Pitch Matching Exercises For Ear Training Practice
Pitch matching is the ability to hear a note and sing it in tune.
You may be thinking: "But I don't want to learn singing! I just want to develop perfect pitch."
Well, perfect pitch is not only in your ears. We want our whole body be involved in the ear training. The ultimate test whether you learned something well is when you can reproduce it with your body, in our case - sing a note. So pitch matching becomes an essential part of our adventure in developing perfect pitch.
On this page we present a progression of the smallest steps you can take during your ear training, so you would succeed even if you are an absolute beginner.
We will start by finding your vocal range and then continue with the pitch matching exercises with single and eventually multiple notes.
Find your vocal range
In order to find your vocal range, do the following:
- Open the page with the perfect pitch test.
- If your browser asks for permission to use the microphone, click "Allow".
- In the section Tuner settings turn on the option "Show tuner".
- Sing several notes - some lower and some higher - and write down what your lowest and highest notes are. The goal here is to feel comfortable when you sing these notes.
Ideally your range should be at least one octave, but don't worry if it's less than an octave. With a little bit of practice you can easily expand it to one octave and even more.
Adjust the setting Pitch practice range, so it would match your vocal range. We will be using it for all the ear training exercises below.
Pitch matching exercises with single notes
The first step in our pitch matching practice is to learn to reproduce single notes. In other words, you hear a note and then you sing it. Your goal is to match the pitch of the note as closely as possible.
This is a very important exercise to develop perfect pitch. It will help you improve your tonal memory.
We will use the settings from the previous section and adjust them as follows:
- For the setting Exercise select the option "1 single note".
- In the section Allowed notes select any two notes within your vocal range that you feel comfortable singing.
- For the setting Answer using select the option "microphone".
- For the setting Activity select the option "test". This way you can take full advantage of the built-in tuner (see below).
And now let's dive into the section Tuner settings. That's what will help you adjust the difficulty of the ear training exercises to your level and make the learning experience very smooth.
Here's how each setting works:
If you are a beginner, obviously, you want this setting on. The tuner will provide the essential visual cue feedback that you can use to adjust the pitch of your voice when you sing.
The colors of the tuner's moving bar are explained in the following table:
|You sing the right note and its pitch is within the acceptable pitch range.
|You sing the right note, but its pitch is outside the acceptable pitch range.
|You sing the wrong note.
Disable tuner during the notes playback
Your audio equipment setup will influence how you want to use this setting.
If your microphone picks up the sound from your speakers, you want this setting on. Otherwise your computer will identify the notes and answer for you. :)
If your microphone doesn't pick up the sound from your audio playback device, you may want this setting off. In this case as soon as you hear the note, start singing it simultaneously into your microphone - the tuner will show you which note you are singing. You will hear the reference note and your own voice at the same time.
This is useful for total beginners who cannot yet control their voice and have not yet developed tonal memory.
In this case there's one important point to keep in mind:
You want to be able to clearly hear your own voice when you sing.
If you barely hear yourself because of the noise-blocking headphones that you are wearing, you make it difficult for your brain to learn how to sing in tune.
You can sing simultaneously with the computer using one of the following audio equipment setups:
- your earphones don't block external sound,
- your headphones block external sound, but you lift one earpad to be able to hear your own voice,
- you use bone conduction headphones.
Minimum note length for correct answer
This setting sets the minimum time during which you should sustain a note within the acceptable pitch range for it to be accepted as a correct answer.
If you are a beginner, set this setting to 0.4 or 0.6 second.
Once you learn to better control your voice, increase the value to 0.8 or 1 second, if you wish.
Minimum note length for wrong answer
If you sustain an incorrect note for too long, the perfect pitch test will decide that you made a mistake and you will see a message "Wrong.".
If you are a beginner, set this setting to 1 second or longer. This way you will have more time to correct yourself when you sing and there are less chances to trigger the incorrect answer message.
Acceptable pitch range for correct answer
This setting is self-explanatory. When you sing a note, it will be accepted as a correct answer only if its pitch stays within a certain range which is defined by this setting.
If you are a beginner, set it somewhere between ±25 and ±35 cents. Eventually, you want this value to be between ±10 and ±15 cents.
Consider only in-tune notes
If you are a beginner, you may want the perfect pitch test ignore the out-of-tune notes. What does it mean?
Let's say, the value of the setting Acceptable pitch range for correct answer is set to "±15 cents". In this case an out-of-tune note which is very flat (for example, −30 cents) will not trigger a message neither about correct nor wrong answer. The test will decide whether a note is correct or wrong only if you sing in-tune notes.
Pitch practice: level up from beginner to intermediate
Now that you know how all the settings of the built-in tuner work, you may have some ideas how you can adjust your pitch practice to your level.
Remember that we started with only 2 notes from your vocal range? Now start adding more notes until you can sing any of 12 notes from the chromatic scale.
Before you start doing more advanced exercises described below, you should be able to sing 20 random notes in a row on three different occasions with the following settings:
|Disable tuner during the notes playback
|Acceptable pitch range for correct answer
|Minimum note length for correct answer
|Minimum note length for wrong answer
|Consider only in-tune notes
At this point you can start introducing the exercises from the section Perfect pitch exercises into your daily pitch practice.
Pitch practice: expand your range
Once you are comfortable with singing 20 random notes in a row within your vocal range, you can start expanding your pitch practice range, for example, add one note at the top.
Another way to expand your range is to add a whole octave, let's say, at the bottom. In this case when you hear a note and it's too low for you to sing it as it is, sing it one octave higher.
With such approach, you will need to uncheck the option Wrong octave is considered as an error in the section Advanced settings. This way the note you sing will be accepted as a correct answer.
Pitch matching exercises with multiple notes played melodically
By the time you get to this point, your tonal memory for single notes will become pretty good.
Now it's time to learn to reproduce two notes played one after another (melodically). Adjust the settings of the perfect pitch test as follows:
- For the setting Exercise select the option "2 white keys". And then select musical intervals that you want to practice.
- In the section Advanced settings for the setting For multiple-note exercises the notes are played select the option "melodically (one after another)". At first we recommend you practice with the option from the bottom to the top, and then eventually with from the top to the bottom and randomly.
Once you feel comfortable with all the intervals from the exercise 2 white keys, start practicing with the other 2-note exercises.
Finally practice with the 3- and 4-note exercises.
Pitch matching exercises with multiple notes played harmonically
Another layer in your ear training practice is to be able to hear each individual note when the notes are played simultaneously (harmonically).
Just as you did in the previous section, start with the exercise 2 white keys. However this time do the following:
- In the section Advanced settings for the setting For multiple-note exercises the notes are played select the option "harmonically (simultaneously)".
Eventually add the other 2-, 3-, and 4-note exercises.