More Ear Training Tools!

I know what you’re thinking… oh, here he goes again on an Ear Training rant! :-)

While I appreciate the vote of confidence, that’s not the point (this time). This blog is about a tool that I use on a regular basis that I wanted to share with you. We’ve already talked about Relative Pitch, but there is (at least) one other tool that you should have in your bag. In fact, there’s a lot more goodness to this resource than just ear training.

Ladies and gents, please point your browser to Ricci Adams’ Musictheory.net.

I’m telling you, this site is packed with goodies that you will be well served by spending some time on. I’ll highlight a few of them here. When you visit the site, you’ll see the main page

MusicTheory.net New Web Interface

MusicTheory.net New Web Interface

With only your browser, you can be off doing some great music study (as a student) or lesson planning (as a teacher/instructor). As I said, this is all good stuff and I highly encourage you to explore all the tools/utilities that this site has to offer. This does require an active internet connection to be useful. What about if you are someone like me that has to travel and can’t always get a good internet connection? Glad you asked, because there is a solution to this predicament.

At the bottom of the main page, you’ll see a link to the “Classic Edition”. Go there and you will see this page:

MusicTheory.net Old Web Interface

MusicTheory.net Old Web Interface

While you can use the tools that are on this version of the web site, please notice the “downloadable offline edition” link near the bottom of the page. When you follow that link, you’ll get to pull down an archive file that has all of the tools that you can use on a Windows PC without an internet connection!

Yes, all you have to do is extract the files from the archive, open the start page and you’re off to do remote study! There are four utilities (trainers) that I have just pounded the daylights are:

  • Chord Ear Trainer
  • Interval Ear Trainer
  • Scale Ear Trainer
  • Guitar Fretboard Trainer

I’ve seen and played with a number of software products over the years and this collection of tools is very, very impressive. What do I like? Let me tell you:

  1. The tools are structured in the form of a game. You get to keep score and have fun!
  2. The tools are highly configurable and all of the options are easy to understand and operate.
  3. Once you learn how to use one, all of them are easy to use.
  4. The quality is excellent. No failures or meltdowns. These things just work.
  5. If you run the Flash files directly, you can easily resize the trainers.

With that said, let’s have a look at…

My Favorite Trainers

Chord Ear Trainer

Chord Ear Trainer

Chord Ear Trainer

The chord ear trainer is a “no brainer”. If you have trouble being able to hear and distinguish different chords and their qualities, this one is for you! By turning on and off the checkboxes, you can customize the training to focus on those elements that you need to work on. Note that you have the ability to increase the difficulty by enabling inversions. You can also enhance your training by changing the play mode from chord to arpeggio to combo (arpeggio then cord). This is very handy!

Interval Ear Trainer

Interval Ear Trainer

Interval Ear Trainer

The interval ear trainer is the first serious ear training tool that I ever used and helped me (finally) make some serious ear training progress. The two key features here are changing the direction of the play (ascending or descending) and the play mode. Again, you get to control the focus and the difficulty level.

Scale Ear Trainer

Scale Ear Trainer

Scale Ear Trainer

The scale ear trainer is the one that I least like, but it does what it’s supposed to do. For my purposes, I tended not to use the modes, even though I found I could readily distinguish them. The only thing that I would have liked to have seen included was the synthetic scales. Still, the package is free. Don’t complain too loudly! :-)

Guitar Fretboard Trainer

Guitar Fretboard Trainer

Guitar Fretboard Trainer

This trainer is nice because it allows you to do what we (in the olden days) used to do with flash cards — identify a given string/fret combination with note names. If you don’t already have this down, this is a quick and easy way of drilling it into your “wetware” (a.k.a. your brain/memory). Once you’ve done this, you’ll find that your sight reading skills will get much, much better, as you’ll have two different means of correlating notes to the fingerboard.

Summary

Please spend some time at this site, have a look around and play with these wonderful tools. I have been using these tools for years and am a big fan. I hope that you find this collection as great and useful as I have.

I’ve never met Ricci Adams, but I am appreciative of and thankful for the wonderful work that has been done.

March 2, 2011 · kengon · No Comments
Tags: , , , ,  · Posted in: Music

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