Just as in transcription, the final stage of dictation is to notate each section we’ve memorized and analyzed. Of course, given the quicker pace of dictation, it can be hard to develop the skills associated with notation here. If you’re having difficulty with notation, we strongly encourage practice with the Rhythm Skills and Transcription chapters. Only once those skills are solid in an untimed context will they be reliable in dictation.

Activity: Dictation

Goal: Practice synthesizing the various skills exercised in dictation.

Before you start: You’ll need a source of dictation melodies. Online, you can find open resources at The Trained Ear (click on a number, then use the “recording”) and at The Dictation Resource. Both use piano sounds. You will also need staff paper. You are encouraged to set up your work by deciding on a clef, tonic note, and bottom number of the time signature; other aspects, such as whether the key is major or minor, which scale degree the melody starts on, and the number of beats in a measure, can be detected by ear. If you wish to use the open resources linked here, you may need to have a partner or mentor give you the clef, tonic note, and bottom time signature number because the sites are not necessarily designed to restrict other information.

Instructions: Dictate a melody into notation. A range of 4–5 hearings is standard for most melodies. If you have difficulty, try a less-difficult example or revisit previous sections of this chapter to practice relevant skills.


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Foundations of Aural Skills Copyright © 2022 by Timothy Chenette is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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