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Ear Training Intervals

Ear Training Intervals

You musical journey starts with intervals.  By mastering them you will be able to unlock every existent chord, scale, song and chord progression.  Your foundation of music starts with mastering the simple intervals.

Simple intervals are those contained within one octave. There are 12 steps per octave (13 if we consider the unison interval).

We will first consider just 8 of them.

Play each interval individually and memorize it’s name, shape and sound.

In this  example we will use the key of C.

Memorize each shape and name for the beginning.

Ear training intervals on the fretboard


ear training intervalsMajor 2nd

ear training intervals

Major 3rd

ear training intervalsPerfect 4th

ear training intervalsPerfect 5th

ear training intervalsMajor 6th

ear training intervalsMajor 7th

ear training intervalsOctave

ear training intervals

Practice the above intervals and remember their names.

Ear training intervals Exercise 1

Now here is an exercise that i want you to do.  Given only the interval names, i want you to identify each interval and play it on your guitar. By following the above diagrams you should do just fine.  If you think you need more practice just write a long series on intervals on a paper and start playing them.

Now play the following intervals:

perfect 5th, perfect 4th, octave, major 2nd, major 6th, major 3rd,  unison, major 7th, major 2nd, perfect 5th, major 3rd, major 6th, perfect 4th, major 7, unison and octave.

The link Between the 8 intervals

If we put all these intervals together and play them in order, we have the major scale.

ear training intervals

The 8 ear training intervals described above correspond to the intervals found between each note and the root of the scale ( in this case C ). Notice how all interval shapes are hidden inside the scale.

Here is C major scale played ascending and descending.ear training intervalsStart playing this scale and try to focus on the above learned intervals. Notice how they combine together and how they form the major scale.

Finally, the Ear training Exercise :)

If you practiced the above exercises you are now probably wondering what does that have to do with ear training.

Well now i am going to ask you to revise the above exercises while singing each note loud.

You are probably wondering what does voice singing has to do with playing the guitar.  Your inner ear is intimately connected with your voice. When you sing a note you have a very clear perception of it in your mind. So singing what you play anchors these intervals into your mind much better and helps you learn them faster.

How to practice ear training intervals using your voice

1. You first play the root note on your guitar.

2. You let the note ring and try singing or at least humming the note that is ringing.

3. Play the interval (for example you play the major 3 rd of the note)

4. You let it ring and you follow the pitch with your voice as well.

5. Repeat the above 4 steps for every interval that you play.

It is crucial that you tune your guitar before starting to practice ear training exercises.

You can use the same steps for the major scale as well.  Play it ascending and descending while singing each note.

When i practice ear training,i usually warm up with  the major scale and then i play different intervals.

You can also play the root note on your guitar and play an interval with your voice. Correct your self by playing the desired interval on your guitar.

Ear training intervals conclusion

I hope that you enjoyed this lesson as it covers the basics for  ear training . Every good ear training program tells you to use your voice when practicing it for faster results.

It will feel strange at first, but if you practice at least 15 minutes a day you will see results in less than a week. When you will be listening to your favorite tunes you will notice a strange feeling (at least i did). This “strange feeling” is the result of  identifying intervals by ear and being able to know how exactly is everything played.

You can apply the above blueprint to every scale you want to learn.

If you want a more in depth ear training program try “The Pure Pitch Method – Perfect Pitch Ear Training“.

With that being said i wish you a productive practice with your ear training intervals.

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