Thursday, February 27, 2003


While upbringing and the surrounding world rapidly atune our ears to customary forms of tonality, the same is not true for atonal music. Though both film scores and rock contain elements of dissonance, the schemas within which they operate radically reduce the shock-of-the-new. Hence the usefulness of CUNY doctoral student Dave Smey's free PC software programme, the 'Post-Tonal Ear-Training Suite'.

This material was inspired by Michael Friedmann’s Ear Training for Twentieth Century Music (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1990) and requires some basic knowledge of post-tonal theory. It occupies 4mb of hard disc space, has a zip set-up file, and functions on Windows 98/ME/2000/XP. You need a soundcard (obviously) but MIDI is optional.

The programme enables you: to sing intervals against a referential drone for pitch-class zero; train your ear for dyad identification; identify pitch intervals within various trichords, classify them, identify them in set-types, and distinguish between different pitch-space realizations of a given trichordal set-type.

Way to go, Dave. Just what we need for new front ears... (Maybe they should tell the good people at A-atonal)

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