G1 has been using the piano maestro app as part of his practice for a while when he showed me how he had extended its application. He went back to the early lessons and tried to sing the notes rather than play them with the piano. If he could get the tone right, the app would recognise it as being correctly played!
I realise that Piano Maestro wasn’t designed for a singing voice and there are possibly some issues with recognising the voice rather than piano (since we haven’t fully tested it out for accuracy) but it got me thinking about the whole perfect pitch/absolute pitch training again.
Why does it matter how accurate your pitch hearing is? As long as you can hear when a note sounds wrong – that ought to be enough, shouldn’t it? According to most musicians, if you truly want mastery, then you should pay attention to your pitch training. In fact, a good sense of pitch is often viewed as the most valuable element of musicianship – greater even than good rhythm, technical facility, accurate memory, intensity discrimination, and creativity. Even with years of formal training and the finest instrument, musical mastery and enjoyment always hinges on the ability to hear.
But there’s another reason why I think ear training is important – it helps with learning languages, especially the ones like Chinese where the slight change in intonation can alter the meaning of the word completely. If you can train your listening ear, not only would it be good for your musical development but it could have cross-over benefits to learning another language.
Perfect Pitch Training
See also: How to train your ear for perfect pitch
Among its other features, Piano Tutor for iPad also offers an ear training feature. Listen to the note being played, then try to play the same note on the onscreen keyboard.
There are a few other apps that offer the same feature:
These apps offer pretty basic training, with one essential goal: can you tell what note is being played? For the more serious programs for ear training, check out the following…
EarMaster 7 includes over 2,500 lessons that will guide you and increase the level of complexity as you improve your musical skills. It’s great for beginners to advanced users. It comes with a Beginner’s Course, General Workshops, Jazz Workshops, and the ability to create custom exercises!
EarMaster 7 includes exercises in identifying intervals, chords, chord inversions, chord progressions, scales, and modes. You will also find exercises in transcribing melodies and rhythms and in sight-reading or imitation of rhythms. The broad range of exercise areas covers all your training needs for pitch, harmonies, and rhythms! Used together, all of the activities included in EarMaster 7 will help you enhance your musicality and improve your playing!
Learn to recognize EXACT tones — BY EAR! The #1 best-selling ear training method, as seen in major music magazines for 20 years and verified by research at two leading universities.
The Perfect Pitch Ear Training SuperCourse contains 8 audio CDs (or cassettes) plus easy handbook. You will learn the fascinating secrets behind the legendary ability of Perfect Pitch – the prized “super ear” of the world’s greatest musicians, the master key that enables you to:
- recognize EXACT tones and chords — BY EAR!
- sing correct tones without a starting pitch
- play songs by ear after listening to them
- compose music in your head
- perform with confidence, increase your powers of memory
- sight-read and sight-sing with precision
- enjoy richer perception, finer music appreciation
Better Ears is an educational music and ear training app designed to help you grow your musical skills and enhance your musical ear. There are eleven exercises included, starting from interval recognition all the way to chord progressions – perfect for beginners and music-masters alike!
- Interval recognition
- Scale recognition
- Chord recognition
- Chord progressions
- Pitch recognition
- Tempo recognition
- Key Signature recognition
- Single notes music reading
- Interval music reading
- Scale music reading
- Chord music reading
You can train with sounds from 6 different instruments.
- Learn To Play The Piano by Ear and perfect your aural skills
- 9 different games to become a better musician and achieve high scores in grade theory exams: Higher Lower, Pitch Training, Interval Training, Chord Distinction, Scale Identification, Interval Comparison, Pitch Identification, Melodic Dictation, Chord Progression.
- Highly authentic and configurable piano (grand piano sounds, multitouch, glissando, highlighting, note names)
- Resizable piano suitable for all iphones and ipads.
- Suitable for beginners to advanced musicians. Games have different levels and you can program and focus on specific chords, intervals, progressions, scales etc.
Pitch Improver is a set of exercises that will help you learn to play by ear. In every exercise you will start with the easiest tasks which will get more complex as your ear improves. Pitch Improver also targets your weak areas. If you mix up two chords or intervals, the program will drill you on these particular types. Exercises included:
- Repeating melodies (20 levels)
- Intervals recognition (11 levels)
- Perfect pitch (11 levels)
- Chord types (12 levels)
- Chord progressions (16 levels)
Ear Trainer is for the more serious musician. It is an educational tool designed to improve your musical ear. It contains over 260 individual exercises covering intervals, chords, scales, relative pitch and melody. It has a playable keyboard with studio sound quality and a note view for superior visualization.
No need to be an expert, Ear Trainer is suitable for all users from beginner to very advanced. No matter what level your musical hearing skills are Ear Trainer will help to hone them.
Ear Trainer covers the following categories:
- Interval Comparison (48 different exercises)
- Interval Identification (30 different exercises)
- Chord Identification (48 different exercises)
- Chord Inversions (24 different exercises)
- Chord Progressions (25 different exercises)
- Scales (24 different exercises)
- Note relative to chord (18 different exercises)
- Relative Pitch (12 different exercises)
- Melody Exercises (38 different exercises)
Unlike other ear training apps, Do Re Mi doesn’t just play simple intervals or one note at a time, but lets you choose the length of the tune you want to practice on. Progress through 50 ascending skill levels, or choose your own custom practice settings.
Do Re Mi has tons of customizable settings that let you work on intervals, relative pitch, perfect pitch, and use a variety of notation types to fit the standards at your school. Control full details of each exercise, including tune length, tempo, scale (including all standard modes), maximum interval, piano or guitar voices, and more! The History screen tracks your success in each scale and with each pitch, so you can review trouble spots on your own or at your next lesson. Great for singers, composers and students alike.
Perfect Pitch Interval Training
Interval training will transform the way you hear, play, and enjoy music – even if you don’t know anything about music theory. Here’s how it works… The app includes:
- Training Mode – 13 lessons guide you from beginner to expert, teaching you all the intervals in the octave.
- Testing Mode – Check your progress by trying to get the highest score in testing mode. If you distinguish intervals correctly, you’ll unlock new levels and new challenges in training.
- Custom Mode – If you’re having trouble with one specific piece of training, set up a custom training and testing session to target your problem
- Interval training to teach you to distinguish ascending, descending and harmonic intervals across two and a half octaves
- Simple interface, fun to use app, and all the interval training you’ll ever need to have an ear that catches the subtle and crucial sounds for a perfect song.
- A wide choice of high quality instruments, including Piano, Guitar, French Horn, Clarinet, Violin, and Male and Female Singing Voices.