We talked about hearing the tonic and dominant chord in Part 1 of this series. Our next task here is to learn to hear the submediant chord, or the sixth chord, in a piece of music.
Any student would have learnt that the submediant chord is minor in nature, as opposed to the previous two chords that we’ve learnt, which is major in nature. So the first thing to do here is to try to hear the difference between the major and minor chord quality, and let your ear get the hang of it.
Here’s a great software to help you do it. Open the software here, and make the setting as shown in the pic below.
Remember to set the sequence type (right side of the screen) to melodic first so that the notes will be played one by one from bottom up. Try to sing along each notes after hearing them to really get the sound into your ears.
After you can do that with relative ease (no mistake for at least 30 times in a row), change the sequence type to harmonic now, where all three notes will be played together at the same time. Focus on the lowest note, or the bass note , as your guide. Then try to sing the other two notes as you did just now and see whether it sounds like a chord with a major or minor quality.
Always remember, the lowest note is a big help for you to determine a chord’s quality. Which brings us to our next exercise, back to the aim of this post, to hear a submediant chord.
Here is another audio clip almost similar to the one in Part 1, only this time I would stop either on the submediant or tonic chord. So your job here, is to quickly determine the bass note of the chord I paused at, then use it as a guide to determine whether it’s a major or minor chord. Obviously, the major one would be the tonic chord (one), while the minor would be the submediant chord (sixth).
For more ear training, carry on to Part 3.
Have fun and enjoy…..