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There have been several popular music games in recent years, but they seem to be most useful for developing a sense of rhythm. Are there any games that are helpful as ear training exercises? What would you recommend?

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I know the question is old, but here is another method for interval recognising (not a game): sit with your back to a piano/keyboard and play two random notes with your thumb. Unless you do this daily you have no freaking idea where you are with your hands, so you have to really recognise the interval to be able to name it. –  11684 Oct 28 '12 at 15:08

8 Answers 8

up vote 17 down vote accepted

Check out Theta Music Trainer. Lots of games for ear training and music theory.

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This is working for me. Thanks for the link! –  Brian Slesinsky Oct 19 '11 at 5:46

Technically, I think the vocals portion of Rock Band counts for this, as would its precursor SingStar.

If you've got a Mac and a familiar iTunes library, my friend made this game, almost as a joke. (It plays back x number of tracks from your iTunes library simultaneously until you identify them... it's called "Counterpoint.") That could feasibly train your ear in an abstract sense, since you're essentially trying to pick out familiar musical snippets from a very dense soundscape.

Ooh, Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time had a game mechanic centered around playing back melodies on your N64 controller-turned-ocarina.

Ah, also Ambrosia Software's game Aquaria (also available on Steam) has a similar game mechanic that provides you with a diatonic scale from which melodies can be sung.

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I don't really see how RockBand or SingStar would improve your ear or teach you proper vocal technique. Could you explain that one for me? –  Jduv Apr 28 '11 at 13:54
    
@Jduv, RockBand 3 has a "pro" mode where you have to get much closer to the notes and much more accurate timing. –  Tangurena Apr 28 '11 at 16:13
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@Jduv, it will certainly NOT teach you professionally acceptable vocal technique, but it will get you singing more, which is potentially beneficial if you never sing in the shower/with the radio. As for developing your ear, even the simple act of singing back a melody is a specific skill that people have varying degrees of facility with. That's really all SingStar and Rock Band would help you to do, but I say it counts as aural skills practice. –  NReilingh Apr 28 '11 at 17:38
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@Tangurena: There is no "pro" mode for vocals in Rock Band, only expert difficulty (pro mode is something entirely different) –  BlueRaja - Danny Pflughoeft May 14 '11 at 5:25
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Note that if you drop the microphone into the hole of an acoustic guitar, you can play the vocal parts... –  horatio Oct 13 '11 at 16:03

I've never used it, but Sibelius has some ear-training software called Auralia which is supposed to build your ear up using training and games.

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There are simple ear-training games in Band-in-the-Box. Those are quite simple, but even fun :)

The first is called Music replay game. It has three modes: note, rhythm and melody replays. The computer plays note or phrase and you have to replay it using a computer keyboard or midi instrument. You can set up a tempo and range of notes. There is notation displayed too, so this can be a sight-reading game too. Second is the Pitch Invasion - this game has the same controls and set-up possibilities as previous one. There are flying saucers falling down and each of them projects a audible pitch. By guessing it, you shoot the saucers down. This game is great for children.

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Thanks. Could you describe them, or provide a link? –  Brian Slesinsky Jul 21 '11 at 17:10
    
First is called Music replay game. It has three modes: note, rhythm and melody replays. Computer plays note or phrase and you have to replay it using a computer keyboard or midi instrument. You can set up a tempo and range of notes. As there is notation displayed too - this can be sight reading game too Second is the Pitch Invasion - this game has the same controls and set-up possibilities as previous one. There are flying saucers falling down and each of them projects a audible pitch. By guessing it You shoot the saucers down. This game is great for children. –  Hubert Czerski Jul 22 '11 at 19:04
    
Thanks! (Added this to the original and voted up.) –  Brian Slesinsky Jul 23 '11 at 19:59

You might be interested in GNU Solfege. It's not a game per se, but it has A LOT of exercises with visual and aural feedback. It also records statistics about each one of your performances, so you can know how well you're learning and "score" yourself.

I've been using it for some weeks now, doing a few exercises each day and I can say it is lot's of fun and very didactic as well, but your mileage may vary.

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There is the good old LOOM

This is an adventure game. The game requires one to memorize spells in the form of short tunes of 4 notes.To cast a spell one needs to play back the tune. Depending on the difficulty level it is done solely by ear or with a written notation.

Some spells can be played backwards reversing the meaning. Changing, for example, open to close.

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Hah! Yes! that game is AWESOME! –  naught101 May 20 '12 at 5:14
    
And it's available to play online here: thesmartass.info/play/dos/23865/Loom –  naught101 May 20 '12 at 6:10
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Can you explain why this might be useful? Answers should be self-contained. –  Matthew Read Jan 28 '13 at 5:27
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While this link may answer the question, it is better to include the essential parts of the answer here and provide the link for reference. Link-only answers can become invalid if the linked page changes. –  American Luke Jan 28 '13 at 20:54
    
@naught101: The link does not work anymore. :'-( –  Ulf Åkerstedt Feb 13 '13 at 19:29

Looks like you received a bunch of great answers already, but I thought I'd add something to the list anyway. Have you tried:

TENUTO (App) - It has a great set of Games/Tools for Ear Training and/or Sight Singing (VERY helpful, even if you never make a sound)

http://www.musictheory.net/products/tenuto

8 NOTES (Online/Free) - The WebSite includes 10 games, some are GREAT and they're ALL free!

http://www.8notes.com/games/

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Check EarMaster Pro 6 its not free but we can have 7 days full trial version.

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Can you explain why this might be useful? Answers should be self-contained. –  Matthew Read Jan 28 '13 at 5:27
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While this link may answer the question, it is better to include the essential parts of the answer here and provide the link for reference. Link-only answers can become invalid if the linked page changes. –  American Luke Jan 28 '13 at 20:54

protected by Matthew Read Jan 28 '13 at 5:26

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