If you’re serious about developing your music theory skills you really should be using an ear trainer everyday. They’re the best way to get you to instantly recognise chords, intervals, notes and scales and become a world beating musician.
The problem is that every week there seems to be a new tool which says it’s got a revolutionary new way to train your ears that blows all the others out the water. To help you make sense of it all here’s a short list of our favourite ear training apps.
Complete Ear Trainer is exactly what it says on the tin, it’s got everything you need to take your theory knowledge to the next level. You don’t need to read music to use it either, which makes it really accessible. There’s a really fun arcade mode and detailed theory cards to walk you through each chapter. It’s also got cloud sync across all your devices so that you never lose progress. There are league table too so that you can compare scores globally and with your friends.
If you want to develop your soloing skills then this is the ear trainer for you. You’re given the first note of a melody, played the track and then you have to play it back on the onscreen keyboard. There’s a progress bar and a level system and although it starts off pretty simple, even the most advanced musicians will find the end levels a challenge.
Tenuto is a really simple app with a really nice clean interface, which teaches you intervals, scales, note and chord recognition. It’s also got an awesome challenge mode which gives you a question and time limit to gamify your theory practice and try and beat your previous score. It doesn’t require any internet access so you can practice anywhere from sitting on a bus or lying on a beach. It’s not going to blow your mind with advanced features but if you just need some simple back to basics theory brush ups then it’s perfect.
Ear train anywhere is designed to help you develop relative pitch, so you can simply feel the note relationships and know what is being played, which is an incredibly valuable skill to have.
Ear Worthy is a surprisingly comprehensive mobile ear training app, helping you identify everything from single notes, intervals and scales up to 5 note chords. If you need an ear training Swiss army knife in your pocket this is a great choice.
This is an awesome tool for all you guitarists out there. It teaches you everything you need to know about guitar chords, manipulating melodies and using modal scales. You answer the questions by playing the guitar, so it’s really hands on and great fun!
Earmaster has over 2000 exercises to help you develop your sight-singing and rhythm training. It’s got really good stats to show you your progress and lets you use a microphone or a MIDI Keyboard to play, sing and clap your answers in real-time. It’s got a great course for jazz musicians and over a hundred instrument sounds sampled from real instruments.
Quiztones is a frequency ear trainer for amateur and professional audio engineers, producers, and musicians. Quiztones uses tones and frequency-altered noise and musical loops (including source material from your own music library) to train your ears and help develop more acute listening and frequency recognition skills.
Last but definitely not least, Train Your Ears is a tool is specially for sound engineers. It teaches you how to recognize changes in EQ and frequency by applying a random change to a piece of music or audio signal and you’ve got to work out what changes have been applied. It sounds complicated but you’ll be amazed how quickly your ears pick this up with constant repetition. It’s based on a system by the legendary audio engineer Bob Katz and is a seriously useful tool that no mixing or mastering engineer should be without.