First published in Victory Review, January 2000.
Singing intervals is a great way to improve your musical ear, whether you're a singer or instrumentalist. For some intervals, though, it's easier said than done. A time-honored trick is to sing the beginning of a specific song that contains a desired interval in the first two notes. For example, the first two notes of "Over the Rainbow" form an ascending octave. Other songs can be used in a similar way to produce other intervals.
The chart below lists songs whose first two notes form specific intervals.
Most of the songs are in major keys (some are minor). The scale tones
are given in parentheses, using the following shorthand: 1d = the first
major scale tone, or "doh"; 2r = "ray"; 3m = "me";
4f = "fa"; 5s = "so"; 6l = "la"; and 7t
= "tee." Whenever possible, 1d is one of the two melody notes,
so you can relate the interval to the key the song is in.
Min 2nd up: "I Love Lucy" (7t - 1d); "White Christmas"
(3m - 4f)
Maj 2nd up: "Frere Jacques"; "Do-Re-Mi" (both
1d - 2r)
Min 3rd up: "California Dreamin" (1d to min3);
Maj 3rd up: "Kumbaya"; "I Thought About You"
(both 1d - 3m)
4th up: "Love Me Tender"; "All the Things You Are"
(both 5s up to 1d)
5th up: "Chim Chim Cher-ee"; "My Favorite Things"
(both 1d - 5s)
Min 6th up: "Black Orpheus" (5s up to min3)
Maj 6th up: "Jingle Bells" ("dashing...") (5s
Maj 7th up: Use 1st & 3rd notes of "Over the Rainbow"
Octave up: "Over the Rainbow"; "The Christmas Song"
(both 1d - 1d)
© Copyright 2000 by Richard Middleton.
All rights reserved.
Richard Middleton is a musician, songwriter, producer, educator, and writer based in Seattle. He is the author of "Rhythm Guitar Secrets" (Countersine), and his music writing has also appeared in Smithsonian magazine, Victory Review, and SingOut! magazine.
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