In my ear-training classes I often like to work with the smallest possible tonal units, little groups of syllables that are the basic vocabulary of the larger melodies we see. I do an exercise I call "Call and Response," in which I simply play these cells and the students sing them back to me in solfege. Also, when a student has trouble figuring things out I make him or her sing cells in order to get oriented. This is the essential skill that underlies the sight-singing and dictation curriculum! If a student can't identify a simple string of three syllables, he or she is not going to be able to transcribe a melody et cetera.
(In beginner's ear training you can focus on your intervals or you can think about scale degrees. I do this work with cells instead of drilling intervals. I use movable do.)
Singing Cells for PC is an attempt to build a "Call and Response Machine" that the student can use at home. There are two ways to use it:
- For basic singing practice, display the syllables on the screen first, sing the figure, and then play the cell. See how what you sang matches what the computer plays.
If the initial set of cells is too easy for you, choose File->Open and try a more harmonically advanced set.
New Nov '05 - I added an "automatic" mode in response to a request by Ryan Herr. This should be handy if you are working with an instrument.
Download singingcells.zip (441K).
Unzip all of the files to a single directory. Click on Singcells.exe to start. You should even be able to do this on a lab computer, friends computer etc. without screwing anything up -- just delete the whole directory when you are done!
If what I just said doesn't make any sense, click on this tutorial for installing the program.