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Advanced Sight Singing

Sight singing is the ability to sing musical notation without the aid of an instrument. Sight singing is often called by the name sight reading, and includes the ability to audiate the notation, that is, to hear it in one’s head. Sight reading sometimes refers to the ability to play music notation proficiently on an instrument upon seeing it for the first time without the need to practice it. Unfortunately, this other meaning includes no assumption of aural ability, as the skills required are knowing which keys need to be pressed or other physical processes executed. The meaning of "sight reading" is contextual- if you are referring to aural skills, musicianship, or ear training, then the meaning assumes full aural comprehension of the material. Singing the melody not only renders what you audiate, but also strengthens your ability to audiate.

The advanced sight reading generator above produces melodies in several time signatures, clefs, modes (major and minor) and keys. The user can specify these using a settings box. The lowest difficulty level focuses the range of the melody on the first five notes of the scale and uses note values no smaller than a quarter note. Higher difficulty levels expand the range of the melody, use smaller note values and more complicated rhythms, and introduce chromatic pitches. Musicians who are new to sight singing should begin with the simple sight reading generator, found here.

Like the simple sight reading generator, the advanced sight reading generator has a "count-off" button which counts off a measure and then covers each measure prior to singing it to encourage looking ahead and batching material. Admittedly, at the highest difficulty levels, a measure is too much information to batch.

Both simple and advanced sight reading generators allow anyone to print an entire page of examples (7 systems), or to display up to 4 systems at a time on the screen. In a classroom setting, you may try limiting the setting to just one key and one time signature, and then assign small groups to each different line simultaneously.

Other exercises

At SonicFit, we advocate the use of solfege for sight reading. Applying solfege syllables to each note of the scale helps to develop scale degree aural comprehension and facility. Scale Degree Ear Training and Scale Degree Notation are the corner-stone exercises of SonicFit’s pedagogy. To develop aural skills, you should include those exercises in addition to the above sight reading practice. To find out more about SonicFit’s Pedigogical Approach go here.