Ok, so I'm reading more and more that this is as essential as anything in theory, if not more so. So, where to begin, and what all should I work on as an entry level listener of notes and chords? (though I've listened to them for decades in the music I love so much LMAO)
"grateful is he who plays with open fingers" - Me


I would recommend beginning with the functional ear trainer, which is downloadable for free at Miles.Be. Some people like to drill intervals as well, although in my experience (YMMV) this is less useful.

Identifying chords comes from being able to identify their constituent notes.

I also am a big fan of Wyatt et al's book "Ear Training for the Contemporary Musician" which walks you through a lot of stuff. It starts pretty fast, however, if your ear isn't that good to begin with. But basically you start with learning how to sing a scale accurately.
If you will try to sing notes you play on the guitar it would be a great start. Altrough you want to do ear training - singig is a great. Search for some of Steve's Vai lessons about ear training, he's great in making lessons, trust me.
hmmm something to consider. Downloading from miles.be atm. cya on the flipside.


RANT to come!:

Ok, I've gone through and learned the method, and am trying to get through the major scale... but **** dude! It keeps either playing the same tone 3 or 4 times in a row and makes it supper easy, or it plays a note that sounds like it's the 4th (or whatever) cause it's a really high note, but NO! YOU ARE WRONG! NO SOUP FOR YOU! and sais it's the 2nd or 1st!!!!!!!!!! WTF.... program must be ****ed or something atm. I know for a fact that was the tonic (or whatever) when it's saying it's the fourth, or I know it was the 4th (or whatever) and it sais it's the tonic! It's contradicting it'self more than me it appears! GAHHHH!

Is the current version screwed up or what?

I mean I am a novice, I get that. I can tell when a note is higher than the tonic chord they play at the end... and by a wide margin and yet it's saying it is the tonic note? wtf? I get that there octaves up and down but it's focusing on the tonic through to the 4th, and not above...wtf?
"grateful is he who plays with open fingers" - Me


Last edited by Outside Octaves at Apr 5, 2012,
I'm not aware of any problem with the functional ear trainer.

The issue of it giving you the same note a few times in a row will stop being an issue once it starts switching keys on key every time. It's not that big a deal, chug through it.

As for it getting notes wrong, I suspect that it's not, and that you are. 4ths, 5ths, and tonics are relatively easy to mix up. I don't know what exercise you're on, but at a certain point it starts playing notes in different octaves. You it might be the second two (or three) octaves up.

That's the point - you need to learn to recognize the quality of each note regardless of its octave, because once you're actually playing any analyzing music you'll be jumping around in octaves all the time.
Nope. part 3 where it first introduces the exorcise to ya as a 20 "question" quiz on the major scale's first 4 notes.
"grateful is he who plays with open fingers" - Me


I thought the first few times I was wrong that it was me... continued thinking so untill I tried a little experiment to see if I was that wrong, or it was the trainer... it was playing notes higher than it would for that particular "button" in previous runs... I mean 1 note on the 4 button (the perfect 4th) wouldn't be exactly the same the next time it hit that for an answer... which kept throwing me off of what 3 or 2 should be... I mean wow. I'll give it a go again in a min, but I bet its the same result... something must be up with this version.


Yep, just played the same tone 3 times in a row, each time a different answer! WTF.
"grateful is he who plays with open fingers" - Me


Last edited by Outside Octaves at Apr 6, 2012,
OK, thought I posted here earlier... watch it be on another thread somewhere accidentally!


I reinstalled the program. It worked this time. I got through it just fine after a few attempts! It had to be glitched or something previously. I did update adobe AIR after I installed the program, so maybe that did something weird to it. Who knows. I got it to work though, and it only look like 5 or so tries to complete that particular exorcise! I knew I wasn't THAT tone-def!

(by tone-def, here I mean as an untrained ear... not actually tone-def'ness)
"grateful is he who plays with open fingers" - Me


Last edited by Outside Octaves at Apr 6, 2012,
Ive been using that functional ear trainer thing, while im sure its a great tool - and im not a practiced hand that this, but i should mention that if your using ear training as a means to be able to transcribe music that you like, im not sure how useful these programs really are :/

i know that the ones where it plays a random interval and you identify are useless to this effect, the functional ear trainer has a big advantage because its based on tonal music, which is what 99% of people listen to I think. But - as you might have noticed in my threads, being able to identify intervals played at random, and being able to pick out scale tones when theyre played in the way the functional ear trainer plays them, does NOT mean you will be able to listen to a song and just play it back :/ at least not for me... Im pretty sure the playing songs by ear thing is just something that happens over a long period of time after a few million mistakes, with some sort of act of god

not trying to discourage use of any of these great tools, just letting you know in my own experience, even when I start to score VERY well with these ear trainers - i go back to the song i was trying to figure out, and its like back to square one every time - the functional ear trainer may have helped me some i guess, but if it has, it wasnt enough to keep me from getting super frustrated at times, even with every technological advantage like slowing down the tempo but not the pitch etc - i cant even begin to imagine how they managed this feat back in the day
Well, there's a reason why I recommend both the functional ear trainer AND a book on ear training. Keith Wyatt's ear training book, which I recommend all the time, is essentially a course in transcription which starts with really simple melodies (stepping up and down the scale) and gradually becoming more and more complex until you're transcribing complex chord progressions in rythm.

For me, the functional ear trainer is building up the foundation which I have to then polish with transcription practice to get to the point where i can dynamically hear things and instantly know what they are. WIthout the foundation, even simple transcription was really really hard for me. With the foundation, the practice became easier and more production - but I still had to do it.

(I'd say it's kind of like practicing scales to a metronome. That doesn't teach you how to play a lead but it does build up skills you're going to need if you want to play a lead well. But you're still going to have to practice a lot of leads.)

There are no short cuts. It'd be awesome if all you have to do was play with a free program a few times a week and, voila!, a great ear. Alas, it's not that simple.

Rewarding, but not that simple.
Yep, Hot's right. And this is fully what I expect. Exorcises are meant to train you on something. It's only when you take what you learn from exorcises as a foundation and use those tools in application, (transcription), that you learn to play/write music. Simple as that.

One can't hear the music of others and know what one would need to know to take the chord(s) from that piece and make your own thing with them... I mean there's an interview on Live in Pompeii (The Pink Floyd) where Rick Write talked about hearing a chord in a Miles Davis piece and then using that in the making of one of their pieces~!~ He wouldn't know what that chord was without a good foundation I bet! heh.
"grateful is he who plays with open fingers" - Me


just thought id let you know what i like to do with functional ear trainer

when im *not doing just the full major scale excersizes in key of C or the random keys one (ive passed both of them numerous times, but i still seem to get the first questions wrong alot so im still working at it before i move on to chromatic)

I like to go the practice lab section of it, and set it to a single key usually C, in the major form cause im not familiar with minor yet, but i like to set it to 20 questions, and to only play the cadence every 5 questions. I cant explain but its alot more fun for me that way, not entirely sure if its more or less helpful or anything but, it sort of demands that you keep the tonic note in your head, and at the same time, say it plays a 6, and then a 4, theres the chance that you pick up on the interval as well, and if you cant - then you just compare the note to the tonic

/e just thought it was worth pointing out, that while the lesson part always plays the cadence, and sort of gives you a feel for the tone of the note compared to the tonic, using it in the way i described sort of does the same thing, but also can sort of be used as interval training within a key

anyway, in case you didnt check the practice lab, i think its a neat excersize to do, also i find it sort of forces you to speed up your judgment, and I think its a good lesson, clearly thats why the option is there, but i mean say it plays the cadence, then a 6, then a note that is lower, its not just the interval but, because i know it played a 6, and then a note lower, it narrows down the possibilities alot and I think using it this way, where the same cadence isnt played each time, helps with the "hearing in context" approach, but in a more realistic way maybe. IDK its worth a try thought maybe you will enjoy it also
Last edited by blunderwonder at Apr 7, 2012,