Ear Training

mymarkers

Senior Member
I'm looking to dedicate some practice time to ear training in the near future. I'd classify myself as "advanced beginner" in that regard. I can identify intervals pretty well in isolation, but struggle in musical context. If I sit down at the piano and play along, I can usually figure out most of a song. But I'm pretty slow and can't usually get the details. I want to bump myself up to the next level. How have any of you practiced ear training? Have you found any useful books or software? I'd appreciate any ideas. Thanks!
 

toddbishop

Platinum Member
Just browse the ear training books at Amazon or your local bookstore and grab whatever you like based on the style of the presentation-- whatever is written in a way you feel like you understand, and that you feel like you can actually get through. Maybe go at least one level above the most dumbed-down option. Gnu Solfege is also a helpful piece of free software.
 

bosman

Senior Member
Jordan Rudess has a new iOS app called "Ear Wizard" It should be what you are looking for. It's fun.

My college theory book was called "Tonal Harmony". If you get that, the workbook, and the CD's it would set you straight.
 

Jeremy Bender

Platinum Member
Back in the dark ages when I was at Boston University studying classical percussion, we each had an A-440 tuning fork and learned to sing intervals from that reference point. It's how a timpanist can change the pitch of his drums during a piece of music without anyone else hearing it. If you don't play timps. it's perfectly okay as this technique really trains the ear for tuning drum heads as well.
 

brentcn

Platinum Member
I'm looking to dedicate some practice time to ear training in the near future. I'd classify myself as "advanced beginner" in that regard. I can identify intervals pretty well in isolation, but struggle in musical context. If I sit down at the piano and play along, I can usually figure out most of a song. But I'm pretty slow and can't usually get the details. I want to bump myself up to the next level. How have any of you practiced ear training? Have you found any useful books or software? I'd appreciate any ideas. Thanks!
You should study guitar as well, since so many songs are composed on the instrument. Very often, the details of a song are the way that they are because that's how guitar players learn to play. It's a simplistic example, but the intro guitar riff to "My Girl" is a nothing more than a major pentatonic shape. The guitar player who composed that bit didn't choose those notes out of thin air; rather, he was familiar with the shape and presented it in a musical way.

Also, learning show tunes and musical numbers can stretch your theory knowledge, since there are a lot of modulations, key changes, odd meters, and strange moments.

Learning cadences and chord progressions are vital as well. If you can find the first chord of a pop tune and determine the key, you can usually figure out the rest, based on diatonic chord relationships and common progressions.
 
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