the basics. For starters, we suggest that you totally limit your playground to a single-mode practice. It is a wonderful opportunity to play with the mode colors and learn the basic intervals at once !

Melodic modes to music are like colors to painting : wonderful expressive vectors of expression. Your palette of melodic modes in your ear is your palette of colours !

We do recommand that you read the minimum theory-pack (next subjec in the FAQ)  but if you want to dive in NOW , you have 2 ways to it :

1. Use the Practice modes in the library, the order will give you a gradual learning of modes.

OR

2. Pick-up your own mode

Press the Edit Button

 Then press the mode>chord button

and pick-up a mode you wish to work on in the list.

You can preview the mode by clicking on it. Then choose a chord, and you’re ready to go !

( all the chords suggested are compatible with the mode, you can preview them as well).

 

 

A melodic interval is the melodic distance between 2 notes in the low / treble range.The elementary ( the smallest ) interval in occidental music is the semi-tone. There are small and big intervals but for now you just need to know 2 of them :  . the semi-tone (small) /. the tone (a bit bigger).

A melodic mode ( or scale ) technically is a particular sequence of notes separated by Melodic intervals ( mostly tones and semi-tones),  that gives a particular expressive color to the music. You can play with these notes up and down , but also skip notes and create melodic phrases with these notes , shuffling their order. ( e.g : I can play or sing the phrase 1-5-2-4-3= C-G-D-F-E). So a mode is definitely a playground in itself and an infinite well of melodies !

In MelodEar the notes of the modes are expressed in numbers, from bottom (low notes) to top ( high notes). Each square is a semi-tone , which is an absolute key to rely on when you sing using the grid :

 

Even if you have no clue of how to sing a semi-tone or a tone, you will learn to sing and distinguish them over months using the vocal keyboard.

The vocal keyboard : you can press any colored square to be able to hear the note of the square. By this process you can learn any mode.

A chord is a set of notes played simultaneously. Chords are played on the piano in MelodEar.

Chords and Modes

To put it very simply, in music, chords match modes and modes match chords. Chords give it a harmonic landscape and Melody can be seen as the front narrative line. They play together beautifully in all kinds of music, but specially in jazz, were we tend to give each chord a special mode to enrich and open the improv as much as possible.

In MelodEar you can either start choosing a Melodic mode you want to work on, and then a chord matching the mode / or / choose a chord  and then choose a mode matching the chord. Either way switching with the mode>chord Button in the Edit window :

But of course any mode cannot match any chord. In MelodEar the compatibility between chords and modes  is totally taken care of, so you don’ t have to worry about it or to know theory, you can choose any element suggested in the list  according to your ear’s taste.

The compatibility chord(s) > mode(s) 

In MelodEar you can either start choosing a Melodic mode you want to work on, and then a chord matching the mode / or / choose a chord  and then choose a mode matching the chord. Either way switching with the mode>chord Button in the Edit window :

Of course any mode cannot match any chord. 

But In MelodEar the compatibility between chords and modes is all taken care of, so you don’ t have to worry about that, you can choose any element of the suggested chords and modes according to your ear’s taste…

But since you ask 🙂 : basicly a chord matches a mode because the notes of the mode include the notes of the chord.

Introduction : it would be interesting to simply ask what it is to ‘ learn’ a melodic mode. I would say the final purpose would be to be able to improvise freely in this mode’s color without any thinking. It’s certain that you already have this with a lot of simple modes. But it is also very likely that a new mode with a new melodic color will require a little process ( fighting familiar habits to get to a new zone). And it’s at that point that you may need a tool like MelodEar.

3 steps to learn a new mode :

Step 1 :Play, Hear & Memorize the mode

. Open the new mode you want to work on in the session window ( check ‘the beginner’s playground chapter if necessary)

. auto-play the chord ( you can adjust the chord and the voice volumes in the settings)


. Play the mode with the vocal keyboard : tap each coloured square of the mode slowly from the bottom 1 to the top 1 and listen carefully the color of each note

. Repeat this several times and gradually sing along with the support of the keyboard

. Gradually remove the keyboard until you can sing the mode by yourself with just the chord

you can repeat the process later on if necessary for long-term memory.

Step 2 : Have a litle walk in the mode

. Sing the mode up and down, change direction at different points of the mode , and try to explore beneath the bottom 1 note and beyond the top 1

Step 3 : Improvise by Ear trying to stick to the mode’s colour. If your not sure , repeat step 2 until you have no doubt.

For Steps 2 and 3, you can refer to Lesson 2 of the MelodEar Training. (Meet and master a new mode).

Advanced exercises on single mode practice in lesson 3 to 6 !

It is possible that the chord you are looking for is not in MelodEar, but it is very likely that it is registered under a different name.

1. If you can’t find the chord you are looking for, try and tap the button here in the edit chords & modes window :

It will show you the different names of the same chords here :

For starters it is important to mention that it is in project to implement the moveable do System in MelodEar in the future ! because I know a lot of you would prefer to have the possibility to work with a constant tonal center.

constant tonal center would mean that the 1 would be always the note of the current key. And the different modes of your tune would be expressed in relation to the 1 of the tonal center, and not from the 1 of each chord independantly.

This being said, I would like to explain why this method is using the current system where 1 is always the fondamental note of the current chord/mode.

I really think that we don’t want to try to prove that one system would be better than the other, but to just examin the + and – of each system. So I will try to demonstrate why the current system for me is developing more advantages in the learning process.

If I totally understand that it makes more sense for educated instrumentalists like that already are aware of the notes place in the harmony ( for instance on a A7 you know immediately that Bb is the b9 of the chord), this system would be more confusing for singers or people with no notions of harmony. With the current system they can know in a glance which note of the mode they are singing, and so know how it should sound. ( I dont sing a 6th the way I will sing a #9). I think it’s something singers will understand more easily. I think instrumentalists have a lot to gain here too, because for some reason I’m almost certain that experiencing the physical print of the each note gives density, musicality and strengh to each note you play on your instrument, because you feel it in your bones and Ear.
– it also stabilises the color prints of the notes & modes, as well as the musical intercourses for the memory to process them. Each time you sing a 6th on the dorian mode for instance, it sounds the same. So it’s way easier to memorize than being on a note and not really ( or always) knowing what is this note in the harmony.  It also stabalises the memory of prhases. The same phrase on a given chord is always numbered the same , as oposite to the notes system.
But again, I totally agree your point : the current interface of MelodEar is not showing the tonal intercourses of the chords. But I can assure you that on a practical level, it’s really powerful to do this work. I’ ve been using this method for 15 years now , with singers & instrumentalists, and at the end of the day the language is secondary : by doing this things start to change very deeply.

Let’s put something very clear : the work here is NOT to learn to read music, even if it can definitely be a valuable side effect of practicing with MelodEar. 

It is really about developing your Harmonic Ear in the form of 2 main skills :

Skill 1 : Harmonic sensitivity to a chord

Develop a sensitive Harmonic Ear means that your Ear learns to deeply and accurately identify what is there in the chord,  and instinctly use this information to find the relevant mode. This is more an impregnation than an intellectual process.

Skill 2 : When the chord/mode changes I know where to go up or down to the closest note

This skill is something that is not often discussed in the learning of improvisation, and yet I think it is very helpful to be able to flow throught harmonies. These melodic passages + your ability to switch consciously from one mode to the next in your Ear is what will allow you being totally free improvising through harmonies.

Again it is not an intellectuall process, more an Ear organic process.

So why do we need to read and sing the numbers then ?

Here comes the subtle part : Yes the purpose is to just get a sensitive harmonic ear, but the process needs some reading , why ? :

. The reading is a way to control what you sing and being able to sing things that you wouldn’t sing naturally at 1st . Of course it will get natural later. To put it differently : if you don’t read you will always rely on the same brain/ear connexions. When you want to create new connexions, or learn new things, you need to have a very reliable instrument  that will be stronger than what your old habits want to drag you in. This is the reading.

. When you do the harmonic ear work, sometimes , specially if you work right, you will have times when your ear does not have the melodic answer. A hole. A blank. This blank or hole is actually a good news : it is an invitation to create a new connexion. But you don’t want to be pro-active in filling this blank. You need to focus and wait , in the passive, that the answer comes naturally. The reading will help supporting this process too, but it’s not supposed to replace the process !