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Scale Degree Notation Identification

A foundational skill in the ability to read music is the ability to identify the scale degrees of the notes on a staff. Full implementation of this skill requires significant background in theory, especially a working understanding of key signatures. However, a student can and should begin developing this skill at a more rudimentary level in which the first scale degree is identified for them. By drilling this exercise (and, for that matter, applying the same process to real music with the guidance of a teacher for identifying DO and determining if the material is simple enough) students develop speed at identifing the other notes relative to the tonic (first scale degree).

When approached with the beginning settings, this exercise can and should be started before learning key signature, clef, or even letter names; you do not need any theory beyond line and space notes to get started. Speed and proficiency at this exercise take time, so starting it early gives students a jump start on the training and impresses on them the importance of this skill. This will also give students a sense of familiarity and cumulative development when they return to the exercise with more difficult settings after learning the appropriate theory. The beginning (and default) setting for this exercise is having the first note be the tonic and identified as such. Other settings are available for students with the appropriate background in theory.

This exercise returns several times during the lessons curriculum. Several other exercises reinforce concepts and skills of this exercise. For example, the interval quantity identification exercise (and lessons leading to it) helps students quickly identify intervals. Seeing these intervals and building a mapping of the scale degrees that would correspond for each interval develops speed and proficiency in sight reading music. In application, a student learns to quickly identify the interval of a perfect 4th, and also learns that if the bottom note is DO, the top will be FA; if the bottom is RE, the top will be SOL etc. More guidance for developing speed on Scale Degree Identification is provided within the lessons. Working through the entire first two units of the lessons will greatly increase understanding, speed, and proficiency of sight reading music.

The default mnemonic system for this exercise, and all exercises at SonicFit, is movable DO with LA based minor. In the settings, you can change the mnemonic system to letters or numbers or fixed DO. You can also adjust the following:

• Change the difficulty so that SOL is always first, no set note is first, or even include chromatic notes
• Fix the key or have key change
   - select how often the key changes
• set to major or minor
• select clef
• select a time limit per problem

When working through scale degree notation, you should sing everything. You should play the scale and sing with it. You should sing along as you enter the solfege using the buttons, and then click the "play sound" button to check for your accuracy.