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Intervals, Ear Training and questions


Joined: Nov 28 2009

Hi Gametabbers.

I've recently got the impression that learning intervals by ear and ear training is the next step in my guitar playing as I've hit a brick wall, I've been looking into ways to improve my ear and I seem to come up across the same advice no matter what I google. sooo I've compiled a list of songs to relate intervals to, I'm just going to copy and paste what I will be using to improve my ear.

Ascending Minor Second = Pink Panther theme
Descending Minor Second = Fur Elise

Ascending Major Second = Eastenders Theme or Major Scale or Silent Night
Descending Major Second = Three Blind Mice or Mary Had a little lamb

Ascending Minor Third = GreenSleeves or Windmill Hut Zelda (OOT), smoke on the water
Descending Minor Third = Hey Jude (Beatles)

Ascending Major third = Kumbaya
Descending Major Third = Swing Low sweet chariot

Ascending Perfect 4th = Harry Potter theme, Amazing Grace, We wish you a merry xmas, Apache, beethoven moonlight sonata
Descending Perfect 4th = Goerge of the Jungle Theme

Ascending Tritone (diminished 5th) = Simpsons theme, YYZ Rush
Descending Tritone = YYZ, it's constant back and forth, each to remember.

Ascending Perfect 5th = Twinkle twinkle little start, One (metallica) BucketHead - Soothsayer
Descending Perfect 5th = What will you do with a drunken sailor. Flintones Theme

Ascending Minor 6th = Dr Who theme song
Descending Minor 6th = Love Story Theme (beethoven)

Ascending Major 6th = Hush Little baby (lullaby)
Descending Major 6th = Nobody knows the trouble I've seen (Dont know this song so need to find a new example)

Ascending Minor 7th = Star Trek theme Old version
Descending Minor 7th = ?

Ascending Major 7th = Take On me a-ha
Descending Major 7th = I love you (Cole Porter)

OCtave Ascending = Somewhere Over the Rainbow, I'm singing in the rain, Let is snow, Purple haze Intro
Octave Descending = To Zanarkand FFX

And I am trying to check back and do the online quizzes at

Ok. I was wondering if you've guys ever had much success doing it this way. Does anyone know of any songs which I can relate a Descending Minor 7th and a Descending minor 6th to?

When you transpose songs that you hear into tab, did you get good at this kind of interval training to do this?

Ultimately my goal is to be able to transpose songs "really" quickly, it's the thing that impresses me most about guitarists, it impresses me a lot more than fancy sweep picking or tapping. I feel like this is the right way to go? I was mainly after some advice about how long would it take to be able to transpose songs quickly? Would I be able to do this in a matter of months? or years? I feel like I have a bad ear for music, I can find the top melody fine but on the low bass E string notes I have trouble finding the right tones.

I'm really impressed with a few tabs here on this site. At the moment I obviously am impressed with all the lonlonjp tabs, but there is the "Mafia - Main theme" tab on here that someone worked out by ear perfectly, and I just feel like I could never do that? Is there any tricks or tips to being able to arrange tabs as good as that?

I know a good amount of music theory, I'm weak with extended chords/arpeggios and scales other than Major/Minor and I can't get modes to sound like modes. But my skill level is ok enough to maybe play on a crummy open mic night in a bar where no-one is really that good. I should have started on ear training maybe within the first week of playing guitar but for some reason I have been putting it off.

Does anyone know where a good place to start this ear training would be? Simple songs with chords or a melody without chords that I could try to harmonize? or any web links that would help me get better? I'm not sure if reading sheet music helps with this, I've heard it does, I've been learning how to read sheet music now for about a month. And I can generally play pretty well until I see a chord, then I will have to stop for a few seconds and work it out. I sound like I'm babbling on a bit now, but just wanted to cover everything in this post so that I can hopefully follow the same steps as some of the better tabbers on this site, and hopefully I can contribute more to this site as I've gained so much experience from all these tabs over the last 2.5years or so.

Thanks for reading, and thanks for the help!!


That's a lot of work you're


Location: Newcastle, UK

Joined: Feb 18 2010

That's a lot of work you're cutting out for yourself. Just throw yourself at a piece and your unconscious will do the rest for you. The more pieces you work out, the more intervals you will be familiar with. If you find a piece too much for you, bookmark it and move on to an easier one. Then after some experience, you'll find the difficult one a breeze. The root note of a chord can be picked up even if it isn't the bass note (an inversion). This is due to an unconscious 'feel' for the intervals and harmony. Once you have this, you can use theory to categorise and understand what you're playing. From September I've been learning loads of theory, but this hasn't improved my musical ear; just my knowledge of the fretboard and compositional aptitude. Just have confidence in your own intellegence and you'll be fine.

Hey thank you for the reply.


Joined: Nov 28 2009

Hey thank you for the reply. You've got a lot of great tabs, I recognised your name here straight away!

Ok I'm gonna browse this site for ideas and try to arrange something that's already been arranged for now just for reference to check back to. See how well I did etc.

One more thing I forgot to mention is that my guitar teacher has worked out songs by ear right in front of me really quickly, and he done it by strumming a chord over the song and worked out the notes that way? Is this a good technique? How would I go about doing it that way? Do you do this sometimes?

I appreciate you taking time to reply thank you.

Re: Hey thank you for the reply.


Location: Newcastle, UK

Joined: Feb 18 2010

Finding the chord's is the best way to arrange most pieces. That way you know what frets the melody is likely to be on, and the best notes to hit alongisde (e.g. sevenths). Let's say if the phrase is quite powerful, the chord will probably be a normal triad. If it's dreamy it may use seven and nine chords. If it's edgy or mystical it may use add chords. If it's scary and uncertain there will be some diminished or augmented notes. Intead of strumming, I just guess what the chord will be once I've found the root, using that strategy. If the piece is complex and unpredictable then I will take my time to pick out each individual notes.