Solfege excersises?

Anyone have any advice or recommendations in terms of recognizing the intervals?

I’m hammering away at the major scale, using nursery rhymes, and for example: do re do, do me do, do fa do… etc

But does anyone have exercises or concepts that have really solidified the intervals in their mind?

Absolutely! Find songs you know extremely well containing the different intervals. Intros are handy. Examples:
Perfect 5th: Twinkle Twinkle Little Star
Perfect 4th: Here Comes the Bride
Minor 2nd: Jaws

Once you have some of those down, take your instrument and play a random starting note, then challenge yourself to sing the interval above or below where you started.


Look for ‘guess the interval’ type YT videos or audio files. As long as it’s random - practice daily like anything else. Using your main instrument might be biased as your fingers may know the intreval. …

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Would you say there was a point where things just started to click?

I’ve tried an app like that, that gave random intervals, I honestly had a hard time with it. What I experienced when using it for awhile was if I kept a relatively fast pace I could remember the intervals I’d herd previously. But it I slowed down and didn’t use short term memory it was like waving around in the dark trying to grab something.

Perhaps I just need more experience. I’m starting these interval exercises as an adult, so I imagine that does not help.

I honestly don’t remember. I wasn’t even aware of this until college as I was self taught before then. I do remember having to work hard at it but it was definitely a good skill to learn so don’t give up.
I agree with you that adults take longer on learning new concepts…or at least it sure feels that way lol! I changed careers in my late 20’s, jumping head first into software development with zero background. I often felt like it would have been much easier if I learned that while I was younger haha

For the intervals I would definitely recommend picking whatever ones you find easiest and hitting them hard. Doing the totally random stuff will have its place, but it may overwhelm you if you aren’t solid on the intervals themselves yet. So maybe challenge yourself to play a starting note and sing a perfect 4th above that (or whichever feels very natural to you). If you do enough of that, you’ll be very solid on that interval. Regardless of key, it will have a very distinct sound to you. Once you can do that well, move onto another one. Before you know it you’ll be making good progress and may even find learning one interval very well helps with learning the others.

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There is an app called Perfect Ear that I highly recommend. The point of ear training is so that you can play what you hear and so you can respond to what others are playing. This app teaches you to identify intervals up to two octaves. It teaches you to identify cadences which is also super important. Most important to me, it has very accurate pitch detection and has a mode which has you sing intervals. For example, it’ll play a note and tell you to sing a major sixth above that note. I am very much of the school that if you cannot sing something (adjusting for octave) then you don’t really know it and can’t use it in creative ways. Singing intervals is a great way of getting intervals in your ear super fast.

Also, I highly suggest making a personal intervals chart as a beginning exercise. Figure out difference songs that use a specific in in a major way. For example

m2 up=jaws
Down= Stella by starlight
M2 up= body and soul
Down= Freddie freeloader

Pick songs that you really are super familiar with. Then, once you get the interval really in your ear, totally abandon the association of the interval with that song and expand your association to every single time you hear that interval!


I started this stuff as an adult. Singing really helps you internalize the sound. Start with recognizing a 5th. Once that is reliable enough aim for the third (major and minor)…then the 7th (major and flat). Your on your way at that point. You’ll know the 6th because it’s a little higher than the 5th…and a little lower than the 7th. I’m still miss the odd 6th vs flat 6th but I don’t lose sleep over it. I also start to lose it if I don’t think about it when I listen to music. Keep at it. You will get there. I was a lost cause for a long time until I organized by goals into smaller steps as above.


We did it in a straightforward way in a musical school. ‘Repetition legitimizes’ as Adam Neely says )
Hours and hours of solfeggio.

Though I actually find that pure random interval recognizing (outside any musical context) is not a very usefull skill actually. Whilest recognizing them in musical pieces (or in some given scale at least) is much more useful (and much more easy). That’s what we are drilling this stuff for, after all.

Oh, though it may be obvoisous for you, you need to sing these intervals (whistle, humming whatever). That is crucial.

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What I’ve noticed with all learning is, it’s almost like there are two people in you, the conscious version and unconscious. And the act of teaching yourself is like trying to teach a child. The conscious one endlessly repeating stuff over and over till the unconscious gets it.
And that can be quite unsettling in terms of confidence. Because consciously it really feels like you’ve learnt nothing, like your eyes are closed and trying to grab something thats not there, but eventually, it will just appear in your conscious experience, due to teaching your unconscious self to hold onto that information. Though the time it takes to get to that point is rather long, and you have to have faith.

Yeah I do sing them out-loud, I do it on my bike as the oxygen n cardio increase along with the movement of the environment apparently increases neuron connection and memory.

Though I’m still thinking there has to be some technique or order that is more effective for learning this stuff. You’d think with 1000’s? of years of western music being around a set and known technique for learning this efficiently would of came about.

It depends. I mean, different schools, different teachers, different approaches. In my school we combined intervals, scales and arpeggios. For instance, in the first year we learned basic scales (natural major, harmonic and melodic minor). We learned their intervalic structure, main chords (T,S,D) and we sung all that stuff. So, theory and solfeggio were always complementing each other. It’s not like we learned scales and intervals separately. More like ‘Okay kids, major scale includes 3 major thirds and 4 minor thirds. Let’s sing them. Do-mi, re-fa,mi-sol…’. Ascending/descending, starting from a random note etc. The same with chords: leraning intervalic structure and singing arpeggios of main form, 6 chord, 64 chord.

btw learning intervals in scales helps to understand why one and the same interval could be called minor 3rd in one case and augmented 2nd in other.

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