5 powerful tools for ear training

Ear training

I would like to list a few tools that I found on the internet to let you get your ear training in recognizing any music.

From what I’ve already realized, Americans are the ones who have the best tools for this type of ear training. So much of the tools for this type of ear training are in English, but nothing to compromise. The language of music is universal and the sites that I will list are well didactic.

In addition to the content, I will also analyze the quality of the applications with respect to: usability, content relevance and learning curve.

Some sites offer the user exercises written in erudite music notation, which may alienate many users who just want basic training.

Theta Music

The first of the sites I’d like to list is one of the most complete: Theta Music.
Despite the rather strange name, it is a site that has training for various music learning disciplines.

There are only 11 game categories listed: by instrument, audio, tuning, scales, intervals, melodies, chords, progressions, rhythm, musical notation and musical theory.

Theta Music

In addition to the games, the site also offers complete courses.
Access is free to play but if the user wishes to access the more advanced levels he has to pay a fee of $ 49.00 per year. The games are super didactic, do not require knowledge of musical notation (clave, armor) and have a very interesting option of the user to choose the difficulty.

The main advantages of the site are:
– Good usability
– It is very didactic and covers many topics.
– Has several levels of difficulty for each game
– Games are challenging and have good gameplay
– The learning curve for using the site is very small.

The few disadvantages of the site are:
– Requires login to play
– Games are made in Flash and are sometimes slow to load.
– The exercises do not have much connection with the “real world”. There was a lack of popular songs to recognize intervals and chords.

To train

If the lack of connection to the real world is one of the problems in Theta, in the trainee this was very well resolved.
The site uses Star Wars, Silent Night and other well-known songs to force the user to guess the intervals shown.

Another very positive point is the amount of options that the user possesses to be able to train. There are more than 26 music learning subjects that the user can choose to train in the program: intervals using songs, intervals with solfeggio, chords, comparison of notes, random triad (!), Identify notes in the fa scale, identify notes in the scale of identify scales by the number of sharps, identify scales by number of flats, identify notes played in the piano and even mathematical calculation of intervals.

It is praiseworthy for a person to develop so much. In the site including there is a very cool graphic with images of evolutions that the developer was adding to the site.

However, in some points the application left something to be desired, such as usability and design.

And to make matters worse, the vast amount of information is presented so unceremoniously, that they make the software very messy, unfortunately. At some points comes to give a certain visual fatigue by the amount of numbers and letters that “call attention” of the user.

The intense amount of ads also gets in the way, leaving the poor impression that the site has been abandoned or hacked.

Main advantages
– The system is very didactic and democratic.
– It has an erudite and popular interface in the same set
– Has many training options
– The content and links to other sites are very useful.
– Interval Training Using Famous Music

– Confused Layout
– You do not seem to receive updates for a long time
– The options are presented in a confusing way for the user
– There is no logical sequence of training
– Lots of advertisement

Easy Ear Training

During those over 6 years working with computer technology I have always noticed that people who deal with T.I have a strong downfall to being musicians (amateurs or not).

This is very good, because those who work in this area need to read many articles in English and end up getting very comfortable with the language.

For those who are in this situation, Easy Ear Training is a great find.
Easy Ear Training

One of my biggest insipirations, this site has characteristics that please me very much. The usability of it is excellent, there is a lot of quality content, the language is simple, the layout of the site is beautiful and it is always updated (there are several training applications developed by the website team, both for use in smartphones when to be used on the desktop).

Besides the quantity of material being immense, all this information has a lot of credibility. The team responsible for the site is composed by the website team, both for use in smartphones when to be used on the desktop).

Besides the quantity of material being immense, all this information has a lot of credibility. The team responsible for the site is composed of well-known musicians, sound engineers, researchers and even a hip-hop artist.

The quizes are also very didactic.
And one of the cool things I noticed on this site is your stance on “what to teach”. There are some divisions of categories that make perfect sense to me.

They divide, for example, the categories “Perfect pitch Training” and “Play by Ear” in two different things. The site also takes a very serious look at the training for music producers, dj’s and even has a training for “frequency recognition” that seems to be very complete.

For those who are even more intimate with English, there are a multitude of super-specific podcasts. Just to get an idea, I was able to find a podcast talking only about types of effects to use in the equalization of a double bass.

That is, without a doubt, Easy Ear Training is an obligatory stop for those who want to know more and more about techniques to train in ear and achieve their musical independence.

The only disadvantage of the site is that as the amount of content is immense, sometimes we find it difficult to find information on it. In technical terms, Information Architecture is failing to keep up with the amount of content.
This is very common in a site that seeks to address so many issues, but there are some tools that could greatly help the user looking for content.

One of these tools would be a search functionality (if it already has it is well hidden). And this causes the user to lose a little time in re-finding information that we have found and we may not have saved the link.

My tip is to favor everything you find on this site. It’s worth it and it’s easier to find later.

Gnu Solfege

Manual in Portuguese, low learning curve, comprehension of exercises and clear and objective interface.
Gnu solfege is one of the best ear training software on the market.

Even when I heard about Solngege Gnu, the name of the project has already convinced me that it could be a quality product.
The word Gnu refers to the GNU Project which is a project well known for its innovative philosophy of free software, for having a very strong community and for being created by a super important person in the software market: Richard Stallman.
What was most surprising was the ease of installation of the system, its ease of use and the large amount of Portuguese material available to use it. Some open source software requires an intermediate knowledge of computing to be used, installing plugins, configuring sound cards and such, but that is not the case with Gnu Solfege.For those who use windows, just download it at http://www.solfege.org/download/ and install. Already users of other operating systems like Linux, maybe have to run some scripts because the system is done in the python language, but I do not believe it is something very complex.

The disciplines covered by the program are: Intervals, Chords, Rhythm, Scales, Theory and Others (Harmonic Progressions, Dictation, Notes, Cadences and even Intonation!).
As if this content is not enough, for the more advanced users it is even possible to create complex exercises. Gnu is really above average software and its fame is justifiable.

However, in two respects, the Solfege Gnu leaves something to be desired: portability and examples are part of the user’s day-to-day.

In the case of portability is not something so damaging. It would be great if the system had a web version or could be used on smartphones and tablets.

Already in the issue of examples, compared to other software, Gnu is the one most disconnected from the student’s day-to-day life:

  • Trainee uses known songs to explain intervals (Star Wars, Movie Tracks).
  • Theta Music uses well-known daily figures (apples, pears …) to make the user study the content covered.
  • Easy Ear Training offers applications for smartphones and tablets and is very much in touch with the new technologies.

Gnu Solfege presents its content in an academic way, very formal, very organic.
And although their content is presented as games, they do not have a strong appeal for the user to use the site as strongly as the other softwares cited.

Music Theory

Last but not least the Music Theory.

One of the things that caught my attention, is that the person in charge of the site is a guy who does not have many half words. The phrases in the contact section are priceless.

One tip: just get in touch with the guys if you need too much.

Speaking a little more seriously, Music Theory pleases layout, usability, content, ease of finding content (even though it does not have a search engine as well) and portability (it has web versions and mobile apps).

Music Theory was successful in several points that the other softwares quoted failed. It is almost perfect.

His main negative point is also present in several other music training applications I found on the internet. Including those already mentioned above. The conclusion I made below is not only for Music Theory, but for all applications.


Although it is a very personal opinion, I believe that in all these softwares a specimen curatorship for the student.

Speaking more specifically, I think there is a lack of software that gives the student a logical path to follow.
Even though this seems a bit forced I have the reasoning that:

If no one gives a sequence of disciplines to the student to follow he will create one. And this chosen sequence may not be the simplest.

That old story :: “For those who do not know where to go, any way is worth”

A very reasonable script for me could be dictation, recognition of intervals, triads, major chords and minor chords, harmonic field, and scale recognition.

I did not see (can be wrong, of course) in any of the software the option of the student to follow a course of study to achieve a certain degree of expertise. Ideally, suggest a roadmap of exercises and leave the user’s choice to study what they want.

Even Easy Ear Training suggests some study scripts. But your quiz, for example, is all mixed in relation to the subjects studied.

Anyway, we are very well served with tools, just a little bit of personality in them. And that’s where I come in.

Observing all these small shortcomings I decided to venture into building my own training tool. Soon I will do a post detailing all my results.



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