Ear Training 101
Author’s Video Introduction
- Click here for the online interactive version
- Downloadable demo: “Ear Training 101″ +”Pattern Piano…”
Piano lessons Video Overview – “Ear Training 101″
Many musicians think that perfect pitch is the holy grail of musical abilities.
This is simply not true.
Most skilled musicians have a highly developed sense of “Relative Pitch”. This is MUCH more valuable. Learning to incorporate ear training into your piano lessons is an absolute must for piano players. More about that later…
Let’s start with the definition of Perfect Pitch. The definition of Perfect Pitch is “The ability to produce or identify a tone perfectly on key without any reference to an outside source“.
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Mumbo Jumbo? Basically, this means that those rare individuals who have perfect pitch can sing an Ab or F# in the middle of the day on a bus ride through the Bronx without hearing anybody play the note first on an instrument.
Perfect pitch sounds like a gift… but it comes with a price:
Unfortunately, those who have perfect pitch always hear everything absolutely in tune with A440 or “standard tuning”. Even that sounds great until you realize that most bands or choirs are not perfectly in tune.
Here’s where it becomes a bummer…
Let’s say you have the rare gift of Perfect Pitch and you’re singing in a choir. The choir is singing an accapella piece (no instruments) and as choirs tend to do, they “sag” in pitch, or slowly slip down just a little in pitch by the end of the song.
If everyone in the choir “sags” together (that’s a funny thing to say) then it sounds fine. But you – the one with the gift – can’t “sag”. What happens? By the end of the song, you are out of tune with the choir!
Yep. The one with perfect pitch, singing out of tune. It’s very funny. Especially to those who don’t have the “gift”.
What about instruments? Did you know that a Piano starts to sag in pitch immediately after tuning? What happens to the Perfect Pitcher who tries to sing with that piano? No dice. And the VAST majority of Pianos are tuned a bit low.
Here’s the real gift…
What you really want is a highly developed sense of “Relative Pitch”. This is the ability to identify or produce any note perfectly in tune relative to another note.
Meaning this -
If I play an F# on the piano in the middle of the day on a bus traveling through the Bronx, (hmmm) tell you it was an F#, and then play a high Ab way up on the keyboard, you could immediately say “Hey, that second note is an Ab!”
This is a highly useful skill! If you can do this, you have a great sense of Relative Pitch. If the choir sags, you sag along and keep on rockin’ with all the relative pitches they sing.
Understand? Don’t be fooled by those who say “Only those with Perfect Pitch can play by ear”. No way. Tell them to hit the road (in the middle of the day on a bus traveling through the Bronx).
Ever wonder what is the greatest gift that a musician can possess?
- Lightening fast fingers on the piano?
- The ability to read music?
- A complete knowledge of music theory?
I must confess that at one time or another, each one of those items was my main pursuit as a musician. However, I’ve been given great advice along the way, and I’m just starting to really understand that…
One of the greatest gifts that a musician can possess is the ability to listen well.
Not just hear music. After all, monkeys can hear music. (Ha) I’m talking about the kind of listening that enables you to hear and understand all the intricate notes within the chords and melodies of music.
How can you develop this kind of skill?
Pure and simple >> you must spend time with Ear Training. This involves teaching your ears to recognize the intervals of music (distances between notes) and will free you up to express yourself on the piano like nothing else can.
Having said all that, I’d like to share with you something that I’m very excited about. For the last 4 months, I’ve been upgrading our interactive Piano Lessons program titled “Ear Training 101″. The program is now at Version 4.
The previous version of this program gave you the ability to train your ears using a maximum of 2 notes. In the current version of “Ear Training 101″, we’ve increased the interaction of the program to include up to 4 notes - either in “Melody Mode” (notes following one another) or “Chord Mode” (notes together). The program will teach your ears to hear intervals up through an Octave + a Major 7th! In addition, we’ve included both “Melody Mode” as well as “Chord Mode” up to level 4 in the downloadable demo version.
4 notes versus 2 is not just an addition of 2 more notes - now your ears have got to learn to have a musical “memory” and play back all the phrases and chords played by the program. It’s an incredible tool.
I hope you’ll take advantage of this powerful program and develop big, beautiful ears!
Music Unlimited Inc.