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  • Learning resources for ear training?

    Are there any good books/software/CDs for ear training out there? I would like to improve my relative pitch, especially since I heard from a friend that the importance of ear training is stressed at the conservatory he is studying at.

    Thanks in advance!
    "Me and a book is a party. Me and a book and a cup of coffee is an orgy."
    - Robert Fripp

  • #2
    Relative pitch is learned by listening to whatever you can.

    The easiest way to start is linearly. Pick one pitch you are hearing and use it as a reference then conclude whether the next pitch you hear is higher or lower then the reference pitch. Once you've concluded that, next conclude just how much higher or lower the pitch is from the reference pitch. The ability to do this is a must for "relative pitch".

    Once you get that down, then repeat the same idea except with harmony, where the there is no "next pitch" but simultaneous notes from the reference pitch.

    You won't really learn about pitch from a book, or by reading about it. Yes, you can learn the aesthetics of it but to learn it listening is the best practice.
    PM me about Online One-on-One Guitar Lessons, via Skype and Paypal
    http://lessons.mikedodge.com
    http://www.mikedodge.com
    http://forum.mikedodge.com

    Hint for online instructors...play the example in it's entirety, THEN talk about it for 5 minutes.

    The only good liberal is a...well, we're still trying to figure out the answer to that one.

    Uma is a motorik.

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    • #3
      I highly recommend "Ultimate Ear Training for Guitar and Bass" by Gary Willis!

      I have to disagree with Gennation here, you definitely CAN learn a LOT from this book (as well as from other books), it has tons of exercises which make you sing pitches, etc. It also comes with a CD with more exercises!

      Another great book is "A New Approach To Ear Training for Jazz Musicians" by David Baker.
      my website - free licks - some of my music

      I offer online guitar lessons on Skype in different styles. Send me a PM if interested.

      check out my EP 'Sonic Sketches'

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      • #4
        Ear-training software abounds, and a good freebie is Functional Ear Trainer:

        http://www.miles.be

        The problem I found using this is that the results don't really sink in, in the short term at least. I went from scoring about 20 per cent correctly to about 95 per cent in a couple of hours. But I was listening to three or four minor sales and it soon gets easy to figure out which is which. By listening to the third, sixth and seventh notes of a scale, the differences between them become apparent through short-term memory.

        Here is an article on singing to improve the ear by Matt Warnock, on his ever-growing excellent site:


        http://www.mattwarnockguitar.com/5-vocal-exercises-that-will-improve-your-jazz-guitar-playing


        ....although there are in fact just four ways presented. This approach makes sense to me, and is more fun than solely becoming an extension to a software program. Using both methods and configuring the program to complement your vocal endeavours should help you get going.


        Now a digression....

        The rest of Matt's site is now phenomenal! He has a free "30-day workshop" with a stack of ideas for improving you playing. Aimed primarily at guitarists, the workshop has several sections relating to the blues. One goes into the substitution of chords in a 12-bar blues......recommended reading! His site is literally LOADED with quality help.

        Use the link above to get there then cruise around.

        Matt is a music professor, has published books through Mel Bay and Hal Leonard and is editor-in-chief of....


        www.guitarinternational.com


        ....which has two very good 30-day workouts for nailing major scales and improving technique.......by Matt! Find them under "Lessons". Other good stuff, too.


        Matt Warnock, then. Top dude!

        Comment


        • #5
          Hey Paul,

          Thank you very much for those links!
          Great stuff!
          You keep posting great links (in this as well ass in other threads) and I want to thank you for that!
          my website - free licks - some of my music

          I offer online guitar lessons on Skype in different styles. Send me a PM if interested.

          check out my EP 'Sonic Sketches'

          Comment


          • #6
            i'm another one who disagrees with gennation. ear training isnt solely about chords and intervals. its also about recognizing tonal centers and musical movement. i would recommend a book that isnt geared towards your specific instrument, as that defeats the purpose. proper ear training is heavy on singing through solfege and transposition. you should only be using an instrument for a reference pitch. preferably a digital piano since it usually has a constant pitch

            Comment


            • #7
              Books can help you learn how to go about working on relative pitch but they can't hear for you. You can read all the books you can get your hands on but if you can't distinguish relative pitch you're not going to have realtive pitch as a tool.

              Hearing is doing.
              PM me about Online One-on-One Guitar Lessons, via Skype and Paypal
              http://lessons.mikedodge.com
              http://www.mikedodge.com
              http://forum.mikedodge.com

              Hint for online instructors...play the example in it's entirety, THEN talk about it for 5 minutes.

              The only good liberal is a...well, we're still trying to figure out the answer to that one.

              Uma is a motorik.

              Comment


              • #8
                Books can help you learn how to go about working on relative pitch but they can't hear for you. You can read all the books you can get your hands on but if you can't distinguish relative pitch you're not going to have realtive pitch as a tool.

                Hearing is doing.


                Well, I said the books I recommended have actual exercises that TELL you WHAT to practice and WHAT to DO.
                Of course it's not only about reading the book, but about doing the exercises in the book, I thought that was pretty self-evident.
                Nobody here claimed that simply 'reading' a book on ear training would help ...
                my website - free licks - some of my music

                I offer online guitar lessons on Skype in different styles. Send me a PM if interested.

                check out my EP 'Sonic Sketches'

                Comment


                • #9
                  Well, I said the books I recommended have actual exercises that TELL you WHAT to practice and WHAT to DO.
                  Of course it's not only about reading the book, but about doing the exercises in the book, I thought that was pretty self-evident.
                  Nobody here claimed that simply 'reading' a book on ear training would help ...


                  But simply practicing listening to the point of recognizing is the end point.
                  PM me about Online One-on-One Guitar Lessons, via Skype and Paypal
                  http://lessons.mikedodge.com
                  http://www.mikedodge.com
                  http://forum.mikedodge.com

                  Hint for online instructors...play the example in it's entirety, THEN talk about it for 5 minutes.

                  The only good liberal is a...well, we're still trying to figure out the answer to that one.

                  Uma is a motorik.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    But simply practicing listening to the point of recognizing is the end point.


                    I'm not into this game of disagreeing just for the sake of disagreeing, I'm past that age, sorry.
                    my website - free licks - some of my music

                    I offer online guitar lessons on Skype in different styles. Send me a PM if interested.

                    check out my EP 'Sonic Sketches'

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Everyone above is right!

                      I don't personally recommend books or DVDs, although I'm sure they can help if used properly. Likewise I don't recommend sites like this - http://www.good-ear.com/servlet/EarTrainer - even though the exercises are perfectly good.
                      In the same way, I wouldn't recommend going to a gym if you want to practise running. I'd recommend going for a run!

                      So - while I don't disagree with the others - I'm with mike here in recommending working with real music as the BEST method (although by no means the ONLY one). If your ear is not very good, it can be depressing not getting very far with listening to music. But equally it can be depressing seeing how bad you are when testing yourself with other exercises. But at least with music you are working with the real thing - as c+t in b says, it's not just about chords and intervals (which is the focus of most training exercises. Working with real music is organic and enjoyable - and you can still find very simple songs to start with.

                      I have another (slight) problem with using books, DVDs, or websites. It's devolving the responsiibility from yourself to something else. You trust a system or method of some kind (a teacher, an author) to lead you through; it's more passive. The more active you can be, the more you do for yourself, the firmer the learning is. Of course, you can still be active with one of those sources: taking from it whatever you think you can use.
                      So I'd say, by all means use whatever DVD or website you can find - but don't trust it to deliver on its own. You have to put the work in - and that MUST include listening to real music and trying to play along, sing along, and transcribe.
                      ...

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I'm not into this game of disagreeing just for the sake of disagreeing, I'm past that age, sorry.


                        I'm just try to help the guy, speaking from almost 4 decades of experience. Btw, you did say you 'disagree", and you can't be much older than me

                        Relative pitch is right in front of you, you just have to learn how to recognize it. It's much different than perfect pitch in that most everybody has relative pitch to some extent, they just need to practice using it and relying on it, or trusting it on the fly. Perfect pitch on the other it's not clear to many people right out of the box so it might take outside coaching to even break the seal on it. But for relative pitch it's all right in front of you to hear, visualize, and recognize.
                        PM me about Online One-on-One Guitar Lessons, via Skype and Paypal
                        http://lessons.mikedodge.com
                        http://www.mikedodge.com
                        http://forum.mikedodge.com

                        Hint for online instructors...play the example in it's entirety, THEN talk about it for 5 minutes.

                        The only good liberal is a...well, we're still trying to figure out the answer to that one.

                        Uma is a motorik.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I'm just try to help the guy, speaking from almost 4 decades of experience. Btw, you did say you 'disagree", and you can't be much older than me

                          Relative pitch is right in front of you, you just have to learn how to recognize it. It's much different than perfect pitch in that most everybody has relative pitch to some extent, they just need to practice using it and relying on it, or trusting it on the fly. Perfect pitch on the other it's not clear to many people right out of the box so it might take outside coaching to even break the seal on it. But for relative pitch it's all right in front of you to hear, visualize, and recognize.


                          Essentially we are both giving the same advice, what your are saying about how to learn relative pitch is explained VERY well in the books I recommended (especially the book by Gary Willis).
                          That book is an excellent guide to practicing relative pitch and the end goal of Willis' book is to be able to play on the instrument what's inside your head.

                          I am willing to bet if you actually checked out that book you may even agree.
                          my website - free licks - some of my music

                          I offer online guitar lessons on Skype in different styles. Send me a PM if interested.

                          check out my EP 'Sonic Sketches'

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Brett Garsed's "Rock Improvisation" DVD includes a good ear training exercise, which is vital to his improvisational approach. It is basically playing an open string, then randomly playing any note on any other string with your eyes closed, guessing the interval, then opening your eyes to see if you guess correctly.

                            I got my ear training fundamentals in university music fundamentals class. We practiced a lot from the book "Fundamentals of Sight Singing and Ear Training". Sight-singing is a time-tested ear training method. Of course we had the advantage of a teacher who was there in the classroom to make sure we knew what we were doing.

                            Another time-tested ear training method is simply copying melodies, chords, etc. from recordings - eg. a bit of somebody's solo on guitar, trumpet, piano, or whatever. Do not use tab while doing this. Get slowdown software if this is hard for you.

                            I'll probably get Greg Fishman's ear training book at some point - I'm confident it will be a good purchase, based on having his "Jazz Guitar Etudes" book: http://www.gregfishmanjazzstudios.com/tastingharmony.html

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              This is cool, IMHO. Tips for playing what you hear:


                              http://homepage.mac.com/josephgoldstein/JGM/chap20.pdf


                              That's one of many sample PDFs from the author's book. These can be found here:

                              http://homepage.mac.com/josephgoldstein/JGM/jgm.htm

                              Plenty of useful stuff awaits......thanks to Joseph Goldstein.

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