Effective Pitching Exercises –
Pitching exercises come in a great number of forms and variety, and the exercises that we are going to discuss in this section are actually derived from a previous musical scale that we have learnt!
Major Intervals actually do come from Major Scales, which we have already discussed previously in an earlier section, and the various intervals comprise of each of the notes in a major scale.
There are 7 basic Major Intervals, and they are as follows:
1. Major 2nd
2. Major 3rd
3. Perfect 4th
4. Perfect 5th
5. Major 6th
6. Major 7th
7. Perfect 8th
These intervals come from the various notes of the major scale, and would describe the distance between 2 specific notes from the scale. For example, a Major 3rd would simply mean the interval between the 1st note and the 3rd note of the major scale, thus the name ‘Major 3rd’. In fact, intervals describe the distance between any 2 notes that we play or sing, but for simplicity’s sake, i have restricted the intervals to begin on the 1st note of the major scale, so that we can understand the idea of intervals more easily!
Major intervals are such great pitching exercises because they teach us how to do pitch jumps, which refers to singing pitches across a certain distance. For example, a Major 3rd would teach us how to sing across a distance of 3 notes! Learning how to do this well will help us when we sing, because song melodies are basically a collection of different pitches laid side by side, with various pitch jumps and intervals between them.
Here is the diagram for the structure of the Major Scale, for us to see how we can relate this to Major Intervals:
Looking at the diagram, we would know that if we were to wish to play a Major 6th interval, we can play the 1st note of the respective major scale (in this case, a ‘C’ note) and the 6th note of the scale (in this case, an ‘A’ note), and this would be our Major 6th interval. We would then be able to use this as a pitching exercise, and learn how to pitch from a C note to an A note!
If we were to look at this from a solfege point of view, with the basic solfege major scale:
For those who wish to practise singing these Major Interval Pitching Exercises, I have prepared some music for your usage! In the music, i have played the 1st note of the scale slightly longer at the start for you to catch the key of the scale. After the 1st note, the major intervals are played consecutively one after another, ie Major 2nd played first (Doh and Re) then a Major 3rd is played (Doh and Mi) and so on, until the entire Major Scale has been covered and all the 7 basic Major Intervals have been played, with the final ending note back to the starting note, which is the basic Doh note.
In this way, you will be able to test your pitching for all the major intervals, and it will also be easier to do so because the intervals are played in the order of increasing distance, so that should make it easier for you to sing the intervals well!
Also, when singing Intervals, it is extremely easy to commit the common singing problem of ‘Raising Your Head’ because as the pitches get higher, our natural tendency would be to look higher and higher, and our head gets raised higher and higher!
Do read up about this common singing problem, as well as many others in the previous section, and you will know how to avoid the warning signs once they appear! Here is the practice music you will need for singing the Major Interval Pitching Exercises:
For those who wish to play the various Major Intervals on the piano or keyboard, do refer to the note charts that i have provided below, listing out all the basic Major Intervals for each Major Scale, so that you will be able to conduct your own pitching exercises wherever and whenever you have access to a musical instrument!
Master all of these Major Intervals and you will be well on your way to full mastery of your pitching whenever you sing!