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ToneGym

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Josh Keisler
May 18
Hi I'm new here but have done some ear training before.. I'm having trouble recognising chord progressions. I can often recognise the sound of plagal and perfect cadences (though sometimes the inversions throw me off). I can recognise some common progressions and I can work songs out with a keyboard pretty well (the bass notes help a lot) but when it comes to more random ones and the combination of no bass notes and inversions, like in the 'Route VI' game, I get lost pretty quickly. Does anyone have any tips? A brief breakdown of what your process is when figuring them out would be awesome. Like are you hearing each individual note in relation to the tonic or does each chord just develop a certain sound to it and if so how did it start to just have that characteristic sound for you..? Any tips much appreciated!
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Fawa chan
May 18
sing it, plagal cadences resolve from up to down and perfect cadences resolve down to up, in Case of C major as the tonic, in a G major chord(perfect cadence) the B is going to the C and in an F major chord(pagal cadence) F to E, it's just practicing a lot and never giving up really, hope this helps! ^_^
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Josh Keisler
May 18
Thanks Fawa! I guess I meant in a more general way because that only applies to the first couple of levels where it's going V6 - I (perfect) and IV6/4 - I (plagal).. Basically I'm asking for where the inversions are more random and the chord progressions too. I'm really interested for working out songs by ear as well as just the game.
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I will second what Fawa says about practicing. Doing it everyday. That is the best way to get better.

I try to look for ways to eliminate the progressions it cannot be, then listen for whether a certain chord is major, minor, or something else.

I know these tips are more about the game, but as I have progressed through the levels I find that I have internalized more than I realized.
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Siim Kornel
May 18
You can hear the bass notes if you use a life ring.
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Gunnar Maaß
May 18
One way is to characterize the chords by their energy and motion. This video might give you an idea:


Furthermore humming extensions over the chord will slightly alter its movement/energy and can give away the degree. (For example V7 is more tense than V and pulls even more towards I)
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Josh Keisler
May 18
Thanks for the tips everyone. I certainly plan to practice everyday as I had already been using EarMaster every day for a while and this seems a lot more fun and motivating. Thanks especially to @Gunnar Maaß - I had learnt the basics of functional harmony but definitely a useful reminder to consider that more.