Ear Training Word Game

Overview

Different melodic and rhythmic fragments are assigned a letter of the alphabet. Strings of either melodic or rhythmic fragments are put together to form words. The goal is to determine what word is being spelled.

When played in a classroom, the room can be divided into teams, where students alternate “spelling” words (incorporating sight-signing and rhythmic performance skills) while the other team tries to determine what word is being spelled.

The Sets

Select sets from below or download this PDF to print out playing cards for classroom use.

Word Game Sets

The Rules

Melodic Fragments:

  1. Each letter is associated with a 3–4 note melodic pattern in major or minor using solfège syllables. Each melodic pattern (or letter) will span one measure in a chosen meter, spelling out a word. In the online recordings, you’ll hear a one-bar countoff on tonic with a pulse on each beat. In the classroom, students might be encouraged to conduct while performing the melodies to establish a meter.
  2. Each note in the individual fragment must be performed in the order given. The fragment should be played/sung in entirety and should span the duration of one complete measure in the chosen meter.
  3. The notes may be played in any octave (note both the low and high sol used in mm. 1 and 2 in the example given below).
  4. Each note may be repeated any number of times before moving to the next given note (see the repeated G’s in m. 2 below).
  5. The fragment may also be repeated as long as the fragment is played/sung in entirety in the order given and does not span more than one complete measure (see the repeated Mi-Do-Mi in m. 3 below).
  6. If the fragments are sung, no solfege syllables may be used. It must be sung on a single neutral syllable such as “da” or “la.”

As an example, given the word “TALE,” the performer might sing/play the following melody:
Melodic Example

Rhythmic Fragments

  1. Each letter is associated with a 1–3 beat rhythmic pattern. In the online recordings, you’ll hear each pattern counted off with at least 4 pulses.
  2. Each rhythm should be performed in order without repetition at a steady beat.
  3. Rests between rhythms separate words that go together (e.g. “chocolate milk” or “music theory”)

Play the Game Online: Melodies [more coming soon]

  1. Set A: Do, Mi, and Sol only
  2. Sets A & B: Do, Mi, Sol, and DNs and INs embellishing them
    • Level 1: 4–5 letter words
    • Level 2: 6+ letter words
  3. Sets A & C: Do, Mi, Sol, and passing tones embellishing them
  4. All three sets
    • Level 1: 4–5 letter words
    • Level 2: 6+ letter words

Play the Game Online: Rhythms [more coming soon]

  1. Set A
  2. Sets A & B
  3. Sets A & C
    • Level 1: 4–5 letter words
    • Level 2: 6+ letter words and 2+ words
  4. All three sets
    • Level 1: 4–5 letter words
    • Level 2: 6+ letter words and 2+ words