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sarel_aiber
12-10-2002, 09:32 AM
I've come across this little program by accident, and a that's a funny thing -- 'cause I've been looking for the functionality it offers for quite some time until giving up.

Anyhows, it's called "Functional Ear Trainer" and it basically gives you a way to practice your scale degree identification, any ol' way you like it. You choose a scale type (major, natural minor, harmonic minor, or melodic minor), a specific or random key each time, and for the specific scale + key combination you've chosen, it lets you designate which scale degrees to test you on (you can choose from all the diatonic and chromatic notes in the scale).

You can also choose how you want the key to be established for you -- a I-IV-V-I cadence, just the I chord, the keynote, the ii-V-Imaj cadence and maybe another way or two.

When you start the testing phase, it basically establishes the key for you and then plays a tone, which is one of the scale degrees (diatonic or chromatic) which you've specified you wanted to be tested on. If you give up you can listen to the answer -- it gives the answer and the stepwise resolution to the nearset tonic from it (for instance, if the answer was #5, the resolution it plays is #5-6-7-8).

Note that in reality, a piece in a minor key can often be in natural, harmonic and melodic minor throughout different parts of the piece, so you can just choose the natural minor and add the #6 and #7 chromatic degrees and be tested on all variants of minor at the same time.

Nothing more to say, other than the fact that IT'S ENTIRELY FREE. There's a guy who wrote it to improve his own ear, and decided that others might profit from it as well. And guess what -- he didn't try making a buck in the process -- 'cause he's got a dayjob :-)

Enjoy, and share your experiences!

And after all the verbiage, here's the URL:
http://www.miles.be


Cheers,
Sarel

Guni
12-10-2002, 09:49 PM
Hi sarel,

This is a great and very useful tool. It's exactly what we practiced a lot a Berklee but I've never come across an application like this.

Thanks for the link :D

Guni

B A Stone
12-10-2002, 10:20 PM
Great tool sarel.:) I had a program similar to that, but do to some hard drive crashing, it was lost.

Thanks

sarel_aiber
12-11-2002, 08:35 AM
Great thing you find it useful, guys.

Guni, I wanted this sort of thing for a while, as I knew I'd have to internalize the scale degrees to an extreme degree if I wanted to have any success in playing by ear and improv.

As I've been saying, I've been looking for it for quite some time -- but it only came out a few weeks ago. Good thing I have an unsubduable stamina when it comes to seeking out new and improved Ear Training materials, so every now and then I do a new search :D

When I first loaded it up it was an like an epiphany -- it was almost too good to be true. Plus, it's stable and user-friendly, and has all the features I might want.

And being a freeware, there's no risk :)

B A, I'd love to hear how it helps you to achieve the ultimate goal of "perfect relative pitch".

Guni, I'm curious to know what level of ear training you've achieved. I mean, after all this immersion in Berklee, what aural skills (and at what level) have you acquired? And what do you find you can do with them practically? I mean, can you just hear a complex jazz piece and if you remember it you can play it perfectly (or near perfectly) first time, just *knowing* what the melody and chords are? Have you actually eliminated the "middle man", that is -- can your hands just play what you hear? Can your pencil just notate what you conceive?

Even if you used to be at a higher level and due to lack of practice have "toned down" a bit (excuse the pun), I'd love to hear what level can be achieved, so I know what I'm aiming for. And I'd be also curious to know if you've met people who started out with a good but untrained ear (like I used to be not so long ago), and due to consistent (and smart) practice achieved the "perfect relative pitch" thing.

Thanks,
Sarel

RobA
12-11-2002, 07:59 PM
If you want to do ear-training online check out goodear (http://www.good-ear.com) . I can't use Functional Ear Trainer since I'm on a mac. So I'm stuck using the online eartrainers. If anyone knows of any other eartrainers online let me know.

Guni
12-12-2002, 05:46 PM
Originally posted by sarel_aiber
Guni, I'm curious to know what level of ear training you've achieved. I mean, after all this immersion in Berklee, what aural skills (and at what level) have you acquired?Wow, difficult question :D There are many areas of eatraining: harmonic eartraining (chords, tensions, chordprogressions), rhythmic eartraining, melodic eartraining, live-playing eartraining (being able to respond to the just heard), instrument eartraining ( timber and range of instruments) etc etc.... I'm sure there are many more.

For me the most important aspect is playing live and being able to react. So, practically, if another musician comes up with an idea that I am able to take on this idea and expand upon it.
I mean, can you just hear a complex jazz piece and if you remember it you can play it perfectly (or near perfectly) first time, just *knowing* what the melody and chords are?I wish!! :D No, to fully understand such a tune I'd have to work that out on the guitar. Well, depends, if it's a standard type of progression chances are hight that I can tell what harmonies are used but I'd have to guess the tonality without having a referece note.
Have you actually eliminated the "middle man", that is -- can your hands just play what you hear?Some days I think yes, somedays not at all. This is not a technical ability, it's part of being creative and artistic. Actually, I think you don't have to be good at eartraining (in a music theory sense) in order to achive this.
Even if you used to be at a higher level and due to lack of practice have "toned down" a bit (excuse the pun), I'd love to hear what level can be achieved, so I know what I'm aiming for. So, what do you actually wanna achieve. Are you a performer? a writer? composer? arranger? producer? ... I mean all of these musicians probably will define eartraining in a different way.
And I'd be also curious to know if you've met people who started out with a good but untrained ear (like I used to be not so long ago), and due to consistent (and smart) practice achieved the "perfect relative pitch" thing.I think that this 'perfect relative pitch' doesn't really exist. At least I haven't met someone that would claim that or told me about it.

I only met one guy but he had perfect pitch (congenital defect :D). Even teachers at Berklee, that worked 40 years in music and really have developed a great ear use an instument to 'double-check' and to get the correct key.

Guni

Bongo Boy
12-14-2002, 06:41 PM
Originally posted by RobA
If anyone knows of any other eartrainers online let me know. Try www.musictheory.net. They have what I think is a nice set of training tools, ear training among them. Other training stuff includes reading training. Downloadable to your machine.

sarel_aiber
12-15-2002, 09:49 AM
Originally posted by Guni
Well, depends, if it's a standard type of progression chances are hight that I can tell what harmonies are used but I'd have to guess the tonality without having a referece note.


Well, I wouldn't expect you to do it without a reference note, obviously (since you're no possessor of perfect pitch). Although some people without perfect pitch claim to have memorized a particular pitch, such as A440, by walking around with a tuning fork in their pocket and before hitting it on anything trying so sing an A, and if their wrong, sing a correct A according to the tuning fork. Apparently, if done so for a few weeks/months (I guess it varies), one actually "burns" the A sound. It's far from having perfect pitch, as it's only the ability to generate notes and not identify them (and with a single note, as well). However, if you have great relative pitch you can work out the keynote from that A by interval.



So, what do you actually wanna achieve. Are you a performer? a writer? composer? arranger? producer? ... I mean all of these musicians probably will define eartraining in a different way.I think that this 'perfect relative pitch' doesn't really exist. At least I haven't met someone that would claim that or told me about it.


I'm a performer. It's funny to say that, 'cause I've just started out. Actually, I'm a software engineer doing R&D work, and music has become a passion of mine little under a year ago. So I bought myself a digital piano (a Roland FP-3, the finest mobile one I could put my hands on), and started taking piano lessons. Concurrently, I've bought some ear training material, and researched the topic a lot, and I'm working steadily towards my goal of a reliable ear.

A book which I've recently purchased -- "Hearing and Writing Music", by Ron Gorow -- claims and describes how to develop what I've heard people refer to as "perfect relative pitch". It uses a transcription strategy to get away from an instrument completely, and with a tuning fork, a pencil and some music paper you can transcribe anything you want.

Naturally, you have to start from simpler stuff. Interestingly, it advocates the use of scale degree information AND intervallic relationships between consecutive notes. Ron Gorow says that by using 2 methods to work out what a note is -- one for identification (e.g. scale degree) and the second for verification (e.g. the interval from the current note to the previous one) -- you develop flawless identification and this process eventually becomes subconscious.

I'm working on recognizing individual intervals for the time being, as well as strengthening my scale degree idenfication. Eventually I hope to become versed enough in the 2 methods to start working on my transcription using both.

The book then moves from transcribing individual notes (the melody) to vertical sonorities (chords) and chord progressions. It should keep me busy for a couple of years, I dare say, but the rewards seem just what I want.

It's a fascinating journey, and the book promises a lot.

And the great part of it is that the author is available for questions via email. 2 weeks after I got the book I bombarded him with about 6 mails, and he answered everything perfectly and with great care.

Btw, I'm pretty sure it's clear that I have no affiliation whatsoever with the dude -- it's just a very interesting read.



I only met one guy but he had perfect pitch (congenital defect :D). Even teachers at Berklee, that worked 40 years in music and really have developed a great ear use an instument to 'double-check' and to get the correct key.


I think I'll just keep at it, aiming at the "perfect relative pitch" milestone, and see how far I can get with it. Whatever strides I make along the way are worthy in their own right, regardless of the final goal.


Cheers,
Sarel


P.S.
I'd be happy to share and hear about experiences and tips regarding ear training. Any interesting parties can just use the forum.

metallibeast
12-20-2002, 01:13 PM
Here's a link to the Berklee Ear Training website.

There are some dictations that you can download for practice.

Berklee ET website (http://classes.berklee.edu/sprosser/et/)

-Metallibeast