Very few people have absolute pitch (or "Perfect Pitch"), the ability to identify or recreate a musical note without a reference tone. Most of us, however, can improve our musical ability through practice. The free web service "Toned Ear" can help us with a range of auditory tests.
How to improve my musical ability
Toned Ear has a very plain, no-nonsense design. We won't find sliders, animations, pictures, or even ads on the front page of tonedear.com. Just a list of the available exercises.
Before we start with the tests, it's a good idea to check out the "How to practice" section.
The gist of the instructions is that improving our musical ability isn't a sprint, but a marathon.
Setting out to do all the exercises in a single day, or working on a single quiz for hours on end, is more likely to leave us exhausted, frustrated, without any meaningful gains.
Regular daily practice for a set amount of time, with a gradual increase in difficulty, is the way to go. As with any learning, really.
The Toned Ear exercises
Every Toned Ear quiz has a simple goal, stated on its initial page.
Each exercise has a set of difficulty levels and allows us to select the number of questions, with 0 for a never-ending quiz.
The Advanced options differ depending on the test. Some have very basic options.
Others allow us to make key changes to the exercise.
When we are ready to start the quiz, we just click on the "Hear First Question" button.
Depending on the exercise, we will hear one or more notes and then choose between the test's options.
We will immediately get the result.
If we get the answer wrong, the site won't point to the right answer, we can still select from the rest of the choices.
Is Toned Ear suitable for complete beginners?
It's important to understand that Toned Ear won't teach music to someone who has never been taught. It is a tool for people that already have some music education, and want to improve the musical ability.
In other words, to take e.g. the Melodic Dictation Quiz, you need to know already what a major scale degree is.
For anyone who knows the notes, the chords, and the scales, this can be an invaluable tool to improve their musical ability, for personal or even professional reasons.
Did Toned Ear help you to improve your musical ability?
If you found Toned Ear interesting and believe that it will help you with your musical ability, leave us a comment.