The Trained Ear is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
There currently exist a number of sites and applications designed to help music students master the rudiments of aural recognition—intervals, scales, chord qualities, etc. These are wonderful resources for students just starting down the path to developing their musical listening skills, but very few of them offer training in areas beyond what students might encounter in a first-semester college musicianship course. The Trained Ear is designed to help fill this void.
Music students often express frustration that the supplemental training to which they’d grown accustomed fell short once their instructors started testing them on more complicated melodies and chromatic chord progressions. The Trained Ear offers a full array of dictation exercises from straightforward rhythms consisting only of quarter- and half-notes to complicated harmonic progressions incorporating secondary dominants and other non-diatonic sonorities.
Most of the exercises contained herein are taken from public domain textbooks. They were transcribed over a period of several years starting in 2014. A beta version of the site (you can visit it here) was launched in 2015 and tested by students in the Crane School of Music at SUNY Potsdam. The current version of the site was developed in 2018 and launched in 2020.
This website is an open educational resource (OER). In addition to contributing to the small-but-growing body of openly licensed material available to music students, it aims to help liberate the collectively inherited tradition of music theory. It is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License and is therefore freely available t everyone without discrimination. Users are welcome to copy and redistribute the material in any medium or format as well as remix, transform, and build upon it so long as derivative versions carry a compatible license. Source materials are available on the Downloads page.
The creator of The Trained Ear, Andre Mount, holds a PhD in music theory from the University of California at Santa Barbara and is currently an associate professor of music theory at the Crane School of Music at SUNY Potsdam. He has presented in North America at annual meetings of the American Musicological Society, the International Association for the Study of Popular Music (US Chapter), and the Society for American Music, as well as in Europe at the Keep It Simple, Make It Fast conference. His articles have been published in Music and the Moving Image, the Journal of Musicology, and the Journal of the Society for American Music. He is the author of an OER music theory textbook (Fundamentals, Function, and Form: Theory and Analysis of Tonal Western Art Music) and has also contributed to projects intended for general readership including The Encyclopedia of American Music and Culture.
Many of the exercises here are taken from Benjamin Cowell’s Eyes and Ears: An Anthology of Melodies for Sight-Singing. Others were written by Timothy Sullivan and Andre Mount. New contributions—both original compositions and transcriptions of public domain texts—are always welcome. The more the better; redundancy is never an issue. Contributors should take note, however, of the Creative Commons licensing.
To join the project, report bugs, and share suggestions, ideas, and other feedback, please send a message using the form on the Contact page.