Guitar Lessons

The Three Big Ear Training Questions!

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Now, when it comes to ear training, there are 3 BIG questions that tend to pop up. I think it is essential to cover these questions before you start, as they will ensure that you get off to the best possible start, and help to keep the focus on ear training in the long term. So, here are the questions answered:

What Is An Interval?

An interval is simply the musical distance between two notes. We always start with a reference note, which is our root, then we play a second note which is a certain distance from the root. To calculate and work out this distance, we use the major scale. Our numbering system of 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 in the major scale is our base. Any alterations are referred to as "flattened" notes. For example; If A is our root note and we play a C# as the second note, this would be a major 3rd interval. Why? Because the C# is the 3rd note in the A major scale, and therefore a major 3rd above the A. Second example; If A is our root note and we then played a C, this is known as a flatted 3rd interval. Why? Because the C is not in the A major scale, and you need to flatten the third (C#) to get to it.

Perfect Pitch Vs Relative Pitch

This is a question that comes up a lot. The simple answer is that we are working with relative pitch here. We identify a first note (A in the examples above) and based on that note, count the steps up the major scale to find the interval. This is all relative to that first note. However, someone with perfect pitch can identify the actual note without seeing it. So they can hear that A, or the C# without needing the interval. This is quite rare and is not something that is easily trained, but the relative pitch is!

Why Do We Need This?

The best question of all... Why am I doing this? Well, for me the best answer is that developing your ear will lead to being able to work out songs by yourself. No more needing to rely on tab, a teacher or videos online. You will have the skillset within yourself to work out any song you like! What could be more satisfying than that!

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Theory, Intervals, Ear Training

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