Tuesday, September 27, 2011

How to hear augmented six chords

In my "real" job, I teach, among other things, a subject called "ear training." Ear training, as I think I explained in a previous post, is meant to develop the skill of looking at music and knowing what it sounds like without having to play it on an instrument, with the complementary skill of being able to hear music and then write it down in various forms.

Though it is not science per se, I thought I'd take this opportunity to bring two of my YouTube channels together and share another side of my teaching through song. (I maintain a separate channel for my supplementary learning videos for my ear training class.)

Last spring, I wrote several songs for this class. Some were just silly. But I was really proud of my "International Chords Song," which was written to help understand and remember how to hear what we call German, French, and Neapolitan 6 chords. Sure enough, my class did better on the harmony section of that test than on any previous test, despite the fact that the material was more challenging.

So, unless you already have some training in music theory and know what these chords are, this song may make no sense to you, but please enjoy the International Chords Song:

Lyrics after the jump:

Sometimes I like to hear some German,
Sometimes I like to hear some French,
Sometimes I like to hear a nice diminished seven,
Or some other chords that I won't even mention...

The German chord resolves "le so" and "fi so",
The French chord is just like it, but with "re" instead of "me"
But though I love these nationalities so,
Neapolitan makes my day;
Neapolitan makes my day.

©2011 David Newman