Ear training

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Lessons in Ear training
Perfect pitch

Ear Training[edit]


  • Perfect fifth







This classroom exercise was taken from the website http://www.yuvalnov.org/temperament#The_Solution:_Equal_Temperament. I think the sound files need to be created and placed on commons (I presume Bach is public domain), but for now we can use the external links.

This exercise helps students hear the different musical temperaments, and is designed to highlight the differences by playing a piece in a just scale but in an entirely inappropriate scale:

See Wikipedia:Prelude and Fugue in C major, BWV 846 for the piece as Bach wrote it. This website transposed tit to F sharp in order to empasize how badly it sounds if played in a just C scale.

http://www.yuvalnov.org/temperament/Prelude_F_sharp_Just.mp3 is the passage in a just scale but in an inappropriate key.
http://www.yuvalnov.org/temperament/Prelude_F_sharp_Equal.mp3 is the passage in an equal tempered key.
http://www.yuvalnov.org/temperament/Prelude_F_sharp_Werckmeister.mp3 is the passage in the Werkmeister scale. I don't know if it is the appropriate key or not.


If the class is musically sophisticated, begin with the passages shown below. With less sophistated students it might be wise to coach them by playing from the list above, telling them in advanced which scale is being used.

To perform the exercise below, either hide the screen or instruct students to close their eyes so they cannot see the URL address. With most students it is best to first coach them to discern the difference by playing the tempered and just versions. The following list excludes the Werkmeister scale.

Instruct the students to write the number (1-50) and the words "good" or "bad". Instructing them to write "just" or "tempered" will lead to confusion because music played in the just scale usually sounds more harmonious (but not here!).

1    2    3    4    5    6    7    8    9    10    11    12    13    14    15    16    17    18    19    20    21    22    23    24    25    26    27    28    29    30    31    32    33    34    35    36    37    38    39    40    41    42    43    44    45    46    47    48    49    50   

You can run this demonstration as an experiment. Record exactly how the students were exposed to the two passages, for example by playing first the just, then the equal, then the just and then the equal. Now go through starting at a given number (e.g. 1). Record whether or not you announce the "right" answer each time. There is no need to go through all 50. But you might decide to do 5 per lecture to see if students can improve their discernment.

We need a subpage where the results can be documented.