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How should I train my ears to recognize different 'flavours' of chords ?

I mean especially recognizing what fourth/fifth notes were added to the chord (beyond the minor/major triads) such as 7#9 etc. (I'm not trying to recognize the absolute pitch however).

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Have you done any other ear training? I highly recommend interval training as a first step. –  Matthew Read Jun 19 '11 at 17:47

5 Answers 5

up vote 11 down vote accepted

GNU Solfege does this.

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took me a while to get it working but things like the 'repeat arpeggio' button are quite useful as an intermediate step to recognizing chords. –  Andre Holzner Jul 20 '11 at 22:02

Take the book "Jazz Improvisation No. 1" by Mehegan. Play through all the examples on the piano. Repeat until your ear starts to recognize the flavors of the chords.

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I once heard from a pianist that the chord you know is what you will hear in a song. This means that if you hear a song and hear a Dominant #5b9 and you were very familiar with dimished chords you will first interpret the chord you heard as a diminshed chord my advise is to learn the different chords. Go to (something like that). You will see a lot of chords there. Start practicing them and get accustomed to their distinct sounds. When you hear any of them in a song you will most likely stand a better chance of picking them. Taking risk is borne out of passion. Passion is almost equal to success. Cheers.

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I released a game recently to do just this, for the first level of basic chords using common chord theory in wester music theory. Free demo downloads at

share|improve this answer has a flash application to practice chord recognition. It doesn't go into more complex chords like 7#9, but it presents 10 chords (typical four-note chords and triads). That's a starting point. There must be applications supporting more "advanced" chords but I'm not aware of them, so I typically end up programming my own.

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this indeed is useful ! Even though it 'only' has 10 types of chords, I'll first practice to get a reasonable rate of correct answers there. –  Andre Holzner Jun 19 '11 at 14:19

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