Harmonic Ear Training

Harmonic Ear Training was one of the three classes that I took in my second term with Berklee Online. It was a great class that covered a lot of ground in just 12 weeks. Subjects included:

Hearing & Visualizing the Bass Line, Hearing & Identifying Major & Minor Triads, Transposing Bass Lines and Chord Progressions, Identifying Chord Progressions, Memorizing Music, Voice Leading, Diminished Triads, Identifying Major & Dominant Seventh Chords, Guide Tones, Identifying Minor 7 & Minor 7b5 Chords, Transcribing Root & Voice-Led Guide Tone Lines, Diatonic Seventh Chord Progression Dictation, Chord Inversions, Inversion & Passing Sevenths Dictation, Chromatic Scale, Identifying Non-Diatonic Chords Using the Chromatic Scale, Melody & Harmony Relationship, Identifying Chord Tones in a Melody, Secondary Dominants, Guide Tones of Secondary Dominants, Secondary Dominant Cycles, Cliché Patterns, Transcribing Guide Tone Lines, II V Patterns, Secondary II V’s, Arranging the Harmony, Transcription of Harmony Lines, Reharmonization, Lead Sheets and Real-World Song Transcriptions.

As I pointed out in the previous post this was the most challenging course for me in term 2. It took me a long time to get through the assignments where we had to determine chord types without using an external reference. While I got pretty good at hearing bass lines, and whether something was major or minor, it was some of the finer details (like if there was a seventh or a sus4 in the chord) that really tripped me up. I would listen to the same chord looped over and over trying to make sure that I was hearing everything.

I think the difficulty I had in this was with chords played on a piano in full chord progressions. I had done some basic ear training identifying simple chord types played on piano but only in isolation. This was the first time that I had to identify chords within larger chord progressions. Sometimes the middle voices would just blur all together and I wasn’t sure if I was hearing overtones or the actual pitches. Eventually I had to resort to using a keyboard to mimic what I was hearing on the recording, arpeggiating each chord one note at a time while singing each pitch that I heard.

I still have a ways to go to get really good at this but I’m much further along in my Ear Training than I’ve ever been. Thanks Berklee Online!