Meri’s Musical Musings

Notes, tips and advice on mastering the ear training portion on music exams

Posted on: September 14, 2009





Minor 2nd: Jaws

Major 2nd: Silent Night

Minor 3rd: O Canada, Greensleeves (What child is this?)

Major 3rd: When the saints go marching in

Perfect 4th: ‘Here comes the bride’

Augmented 4th/Diminished 5th: first two notes of ‘The Simpsons’ TV show theme

Perfect 5th: Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star, Theme from Star Wars

Minor 6th: 1st big interval in Scott Joplin’s rag ‘The Entertainer’

Major 6th: It came upon a midnight clear

Minor 7th: Bali Hai from ‘South Pacific’

Major 7th: ‘Somewhere’ from West Side Story

Perfect octave: Over the Rainbow from ‘Wizard of Oz’




Minor 2nd: Joy to the world

Major 2nd: Mary had a little lamb

Minor 3rd: Frosty the Snowman, Star Spangled Banner

Major 3rd: Summertime (George Gershwin)

Perfect 4th: Eine Kleine Nachtmusik, O come all ye faithful (Adeste Fideles), I’ve Been Working on the Railroad

Augmented 4th/Diminished 5th: Blue Seven (Sonny Rollins)

Perfect 5th: Theme from ‘The Flinstones’ also, Etude in F major (Grade 8 studies book, Celebration Series Perspectives)

Minor 6th: Music of the Night (from Phantom of the Opera)

Major 6th: Nobody Knows the Troubles I’ve Seen

Minor 7th: An American in Paris

Major 7th: “Hee Haw” From the Grand Canyon Suite (Grofe)

Perfect octave:




Major root position: The traditional ‘Happy’ chord

Major 1st inversion: Listen for the big space between the middle and top notes

Major 2nd inversion: Listen for the the big space between the bottom and middle notes


Minor root position: The traditional ‘sad’ chord

Minor 1st inversion: -repeating 1st inversion chord in advanced piece (as in Tarenghi Dance of the Marionettes (Celebration Series Perspectives Studies, Level 8)

Minor 2nd inversion: first three LH notes of Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata


-listen for the spacing between the intervals, practice them in the sound solid and broken, broken up and down


Diminished 7th: The ‘crunch’ or ugly chord of most conservatory exams

Dominant 7th: Listen for a chord that sounds a little more coloured than the major chord, it’s often used as a way of changing keys in a musical composition.




Major: most people recognize this…

Natural Minor: After learning the other two, this one will be easy to recognize; it’s the white keys on the piano from A to the next A

Harmonic Minor: Listen for the big space between the 6th and 7th notes

Melodic minor: 6th and 7th notes are different in both directions


-concentrate on only one form of the minor scale at a time in your practicing to reduce confusion between recognizing them if you have to learn multiple forms of minor scales

(why I think the pedagogy of other instruments is more sound, they don’t require multiple forms of minor scales until the intermediate levels)



Plagal: The ‘Amen’ Cadence

Perfect: ‘Shave and a Haircut, Two Bits’ (on Two Bits)

Imperfect: Kuhlau Sonatina, op. 55, no. 3 1st movement: where it goes I –V-I-V-I

Deceptive: The bass part moves up by a minor second


Rhythm Dictation:


-practice composing melodies using note values you know


General hints:

-know your way around a piano, ideally at least to the point when dominant and dimished 7th chords appear in the technical requirements

Listen as you practice: make notes of pieces where a particular interval, chord, or cadence intrigues you, and make your own notes (that’s how I wrote this blog and learned ine!)

-in mastering technical requirements, listen carefully to the sound and integrate sound, sight, and hearing,

-connect the feel of practicing the different types


2 Responses to "Notes, tips and advice on mastering the ear training portion on music exams"

Hey there just wanted to give you a quick heads up and let you know a few of the images aren’t loading properly. I’m not sure why but I think its a linking issue. I’ve tried it in two different internet browsers and both show the same results.

Thanks for mentioning that, did you try right-clicking the file, downloading it, and then opening them in the Adobe Reader?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s


  • None
  • V V: Wish I had read this before I fell for their scheme ! Oh well - have posted my experience on Yelp and N49 and hoping others can avoid the pain of fal
  • clariniano: Thanks for the additional information. It was actually Yelp that deleted my reviews, because of so-called bias. I too have seen the horrible technique
  • No Thanks: Former Teacher at the Ontario Conservatory of Music I took lessons at the Ontario Conservatory and when I left for private lessons from another tea
%d bloggers like this: