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I am currently learning to play the guitar, and that has sparked an interest in learning more about music in general. I would like to learn about music theory, ear training, history, musical styles and forms, ethnomusicology, and the like.

When learning about music, I find it best to be able to hear what is being discussed. In addition, I commute to work via the subway, so I have about half an hour each way that I could be listening to lectures and examples.

Are there any good resources of podcasts or audio lectures, either free or for purchase, that I could download and listen to on my commute to learn more about music?

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up vote 8 down vote accepted

The best ear training courses available are by David Lucas and can be found at, these are audio lectures but do require some interactivity from you and your instrument to get the most from them (as you'd expect from any music training of this sort).

An excellent book which has a kindle edition is Hearing and Writing Music: Professional Training for Today's Musician, by Ron Gorow, this covers many aspects of music offering practical exercises to help with hearing/perceiving music and the overall development of your ear and you as a musician.

You might want to give this a look as well How to Listen to and Understand Great Music.

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I must admit to being skeptical about the perfect pitch course. It seems to oversell itself, making rather substantial claims of being able to teach anyone perfect pitch, when as far as I know it's pretty hard to learn. Do you have positive experience with it? Has it actually taught you perfect pitch? The book looks interesting, but this question is about audio lessons, not written. The third link, for the course on great music, looks like just the kind of thing I'm looking for, though $350 for the course without being able to sample it is a bit steep. Have you tried it? Can you give a review? – Brian Campbell Jun 9 '11 at 15:20
I have listened to it and it helps you to find a way to map note names to the tones eventually giving you aural recall (the ability to name sounding notes/chords by ear) - how much it helps is relative to how serious you take it. As is explained in the lectures, its a myth that you are born with Perfect Pitch, its something that is developed, those that develop earlier are usually those well involved in music from a very early age. Its totally develop-able during adulthood, the more experienced a musician you are the easier it is. – DRL Jun 9 '11 at 15:32
@Brian you might want to go the used route:… – DRL Jun 9 '11 at 15:48
David Lucas Burge provides two courses on his website. The Perfect Pitch one is more strongly marketed, but there is a much more expansive Relative Pitch course I would be interested to know if anyone has tried. – NReilingh Jun 9 '11 at 19:14
Found the "How to Listen" course at my local library. Between that and the David Lucas material, I'd say this answer has given me some good starting material. – Brian Campbell Jun 14 '11 at 1:58

Gary Ewer's Easy Music Theory

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Have you used this product? How did it work for you? – Ben Alpert Jun 4 '11 at 5:29
Hmm. That appears to be mostly instruction sheets and video, not audio lectures. It's not something that I could stick on an MP3 player and listen to while commuting. Thanks for the link, but I don't think it's quite what I'm looking for. – Brian Campbell Jun 4 '11 at 15:10

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