Melodic Dictation - St. Francis Preparatory School
Melodic Dictation AP Music Theory Mr. Silvagni Melodic Dictation Melodic dictation is listening to a single line melody and writing down both the rhythm and pitch Its like the reverse of sight singing Improving ones ability to sight sing will
improve dictation skills AP Melodic Dictation There are two melodic dictation questions on the AP test One will be in treble clef and one will be in bass clef One will be in simple meter and one will be in compound meter
One will be in major and one will be in minor The melody will be played three times for the first example and four times for the second example Skills for Melodic Dictation
Recognize the key Recognize the meter and understand rhythm Understand relationship of pitches to tonal center Recognize familiar melodic and rhythmic patterns and their placement in the measure Be able to draw note heads, stems, dots, beams, and flags that correspond to rhythm correctly Be able to draw pitches on the staff correctly
Reproduce the melody in your head Understand the Melody Know the key and any altered notes (Fi) that may occur Write down the full scalewrite down altered minor scale notes (La and Ti) for reference Common beginning patterns Do Re Mi and Do Mi Sol are most common
Common ending patterns Mi Re Do, Sol La Ti Do, Re Ti Do/Ti Re Do, Sol Ti Do/Fa Ti Do/Mi Ti Do, and Do Re Do/Do Ti Do The middle generally implies a half cadence Know the pitches in the V and V7 chord (Sol Ti Re Fa) Melody will be two symmetrical phrase (antecedent-consequent)first phrase ends with half cadence and second with authentic (may have
anacrusis) Why is this hard? 1. Melody Memory You cant write what you cant remember Use solfge for dictation as well 2. Notation breakdown Practice writing notes on staff paper
Know stems and beaming Know how many beats are in a measure More specific tips 1. If you cant get it all, get all that you can Dont leave any beat blank You dont have to write the melody in sequential orderits easier to remember beginning and end, so write those first
2. Use logic and plan ahead Clef and Key signature: identify and understand before you listen Know which notes are which solfge syllables and where theyre written beforehand The last note is always Dowrite it in first The last note is usually long rhythmically Is there an anacrusis? If yes, its most likely Sol Do to start Minor key? There will be a leading toneyou must put accidentals in Compound meter? Review rhythms likely to appear from earlier
Secondary dominant implication will be in one of them (usually Fi) More specific tips 3. How do melodies begin? Major and minor: Do Re Mi or Do Mi Sol (Me for minor)Do Ti Do for minor as well 4. How do melodies end?
Mi Re Do or Sol Fa Mi Re Do Do Ti Do or Do Re Do Re Ti Do or Ti Re Do Fa Ti Do, Sol Ti Do, or Mi Ti Do (Me for minor)
More specific tips 5. Whats in the middle? Anticipate mostly stepwise motion with some leaps Leaps over a third are usually between Do and Sol Anticipate a half cadence near the middle Second half of melody often begins as anacrusis (if 4 measures, second half of measure 2)
More specific tips 6. Dont write until you have heard the entire example Try to sing the melody to yourself afterwards If you need to write during, dont write too much detail, rather sketch with shorthand Leave markers for the melody contour, some specific pitches, rhythms, etc.
More specific tips 7. Dont be afraid to use the back door Meaning, you can write backwards If all you remember is the last measure, then write it down Compare the prior measure to how it relates to the last measure Approach from both sides 8. When you are done knowingGUESS
Do NOT leave anything blankblank = wrong Use your sketches or ideas to inform your guesses Try to think of which chordal tonalities youve heard If its in the middle, set up a half cadence, use tonic
progressions for the beginning and end Melodic Dictation Examples Barrons AP Music Theory Music for Ear Training Textbook AP Central
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