Harmonic Translation, Major Tonality

Lesson 11

Just as we did with rhythm patterns, we will practice the inference skill of translating harmonic patterns from a neutral syllable to solfege. With any skill, there are varying levels of scaffolding from the easier to the more complex. We will explore three of those levels today:

1. Translating familiar patterns in a familiar order (FPIFO)

2. Translating familiar patterns in an unfamiliar order (FPIUFO)

3. Translating unfamiliar patterns

When we translate familiar patterns (those we have previously echoed), we are assessing our own ability to marry the pitch to the syllable in our audiation. When we translate unfamiliar patterns, we are truly generalizing by using the tonal information from familiar patterns to teach ourselves new patterns. 

For example, by being able to translate the familiar pattern DO MI SO, you are able to use that information to also translate any number of tonic patterns, both familiar and unfamiliar. 

Watch the video Harmony Lesson 9.1: Harmonic Translation (Major) to see the three types of translation in action.

Now try the Patterns-Only video. 

If You're Having Trouble...

Translating harmonic patterns is an inference skill. It really works your brain in ways that it may not have worked before. In particular, the minor syllables are less ingrained in our culture than major. If you are having difficulty, please go back to previous lessons and review the patterns at both the Aural/Oral, Verbal Association and Improvisation levels. Then try again. Continue this process until the syllables become second nature.

Additionally, don’t consider this a “one and done” exercise. In fact, you very well might want to stretch these videos out over several days, if not weeks, or months. Alternate between echoing the patterns, improvising with the patterns, and then translating the patterns.