Ear Training: Introduction

Through the exercises in this book you will learn the unique color of each note in a harmonic context. You will need a drone for these exercises. You can download the tanpura sound files on https://www.ocf.berkeley.edu/~mrahaim/. Women should choose A sa-pa, men should choose C# sa-pa. Alternatively, you can get the Tanpura Studio app for iOS or Android.

If you don’t want to use these sound files, you can use anything else that is able to produce a root and a perfect fifth above the root, for example a piano, a guitar, a shruti box, a real tanpura, a sequencer software or an app that simulates a tanpura or shruti box. Choose a root that lies a perfect fourth above the lowest note you can sing.

Each note will get a specific syllable. You can either use the European solfège syllables or the Indian sargam syllables. The advantage of the solfège syllables is that there twelve different syllables, whereas some of the sargam syllables represent two different notes. Decide for yourself which syllables you want to use, but don’t mix them up. The syllables move with the key, so do/sa (solfège/sargam) is always the root and mi/ga is always the third.

We will begin with just a few notes and add more one by one. At the end we will have two different scales: lydian and phrygian. Both scales have two notes in common, the root and the perfect fifth. All the other notes are one half-step higher in lydian than in phrygian. Combined they encompass all twelve notes.