Melody Ear Training


For the longest time now I’ve been craving for a good relative pitch for my ears. It’s just that I’ve always imagined it to involve a TON of boring work hours and so never really got around improving my ears. There are days when I’ve spent two hours working with exercises but they seem to come sparser than Hanukkah.

I wanna have a good sense of what I’m doing with my guitar when I’m improvising. Now when I do it — it doesn’t necessarily sound awful — I just wanna be able to give solos more personal touch aside from just repeating licks over and over.

I was thinking about this the other day and not surprisingly someone in one of my frequently visited forums posted a link to a Java-based ear training software.

Online Ear Trainer 2.0 (IWasDoingAllRight.com)

This little program really caught my attention. Though there are many ear training softwares out there this one came with an additional feature that (although important and logical) I’ve never seen before: you can play randomly generated melodies with it.

The idea is that the software plays a melody (from selected keys and scales) and then you try to play the exactly same thing with your instrument. Well, being the self-confident bastard I am I set the tempo to 200 BPM and started with easy, five notes long, E minor melodies. It soon turned out I had overestimated my powers.

The software gives you the starting note so I managed to play two to three notes quite well but longer sections proved to be quite difficult for my current skill level. However, I liked the fact that I was actually doing something and not just playing intervals over and over. It felt challenging and fun!

I ended up turning the tempo down, lengthening the pause after the melody, changing the scale to E minor pentatonic and instead of 5 notes long melodies tried to unlock only 3 notes long melodies. Better to start off slowly and build a strong foundation. I wouldn’t be a very good teacher if I didn’t operate as I taught.

Overall the experience was engaging enough to make me wanna do it again. Maybe this time I’ll actually be able to train even as much as few times a week.

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About Ianuarius

A Finnish guitarist, composer and guitar teacher. View all posts by Ianuarius

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