Starting ear training [Archive] -

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04-27-2011, 07:33 PM
Hey I have completely ignored ear training for the 4 years I've played, can someone give me some pointers on good ways to start or techniques to help out, also some good simple and easy to learn songs to get started on trying to teach myself. Thanks in advance.

Greg McCoy
04-27-2011, 07:37 PM
YouTube - Star wars music #1 force theme

:34-:50 See if you can't figure out that melody (greatest melody ever IMO). Minor tonality. Don't bother with perfect pitch for now, just get the pitches correct in relation to one another.

Start with bite sized chunks like that.

Greg McCoy
04-27-2011, 07:39 PM
Movie themes are great, cause they have a lot of motifs that translate to single note lines easily playable on the guitar.

Heres another great one.
YouTube - Jurassic Park theme song.

Greg McCoy
04-27-2011, 07:44 PM
If you want to check yourself on the Force theme one here is how it starts, rhythm/note duration isn't represented here, but these are the pitches named by their place in the natural minor scale (scale degrees).

1 - 4 - 5 - 676 - 1

See if you can't figure it out from there.

04-27-2011, 07:47 PM
:eddie: Two of my favorite songs ever! this shall be a labor of love!!

Greg McCoy
04-27-2011, 07:52 PM
If you aren't comfortable with the concept of scale degrees yet the tab would be something like (I am tuned DGCFAD, but here is how I play it when I am just wanking)

on these two strings of a standard tuned guitar eADgbe; a string 9th fret - d string 9th fret - d string 11th fret - d string 12th - 14th -12th - a string 9th fret

Once again don't start with matching the absolute pitches yet, first start with getting all the pitches correct relative to one another.

Greg McCoy
04-27-2011, 08:16 PM
YouTube - The Elder Scrolls IV Oblivion theme

:16-:20 try that out, another great theme motif.

04-28-2011, 01:28 PM
learn to recognise the following intervals (im, unless otherwise stated) talking about the first two notes being the interval)

minor 2nd = jaws (da-da......da-da)
major 2nd = happy birthday
minor 3rd = beverley hills cop (distance between first two notes)
major 3rd = kum by ar (my lord....)
perfect 4th = tone between open guitar strings or 'Amazing grace' melody jump aaaammmm----ZING - zing its perf 4th apart from the start
perfect 5th = first two notes of star wars main theme
minor 6th = theme from love story
major 6th = my bonnie lies over the ocean
major 7th = (open to suggestions)


Pick a chord! any chord! (sound like a street hustler)

Say (for baby steps sake Cmaj) take the root.... give yourself it on guitar or a piano unless you have perfect pitch (so i'd be wasting my breath/finger skin) THEN hum the ROOT - MAJOR 3RD - PERFECT 5TH of the chord.....

Once you can do this move onto more complex chords such as major 7ths.... just use your previous training to do this..... hum that C note.... then hum the Kum by ar interval..... then the star wars interval.... and you gotta c maj!!!!

04-28-2011, 08:59 PM
This is the site I normally send my students too:

Ricci Adams' (

Lots of great theory exercises and tests. Scroll down to ear training, and start with the interval trainer. The method of recognising pitches by association that lennyechovirus describes is particularly helpful for this - don't just go with the ideas suggested though, try each interval out on your guitar in turn and find a melody that is instantly familiar for you that starts with that interval. By actually going through the motions yourself before you start trying to test yourself you'll create much stronger anchors to the information that you can access later.

Try doing the tests on that page for 5-10 minutes a day for a few weeks and watch how easy they become! Hope that helps :-]