Tonal Cells

Below, you will find a list of links that access tonal cells of increasing difficulty. Each level will bring you to a collection of common melodic cells in tonal music. These are important to understand and recognize because these cells are used frequently in tonal music and will help with your dictation skills! For consistency, and ease of viewing, each cell is written in the key of either C major or C minor. Each level features a "Tonic Finder" that will play a I-V-I, in C major, or i-V-i, in C minor. By orienting your ears into the key, you will have a much easier time hearing the specific scale degrees of each individual cell.

In addition to the melodic cells, each level contains a list of common harmonic cells in tonal music as well. When you are doing these "harmonic" identifications, you will be primarily concerned with the Roman numerals as well as the soprano voice and bass voice. To help with this, I have increased the volume of the soprano and bass voices in the progressions to help train your ear in isolating them from the alto and tenor voices. You are not responsible for dictating the inside voices (the alto and tenor voices)—though, if you can hear them, they can be very helpful in identifying the Roman numerals!

At the bottom of the list, you will find a link to a comprehension task designed to assess how well you can hear and identify these cells. You will be able to view your results at the end to share with your professor if you'd like!

Note: number-based levels are designed for first-year students and letter-based levels are designed for second-year students (based on the University of California, Santa Barbara's musicianship series curriculum).

Ear Training