The Musical Dictation-Tonal Ear Training website is designed to develop the musical ear by emphasizing the fundamentals of tonal music.

The exercises on the site are based on scale degrees rather than intervals.  In other words, from the very beginning, the user becomes aware of the degrees within a tonal system and of the hierarchical relationships between notes, rather than merely the intervals between them.  The user will learn to recognize the “colours” of melodic movements in relation to a given, sounded tonic.  The user quickly finds it as simple to take a dictation in the key of F# Major as to do so in C Major.

Although we are not directly concerned with rhythm in the degree approach, rhythm is nevertheless intimately linked to the melody to which it belongs.  The rhythmic material that is presented on the Musical Dictation-Tonal Ear Training website forms its own category in order to better equip the student to master the rhythmic aspects of dictation.

In Levels 1 and 2, the melodic dictations (MEL) are organized into two sections, depending on whether they are in major (MAJ) or minor (MIN) keys.  In Levels 3 and 4, dictations are grouped into one single section regardless of key (MEL).  Each level includes a section of rhythmic dictations (RYT).  Harmonic dictation (HAR) begins in Level 2, since it has been judged too complex for a beginner working at Level 1.

With the professor’s support, students will familiarize themselves with the organization of the chapters and they should tackle the dictations in an increasing level of difficulty while following the given instructions (see the “Learning Resources / Notating a Dictation” section).  Dictations can be taken on manuscript paper or at the computer using music notation software.

Whether it is in the college classroom setting or in other contexts, a complementary study of harmony and sight-singing exercises at a level equivalent to that of the dictations given here is highly recommended for achieving a well-rounded aural training.

A glossary of musical terms has been provided.  For more detailed explanations, the student should consult a music theory manual.