The study of sight singing is one of the most important means of developing the ability to recognize ("to hear") mentally the sound of music notation on the printed page without the necessity of recourse to a musical instrument. For the professional musician, performer, or teacher, this skill is a necessity, while for others, achievement will greatly amplify the pleasures of musical activity in performance and listening.
To achieve success in sight singing, students must have large numbers of melodies available for practice. Once a melody has been sung, repetition is no longer "singing at first sight," although reviewing for study purposes is highly recommended. To this end, this volume includes 1,199 examples. Most of these are chosen from worldwide folk sources and a wide variety of composed music, ranging from melodies simpler than Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star to excerpts from Bartok string quartets. The remaining examples, written by the author, provide practice for rhythm alone, and for singing melodies composed only of adjacent scale steps, valuable for initial study but rarely found in music literature.
Each chapter presents only one new problem, either in rhythm or in melody, allowing students to concentrate on the newly introduced feature. Otherwise, no chapter will include any material not already presented in earlier chapters. For the dedicated student, this careful selection and grading of melodies guarantees steady and rewarding progress to a successful accomplishment of sight singing skills. Some of the changes in the new edition include:
- Additional melodies incorporating modulation and other uses of chromaticism.
- In manychapters, order of materials reorganized to reflect a better sequence from easy to more difficult.
- Revised and/or added materials in introductory statements, especially in the subjects of the hemiola, melodic use of the Neapolitan sixth harmony, and twentieth-century music.
- Numerous new melodies, including a "find" of easy but effective melodies by Schubert, especially in modulation and syncopation.
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Table of Contents
I. MELODY: DIATONIC INTERVALS. RHYTHM: DIVISION OF THE BEAT.
1. RHYTHM: Simple Time (Meter); The Beat and its Division Into Two Parts.
2. MELODY: Scale-line Melodies. RHYTHM: Simple Time; The Beat and its Division Into Two Parts.
3. MELODY: Intervals from the Tonic Triad, Major Keys. RHYTHM: Simple Time.
4. MELODY: Intervals from the Tonic Triad, Major Keys. RHYTHM: Compound Time; The Beat and its Division into Three Parts.
5. Minor Keys; Intervals from the Tonic Triad. RHYTHM: Simple and Compound Time.
6. Intervals from the Dominant (V) Triad; Major and Minor Keys. RHYTHM: Simple and Compound Time.
7. The C Clefs: Alto and Tenor Clefs.
8. MELODY: Further Use of Diatonic Intervals. RHYTHM: Simple and Compound Time.
9. MELODY: Intervals from the Dominant Seventh Chord V7; Other Diatonic Intervals of the Seventh. RHYTHM: Simple and Compound Time.
II. MELODY: DIATONIC INTERVALS. RHYTHM: SUBDIVISION OF THE BEAT.
10. RHYTHM: The Subdivision of the Beat; The Simple Beat into Four Parts; The Compound Beat into Six Parts.
11. MELODY: Intervals from the Tonic and Dominant Triads. RHYTHM: Subdivision in Simple and Compound Time.
12. MELODY: Further Use of Diatonic Intervals. RHYTHM: Subdivision in Simple and Compound Time.
III. MELODY: CHROMATICISM. RHYTHM:FURTHER RHYTHMIC PRACTICES.
13. MELODY: Chromaticism (I): Chromatic Nonharmonic Tones; Dominant of the Dominant Harmony (V/V); Modulation to the Key of the Dominant.
14. MELODY: Chromaticism (II): Modulation to Closely Related Keys; Additional Secondary Dominant Harmonies.
15. RHYTHM: Syncopation.
16. RHYTHM and MELODY: Triplet Division of Undotted Note Values; Duplet Division of Dotted Note Values.
17. RHYTHM and MELODY: Changing Time Signatures; The Hemiola; Less Common Time Signatures.
18. RHYTHM and MELODY: Further Subdivision of the Beat; Slow Tempo.
19. MELODY: Chromaticism (III): Additional Uses of Chromatic Tones; Remote Modulation.
IV. THE MEDIEVAL MODES and TWENTIETH-CENTURY MUSIC.
20. MELODY: The Medieval Modes.
21. Twentieth Century Music.
Appendix: Musical Terms.
To become successful in reading rhythm and singing pitches at sight, one must have at hand a considerable amount of material, for the simple reason that after the initial performance of an exercise, its repetition cannot again be considered singing at sight. That the sight-singing materials will provide a musical satisfaction greater than from routine exercises, the melodies included in this text are carefully chosen from the literature of composed music and from a wide range of the world's folk music. Music examples written especially for pedagogical purposes are kept to a minimum.
The materials chosen are so graded that the student is presented with just one musical problem, rhythmic or melodic, at a time. No example includes any element not already presented, allowing the student to progress easily from the simplest to the most complex materials. To facilitate each new presentation in either elementpitch or rhythmthe opening examples of each chapter make use only of the simplest materials of the other element.
Prerequisite to the study of sight singing is a working knowledge of some of the basic aspects of music theory, these often taught under titles beginning with "Introduction," "Rudiments," or "Fundamentals".' In the area of pitch, these are especially important: (1) the ability to spell, write, and sing all major and minor scales, (2) the ability to write all major and minor key signatures, and (3) the ability to recognize the key from the given key signature. In the area of rhythm, a knowledge of note values and the interpretation of time (meter) signatures is necessary. Much of this information will be reviewed in variouschapters of this text. However, bringing to the opening studies a comprehensive and usable knowledge of these basic materials will guarantee more immediate accomplishment of sight-reading goals.
The text as a whole may be considered as consisting of four parts:
- Chapters 1-9, diatonic melodies with rhythmic patterns limited to beat-note values and their divisions.
- Chapters 10-12, rhythmic studies and diatonic melodies that include subdivisions of the beat value.
- Chapters 13-19, chromaticism, modulation, and more advanced rhythmic problems.
- Chapters 20-21, the medieval modes and twentieth-century music.
This organization of the text allows a choice in the order of presentation, either straight through or selective. For an example of the latter, upon completion of Chapter 5 (intervals from the tonic triad in major and minor keys, and rhythm problems in divided beat patterns only), study may continue with Chapter 10, rhythmic reading in subdivided beat patterns. Then in Chapter 11, melodies are again either scale-wise or display intervals in known contexts. Study then may even be continued with easier melodies of Chapter 20, Medieval Modes. A careful study of the table of contents will reveal many similar possibilities.
Major changes in this fifth edition include the following.
- Additional instructional materials will be found throughout the text.
- Additional sight-singing examples will be found throughout the text, but particularly in the early chapters and those chapters presenting chromatic harmony and modulation.
- The rhythmic and melodic examples found in earlier editions are now separatedChapter 1: Rhythm, and Chapter 2: Melody.
- In the early chapters, melodies in the "difficult keys" (five to seven accidentals) are deferred or placed at the end of the chapter.
- Many melodies are transposed to lower keys.
Major changes in previous editions have been retained in the present edition. These, among others, include melodies using only diatonic scale lines for the first sight singing experience, the inclusion of two-voice rhythmic and melodic examples, the study of the melodic use of secondary dominant harmony as an introduction to the sight-singing of modulation, and rhythmic and melodic examples helpful in the study of twentieth-century melody.
Robert W. Ottman