How to improve your dictation?

Theory and practice of composition and arranging for classical guitar, discussion of works in progress, etc.
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Composers' Workshop
Theory and practice of composition and arranging for classical guitar, discussion of works in progress, etc.

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How to improve your dictation?

Post by rjc7313 » Sun Nov 19, 2017 1:41 pm

I'm not sure if this is the tight forum for my question but anyway I'm looking for help on dictation.

I compose a lot of music however I always do this while at a piano or guitar because my dictation is awful. If U try to compose in my head without the help of an instrument I wouldn't know what notes I'm hearing in my head.
As you can imagine this severely limits my composing abilities so I really want to improve my dictation(to my knowledge most major composers would have wrote all their music in their head).

I know it's not possible to become perfect pitch but is there anyway to improve it a lot more? Any exercises, tips, websites you would recommend?

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Re: How to improve your dictation?

Post by Rasputin » Sun Nov 19, 2017 2:23 pm

There are quite a few iOS sightsinging apps - one is called Sight Sing Pro. You can cover the screen and notate what your hear rather than singing it. People also go on about an app called functional ear trainer, which is supposed to be revolutionary in that it is based on the idea that you relate everything to a scale and count up from the bottom to find the lower notes, or down from the top to find the higher notes. How that is revolutionary is totally beyond me, but of course it works.

Hearing where a note belongs in a scale is not the same thing as hearing the interval from the previous note and working it out that way. If dictation is your focus, I would avoid any apps that train interval recognition. I am not saying that is not a worthwhile skill, just to be clear, but I don't think it's the best single tool for this particular job.

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Re: How to improve your dictation?

Post by Stephen Kenyon » Sun Nov 19, 2017 8:03 pm

Much as the above post; I'd suggest take a guitar piece and sing the melody while playing the rest. Then try harmonising the melody in 3rd/6ths while playing the whole thing. Exercises like that, starting with very familiar simple harmony type pieces.
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Re: How to improve your dictation?

Post by PeteJ » Wed Dec 06, 2017 2:58 pm

This is a big topic. All possible exercises seem relevant. Perfect pitch is not an issue, it's relative pitch that matters.

It's probably just a question of doing the usual exercises. Ear training is a big part of any classical training and there's plenty of literature. I'd suggest that this is something best done with the help of a good music teacher and not necessarily a guitarist.

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Re: How to improve your dictation?

Post by CathyCate » Mon Dec 11, 2017 12:28 am

A back door approach and a useful exercise involves listening to music and following along on the score. There are so many different learning styles. This is more passive than other methods, but may help you to connect the dots. Pun intended.

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