November 24, 2004 at 07:00 AM · Reading the thread on sight-singing reminded me of a problem I've been having, and I thought I'd open it up to the panel. When teaching sight-singing using interval recognition, many of us use well-known songs. Here's the list I've compiled - you might use some of them too:

Minor 2nd - Jaws

Major 2nd - Frere Jacques

Minor 3rd - Greensleeves

Major 3rd - While Shepherds Watched

Perfect 4th - Away In A Manger/How Much Is That Doggie/Heigh Ho

Perfect 5th - Scarborough Fair/Twinkle Twinkle

Minor 6th - Love Story

Major 6th - My Bonny Lies Over The Ocean/It Came Upon A Midnight Clear (US)

Minor 7th/V7 - Somewhere

Perfect Octave - Somewhere Over The Rainbow

Augmented 4th - Maria/The Simpsons

Here's the problem: Many of these songs are not only becoming dated, particularly the film themes, but as my students come from a diverse range of cultural backgrounds, I find the Christmas carols and traditional folk songs are also likely to be unfamiliar. So... I need a new list of *well-known* songs which won't date within the next few years (so no Hit Me Britney minor 2nds, okay?) and are recognisable by (British) students of all shapes, sizes and colours. Please help!

Replies (10)

November 25, 2004 at 02:17 AM · Opening motif to beethoven's 5th symphony is major thirds. Should stay pretty well-known for a while... :-D

November 25, 2004 at 02:31 AM · That's a good one! Funny, I thought of it too today. Great minds etc... And Happy Birthday's a better major 2nd.

November 25, 2004 at 02:31 AM · Well, if you were over here, a major third is Oh Canada. By the same token, God Save the Queen is a major second. For "Away in a Manger" I know it by an alternate melody, "G G F E E D C C B A G..."

Have you seen the good-ear site for additional practice for your older students? I think it's at

My son's class also had them try to recognize intervals in their environment and bring back x number of examples. A car horn I believe honks at the interval of a major third.

November 25, 2004 at 11:03 AM · your car horns have intervals? Ours is just one pitch (haven't worked it out yet though, I should go do that...).

I think getting the students to collect songs, and try to work out what the interval is is probably the best idea - as they will choose songs that they know well. Make sure that they bring it in to show you so that you can check it.

November 25, 2004 at 02:28 PM · Oh, I thought car horns would be the same all over. Of course I wasn't aware of the 2nd sound until I started listening for it. Even a telephone dial tone (useful for tuning the A string -- is it that way the world over?) has another tone beneath it. I wasn't aware of it before either. You'll also find that unpleasant warning tones will have unpleasant intervals if there is an interval, such as seconds and sevenths. I think the backup warning tone of trucks is a minor second "played" one after another. And (from memory) isn't the two-tone European ambulance in fourths? Solfegely, doesn't the Windows log-on or log-off go "do sol do, re" (4th 5th 2nd) Kids learning intervals can do just that --- listen to their environment, challenge each other if there is more than one student, because it's fun.

November 25, 2004 at 11:09 PM · For perfect 4ths here comes the bride. (lo how I detest wagner.)In fact, I'll ask my theory teacher for an inteval sheet we got again.

November 28, 2004 at 05:09 PM · Hi Sue!

This thread has been very helpful for me and I thought of a major 3rd one- Blue Danube by Strauss.

And titanic the love theme-the one celine dion sings.

The bit where she sings 'where e'-ver you are. the where e- is a perfect octave.

One-Sim :)

November 28, 2004 at 08:20 PM · Titanic is a really good one. What about Brahms' lullaby for minor 3rd? Perhaps we actually need a few lists in different genres? In my experience children are well up on recent pop music while adults are often familiar with 'classic' classical pieces. Reminds me of Hanon piano studies; I understand there is now a volume of 'Jazz Hanon' available...

November 28, 2004 at 11:38 PM · How about a Christmas theme, since it is the season...

m2nd: "It's the most..." "Joy to..."

M2nd: "Si-lent..." "Rudolph..."

m3rd: "...jingle all the way" "O Holy night..."

M3rd: "I saw three ships.."

P4th: "O Christmas tree..." "We wish..." "O come, all ye..." "Hark the herald..."

P5th: "...Do you hear..."

m6th: "..and every mother's..."

M6th: "Here comes..." "It came.." "Dashing..."

m7th: "...that Santa's on his way"

M7th: "CHESTnuts ROASTing..."

P8th: "Chest-nuts..."

And good luck finding the major seventh and augmented fourth. I'm sure they show up somewhere in the middle of tunes. Can anyone find one? You can get to a major 7th in the first phrase, "Chestnuts roasting" by mentally omitting the octave.

November 29, 2004 at 12:14 AM · M2 - chopsticks

P5 - Roman trumpets, Star Wars

m6 - The Entertainer

M6 - NBC

m7 - Star Trek

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