Ear Training & Pitch Exercises

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There have been several questions posted to the FAQ that are related to ear training including finding the pitch, singing the right notes and singing whilst playing an instrument so we decided it was time to extend this section to provide a few easily accessable answers.

So……. what is ‘Pitch’ and how can you identify it?

Notes on a piano produce a fixed sound when played which do not go up or down but gradually fade away. Many instruments including the human voice are capable of producing infinate numbers of fixed sounds between any two notes on a piano with only tiny differences between them. However, all instruments and singing voices normally only use the particluar notes of the piano.

When guitarists tune their guitars, they are trying to find exactly the one fixed sound they want – other notes in the music will be played in relation to this one note.

For instance playing the note A on a piano then a note to the left (G) – the second note is lower than the first. When playing the note to the right of A (B) the second note is higher. The word ‘Pitch’ refers to the height or depth of sound.

The term singing (or playing) ‘off pitch’ denotes that the note that is being sung is not ‘in tune’ with the recognised norm (the exact fixed note that a musical instrument is tuned to. Keyboard players use middle C which is the C nearest to the center of the keyboard/piano, guitarists use E as their base tuning and orchestral players use A above middle C).

Scroll down the page or click the links to browse the Q & A, use our Pitching Exercises and find Free Online Ear Training Sites & Applications. There are also further explainations of music theory in the Sight Reading & Singing and the Solfege page explores this system of shape note singing for learning melodies and a few books are listed below.