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How to sight sing in any major key plus several interactive sight singing exercises. Any questions, ask in the comments.
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The first step to sight singing in any key is…to identify the key! Here’s how to figure out key signatures in a snap. Once you’ve figured out the key, translate note names into scale degrees. Then you’re golden!
We pick up where we left off in the previous video on sight singing (here: ) and expand the idea of translating notes into scale degrees to all of the major keys. A few wonderful things happen when we do this. First, we begin to notice the patterns and relationships that emerge across melodies in different keys.
What I mean is this: when looking at C F D B and Ab Db Bb G and F# B G# E#, it’s challenging to sift the similarities of these melodies out of the accidental soup. But if you reduce the melodies down to scale degrees, you would recognize and reinforce the fact that they’re all the same exact melody (1 4 2 7)–just starting from different pitches.
This means practice in one key becomes practice in all keys!
Also, with this approach, sight singing in “Hard” keys with lots of sharps or flats becomes as straightforward as in “familiar” keys. The entire landscape is leveled out and equalized. The key signature fades away and simplifies into our familiar 7 scale degrees, no matter if you’re in F#-major with six sharps or C major with no accidentals at all.
As an aside, I find working on sight singing improves more than just the skill of performing new music from notation (though this is a compelling benefit in its own right). It’s also involved in training the melodic sense, getting the brain nimble and precise when it comes to weaving through tonalities, and there is an important tangent line that connects to intonation. All musicians would do well to drill down on this spot.
As always, if you have any questions, let me know!