Ear Training Exercises

Studying scales means learning how to use them and understanding what type of music they make. What type of sound does the scale have? The sound of the scale, its unique flavor is called its quality. The quality of the major scale has been described as bright, happy, cheerful, tuneful and melodic. The following exercises will revisit the year training melodies we first saw in lesson two, the C major scale.

Below, our common knowledge, well-known melodies will be studied in the key of G, changing the key of a song is called transposing. Transposing a song or tune is playing the song or tune with a new first note but keeping the sound, the relationships between individual notes, the same. This way the whole tune is heard with all the right notes, just with all new pitches either higher or lower than where we started. The best way to learn about, and think about, this highly necessary skill of transposing is to base all your musical transpositions on Major scale forms and sounds.

Use the same process as you did in the previous training exercises, listen first and then playing them on your guitar. This exercise is designed to help you think melodically. Example 1 is the excerpt from Brahms Lullaby that we learned in our study of C major. The sound of the tune is lower but the two versions of the song have one thing in common: their notes are a variation, or a re-ordering of a Major Scale pattern. Memorizing and playing traditional, common knowledge scale patterns and tunes based on them is great a way to bring organizational ability and solid skills to musical situations.

Memorize The Scale Pattern

First of course, make sure you are very familiar with the shape of the open position (first position) G major scale form. For extra training and mental practice, say the letter name of each and every note in the scale.

Examples

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Improvisational Exercise

As a musician you must understand that the major scale serves as the basis and foundation of music theory. (Remember, I offer a music theory for guitar course here at GUITARU.com.) To continue, experienced musicians think about or analyze a major scale they immediately think of 3 things:

  1. Each note having a name (Do, Re, Mi...)
  2. Each note having an ordered number associated with it.
  3. Each note having a chord associated with it.

Key Of G Major

Major Scale Note Names
Do
Re
Mi
Fa
Sol
La
Ti
Do
scale degrees
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
1
G Major Scale
G
A
B
C
D
E
F#
G
CHORDS in the Key Of G
G Major 

I Major

A Minor

II minor

B Minor

III minor

C Major

IV Major

D Major

V Major

E Min

VI min

F# diminished

VII diminished

G Major

I Major

The chart above represents this thinking transposed to the key of G. Any song made up of any combination of the chords listed above is said to be in the key of G. A song containing such a series if chords is an excellent musical setting or backdrop for licks and melodies based on the G major scale: all the notes in the scale will sound good at any point during the chord progression. This is the reason why experienced lead players develop an increasing command and knowledge of scale patterns, licks and scale uses throughout their careers.

Below is a study which shares its chord progression with the classic song Brown Eyed Girl. Scores of songs use this identical progression. The chord series, (progression) G - C - G is analyzed and identified as a I - IV - I . The numbers I - IV - V, are taken from the analysis of chords belonging to G major scale charted above, and clearly identify the song as being completely in the key of G. There is one and only one Scale which contains the notes G - C & D in positions I - IV - V. That scale is G Major.

As you listen to and practice the music, be aware that this solo is nothing more than a g major scale with the notes being gently and rhythmically shuffled. When the notes of a scale are played in their correct order and step by step, this is called stepwise motion. Stepwise motion is of the most important approaches to take for composers, and improvisors wanting to create melodies.

 
This example is not written to be a hot solo, rather a listening and playing exercise meant to acquaint your ears and fingers with the sound and feeling of playing a scale based solo against a set of chord changes. Practice with the scale and solo below until you can play in perfect sync with the recording. Ignoring the risk of repeating myself, we have determined all the chords in the song belong to the key of g major, the g major scale can be played at any time, or "sounded against" the progression of chords.

Music Minus You

Just below is a rhythm track using the same chord changes as the previous example. Use this play along to play a few solos like the one above, make the solos sound like you.

Law Of Melody: Video Lesson

Below is my video which discusses the concept of stepwise movement in great depth.

 

End Of Training Lesson