A Listening Strategy for Identifying Diatonic Sequences
- Determine the direction: Does the sequence ascend or descend (overall)?
This brings the range of possible sequences down to four. There are just four descending sequences, and there are just four ascending sequences (see below).
- Listen to the bass line: Match the bass line’s intervallic pattern to one of those shown below.
This determines the specific sequence out of the 4 descending or 4 ascending sequences.
1. Descending Sequences:
Conventional Term Interval of Restatement Root Motion
Descending 5ths ↓2 (↓5↑4)
Variant: Descending 5ths, 6
Descending 3rds ↓3 (↓4↑2)
Variant: Descending 3rds, 6
2. Ascending Sequences:
Ascending 5ths ↑2 (↑5↓4)
Variant: Ascending 5ths
Ascending 2nds ↑2 (↓3↑4)
Variant: Ascending 2nds