Strategies for Further Growth

Chances are, if you started out unable to identify chords by ear with a high degree of accuracy, you’re still not 100%. That’s fine! Remember, the most useful applications of this skill don’t require perfect perception of all tones (if that is even possible). But there are ways to continue to improve this skill, if you wish.

Here are the ways you’ll improve:

  1. Play lots of music on a chord-capable instrument, thinking about the scale-degree functions of what you’re playing. The great thing about playing chords is that you’re building both an abstract understanding of chord progressions and models of physical motion and hopefully making stronger connections between the two.
  2. Pay attention to the patterns associated with the music you’re working with. Baroque arias, Classical sonatas, 1990s commercial pop, and 1940s jazz each have their own common “stock” patterns that will show up over and over. As you learn these, you will learn to identify them in context, and you’ll be able to compare them to similar-but-not-quite-the-same passages when they occur.


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Foundations of Aural Skills Copyright © 2022 by Timothy Chenette is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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