02 October 2007
When I work with my students on intervals, I use the "atonal" system where you count the number of half steps rather than the traditional "tonal" system. In other words, a major third would be a 4, a perfect fifth would be a 7, etc. What I want to know is if anyone else has experience using this system with raw beginners. Purely out of habit, I tend to start with 1's and 2's (major and minor seconds), then add 3's and 4's (major and minor thirds) and so on, hence still kind of following the tonal system even though the terminology is different. Has anyone tried starting with 0's and 12's (unisons and octaves), then 1's and 11's (minor seconds and major sevenths), then 2's and 10's (major seconds and minor sevenths), and so on? I'm wondering whether it might not make more sense to proceed this way, by pairing intervals that are inversions of each other and hence sound more alike. Has anyone tried this?