How to improve your musical ear? (2/2)

identify pieces of music

A good ear for music is available to everyone!

Listening exercises


Music is composed of melodies and chords. Within these chords, there are two main categories of colours: major and minor. The first sounds happy, cheerful and sunny, while the second is sad, melancholic and cold. First, it is important to identify the different emotions that these chords generate by practising them on your instrument, for example.


An interval is the difference in pitch between two notes played simultaneously. We will take the C major scale as an example, consisting of the following notes: C, D, E, F, G, A, B. Our reference note is C. In combination with another note, an interval is created. Example:

Do-Re = one second

Do-mi = a third

Do-Fa = a fourth

C-G = a fifth

Do-La = a sixth

Do-Si = a seventh

One effective technique is to associate each interval with the beginning of a known piece. For example, the fourth is found in the first two notes of the Marseillaise, while the fifth opens the Star Wars theme.

Recording of pieces

When you are comfortable with the previous exercise, it is time for you to learn how to pick out a melody or a chord grid by ear. At first, you should proceed by trial and error, choosing a simple tune, wandering more or less haphazardly around on your instrument, listening carefully to what you are doing. To do this, you must identify the intervals played and then recognise the colour of the chords. With practice, you will learn several combinations of chords and intervals, which you will recognise more and more quickly when you come across them again.   

Apolline offers singing lessons in Lausanne as well as guitar lessons, drum lessons and piano lessons to help you improve your musical skills. 

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