“It’s an N, bro”

Teaching Enharmonic Reinterpretations of Fully Diminished Seventh Chords by Ear

Authored by: David Heetderks

The Routledge Companion to Music Theory Pedagogy

Print publication date:  February  2020
Online publication date:  February  2020

Print ISBN: 9781138585010
eBook ISBN: 9780429505584
Adobe ISBN:


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The topic of enharmonic reinterpretation of fully diminished seventh chords often bewilders students, not least because chord spellings and polysyllabic labels can seem arcane. My lesson plan addresses this problem by focusing on recognizing chords by ear and by learning voice-leading patterns chromatically. Students learn to recognize fully diminished sevenths, major-minor sevenths, and their inversions through multi-modal exercises that combine singing interval names, showing intervals and voice-leading motion with their hands, and listening. Next, they learn to sing and recognize motions between these chord-types in the literature in order to hear how they are used in modulations.

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