shred like rango #2: ear training 101

no instruments required, just show up and say ‘hi’.

you: ‘hi’

hold the axe, let's just talk

hold the axe, let’s just talk

you should know the pitch of your natural speaking voice. let’s just start there before we get fancy and reach for a guitar, that’s just asking for trouble. it’s really a tonal range, but there’s a median pitch that is your conversationally neutral tone. as you stress words for emphasis (or correct diction i you’re speaking a tonal language) your pitch changes.

this can be a tricky test because you’ll want to ‘sing’ or speak in your DJ voice. “be natural” is easy advice to give but surprisingly hard. here’s an exercise to help identify the pitch. best done alone since the heisenburg uncertainty principle may be at play in people :-D. self-consciousness impedes the test.

just read this out loud:

roses are red
violets are blue
1,000 times a day
i’m thinking of you

i use three discrete tones when i say that, and i bet you do, to. the first word, ‘roses’ establishes the neutral tone, let’s call it the tonic. from the tonic i raise my voice for ‘are’ and drop it again for ‘red, violets are’. the word ‘blue’ i say in a third tone, lower than the other two.

i’m pretty sing-songy so your mileage may vary. if you’re more monotone, well then you’ve just discovered something about yourself :-D.

the tonic, your neutral tone, is the pitch of your voice. your next objective is to go find that note on a piano or a guitar or any other properly tuned instrument. it may not be a perfect match to a named-tone, but you may surprise yourself and discover that it is. would love to see some quantitative research on a centile scale of semitones about the distribution of the population’s neutral tone relative to the named tones of the chromatic scale and see if there’s an even distribution or if we self-acclimate to the named pitches.

MM-101: A is for aleph

MM-101: A is for aleph

it will come as no surprise to those following along that my neutral speaking voice is the A two octaves below middle C, but it’s possible the ringing in my ears is impacting it unnaturally. it’s also interesting to observe that when you’re listening to music how that impacts the results of the same test immediately before and after you listen to a piece in a particular key signature. that’s a significant variable to account for if there’s ever any research done.

also, what pitch did you say ‘hi’ in? hmmmm…


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