I'm an advanced guitar player, I play classical, acoustic and electric guitar - and generally if I hear something, I can play it if it's not really really fast. Also if it's an instrument other than guitar... it's hard to just name the notes too = partially...

So even if I can do the above ... My musical memory sucks, I will listen to something and if I'm not able to name the notes I forget it immediately. I want a way to improve my aural memory. It's like I just can't hear the correct intervals in my head... even though when I hear intervals I can say this is a p5, m6, M6 e.t.c e.t.c.

Once I learn a song, I remember it for a long time but I think it's a combination of muscle and aural memory that makes that possible, also after I know a song I know the notes, and that helps too.

Is there a way to improve myself on that matter?

  • 1
    Edited to try and take out unnecessary complication. That said, while we may get answers - this is really another one of those things which is improved with practice. It's perfectly normal.
    – Doktor Mayhem
    Jan 29, 2015 at 9:44
  • Thanks for the edit, hope it works! As about your "comment answer" that's the whole point of the question... What should I practice? I'm practicing for years already. Thanks again.
    – Not Amused
    Jan 29, 2015 at 12:40

1 Answer 1


Three things that I do:

  • Play the memory game: play a note; play the first one and add a 2nd; play the first two and add a 3rd, etc, etc. Do this until you cannot remember all of them. Make it a goal to improve by one note each time you play. Advice: use a diatonic scale at first, atonal is difficult.

  • Play a pitch, match it with your voice. Now go do something else. Try and match the pitch again, check with a piano. Increase the amount of time you're able to hold the pitch in your mind.

  • Transcribe music. Not just learning it, but the act of writing it down.

  • Thanks for your answer. About the last part of it... Does it really make a difference if I transcribe it instead of playing it? It's kinda the same process, identify the note, play/write the note. What are the benefits of wrighting it down?
    – Not Amused
    Jan 29, 2015 at 13:20
  • @DeusDeceit I believe 3 is in reference to people remembering something easier by writing it down. It's basically note taking. People like myself may read something, but it doesn't fully set in our memory until we jot it down. There's just something magic that happens when you physically write something.
    – TyCobb
    Jan 29, 2015 at 21:55
  • @DeusDeceit Yes, it does make a difference. Writing it down forces you to interpret the information in a way that would make sense to somebody else. In effect, it is as if you are "teaching" someone. You find out if you really know something when you have to teach it. Additionally, there is something to be gained by making a graphic representation of what you are hearing, much like taking notes in class. Jan 30, 2015 at 4:04
  • Really like this answer, hope for more. You've got my upvote for now. :)
    – Not Amused
    Jan 30, 2015 at 6:17
  • @DeusDeceit Glad to hear it helps - if you feel it satisfactorily answers your question, you can always "accept". Jan 31, 2015 at 4:13

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.