Chordal ear training?

Thoughts and responses regarding the research at acousticlearning.com.
lorelei
Posts: 221
Joined: Sat Mar 20, 2010 7:36 am

Chordal ear training?

Postby lorelei » Mon Jun 06, 2011 12:00 am

Ok, I don't know where in the forum is the right place, sorry it's not in the right one.

So, I just wanted to know: is there anywhere online or an iPhone app for training to hear the individual notes in chords better? If there isn't, how do I make an app, and would it be a good idea? I know I could profit from using such an app, at least.
Specifically, I wish for the person using the app to be able to chose from 1 to as many notes as they want in the chords. After picking the notes, the person sees which notes they missed. There should also be a "free chord" session where the person receives random chords that have different numbers of notes, for example the person can choose to have 2-5 notes in the chords, and they will get different numbers of notes per chord for each chord.
So who thinks this is a good idea or if anything like this exists?

aruffo
Site Admin
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Location: Evanston, IL

Postby aruffo » Mon Jun 06, 2011 6:03 pm

Nothing from my end yet, I fear.. it'll be a while yet..

lorelei
Posts: 221
Joined: Sat Mar 20, 2010 7:36 am

Postby lorelei » Tue Jun 07, 2011 12:18 pm

I understand. However, it just occurred to me that if I were to create this app, it could have an extremely broad range of uses. We could use it not just for the learning of simple notes, but also for chord identification and listening of inner voices. There could be a single note mode, a two-note mode, interval mode, three-note mode, triad mode, four-note, five-note, etc. up to, say 20 note mode, as well as free chord and free-note mode. For the x-note modes, you would have to identify all the notes in a chord with x-notes. For the chord mode, you have to identify the chord, and same for interval and triad modes. Free note and free note give you random chords and notes that you have to identify. I hope I made my intentions more clear than last time. Do you think this could be useful? I was trying to design something to be used by a multitude of people, and relative pitch could also be implemented by activating starting note mode or something.

Archbold
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Joined: Thu Mar 03, 2011 5:37 pm

Postby Archbold » Tue Jun 07, 2011 4:45 pm

This would be pretty cool, it would almost be like Mr. Aruffo's idea except in a more mobile form. The only problem is who would do it and who knows how to do it. I'd definitely pay for an app like this.

lorelei
Posts: 221
Joined: Sat Mar 20, 2010 7:36 am

Postby lorelei » Tue Jun 07, 2011 9:50 pm

The problem is, I haven't been able to find anything like this anywhere or anything that does dictation in 4 parts either.
Only issue is I have absolutely no idea how to create such an iphone app...
Any developers or graphic designers around?

Lyle
Posts: 24
Joined: Sun Jul 10, 2005 12:04 pm

Postby Lyle » Wed Jun 08, 2011 8:40 pm

Several years ago I wrote & sold a Windows application that aimed to teach scale degree hearing / singing, starting with notes from a C scale and working up to multiple 4+ chromatic note chords in atonal succession. I stopped selling & supporting it long ago, but I still use it for my own training. It's not specifically what you're looking for, but you might find some use from it (and maybe some inspiration for writing your own app). In the Identify Scale Degrees step, around lesson #262 it has finally hit all tones, multiple octaves, and playing up to 4 notes melodically or harmonically. For best results, and the way I use it, you need to plug in a MIDI keyboard to provide your answers as well as play the question (I use my digital piano that is my primary instrument); also you'll want a microphone/headset to practice the singing lessons. I'll give you a link to the file, but I have to warn that I'm unlikely to find the time to fix any problems, so this is basically an "as-is" program. (It worked great in Windows XP, but when Vista came out, the graphics started behaving badly, and I never have figured out how to fix the drawing routines -- but the MIDI/questions work great and I just restart it if the graphics annoy me.) It will work under Linux and Mac with WINE or VirtualBox or (for Mac) Parallels & Fusion. Beware, the lessons after around 400 in Identify Scale Degrees follow no particular order, unlike the orderly progression from level 1+, but rather were just hand-inserted haphazardly for my own needs in the past few years; unfortunately the descriptions are often incomplete or wrong, so, expect to have some frustrations if you decide to use it much.

http://dl.dropbox.com/u/2177615/BetterEar.exe

Recently I've put some time into writing an iPhone app, again for my own training goals, but my motivation is low and the learning curve is high, and I'd rather just buy one to use today!

Now, on a completely different solution to your question -- in the last few weeks I've found it incredibly useful to record chords in a circle-of-fifths progression, so that a chord is played in all keys; each pitch of the chord is played followed by the whole chord, with the aim to hear that single pitch as clearly as if no other tone was playing -- let me repeat that, it is so important: practice until you can hear each pitch as clearly as if no other tone was playing. This I've found is really helping me hear simultaneous tones better than before. I thought I could hear them "clearly" but after doing this exercise a couple hundred times with just major chords, something has changed for the better in my hearing. So even though you have perfect pitch, you might gain something from similar exercises. The value here is that you can produce it yourself very easily, with your own instrument, or from inside any sequencer (I used Logic, copy & pasted the chords, recorded it, and that's it). The fact that the sequence is predictable is a positive feature -- I've done random harmonic multi-pitch training for years, successfully, without having gained the benefits that this one exercise has done for me. So I suggest you just set out to records the 20 or so most frequent chords from triads through all the 13th chords, each in a circle-of-fifths progression, and listen for a while. You can alternately chop up the same recording into multiple tracks and set a playlist on random, if you wanted. (But I find it helpful for both my perfect & relative pitch training to already know the answer intellectually and look for confirmation aurally.)

Here's a link to a major chord progression I'm using:

http://dl.dropbox.com/u/2177615/Separat ... Triads.m4a

It is in AAC format, so you need to use iTunes to play it.

I got this idea from the course at eartraininghq.com -- well worth the cost, in my opinion, if any of you find your scale-degree recognition weak. It's perfect for your job/school commute time. I imagine, but I haven't tried, that you could string together a similar playlist (or at least for random use) with Chris's Monster Course.

lorelei
Posts: 221
Joined: Sat Mar 20, 2010 7:36 am

Postby lorelei » Wed Jun 08, 2011 9:33 pm

Well I know that I have no experience whatsoever in programming, so is making iphone apps very difficult? I hope not, because if all else fails, I may have to try to make it myself. It would not be to make money, so it would probably just be for free or almost free.

Lyle, I couldn't successfully open the app (I have a mac and Wine did something weird with it) but even though it's not exactly what I'm looking for, I can certainly see the use. I think that the chord idea is great (in fact I have done something like that in the past to help my personal ear training). Actually, it's just what I need, though with ear training I have gone from hearing intervals to four-note chords, and hope to progress even further.
Thank you for all your ideas and support! And if someone knows anything about programming (because I'm certainly not a tech person), say it! I'd really like to make this idea a reality if that is even remotely possible.
I just registered as a developer and will try right now. I hope this works.

Lyle
Posts: 24
Joined: Sun Jul 10, 2005 12:04 pm

Postby Lyle » Wed Jun 08, 2011 10:52 pm

Shoot, it used to work OK under Wine on my Mac, but I just tried it and it isn't working. I updated my old installer for it, and that seems to work better, you'll just 'wine' it from under the Program Files directory after you 'wine' the installer. However, it doesn't seem to work particularly well -- the graphics are messed up and the MIDI output is bunched up instead of spread out.

http://dl.dropbox.com/u/2177615/Install ... .0.963.exe

I know it works fine under both Parallels and VMware Fusion, since I do my Windows coding in those on a Mac. If you can find an old Windows 98/2000/XP CD and license key laying around, you could use the free virtual machine host from VirtualBox.org.

Writing an iPhone app would require learning Objective-C and the various Mac/iPhone libraries. Not an impossible task, but it may be more than you want to tackle if you haven't programmed before. Go to developer.apple.com and set up a free account; you can read all their tutorials and download sample code; Xcode can be bought for a few dollars via the Mac App Store, and you can run iPhone apps in a simulator on your computer (but installing them to an iOS device requires the $99 annual fee). You can learn a lot by trying to build your own application via copy-and-pasting from examples.

lorelei
Posts: 221
Joined: Sat Mar 20, 2010 7:36 am

Postby lorelei » Wed Jun 08, 2011 11:23 pm

Only problem is I have to pay 99$ to distribute it...
Well it would work for me, but not for anyone else then. That's the problem. Well, I could try and maybe make a "pro" version that gives me money back, or create new iPhone apps. And as for creating the apps, programming is, after all, a useful skill, so I might as well try to learn it.
Or maybe I could just make a mac app for now. But would that work on Windows?
Thanks for all the advice.

UPDATE: I just found this awesome online app: http://www.iwasdoingallright.com/tools/ ... g.aspx#top
It can do what I want it to do for now. Maybe during the time I use it, I can try to learn C and attempt to make something. So far I'm just confused with all the programming language and stuff.

Archbold
Posts: 19
Joined: Thu Mar 03, 2011 5:37 pm

Postby Archbold » Fri Jun 17, 2011 7:02 am

If your phone can use the internet you can use http://musictheory.net or http://teoria.com

Nikolaus
Posts: 53
Joined: Mon Nov 10, 2008 4:39 pm
Location: Dallas

Postby Nikolaus » Thu Jun 23, 2011 10:44 am

Lyle,

your ear training app is brilliant. especially the chord progression exercises. it's exactly what i hoped chord progression ear training would one day become (as opposed to what it typically is). my only regret is that everything is presented in only one key (something that i regretted about bruce arnold's stuff as well). i've also read many of your other posts. really captivating stuff, man. keep up the good work. i'm gonna take a look at the overtone files you uploaded. what you're saying here is incredibly insightful.

also, what exactly is the syllabus for the scale-degree recognition tests you compiled? if i follow the lessons, where will i end up? you said something about atonal four note chords? anything beyond that? and it'd help if i had at least a rough idea of what you were you trying to train for past lesson 400. but only if you have time. sadly whenever i hit the "help" button while using your program nothing comes up.

if you go to the prolobe forum, there's a little thread called AP dictator. in it you'll find a link to an excellent ear training app. you might be interested.

nikolaus

Lyle
Posts: 24
Joined: Sun Jul 10, 2005 12:04 pm

Postby Lyle » Thu Jul 07, 2011 9:20 am

Nikolaus, thanks. My favorite is the sing-the-chord-root progression exercise... it made a big difference in my hearing music, being required to sing the correct notes without having to identify them intellectually.

Ironically the underlying engine has all musical keys available, but to present a "slick" interface to the target market using a picture of my acoustic piano keys, it ended up being easier to stick to C. Too hard to put multiple keys back in to the interface at this point, easier to write a new program, iOS probably, someday, maybe. There really isn't much money to be made writing these programs if you don't want to be slick & glitzy like Burge, so the motivation has to come from elsewhere.

For the scale degree identification module, I simply wanted to progress from single notes of a major/minor scale up to melodic bass movements with simultaneous melodies, ultimately chromatic and ultimately with multiple 4 note random chords in sequence. You might find it useful to explore the early levels -- at the time I expected to be able to pass all those with no problem but even some simple ones turned out to be difficult for me (I remember being shocked & surprised a decade ago that I made so many mistakes when octave-hopping was involved with just C, D, E). Everything above level 400 is mostly just the idea-of-the-day on what skill I needed to practice, and I never tried to keep it organized. For example somewhere in the 600-700 range I have a sequence specifically for moving toward chromatic perfect pitch in one octave, playing two notes melodically, at increasing speeds, before adding on more notes/octaves. I couldn't do it at first, but by making it a gradual speed increase I got through it. Just stuff like that. I had figured once I "got" perfect pitch I could make a logical course out of the exercises, but I'm pretty uncertain that the path I took is the best path for everyone else at every skill level -- maybe overtone-listening wouldn't have worked for me if I hadn't done a billion other exercises/methods beforehand -- and I don't expect to take to the seminar-lecture circuit that would expose me to hundreds of students like Burge did, so that kind of dampens the enthusiasm of trying too hard to package up a one-size-fits-all course.

Currently what is captivating my musical attention is that there is a striking correspondence between learning to hear all the individual tones in a chord, clearly & simultaneously, and learning to hear all the overtones in a single pitch, clearly & simultaneously. In both cases, there is the unique sound of the individual components but also the emergent "color" of the entire integrated whole. I wonder if mastery of these two harmonic-hearing skills isn't ultimately mastery of one unified skill, which in turn is a prerequisite to absolute hearing. What is doubly-interesting to me about this is that there is no external method to test whether someone hears this "properly" -- to develop this ability requires purposeful, focused, repeated listening to try to hear differently than you already do. It's an interesting split, that most ear-training methods provide progressive "external" tests that can be observed by another person ("yes, he accurately distinguishes his intervals" or "always names the note played correctly"), but the true path to musical hearing may require an "internal" education that can't be directly instructed, only hinted at, never validated by a teacher. There is no test that I can think of that would prove to me that you hear the sixth overtone of C3 -- only you can decide whether you do. Consequently you wouldn't know whether you are yet hearing everything you ought to be hearing -- without continually trying to hear more than you already do.

koenig
Posts: 51
Joined: Mon Feb 05, 2007 3:21 am

Postby koenig » Wed Jul 20, 2011 12:04 am

That program you shared is unbelievable, Lyle. Thanks very much. Any ideas why I keep getting a divide by 0 crash? Oh well... The singing input is really quite fun.

steveAZ
Posts: 34
Joined: Sun Oct 22, 2006 10:13 am

Postby steveAZ » Tue Aug 02, 2011 10:27 pm

Hey Lyle,

I love the program, but all of a sudden it isn't proceeding to the next question. I hit the correct answer and it doesn't respond with the next one. If I hit another key, it says it's the wrong answer. It's almost like it isn't accepting my response. I've tried on the keyboard, MIDI keyboard and even clicking. I can click the correct answer 20 times and it'll proceed to the next level.

Any idea what this is? Before this weekend I remember it working great. The only thing I changed is that I set it to use the singing features.

Please help!

Thanks,

Steve

steveAZ
Posts: 34
Joined: Sun Oct 22, 2006 10:13 am

Postby steveAZ » Wed Aug 03, 2011 1:47 pm

Ok I figured out that the other variable I changed is I used the installer version and not the standalone .exe

Now the program is responding properly......as long as I use clicking or typing input. My Keystation makes the program stall on the answer. No problem though. Just glad it's working again.


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