Welcome to Relative Pitch Ear Training

If you have arrived here by accident you are now on the relative pitch Ear Training Step Three section of this site. If you have been working towards this third part of the programme and want to skip the hints an tips and dive right in just

click here to go straight to the relative pitch exercises

This next set of exercises are adaptations and default versions from the exercise platform provided by Ricci Adams and the folks at www.musictheory.net, an extremely useful free learning site. I offer my sincere thanks for allowing us to use it. Please visit and support www.musictheory.net 

If you want a little help with this section then just stay on board with me for a bit.

What is Relative Pitch?

If you have been following the progressive ear training exercises on this site you have already been practicing relative pitch ear training. Basically we have been listening to a note and working out its distance or interval relative to the lower pitched note. This has been limited in several ways.


Up to now we have always gone from a lower reference pitch to a higher comparison pitch.

Unanchored Tonal Centre

Up to now we have only worked with static note interval pairs. In other words we have only concerned ourselves with single pairs of notes. We have listened to two notes and tried to recognise the intervalic value of a single unanchored event. We have not considered the idea of tonal centre. That is where a group of notes can form a scale or a tune that wants to create a sense of tension and resolution like most recognisable tunes do. They can give you a sense of anticipation or finality. 

Melody Only

We have worked only on notes played one at a time as a melodic or monophonic sound. As we progress we will begin to tackle harmony. These are sounds that happen at the same time. This is polyphonic which allows us to hear harmony and chords. For now we will stick to melodic training.

Exercise One

Make sure you guitar is tuned to standard concert pitch A 440Hz. Here is a link to some free tuning apps

You can go back to Guitar Tuning Pages here

Exercise Two

Use you guitar or a keyboard instrument to play a C major scale. If you are not sure about this just play this G major scale starting with your second finger on the 8th fret of the Low E string

Exercise Three  

Download free PDF here      Listen to the .wav audio file here 

Get the Guitar Pro 6 File here   (check your normal download location after clicking)

Play the C Root note on the 8th fret of the Low E string. (from Ex Two)

Then play the D on the 10th fret (the 2nd note)

Then play the C Root note on the 8th fret of the Low E string again

Then play the E on the 7th fret of the A string (the 3rd note)

Then play the C Root note on the 8th fret of the Low E string again

Then play the F on the 8th fret of the A string (the 4th note)

Then play the C Root note on the 8th fret of the Low E string again…

Keep going up the scale in this way until you play the Octave Root C on the 10th fret of the D string (the 8th note)

Then play the C Root note on the 8th fret of the Low E string again 

Now do the reverse going down the scale.

Play the Octave Root C on the 10th fret of the D string (the 8th note)

Then play the B on the 9th fret of the D string (the 7th note)

Then play the Octave Root C on the 10th fret of the D string (the 8th note) again

Then play the A on the 7th fret of the D string (the 6th note)

Then play the Octave Root C on the 10th fret of the D string (the 8th note) again…

Keep going down the scale this way until you play the C Root note on the 8th fret of the Low E string (The 1st note)

Exercise Four

Do Exercise Three again but this time try to sing every note as accurately as you can while you are playing it.

Exercise Five

Using your guitar (tuned to concert pitch) and the scales exercises you have been practicing to try the next online exercise. Use your guitar to help you "find" the answers at first then try to come up the solutions with less and less of the guitar's help. Click here for the online relative pitch note trainer

Hint: try to keep the C pitch in your head as much as possible as the tonal centre for relative pitch attention  

Very Important Final Tips

You may be thinking Exercise One is just tuning. You're right. Tuning is a highly advanced cerebral process and much neglected aural exercise.  This neglect in skill building is compounded by the modern world of "Apps". Use Apps and tuning devices as learning aids to monitor your own improving accuracy. Use them to train your ear without them becoming permanent crutches. 

In Exercise Two and Four it is a good idea to get very familiar with this scale both on guitar and on the keyboard. Make vocalising and warming up a regular habit. Play your own patterns and melodies and try to sing them along or repeat them.

Use Exercise Three as a regular warm up that you can expand into two octaves and move all over the fret board way beyond your vocal range. Try to be aware of the Scale Root Note (and therefore the key) that you are transposing to. You can also at this point try different fingerings and approaches.

In Exercise Five you should try using/singing the C major scale numerically (1-8) or Solfege (Do Re Mi...) to keep your bearings and try to place mark in your ear the tonal centre of C and the relationship of the other notes to it. Remember this is relative pitch we are practicing! Lastly use the two speaker icons to toggle between the C reference and the question note to help you keep working out the intervals. Jot down or save your score now and again to see your improvement over time. Think next level video game... Happy Playing! er well... Ear Training!

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>Move on to Step Four

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