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Old 10-01-2023, 08:27 PM
invisiblewasp invisiblewasp is offline
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Default Ear Training Help

Greetings! I'm a newcomer to classical guitar and music in general. I'm on the lookout for exercises or materials to enhance my ear (including relative pitch, chord identification, recognizing sharps/flats, etc). I've been utilizing ToneScholar ( for ear training, but it's tailored towards voice and not geared towards classical guitar. Do you have any recommendations to help me develop my ear while honing my guitar skills? Much appreciated!
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Old 10-01-2023, 10:16 PM
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blindboyjimi blindboyjimi is offline
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Hi, Rick Beato has an ear training course.
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Old 10-02-2023, 11:10 AM
JackC1 JackC1 is offline
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Can you tune by ear?

If not, then I'd start there. You get to do it every time you play (i.e. lots of practice).

It's the simplest of the ear training because you are identifying higher/lower out of 2 pitches.

Although simple, it took my several weeks to get my ears to tune as well as an electronic tuner. Now I can tune by ear as fast as an electronic tuner (or even faster if I just tune the guitar relative to itself).

Having been thru that, I think it teaches: 1 relative pitch and pitch memory retention (this is a little-talked-about thing, but it actually takes training to retain a pitch in our memory).
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Old 10-04-2023, 10:00 AM
mr. beaumont mr. beaumont is offline
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Absolute pitch, or "perfect" pitch can be a curse...but good relative pitch is a lifesaver.

I'd start with intervals. What does a fifth sound like? Major third versus minor third?
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Old 10-05-2023, 02:51 AM
JonPR JonPR is offline
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I'd start with just playing intervals for yourself. Obviously you then know what they are, but it's about famliarizing yourself with the sounds before trying to identify them when you hear them.
E.g., for a perfect 5th, play them all over the instrument, between different notes and in different octaves: C-G, D-A. Bb-F, etc. Obviously they all sound different from each other, but it's the "P5" factor they all share that matters.
So the same thing with every other interval. And compare major with minor (2nds, 3rds, 6ths and 7ths). Sing them too, to help embed the sounds.
Then do the same thing with chords. 12 different major chords - what's that sound they all share? How do minor chords sound different? Diminished and augmented chords? 7ths of various kinds? Inversions?
Then chord changes. V-I in different keys. ii-V, I-vi, and so on.

Personally I would then move on to listening to music. I wouldn't bother with trainers at all!
I liken it to learning to swim. Why bother with various gym machines, when you can just get in the water?
The idea is that actual swimming requires a complex mix of muscles, floating, and breathing techniques, and it makes no sense to try practising the separate elements on their own - out of context - when they all work together in an intuitive, organic way.
Likewise, music is a complex mix of intervals interacting in time; which might make it seem logical to separate them all out for individual practice, but actually music is not hard to make sense of when you listen to it - you don't have to identify every single interval at every moment. You hear a context (a key, usually) and then everything in relation to that.

I'm not saying that trainers won't help in some way, but don't take your eye of the ball. Work with real music (playing and listening) as much as you can, and don't expect the trainers to solve everything. Being able to identify (say) a minor 6th every time you hear one is of very little practical use when actually playing music, even if composing it yourself.
"There is a crack in everything. That's how the light gets in." - Leonard Cohen.
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Old 10-14-2023, 04:46 PM
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rllink rllink is offline
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I know nothing about classical guitar but I do know something about playing country/bluegrass with other musicians and having to pick up songs on the fly without having the music on a stand to look at. All I can say is the more you do it the easier it gets. I'm not suggesting that I know the answer, but lacking a country/bluegrass or blues jam where you just show up with your guitar and a capo, perhaps finding some backing tracks, or even songs, and trying to sort them out on the fly might be a good way. If you know what key they are in that helps a lot to get started. Just a suggestion.
If I'm wrong, please correct me. I'm still learning.

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Old 10-14-2023, 04:50 PM
Bob from Brooklyn Bob from Brooklyn is offline
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Originally Posted by mr. beaumont View Post
Absolute pitch, or "perfect" pitch can be a curse
I had a former bandmate with perfect pitch and old speeded up/slowed down recordings from the 60's drove her to distraction.
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Old 10-14-2023, 06:22 PM
stanron stanron is offline
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Ear training is memory training, aural memory training.

. 4 + . 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + . 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + .
Play this and then sing it or hum it. Move it to another fret and repeat. You can start the pattern on any of the three lowest strings. If it's too low to sing, move it higher. If it's to high, move it lower.

After ten minutes of not playing try singing it from memory.

This exercise links hearing and remembering sounds with what you do with your hands on the guitar. Once the link is solid it will work in reverse. in other words, you will be able to hear music and know how to play it.

This exercise on it's own wont be enough but it is a good first step.
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Old 10-17-2023, 06:58 AM
Charlie Bernstein Charlie Bernstein is offline
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The best advice I've ever run into is the Grateful Dead line, "Bent my ear to hear the tune, and closed my eyes to see."

As Rlink says above, the more you do it, the better you'll get.
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