Extended exercises for SINGING THE NUMBERS

Thank for the detail @Paul

Those who know me well will recall that I do appreciate a nice ‘appropriate technology’ solution. :smiley:

Do you mean literally convert the audio to MIDI, or use the numbers to set up equivalent MIDI notes, e.g. in a DAW or musescore?

Appreciated. I typically do my ear training ‘audio only’ (& often with my eyes closed). ‘Visually’ I’m often imagining equivalent fingering on a fretboard…

Now I’ve reached “Week 10” level with my regular StN/FtN exercises (using FtN from ETfMC) I’m running out of new material. There are only two ETfMC FtNs at “Week 10” level which I’m rapidly getting rather familiar with, so generating some extras has climbed higher on my todo list.

Rather than trying to bend the StN tracks into shape I think it may be more straight forward for me to just investigate using some of the “1 chord” tracks I have as backings (as suggested by @MireiaClua above ).

In addition to the “7 worlds tracks” I also have quite a bunch of other “1 chord” tracks (in all keys in multiple musical styles) that were part of the “Ear Training for Musical Creativity” course. Or maybe a drone with or without a rhythm (the ETfMC set include drones or I could set one up myself using a synth - either just the root, or I might see what a root triad sounds like).

For note sequences I’d probably take a transcription from StN as inspiration, but move it around & generally aim for similar ideas, e.g. full & partial scales, arpeggios, ‘ladders’ of thirds, common combinations, and so on.

Lots of great ideas here for extending our SingThe Numbers practice.

I’m looking for minimal effort solutions, as I always feel guilty about taking up practice time with exercise preparation, ie too much prep, not enough do. But I can see the benefit of spending time in this way, and will have a close look at all the ideas suggested.

I think the SING THE NUMBERS tracks (all three products) are the most wonderful thing to get going with hearing the real sounds of music. But after a while using the STN tracks, I start to memorize parts of it.

So, these days I am doing a variation of Exercise 3 from David Reed’s IFR BOOK, where I slowly play a simple chord progression on the piano with my left hand (say a 451 progression) and play a slow improvised melody in my right hand while I simultaneously sing those right hand notes. Gotta sing along, and gotta go slow for this to work.

I’m doing this exercise in a different key every day… so it’s teaching me multiple things at once … the sounds, where the notes of that key maps on the piano keys, how the sounds change with the chords, a little bit about rhythm on my left hand, etc.

I like this because it’s minimal setup, and it’s a different melody each time. (In fact, you could think of this as a real-time melody path exercise)

LIkewise @mem. However, if I think about the hundreds (heading for thousands?) of times I’ve used the StN & FtN tracks, the potential longterm benefit looks attractive, so maybe it will get done. :smiley:

Those who know me well will recall that I do appreciate a nice ‘appropriate technology’ solution. :smiley:


Do you mean literally convert the audio to MIDI, or use the numbers to set up equivalent MIDI notes, e.g. in a DAW or musescore?

Yes, I converted the audio to MIDI (using Melodyne).
There was a little bit of cleanup required, but did a good job and saved a lot of time and effort compared to doing it manually .

I’m currently working through the STN 1 course again from the start after finishing a few weeks ago.
For me, I found I got the most improvement by singing the number first and hearing them back after.
My method for the course was to use them as intended for a few days (and I did all of the lesson in each module at the same time). After a couple of days I then switched to having the subtitles I created showing before the sequence and I’d sing it before hearing it. I found that I could master each model after around 2 weeks (but I was practicing usually 2 or 3 times a day, running through the full set of lessons from start to finish and repeating them as needed if I felt I was struggling in particular areas).

I have now gone back and started from the very begining, but this time using the FTN files I created. Again, doing all the lessons from each module in one go. I use the original STN sequences for the 1st week and then use an alternative set I created with a different (random) order. I’m finding that its taking about the same amount of time to be able to run through each lesson without errors as it did for the STN.
I’m currently only on module 2 now, and I also go back to the last module of the STN set and go through them regularly to keep them fresh in my mind too.

@Paul ‘Hi Tech’ can be ‘appropriate technology’ too. :slight_smile:

Taking a different tack, I’ve spent a little time today seeing if I can make use of abc notation to build an FtN track. Taking ‘standard’ StN as a strating point, I’ve found that if listen to a track and type the number groups I can them apply a series of regular expression search & replace operations to the resulting text file to get most of the way to an abc notation version.

Now I’ve developed the appropriate regular expressions, doing it again for another track would be quicker & I might possibly be able to do a little automation (a tool I use for ‘work’ might be adaptable to the task?).

The raw output from that process has all notes the same lengths, which is obvioulsy not ideal!

Tweaking the note lengths may well need to remain manual, & at least first time is likely to take a while, but a modicum of regex search & replace may be possible in due course?

I already have something that when I set the abc to play does a moderate impersonation of the first 12 bars of StN 19, albeit without any backing at present (i.e. only the ‘piano’ notes).

I hope to investigate further in due course.

Initially this is what i did, and created a standard text file of the sequence and used that to sing the numbers ahead of the vocal on the standard STN tracks.
The issue i found with doing this was that if I wanted to go back, I would easily lose track of where I was in the text file.
This was the incentive to create the associated subs attached to the video version of the lesson.
That way I never get lost.

I’ve never looked at ABC Notation before - looks interesting.
Let us know how you get on!

I thought I’d share an example of the files I created with the added subtitles.
These are for STN1 lesson 3, which is available on the IFR website as an example, so I hope that means that it’s OK to share here (please let me know if not, and I’ll remove it).

This is the STN track with subs added to show prior to the audio so that you sing the sequence first:

and this is the same lesson as a FTN track with piano and the subs following to confirm:

I have to say that I’m finding it much harder to FTN and recognise the sequences than I did singing them…

Thanks very much. I’m looking forward to taking a look when I get time. It’s not an idea I expect to use (I’m in an ‘audio only’ situation when I do my StN/FtN), but it’s an interesting idea & I’m especially interested to hear your StN => FtN conversion.

I’d say that that’s only natural?

It’s take me several years to reach week 10 FtN (using the Ear Training for Musical Creativity FtNs, which as I’ve mentioned before do not parrot the StN sequences). I was admitedly starting from a very low entry point, but I still think that FtN is bound to be harder than StN. There’s a reason why @MireiaClua & David (@ImproviseForReal ) offer StN in the IFR shop, but only offer the (official) FtN as part of a guided course. I have a feeling that David or Mireia have talked on the subject in a video (or it might have been in a post here)?

I clicked on your links and got taken to the Dropbox app, but when I played the videos I could not see any subtitles. Am I missing something, a setting or option I need to select?

@mem I just quickly downloaded the files. When I play them using VLC media player I can see the subtitles down near the bottom of the viewing area. N.B. They only appear briefly so most of the time there is nothing there.

PS. @Paul From a very brief listen, your converted FtN sounds very similar to the ‘official’ ones. I don’t think I’d realise it was a conversion if you hadn’t told us.Well done. :smiley:

No problem. Yeah, I understand that a lot of people would utilize the audio aspect of them. For me personally, I found that singing the number before and hearing them after to confirm was hugely beneficial for my progress. I though I’d share an example in case it was of interest to someone.

I managed to get through the STN course at a reasonable pace and feel fairly confident in that ability now, but having that ability, I just didn’t expect that it would be that much harder. TBH, I don’t think its probably something that ever ends as I can imagine doing it with songs I hear (once I reach that level) in place of the FTN files.

@mem Yes, I uploaded the files to dropbox. You probably need to download them and play them in a player that supports subtitles. I use Window Media Player classic, but others like VLC should work too.

Ah - David beat me to it :slight_smile:

Yes, that is correct.The subs appear just after you sing the sequence for you to confirm you were correct.
With the STN version, they appear in the same spot, but just before so you can sing them first.

Thanks David - that’s good to hear :smiley:

@paul I looked at your mkv file, and that’s pretty nifty. What a lot of work went into that.

@hender99 Thanks Allen. Yes, it did take a bit of time to put together, but I think it was worth it as it’s what I use everyday to practice with.

Thanks, yes I had to Export, then Open with/Share to the VLC app.

These are great! I think the FTN versions would be a very useful addition to a Sing the Numbers practice.

I’d understand if @ImproviseForReal is not keen on you sharing them openly, but maybe for someone like myself who has purchased the StN and Ear Training for Creativity products, he would be okay with it. That is if you are happy to pass them around.

@mem Yes of course, I’m grateful for finding the IFR program and all the helpful folks here on the forum too. I’d be more than happy to share the FTN version of the files and give something back to the community.

I could provide them directly to David if there are any concerns, so that he could pass them on to those who are interested and that have purchased the STN1 course, but I understand if that’s not something he is interested in doing.

@ImproviseForReal what do you think?

@Paul If sharing is approved, either direct from you or via David Reed, then I’d be delighted to add a set of ‘StN as FtN’ to my collection (which, I assure you, already includes everything that can be bought from IFR, so I already have legitimate copies of the ‘originals’ from which you developed your FtNs).

@Paul @hender99 @DavidW @mem

I love the spirit of this thread because you’re collaborating together, inventing creative new ways to take your music practice in different directions, and even being respectful of our work at IFR in terms of asking permission to share content. All of that is wonderful and I appreciate it very much.

@Paul, could you make a post summarizing exactly what you are proposing? I know that the story is probably explained over the course of this thread. But since you’re asking our opinion about a specific proposal, I think it’s best for everyone if we start with a concise documentation of the question. I realize that there could be multiple proposals or options. Feel free to articulate those as well. I just need a single post that I can respond to, so that you know you have our permission for the exact thing you would like to do. But I love your contribution and we’ll absolutely support you in whatever way is best for everyone.