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Instructional Movies
Practica Musica Overview Practica Musica is a complete music theory and ear training tutor. It contains over 200 activities for both beginning and advanced students. The program includes several organized courses: Steps to Reading Music?, an AP prep course, and Exploring Theory which is based on the music fundamentals book "Exploring Theory with Practica Musica." The book contains numerous audio-visual examples and is included in digital format with the program. Practica Musica features unique rhythm tapping activities, complete notation tools, 4-part dictation and much more.
The Active Staff Describes the "active staff," how to tell which staff is active, and how to change the active staff.
Adjusting beams and stems Stem lengths can be adjusted by dragging. This also can be used to adjust beam heights and beam angles.
Complex beam groups The order in which you select notes for beaming affects the beam structure and can be used to create specific groupings.
Changing clefs In most Practica Musica exercises, choosing a clef automatically changes the exercise clef. But in a writing activity you can alter selected clefs and add additional ones.
Changing pitches Show how to quickly change the pitch of entered notes, either singly or in groups.
Changing rhythms To change the rhythmic value of entered notes or rests, just select the items and choose the desired value.
Deleting items Selected items are deleted by the delete key (backspace in Windows). Delete/backspace will delete the previous item if nothing is selected.
Entering and Editing Staff Symbols Everything you need to know to get started with Practica Musica's notation tools. Helpful for Counterpointer and Songworks users as well.
Entering text Shows how to enter both lyric and free text. When in the text layer, text blocks are draggable with the arrow and can be copied and pasted to save time.
Item labels Most staff items can have a brief text label. These are especially useful in marking first or second ending symbols.
Multiple tracks Shows how to enter multiple simultaneous voices on a single staff. Each staff can have up to 8, though you rarely need more than 2 or 3.
Selecting items Selecting is a basic operation - you need to select items before you can delete them or alter them. This shows various ways to select single items or multiple items.
Selecting a hidden key signature The key signature for C major or a minor is invisible, of course, unless it follows a different key signature. But it shows up as a blue rectangle when selected.
Tempo changes The tempo change symbol is usually entered above the topmost staff, so make sure that staff is the active one when you enter it. It can be printable, or just there for its effect.
Ties and slurs Selected notes can be tied or slurred by clicking the tie or slur buttons. Ties and slurs also have draggable controls.
Songworks Ideas Shows the Songworks idea generator at work. The last idea in this movie has a haunting quality.
About activities Explains what an activity is, and how to use and customize the Activity menu.
Active listening Active Listening (TM) is essentially a rhythm-reading exercise, but you are taking part in an ensemble reading of polyphonic music. It is not done for points - just for fun.
Altered chords An advanced activity dealing with secondary dominants, Neapolitans, and augmented sixth chords in progressions. Resembles the Chord Progression Ear Training activity.
Atonal Dictation Atonal Dictation presents atonal series of increasing length. They are generated at random but have reasonable melodic shapes. An advanced activity.
Chord Progression Ear Training Roman-numeral identification of chords in the context of a progression. Progressions in this activity are generated by Practica Musica so they are different each time you attempt it.
Chord Spelling The difference between this and Chord Playing is that you must know the correct "spelling" of each note (for example, whether to use D# or Eb).
2-Part Dictation A polyphonic pitch dictation exercise. The examples in this activity are not generated, but are drawn from the chorale literature.
4-Part Dictation A polyphonic pitch dictation exercise. The examples in this activity are not generated, but are drawn from the chorale literature.
Figured Bass This video shows how to use Practica Musica's "Realizing Figured Bass" activity and how it helps students avoid voice leading errors. The activity is designed to flag anything that deviates from the Bach vocal style rules. Ars Nova also offers Counterpointer for those interested in studying other types of counterpoint.
Pitch Dictation Shows the form of the Pitch Dictation activity that uses generated tunes that are new each time. There's also a "library" Pitch Dictation activity with melodies from the literature. See also Rhythm Dictation, Pitch/Rhythm Dictation, and Progressive Dictation.
Pitch Errors How to do the Pitch Errors activity, which is an error detection exercise. You are to locate the notes whose notation doesn't match what you hear, and fix the notation.
Pitch Matching The first of the classic Practica Musica activities, and a good place to start.
Pitch/Rhythm Dictation (Full Dictation) Write melodies by ear, with responsibility for both the pitches and the rhythmic values.
Progressive Pitch Dictation This dictation activity uses a progressive set of composed examples instead of generated melodies. This is a good beginning point if you want to learn to write melodies by ear (a skill that also improves your understanding of music).
Repeat Intervals "Repeat Intervals" is a Practica Musica ear training activity that tests your ability to play intervals on the keyboard (or a fretboard) by ear. An interval is played and the first note is given. You're asked to play both notes of the interval. The choice of intervals for practice is customizable. You can choose to practice up to 12 intervals at a time.
Rhythm Dictation Like Pitch Dictation, it has both a "generated" and a "library" version. Here you work on the time values of notes in a melody, but pitches are supplied for you.
Rhythm Reading Tap the letter keys (or a MIDI keyboard) to perform the rhythm of the melody on the screen. This isolates the rhythmic portion of sight-reading; pitches are supplied for you. These melodies are generated and always new.
Rhythm Tapping Steps to Reading Music™ features fun melodic rhythm tapping exercises with chordal accompaniment. Steps to Reading Music is a set of activities in Practica Musica. It can also be purchased separately from Practica Musica.
Single Pitches This is a beginning-level pitch reading activity with a game-like falling balloon timer. The balloon doesn't fall very smoothly in the movie, but you'll get the idea.
Transposing Practica Musica includes exercises in both real and tonal transposition. This is a very practical skill as well as good general training.