Many people use familiar tunes to help identify basic intervals. This can work, but be careful because always thinking of “here comes the bride” for a fourth only gets you used to so-do fourth, and not the do-fa (or any other) fourth. Here are some I remember, feel free to find your own examples. Additionally, many of these are only the interval from the lower note to the higher note, and learning descending intervals can be much harder.
For singers, I recommend singing through various leaps on solfège in both up and down directions, and in different places in the scale. (Most solfège listed here is from major keys, learning minor key solfège opens many more possible intervals.)
Minor second/half step
do ti, fa mi
iconic interval of Jaws theme: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A9QTSyLwd4w and opening of Dvorak New World Symphony 4th mvt: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vHqtJH2f1Yk
Major second/whole step
first interval of “Frere Jacques:” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pa2_oWshsRM (do re)
other possible solfège: re-mi, fa-so, so-la, la-ti
“Ring around the Rosie” (so mi descending) [I could NOT find a good recording of this without out-of tune children]
other possible solfège: ti-re, re-fa, la-do
opening of vocals for “Wonderful World:” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CWzrABouyeE (do mi)
other possible solfège: so-ti, fa-la
Wagner’s Wedding March: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gMR3chMAAX8 (so do)
other possible solfège: re-so, mi-la, do-fa, la-re
beginning of verse (after intro 0:40) “Maria” from Westside Story: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VpdB6CN7jww (do fi)
other possible solfège: fa-ti
Star Wars theme (0:08): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_D0ZQPqeJkk (do so)
other possible solfège: so-re, la-mi, fa-do, re-la
“Yeah!” by Usher (background accompaniment loop Do so do le) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GxBSyx85Kp8
other possible solfège: ti-so, mi-do, la-fa
“Nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen” opening of vocal: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PHFveRxXfM4 (mi so descending)
other possible solfège: re-ti, fa-re, do-la
“Somewhere” Westside Story: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-BQMgCy-n6U (0:28)
Beethoven String Quartet opus 18 #3 opening: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4PIaK78CvgQ
other solfège is possible, but so-fa is the most common by far.
“Bali Hai” South Pacific (0:04) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gJ8zf5hR13Q (do ti)
“Somewhere Over the Rainbow:” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PSZxmZmBfnU (do do)
Notice again that the solfège for minor thirds and major sixths (and major 3rds and minor 6ths, and perfect 4th and 5ths) are the same but in the opposite order. These intervals are inversions of each other.
Try listening to the following intervals and identifying them. Some are out of context, some will have a key to help with solfège:
If you have more questions, let me know!
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