Songs to help you recognise Scale Degrees

Take a look at Use Your Ear's complimentary 3-hour workshop:.

The piece of music throughout the outro is my "Study in 5/4 time". You can listen to it in full on my Spotify:.

Recognising which degree of the scale a melody is using is a vital skill for anybody who wishes to be able to transcribe or play a song by ear. By keeping in mind these as examples, hopefully you can enhance your capability to recognize the notes that a tune is using just by listening!

My video on the ♭ 6 in Complete stranger Things & The X Files:.
Andrew Huang's video on the :.

P.S. sorry that parts of this video run out focus! I don't know what took place there! ♂.

And, an additional special thanks goes to Douglas Lind, Vidad Flowers, Ivan Pang, Waylon Fairbanks, Jon Dye, Austin Russell, Christopher Ryan, Toot & Paul Peijzel, the channel's Patreon saints!.


0:00 Introduction.
1:18 1 (Tonic).
2:21 2 ().
3:15 3 ().
4:08 4 (Subdominant).
4:53 5 ().
6:42 6 ().
8:42 7 (Leading Tone).
10:29 b3.
11:34 b5.
13:01 b6.
13:54 b7 (Subtonic).
15:07 b2.

to help you recognise Scale Degrees

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About the Author: Virtual Piano Online


    1. I am very disappointed with that workshop. I watched with almost my full attention for 2 hours and 42 minutes, and then they try to make me spend 280 or so US dollars. NO THANKS! Massive waste of time. The speaker took forever to go from point to point, repeating the same things over and over just with different wording, and I didn’t learn anything new.

      I usually don’t express my anger online, but this is an exception.

    2. @Unsightedmetal6 The workshop is an ad to a paid course. While the instructor is not the best, the course itself is quite well-structured and very effective. I did a massive jump on my level of ear training after starting it.
      It’s a bit expensive but in my opinion worth it. The guy really did his research.

  1. Great content as always! I hope you’ll make a video on 9th, 11th and 13th chords (or add9, add11, add 13 chords) and songs in which they occur.

    1. Cheers! I’m actually doing a video on 9ths, 11th etc in a few weeks time 😊😊

    2. By the way, speaking of added note chords, there is a fun example of anti-word painting in “Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off” by Gershwin. On the line “our romance is growing flat”, the word “flat” is sung on an added ♯11.

  2. Love you david 💗💗 are you planning to make a video about Negative harmony ????? this is concept in music theory never failed to fascinate me ✨ Thank you again for educating us

    1. Thank you! Perhaps I will at some point! It’s quite an unusually, non-traditional idea but it is super cool, particularly as an alternative lens through which to think about music 😊

  3. Great Video, your examples are, if you can imagine what a supertonic (and others) should sound like, very useful and I am thanking you for giving me another new view in the music theory.

  4. This has helped me so much with music theory thank you so much. From one music theorist to another

  5. I thought you were going to mention the opening theme for The Simpsons when speaking about the Flattened Fifth. The chord sounded totally like it. Nice video!

  6. These are so insightful, I think it’s time I get these down so I can hear them and their chords by ear and tell what they are.

  7. Hurt by Nine Inch Nails has a pretty prominent/distinctive tritone in its melody as well. Also, you’ll find the flat second is super common in metal and other harder rock descendants.

    1. If you like NIN and David Bennett, you should check out Ixi music’s channel if you don’t know it already.

  8. In Spanish the leading tone is called “la sensible” the sensitive tone. Is more descriptive. I like it

  9. These videos are great for remembering the stuff I forgot from music class 😅😅. Great video!

  10. Nitpick, but I think you’re playing “Let It Go” on the piano as 5-7-1, but the notes should be 6-7-1 @10:02. (unless I’m wrong) Love your videos!

  11. The song Innuendo by Queen makes really great use out of the tension of the minor second scale degree during the verse section!

  12. Something worth noting is that in tonal jazz (and music influenced by it), the 7th degree (both major and minor) can feel different because it is treated as a consonance. I’m trying to think of a good example to help you remember it, and all that comes to mind is “Fascinating Rhythm”.

  13. When taking about sharp 4th/flat 5th the first thing that comes to mind must be YYZ by Rush. It stays there for so long you’ll never forget how it sounds.
    Also, the Jaws theme is my go to for the flat 2nd.

  14. This is the first time (to my memory) that someone is telling me that relative pitch is much more useful than being able to identify a particular note (which I assume will extend to being able to identify the key of the song). While my skills at recognizing scale degrees is nowhere near perfect, most of the time I am able to recognize the scale degrees of a song (and therefore could “replicate” the melody, but in an arbitrary key of my choosing). My biggest problem (I thought) has always been my inability to recognize the pitch/the key of the song. This was a problem back in the days when I was still actively playing music; when I want to cover a song with my friends, I never can get the key right. I get the melody OK, by extension I get the most of the chord degrees OK, but I always end up asking what key the song is in.

  15. The vocal melody of “Wonderwall” by Oasis starts on the flat fifth of its key. It’s sung only briefly, but it’s there.

    A good example of the subtonic in action is in “Fly at Night” by Chilliwack. The second line of each of the song’s verses ends on C in the key of D.

  16. A couple of minor issues: the “flat 2nd degree” label in the upper left appears early at 14:41 instead of 15:07. Also, if you want the degrees in order at 16:45, the sharpened fourth needs to go after the subdominant.

  17. Thanks! Just wanted to point out the flattened 2nd (not of the tonic chord) in “Paranoid Android”. I believe there’s an F in the melody over E major chord in rain section.

  18. The flattened supertonic is quite common in baroque music as part of the Neapolitan sixth chord. Vivaldi and Telemann often used it.

  19. I think a good example of the Flattened Second is the begining of the vocal part of Enter Sandman. The guitar keeps playing E and F (phrygian mode) and then it changes for the Eolian Mode (G-F#-G-A-E)

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