This post lists all of the updates I've made to the latest version of my ear training tool. The ear training tool is free to use and contains exercises for intervals, chords, random melodies, call-and-response, jazz improvisation, and more!
If you'd like to learn more about the importance of ear training, especially for jazz improvisers, please read my Learning To Improvise - Introduction and Learning To Improvise - Ear Training articles. Also, the ear trainer itself contains a lot more information.
UPDATE 3/10/13 - Random melodies now includes diminished and altered scale options.
UPDATE 10/25/12 - The ear training tool now saves most (if not all) of the settings from your previous session, so you won't have to re-check your interval, chord, etc options every time you use the ear trainer. Also, Mac users with Java version 7 or above will now use a higher-quality MIDI soundbank.
UPDATE 1/24/12 - Random melodies no longer repeat notes sequentially unless you only have two notes to choose from. I added dozens of scale patterns to the random melody feature. There's a new jazz blues progression on the RSection tab and you can now generate random chord progressions of mixed chord types. For example, if you select one of the "Mixed..." options under the RSection "Randomization" menu, it will generate a single sequence that includes random keys and progression types like "C7 Eb-7 F Bb-7b5" etc. I also tried to fix some of the Mac OSX audio issues, but my research and tinkering suggests that the Java runtime's MIDI sequencer isn't reliable on Macs right now, especially with the long sequences generated by the RSection tab.
UPDATE 4/10/10 - My iPhone ear training application, Play By Ear, saves the various settings after you use the ear trainer. I've become used to that and whenever I return to my online ear training application, it feels tedious to always have to set the key center, the play mode, and some of the other basic options. Well, as of today that's no longer the case! The main options that you set every time are now stored in a cookie so I can recover them on your next visit. I also added some new keyboard commands so you can now press ">" to play the next exercise, "<" to stop, "m" to do a melodic repeat, and "n" to do a harmonic repeat. That was requested in the comments by Sam.
UPDATE 9/12/09 - Thanks to a suggestion from Jean-Francois, the starting cadence now has a "Follow Exercise Key" option. When selected, the ear training tool will play a major cadence in whatever key the next exercise is about to use.
UPDATE 7/26/09 - I added "drop 2" to the inversions shown on the chords tab thanks to the suggestion from a guitarist named Rod. Drop 2 chords move the second highest note of 4-note chords to bottom of the chord voicing.
UPDATE 5/10/09 - I added some new modulation options to the ear training tool's Advanced tab. The new random cycle feature works like the existing Circle of Fourths & Fifths features, however you now have random movement and a shorter 3-time option. I also added a few more tunes to the "Simple Song" option under the Melodies tab.
UPDATE 4/28/09 - The RSection's chord progressions now include Randomization within a single exercise. For example, you could setup randomization so every 4 measures the key changes randomly to one of your selected "Keys To Play." This is a great workout for your ears as you try to improvise over randomly changing chords.
UPDATE 3/15/09 - The ear training tool's Random Melody feature now includes a chromatic scale option which includes more note options (higher and lower notes) than if you select individual notes.
UPDATE 2/6/09 - I added "Cherokee" to the RSection's list of chord progressions.
UPDATE 1/2/09 - I've had several requests for altered chords and finally got around to adding some to the ear trainer. You'll find the new ones on the online version of the ear trainer, on the "Chords" tab.
UPDATE 6/1/08 - As requested by Svetlana, the ear trainer's interval and chord samples now obey your "Root Note" settings. This allows you to specify a specific root note for all of the samples, or you can have random root notes if you select the "Any" option.
UPDATE 5/25/08 - Thanks to a suggestion from George, you can now click on interval and chord names to play a sample. Each sample will adhere the settings you specified in the ear training tool options. For example, if you click on "Perfect 5th" and you have the "Sequence Type" set to "Harmonic" the ear trainer will play the interval harmonically (both notes at the same time).
UPDATE 3/2/08 - I just added cycle-based modulation to my ear training tool. Cycle-based modulation will play the existing exercise over and over again, changing keys through the cycle of 4th's or 5th's. I recommend that you try this with random melodies, jazz licks, and simple song exercises (all under the Melodies tab). By playing the same exercise through a circle of 4th's/5th's, you're challenging yourself to play something by ear, but you're also giving your ears a chance to become familiar with the new melody, thus making the exercise a little easier. You'll find the new cycle-based modulation option on the Advanced tab of the ear training tool.
UPDATE 1/27/08 - I've been meaning to add compound intervals to the ear training tool for a while now, but George's comment today finally made it happen. You'll now see a new "Compound" checkbox on the intervals page!
UPDATE 1/26/08 - I added a "Starting Cadence" feature to my ear training tool (online version only for the time being). Several people have asked for this feature because it gives a reference point from which other notes can be identified. It also allows you to hear intervals, melodies, etc, within a key. You'll see the "Starting Cadence" dropdown on the "Controls" panel. If you don't want to use the cadence, simply set it to None.
UPDATE 12/25/07 - I added about a dozen more simple songs to the ear training tool's random melody feature. That makes a total of 72 different simple song melodies! You can access these by selecting "Key for simple song" under the "Each box is a..." dropdown on the "melodies" tab.
UPDATE 11/4/07 - Version v2_22 introduces simple song melody exercises to my ear training tool. Right now there are about 25 different simple song melodies that will randomly play, but it's my goal to eventually have over 100! You'll find the new simple song melody option in the "Each box is a..." dropdown located on the Melodies tab. I'll update the offline version of the ear trainer once this new version has had a few solid days of testing.
UPDATE 9/8/07 - Version v2_21 of the ear training tool adds three new features. The first new feature is the ability to change the octave range of the exercises. The new octave options appear in the "Key Center" drop-down. This is particularly useful for bass players and other people wishing to expand the lower (or higher) ranges of their ear training. The second new feature is the ability to toggle between treble and bass clef in the staff. To do so, click on the little blue arrow icon located near the treble/bass clefs. When necessary, "8va" or "8vb" will display beneath the clefs. This lets you know that the notes shown on the staff are being played one or more octaves higher (8va) or lower (8vb) than the staff notation. The third new feature is the addition of Major7th jazz licks for call-and-response exercises.
UPDATE 7/8/07 - Version v2_20 of the ear training tool includes Major7th jazz licks as well as a few more Dominant 7th jazz licks.
UPDATE 6/25/07 - Version v2_19 of the ear trainer contains a lot of little updates and one big update. The little updates are mostly GUI-related, so you'll probably find them on your own. The big update is the introduction of jazz licks to both random melodies and the rhythm section's call-and-response feature. Also, you can now select between a short and long call-and-respnose phrase. So far I've only got Dominant 7th jazz licks going, but I'm definitely going to add licks to Major, Minor, Half-Diminished, and Diminished chord types. This will be an ongoing process, so you can expect a lot of "jazz lick" updates in the coming months.
If you've got some jazz licks handy, feel free to send them over. If I think they're suitable for the ear training tool and for the audience of this site, I'll definitely put them in. For inclusion with the ear training tool, they should be 2 measures of eigth notes followed by a single note and the key should be clearly labeled. Also, the lick shouldn't be over a progression, but rather a single chord type (one of the following: CMaj7, C7, CMin7, C7b5, CDim). Here's an example of what I'm looking for (I used finale notepad for this):
UPDATE 5/19/07 - I added interaction between a computer keyboard and the ear trainer's piano. The various keys to press are now shown on the ear trainer's piano. If for some reason you want to disable keyboard interaction, you can do so under the ear trainer's advanced tab.
UPDATE 4/8/07 - I made a few changes to the ear trainer's rhythm section feature today, including a slightly modified layout and some new chord/progression types. New chord/progression types include Half-Diminished 7th, Diminished 7th, Minor II-V7-I, and Minor Blues. Some of these additions are in response to visitor requests, so thank you to all who have helped improve the tool. I haven't had much time to test yet, so please let me know if you run into any problems.
UPDATE 1/24/07 - This past weekend I added a new call and response feature to my ear trainer. I've been using it for a couple of days now and I think it's worth sharing with all of you...
The new feature offers note-limiting call and response with randomly generated rhythms and melodies (there's a new drop-down menu on the RSection tab). When I get a chance, I'll record a clip or two of me practicing along with it, but for now you can listen to examples of similar call and response exercieses in my LEARNING TO IMPROVISE - RHYTHM article. Those clips are done by me with an Aebersold, but they should give you a general idea of how to practice with this new feature.
I have a lot more planned for these sorts of call and response activities. So much so that I'll probably end up creating a new tab just to contain it all. I'll also make it easier to use and control.
UPDATE 1/14/07 - Fixed issue where random melodies were playing notes outside of selected scales. The online and offline versions has been updated with this latest version.
UPDATE 12/5/06 - Fixed issue where Root Note option no longer worked for intervals and chords.
UPDATE 12/2/06 - I've had a few people ask if they can download and run the ear trainer when they're offline. As of today, the answer is YES! Just DOWNLOAD THIS FILE, then unzip and open home.htm.
UPDATE 11/19/06 - Fixed several more bugs, including issues where wide modulations went too high or low. I've now successfully tested the new ear trainer in Firefox 1.0.x (Linux), Firefox 1.5.x (Win, OSX, Linux), Firefox 2.0 (Win), Opera 8.5. (Win), Safari, IE6 (Win), IE7 (Win). Please let me know if you have any problems with different (yet still widely-used) browsers.
UPDATE 11/19/06 - I just added some audio files to my ear trainer 2.0 page. The audio files were recorded during various parts of my daily ear training routine. Hopefully they'll give you a better idea of how I use the ear trainer to practice. Additionally, there are some new auto-configure links next to each audio file which will setup the ear trainer to play the same exercise you hear in the clip.
Also worth mentioning is the new ear training home page. I created it for anyone who wants to link to my ear training tools. On the landing page, you'll see links to both ear training tools, descriptions of each tool, and some background information about ear training.
UPDATE 11/11/06 - Fixed a couple of bugs and added II-V7-I progressions to the rhythm section feature.
UPDATE 10/28/06 - I fixed a couple stability problems that occur when the applet first loads. I can't say for certain, but it might even fix the problem with Firefox 1.0.x. I've also noticed that the rhythm section feature seems a lot smoother under version 1.5.x of the Java JRE than it sounds in 1.4.x. 1.4.x may sound a little choppy...
UPDATE 10/10/06 - A few people have reported that it does in fact work in Firefox on OSX, at least with Firefox 1.5.x. The one instance where it didn't work in Firefox and OSX, the person was using Firefox 1.0.3, so maybe it was just an issue with that early version of Firefox.
UPDATE 10/4/06 - I've heard from a few people that the new ear trainer does work properly with Safari browsers. Apparently there is an issue with Firefox on OSX, however. If you happen to have OSX and a Firefox browser, please give it a try and let me know how it works.
Tonight I also added blues and rhythm changes! I still need to work on the piano part to get it smoother for rhythm changes (especially with leaps in range), but I think the bass is sounding pretty good...
10/1/06 - Today I finished version 2.0 (BETA) of my Ear Trainer. It's hot off the press and lightly tested, so some bugs are to be expected. Also, I've only tested on IE6 (Win), Firefox 1.5.x (Win and Linux), and Opera 8.5 (Win), so I have no idea how well it works in Safari and other browsers.
There are quite a few little new features, and one big one, which I'll let you find for yourself. Please give it a try and let me know if you run into any problems.