Home »Forum»Recording and mixing»Finally, an ear trainnig program/app that actually works

Finally, an ear trainnig program/app that actually works

posted on #1
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http://www.miles.be/

There is an adobe air installer, but did not get to work but i have located the windows installer files. If you are interested, pm me your email and ill send them to you.
There are versions for ios and android as well. Search the appropriate market site for that.

For years i have tried different ear training programs with little or no result. I was able to get a number of the questions right but there was little or no improvement over time. And for something labeled "Training" there should be some measurable improvement provided that you actually do some work, which i did.

This program has a little different approach. It begins by playing a cadence (chord progression ending on the I chord) and then plays a note immediately after the cadence. The challenge is to identify the scale degree of that note. The instructions suggest you sing from that not to the nearest root, but i found that it works fine the other way round, from the root to the note played.

The training regime i use is the following: Start with a small choice of notes, maybe 1, 3, 5. Start with the full cadence and continue until you manage to hit a long sequence, i use 100 without error. If i miss i reset and start over. When you succeed change the cadence to the next one (full cadence -> ii, V, I -> I (chord) -> 1(root note only)). These are increasingly difficult. When finished with all these steps extend the range of notes. and start over. I suggest you do all exercises in the same key for starters. A tip is to try to listen for both the pitch itself and the "quality" of the note within the key. here i discovered something interesting, this "quality" seems to change with what is played previously, please post if you are experiencing the same (or different)
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posted on #2
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Hmmm......you clever types amaze me! Dunno what all that was about..... listen. decide it’s in (say Am). and work out a scale that fits. Done.
That’s all my lil ole brain can handle :D
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he who works with his hands and his head, is a craftsman
he who works with his hands, his head, and his heart, is an artist.....(I try not to work)
posted on #3
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I think i come back to this because it is important. I have used the android version of this
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.kaizen9.fet.android&hl=sv
daily for some month now and the results are encouraging. I also have developed some ideas on how the program actually works and how to use it efficiently.
Here is how i think it works, its actually two steps:
Step 1, you establish a reference note.
Step 2, you hear the interval note and resolve it back to the reference. This is primarily done by audiating i.e hearing it inside your mind. According to both Adam Neely and Rick Beato, Audiating is THE single most important skill for a musician.

Of these two, step 1 is actually the hardest. And you can vary the difficulty by changing the cadence type from a I-IV-V-I (easiest) over ii-V-I over I up to just the single root note (hardest)
In step 2 you can also vary the level of difficulty. The easiest is to limit to one quadrachord (lower or upper half of the scale). There is a option for designing your own exercises, something i strongly recommend. That way, when you get stuck (and you will) you can backtrack and make an exercise that will only contain the intervals you have problems with (especially when selecting multiple octaves). Start with 10 repetitions, and increase gradually up to 100. Once you have mastered this (100%) you can add more intervals and start over. Chances are you will not notice any progress until earliest the next day since you need to sleep in order to let your brain process the stimulus. But you'll be surprised how easy it is once that process is completed.

[youtube]KMqOOokv4TM[/youtube]
[youtube]6fSsO7-4lLE[/youtube]
It would be very interesting if someone could provide some more information on this, in particular the rhythmic aspects of audiating
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posted on #4
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It's very interesting stuff, Nilton. It reminds me of my father telling me years ago how he taught himself 'perfect pitch': every time he went near his piano, he'd sing middle c then play the note on the piano to check his pitch. Once he had it down, he'd sing other notes before playing the note on the piano to check his relative pitch.

Whereas my mother has perfect pitch anyway. My ex-wife had perfect pitch too - she could pick up a sheet of music and sing it bang-on with no reference music. She had no formal musical training beyond learning the piano in her youth and was not a professional musician at all. Just a hobby to her...

The whole pitch thing I find difficult. Are you born with it? Can you be trained in it? I can't sing to save my life (well I can - I sang in various things as a kid - but I can't exactly control my voice any more!) but I have always had very good ears for pitch, despite my now-screaming full-time tinnitus! I can tell if something is flat or sharp by very small amounts and I can 'hear' harmonies in my head no problem. Getting my voice to do it these days is another matter entirely.

But I'm not 'trained' in it at all. Was I born with it (having two outstanding musicians as parents may have something to do with it!) or did I learn it without realising through being surrounded by a family of musicians? Your second video (the Beato one) seems to touch on that aspect.
Edited by mpointon on September 30 2018 09:59
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posted on #5
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I do not think that you are born with "pitch" not more that you are born with language. What you are born with is the ability structure sensory information into something we usually call "meaning" whether this manifests itself as language, music, art etc. There has been research showing that our brains can find structure in almost any data given adequate and persistent exposure and training. And herein lies the key to all learning I think. I.e learning is NOT an intelectual process, it's just something the brain does. Proof: you cannot learn to play guitar or recognize pitch by reading a book. The only way to learn is to expose yourself to progressively increasing challenges. And this is critical, if the progression is too slow you get bored, if it is too hard you are likely to give up.
From this viewpoint it is no surprise at all that you have excellent pitch.
But i think there is something else at play here. That many of us are unsure how "good" our sense of pitch actually is. I noticed that both in myself and in others. And here ear training has an important role, not only to increase our sense of pitch and train our ability to audiate, but to assess ourselves so that we are better equipped to choose a path.

I find the debate of relative vs perfect pitch rather futile for the following reasons. Relative pitch is what you need in order to apply your theoretical knowledge, so that is what you should train. Knowledge without application is a waste in the best of cases and dangerous in the worst. Even if it is debatable if adults can achieve perfect pitch with adequate motivation and training it is probably not worth the effort.
But relative pitch is clearly trainable and definitely worth the effort. I have documented progressions on a day to day basis.
My objectives are, in a given mode and reference, to identify the degree of any note and it's associated triad. And I'm quite confident that will achieve that in a few years time
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posted on #6
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Since English is not my native language, I can’t fully participate in this interesting treath, but I want to share some of my experiences on the matter. Since my days at the conservatory I know some of us are born with perfect pitch. But you can improve a relative pitch to an almost perfect pitch by training. In my schooling days no more than 1/3 of us had a perfect pitch, but we all graduated with an almost perfect pitch. We were extensively trained on the matter. Starting with singing the notes at first with, and later on, without piano companion, over singing a capella a duet with another student who sang in another key, to atonal singing. Not only the singing was a part of the training, but dictations from 2 bars till 8 bars, two voice melody’s to atonal intervals played on a piano, was part of our training over the years. I still haven’t a perfect pitch, but I can easily write down a played melody, and I won’t have to look at the chord tab in an upload on wiki to hear in what key it is.I remember a few of the students couldn’t improve their hearing even after years of studying, so I do think your born with a good ear or not. Like Nilton said perfect pitch or relative pitch is futile. Yes, it helps to write down the chords or melody of a song without playing it over and over again, but it will not make you a better composer or better musician.Audiation is far more importand.It’s relative easy to sing the notes of your solo while you playing it.I ask my students to sing a phrase of the solo they are going to play , or ask them to play a few bars of solo and then sing them, it won’t have to be with the notes ,a da,da,da….is good enough .I think this will make them better musicians then having a perfect pitch.
posted on #7
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What fanne says actually 2 things confirms what i state
1) Our sense of pitch is trainable
2) Audiation is very important

The point with Alain Benbassat's method is that you train your ear not to recognize intervals by themselves but to audiate their resolution to the root note or tonal centre. IMO this has two advantages:
1) You can control the threshold or the level of challenge. This not only lets you adapt the training but it also gives you a metric on what you can and cannot do at the moment.
2) You train to audiate which is a more complex and more useful skill

I wouldn't be surprised at all if the students fanne mentions that where having a hard time would have had a more successful progression using this method.
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posted on #8
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I fully agree with JohnV (fanne's) description of a relevant method of achieving a high degree of relative pitch. One proficient at their instrument should try to play whatever they would sing. It may be that visual learners or people with less musical talent require a "translation" that is either visual or an intellectual concept in order to do this. We should all check our prejudices and preconceptions at the door as we all learn differently. For those who need a prescriptive fix, the proposed method may be as good as it gets. Others don't require this.

I don't have perfect pitch, but can play whatever I can conceive of (as long as it's within my physical limitations). I don't think of intervals, I play what I can hear in my head. I'm sure that there are many like me who would be horribly slowed down if I had to learn to think of intervals and be continually "translating" in order to play.

One size DOES NOT FIT ALL!
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posted on #9
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Wade wrote:
"It may be that visual learners or people with less musical talent require a "translation" that is either visual or an intellectual concept in order to do this.... For those who need a prescriptive fix, the proposed method may be as good as it gets. Others don't require this."

Excuse me?
The reason why i started this thread is that i have noticed that great many, maybe even a majority, of people that i know (including myself) that are involved in music in some way have problems in this area, and this thread might (or might not) help them. The other thing i have noticed that these people, also including myself, are very reluctant to admit to these problems. And a quick browse round the internet reveals that this observation is not uncommon.
So this leaves us with two possibilities:
1) A large proportion of those involved in music are what wade calls "visual learners or people with less musical talent"
or
2) The methods used to teach pitch training are dated and not very scientific routed. Instead they are passed from generation to generation with very little additional creativity. In addition to this they can act off-putting to many and act as a filter

I know from experience that #2 is very common in many branches of education from math to history to language learning. Attempting to bash knowledge into peoples minds does simply not work. But this bashing does work very well as a filter and this is exactly the reason why so many of these methods prevail. The primary objective of educational systems around the world has been to sort individuals into productive and less productive categories. Transferring actual knowledge in an effective way has always been secondary to this. And this has been true from ancient china to present day western universities.

Also i wonder, have you even tried the benbassat method? Or why do you criticise it in such a, almost arrogant, way?
Edited by nilton on October 02 2018 11:20
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posted on #10
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As said I can play whatever I want without having to "translate" via any academic method. Why would anyone who can ride a bicycle decide to put on training wheels?

I'm very sorry that you took the information provided as negative. It's just that many don't need it. As said one size does not fit all. If you or others need it, then whatever works for you is fair. I'm certainly not trying to give you an alternative that won't work for you.

There is IMHO a general problem with teaching music. The academic method is to teach reading at the same time as learning to play. This is asking people to use their eyes (not their ears) and develop a mechanical reaction to what they see in order to play a note. They haven't got a clue about what they will hear. Does this strike anyone beside me as a bit strange? There are other methods (like Suzuki) that start children off playing by ear, then teach them to read. Seems to be successful. The concept is to have music taken in at a young age in the same way we take up languages.

Maybe if more were taught initially to play by ear it would be less necessary to try and academically teach ear training to adults? Could also be that there ways, similar to John's conservatory experience, that are as fast or better for some adults. Just saying... and apologizing for your being upset.
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posted on #11
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Wade wrote:
"Why would anyone who can ride a bicycle decide to put on training wheels?"

There might actually be a number of reasons for that, riding hands-free, doing wheelies etc. And if you interpret the training wheels metaphorical there are a multitude of situations where lowering the bar is EXACTLY what you need in order to learn new skills in an area that you are presumably familiar with. I have done this many times and EVERY time i did this i discovered how little i actually knew before. The correlation is so incredibly strong that i would advocate this as a solid principle for personal development. I call this "Keeping the beginners mindset" (edit: i just discovered that there actually is a zen word for exactly this: Shoshin). And its not about using this method or that but constantly questioning your own presumed knowledge and going back to basics and relearning using different approaches and methods. (check out lectures by Richard Feynman for probably the best examples of this. I strongly believe that this way of thinking boosted is creativity in a way that led to a Nobel price)

You often use the phrase "play what's in my head". I want to question this by "How do things get into your head in the first place"
Understanding intervals, melodies and chords from a point of how they resolve and how they affect the listener gives me a far greater understanding than just trying to memorizing them. And its actually easier as well.
And if i encounter another different way of approaching this same topic rest assured that i will go all the way back and start over. Because every time i did this it has deepened my knowledge, no matter what the subject was or how well i thought i knew it.
Edited by nilton on October 02 2018 12:42
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posted on #12
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We have here a failure to communicate. I'm happy with being able to hear music in my head and play it. I can also play most any line someone plays for me back to them (within the limits of my physical ability). You (admittedly) can not. So you're telling me that I'm missing something by not subscribing to an academic approach?

Does a singer need to intellectually learn intervals or do they sing what they can hear? There is potentially no difference between a singer and instrumentalist if you are one with your instrument. The way to hear more is to increase your internal library of sounds. I've studied (and teach) ethnomusicology. That's a way to fill up your head with what's happening in all the world's cultures...not just Western culture. Many of those cultures are also successful in teaching music without an academic bent. You listen you copy, you learn, you stretch, breathe, experiment and eventually may have something to say musically. It's also recognized that not everybody has to be a musician. Some find it easy, some do not...that's life.

If you or others can find a way to improvise via an academic route that's good!

My personal journey was to learn to read and play (standard Western style teaching). That teaching did not enable me to improvise. I had to learn this for myself. My method, similar to John's and not necessarily being recommended for you or anyone else, was to put on the radio and try to play along with whatever was playing. I'd flip the dial so that I was trying to keep up with Pop, Rock, Classical, Jazz, Country Western, Ethnic, anything! This exercise has several good things (for me). 1. It removes you from yourself. By this I mean that your concentration is on the music, not your hands, trying to consciously analyze/categorize or in any way intellectualize what's happening. You are HEARING the music (which isn't the same as listening) and attempting to be immersed and part of it. 2. The exercise is initially a lot of trial and error without stopping and starting (what most people do when practicing). You develop the momentum of being in the rhythm and doing your best to incorporate mood/mode, melodic lines, chord changes, and finding harmonies or further melodic lines that can fit. This is learning by doing. It's direct and does not intellectualize or in any way put translating impediments between you and the music. Do I recommend it to everybody? NO...and why not? ONE SIZE DOES NOT FIT ALL. My learning patterns are mostly aural, not visual or intellectual. This is what works for me. My guess is that it's similar for many musicians who become professionals. There are certainly millions of people who want to play music well, but have difficulty. If you or others can give them instructions that work that's good. Where's the argument?
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posted on #13
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You did not answer my question, how does an original musical phrase emerge in your head. And im not talking about copying or reproducing. Assuming that a musical phrase is a sequence of intervals how do chose one over the other? How do you chose intervals that take you out of the diatonic prison and still sound good?

And where is the academic approach you are constantly accusing me of (something i take great offence in btw) What im talking about is about the opposite. What i am recommending are practical exercises that help you not only enhance your sense of pitch but also train your ability to audiate and detect possible resolution. Something you would have noticed if you would have tried. Instead of that you throw a series of loosely connected arguments whose sole purpose as far as i can detect is to discourage other from trying new ways and trying new methods and deepen their knowledge. There is the argument! If that is all you can contribute something else but negativity please stay out of the discussion.
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posted on #14
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This is getting kind of old and tired. I know you like arguing (I do know you!), but this isn't about discouraging the technique you've presented as it may well be the best thing for you and others. Fact: I don't need it and many others don't either. The "resolutions" you speak of are a Western music construct, not universal. If you can be bothered to listen to something other than western pop music you'll find that not everything fits into a prescription bag. How do I compose/improvise? Hmmm...how do we take a totally aural reality and explain it to someone who isn't aural? This is getting into "blind spot" territory. You can't see what you can't see...or can't conceive of something that isn't a way you think. Well, the closest I can verbalize this...and it's been mentioned many many times before, is how we sing. Can I sing a tune that isn't copying something? Yes! Do I think of intervals, key, changes, or anything else when singing or playing a horn? NO. This is the same as a singer...repeat the same as singing but you do it through your instrument. Need more repeats?

I'm truly sorry that you feel the need to continue this way and fail to understand that there are other ways of conceiving/playing music. That is a reality...there really is no need for me to convince you of this as it's plainly evident in every singer and good musician who can play by ear. Would they have achieved playing by ear better/faster through using the technique you espouse? This can only be answered in time statistically. I'm not going to do that, and neither are you. Fact remains lots of people can play what they hear and can compose/improvise as is. The only concept that I think deserves respect is that not everybody learns the same way. You seem to wish to deny this. Why?
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posted on #15
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I started this thread in order to help others by showing them an alternative to the pitch training regimes i previously encountered.

So lets analyse for a second what you are writing and how i am perceiving it.
1) "this isn't about discouraging the technique". So what is it about then? You being super talented and not needing this?

2)"I don't need it and many others don't either" Maybe a super talented person like you does not need it. But from what i truly can tell there are great many people struggling with this. So again you are discouraging others

3)"The "resolutions" you speak of are a Western music construct, not universal" Debatable, but the melodic/harmonic part of all music is built on ratios between frequencies which we perceive as dissonant and consonant and the contrast between them and improving of our understanding how we perceive them (regardless of cultural background) can never be a bad thing. But most important your comment is totally out of topic since this method works extremely well inside an equal tempered context.

4)"If you can be bothered to listen to something other than western pop music" since we have met and discussed previously you should know that this statement is very untrue. Which makes me why you have written it.

5)"....you'll find that not everything fits into a prescription bag" There are thing that ARE fundamental like the mathematical ratios between frequencies (something commonly called intervals, even if the description of these differs between cultures). Then it gets complicated very fast. But where have i ever said or even implied otherwise? Accusing me for for that i perceive as deeply condescending and unfair.

6)"You can't see what you can't see" No, but you can learn and that is EXACTLY what this is about

7)"..or can't conceive of something that isn't a way you think" Again downright condescending

8)"Well, the closest I can verbalize this...and it's been mentioned many many times before, is how we sing" Agreed and singing is a recommended although not necessary part of the method. And please get real, singing is a very frightening things we can do for most of us others and the method helps here as well. And the method has not only increased my perception of pitch but also my pitch control when singing, which is hardly surprising

9)"Do I think of intervals, key, changes, or anything else when singing or playing a horn? NO" So how do analyse your playing? How do learn how listeners are affected by different melodic/harmonic structures? How do you help your brain structure this? Where is the lattice of your knowledge? Where is your metric? How do you assess your own knowledge?

10)"[you]fail to understand that there are other ways of conceiving/playing music. That is a reality..." Again you are downright arrogant, condescending, unfair and very very wrong. All my life i have been searching for new ways, new approaches and new aspects of knowledge. Nor have i ever expressed any of these opinions that you accuse me of, quite contrary i am very aware of that different structures of knowledge lattices require different explanatory models.

11)"Fact remains lots of people can play what they hear and can compose/improvise as is" Simply not true, what you are implying is that this is somehow innate. Every good musician i know has gone through a immense deal of struggle and frustration to nurture his own abilities. And every one of them has devoted a vast amount of time, energy and other resources to learning and training. So there is no, and has never been any "as is"

12)"not everybody learns the same way. You seem to wish to deny this" Never done that and never even dreamt of it. What i do and take great pride in is investigating new ways of learning evaluating them and presenting the to others in order for them to benefit. But if we summarize this analysis it seems to me that you are the one guilty of the things you are accusing me of.

And finally, this has made me seriously considering my membership here at wikiloops. I put great effort in trying to collaborate end help others and being treated in a way this analysis clearly shows is not what i want to spend my time and energy on
Edited by nilton on October 03 2018 08:55
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posted on #16
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Nilton's answer above was heavily edited and added to. Initially it was just two lines saying I torpedoed his post and was condescending. I'm not going to bother replying to most of the ridiculous stuff above. How does anyone deal with an absurdity like Nilton's statement: "How do (you sic.) learn how listeners are affected by different melodic/harmonic structures? How do you help your brain structure this? Where is the lattice of your knowledge? Where is your metric? How do you assess your own knowledge?" Music is not science or even philosophy. We indeed have here a major failure to communicate.

These are my quotes, none of them saying that it isn't worthwhile or could work for some:

" For those who need a prescriptive fix, the proposed method may be as good as it gets.
" If you or others need it, then whatever works for you is fair. I'm certainly not trying to give you an alternative that won't work for you. "
"If you or others can find a way to improvise via an academic route that's good! "
" There are certainly millions of people who want to play music well, but have difficulty. If you or others can give them instructions that work that's good."
"this isn't about discouraging the technique you've presented as it may well be the best thing for you and others."

Every post of mine encouraged you or others who are having difficulty. Where's the discouragement? A different point of view that's based on knowledge or experience could be an education. It would be a shame if everyone who had knowledge didn't share it because someone considered it "condescending".

I'm going to open a new post "Improvisation 101". It will be extreme basics and we can easily see if Nilton is right (that most of you can't improvise). Hopefully Nilton will check it out. To quote him he is "constantly questioning your own presumed knowledge and going back to basics and relearning using different approaches and methods. " OK Who has an open mind?

To be honest I don't give a fig whether Nilton participates. If he, or others can use the proposed technique as their magic feather and it gives them the ability/confidence to improvise, then that's all good.
Edited by Wade on October 03 2018 20:54
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posted on #17
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"Music is not science or even philosophy" Then what is it? Religion? At least you are behaving that way. i.e totally irrational.
An example: " I don't think of intervals, I play what I can hear in my head"

Intervals ARE the most fundamental building blocks of both melody and harmony no matter in what culture they emerge. Whether or not you name them according to some system or let your brain associate them with the motorics of singing or playing your instrument, you ARE thinking of intervals, explicit or implicit, everything else is simply impossible. So your statement is completely and utterly self-contradictory and false.
Edited by nilton on October 05 2018 16:29
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posted on #18
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off topic question:
are you guys still enjoying this discussion?
Looks like a classical case of "Let's agree to disagree [and best leave it at that]!" to me :)
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