More Effective Pitching Exercises –
Another set of effective pitching exercises are what we call the Minor Intervals, which are very similar to another set of intervals we learnt in a previous chapter – Major Intervals. Click on the link provided if you wish to revise these intervals first before proceeding with this new section!
Minor Intervals are so called because most of them (but not all) are derived from the Minor Scale and its notes. Here are the various Minor Intervals:
1. Minor 2nd
2. Minor 3rd
3. Perfect 4th
4. Perfect 5th
5. Minor 6th
6. Minor 7th
7. Perfect 8th
Minor intervals basically describe the distance between two notes, and if you look at the intervals listed above, you will notice that some of these intervals are similar to the list of Major Intervals provided in a previous section.
The reason for this is that for intervals like Perfect 4th, Perfect 5th and Perfect 8th, they cannot really be considered Major or Minor as they remain the same whether in a Major Scale or in a Minor Scale. However, i have listed them here because it is easier for you to learn these pitching exercises by visualizing the intervals going in increasing distance from a 2nd to an 8th.
As pitching exercises, Minor Intervals are slightly more challenging than Major Intervals in the sense that they are mostly 1 semitone smaller than the respective Major Intervals. (And that makes it all the more challenging!)
For example, a Major 3rd interval would have a distance of 4 semitones (between the Doh and the Mi note), whereas a Minor 3rd interval would have a distance of 3 semitones (1 less than its major relative).
For those who are interested in learning more about Minor Intervals and their structure, scroll downwards further and you will find some useful diagrams and tables for your interest!
I have certainly prepared some useful practice music for you to use when singing these Minor Interval Pitching Exercises, and the music is played in a similar manner as the music for the Major Intervals, ie the 1st note is sounded initially, followed by all the Minor Intervals played consecutively one after another, ending with the base note of the scale as the last note.
As usual, please do practise some vocal warmups before you sing these pitching exercises, and also make sure that you support your voice with your breath, and practise some of the advanced breathing exercises to challenge yourselves too!
Here is the practice music for the Minor Interval Pitching Exercises:
To construct the Minor Intervals in an A Minor Key, just start from the basic ‘A’ note, and then jump to whichever note in this scale. For example, if you were to sing or play an ‘A’ note followed by an ‘F’ note, you would be singing a Minor 6th interval! (F is the 6th note in the A Minor Scale)
If we were to write a list of Minor Intervals in solfege based on the key of ‘A’ Minor, it would look something like this:
1) 6 (Low La) – 7b (Low Ti Flat): Minor 2nd
2) 6 (Low La) – 1 (Doh): Minor 3rd
3) 6 (Low La) – 2 (Re): Perfect 4th
4) 6 (Low La) – 3 (Mi): Perfect 5th
5) 6 (Low La) – 4 (Fa): Minor 6th
6) 6 (Low La) – 5 (Sol): Minor 7th
7) 6 (Low La) – 6 (La): Perfect 8th
From the diagram, you would also be able to count the number of semitones between each of the notes for each interval, and by applying that number of semitones between any notes, you will be able to sing or play any Minor Intervals you desire!
This is also why Minor Intervals are such effective pitching exercises! They train you to be able to jump across distances of varying pitch intervals, and if you were able to master the Major and Minor intervals, you would already have covered most of the notes within the basic octave!
There are also other related exercises for us to practise, for example the various Major and Minor Arpeggios, or even the more challenging Arpeggio 7ths, which are a variation of the basic Arpeggios!
For those who are more musically inclined, here is a list of the various Minor Intervals, with various reference keys, for you to play these intervals at home and practise these exercises diligently to achieve a great singing voice that is always in tune!
Once we are able to master the various Major and Minor Interval Pitching Exercises, we will certainly be in greater mastery of our voices and our pitching when we sing, and this will be a great boost for us in our quest for great singing!
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