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ToneGym

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David Rule
Aug 17
Hi all,

HELP ...

... please ... I'm on Level 49 for the Departure game having cleared Level 48 flawlessly. But I can't get off Level 13 of Route VI. I'm pretty good at the other chord type game but simply can't hear chord progressions. Any advice would be gratefully received.

Thank you all in advance,

David
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Sammy D
Aug 17
Here are a couple of tips:

IMO nothing beats experimenting with a real instrument. Pause the game after each response, play the progression on your instrument over and over, going back and forth between what you hear on your instrument and what you hear on Route VI. hear the difference between each answer choice. If you don't have an instrument you can use the virtual piano here: https://www.tonegym.co/tool/item?id=progression-generator

Another powerful method is associating the chord progressions with a song you are already familiar with, ideally a song you love listening to.
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Thomas Folks
Aug 17
I've been having similar problems. Someone else suggested the Chord Crush app on this forum as part of a similar discussion. I started using it as a supplement to Tone Gym and it also provides examples of chord progressions to common pop songs. The app, like Tone Gym, is not a magic bullet, but seems to produce small incremental improvement with daily practice.
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Here's what I do. Using my ear, I pick out one note from each chord to create a three-note sequence (or whatever the length of the chord progression is). I match those notes on a keyboard. I now have a pattern of intervals. It doesn't really matter which note you pick from each chord, though your ear may naturally gravitate towards the lowest or the highest.

Then I look at the choices given. I write down a sample set of chords of the type given. E.g. for progressions involving I, IV, and V, I write down the notes for the C chord, the F chord, and the G chord. It doesn't matter that these are probably not the actual chords -- I'm just trying to match a pattern of intervals, not absolute notes.

I then look for which of the chord orderings on offer contain the pattern of intervals I heard. This is where the written example comes it -- it's just a handy way of seeing all the possible intervals moving from one chord to another.

And a lot of times you don't even have to go to that trouble. If the progression mixes chords of different character -- like when the games starts to do progression mixing minor, major, and diminished, you can just listen for the different chord characters and see which of the choices fit the pattern that you hear.

Note that the game also gives you the tonic chord at the beginning. A lot of times it can be hard to recognize in the progression because it's then inverted or played in a different register, but sometimes it's the exact some chord -- same inversion, same register -- so you can easily eliminate possibilities just from where the tonic is. It also gives you a sense of home, so just feeling where the progression feels the most and least resolved can help as well -- a vii(dim) to i transition will start to feel very distinctive!

Right now, I'm at level 26, 86th percentile. The game has upped its difficult level with progression with more common notes between chords, so it is a bit harder to eliminate possibilities with my method. I need to develop some new tricks. :) But it got me this far.
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Josh Keisler
Aug 17
Chord Crush is great for this, you can try the free one, but I was only able to see real improvement from it once I got the paid version. The 'Level Up' game guides you through very nicely and the 'learning from real songs' option in training is good but the pool of songs is a bit limited.

I also think functional/solfege training is important because hearing which scale degree the chord is, is similar to hearing which scale degree a note is (especially once you get better at hearing the root note of a chord regardless of inversion, which is in turn a similar skill to identifying the tonic of a key).

Good luck!
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Glenn Gaither
Aug 17
Your honesty is really brave. Just sayin'!
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David Rule
Aug 18
Hi guys, I'm super impressed, gratefully and blissfully a little surprised by the amount of ideas and support you've all given. I've copied all these responses into a Notepad and pinned it to my desktop. I'll certainly try Chord Crush and as I have a guitar I'll play through the correct chord progression over and over. And Victor, your advice is so thorough I'll get to work on that right away. In short, you're all saying don't just sit there stabbing at options. Do some real work. Thank you all again. Great stuff and best wishes to all. :)
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@David Rule: The game that is my Achilles heel right now is Chordelius. Once I got to the early/mid-20s levels, my progress slowed way down. I guess I just have trouble differentiating the various flavors of 7 chords. Then it started to put in add9 chords and I hear that difference much more easily. Not the first time I've experienced rough spots followed by easier spots in the games.
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Listen to the top note and if the chord is Major Minor or Diminisned. Deduct from the scale levels. Hope it helps...
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Figure out the chord quality first. Is it major, minor, augmented etc. Listen to the chord sequence again, and look at the answers. Eliminate the answers that don't fit what you hear.

Now focus on the answers that are left and listen to the chord sequence. Try to detect movement. Watch out for tension and resolution. For example, if the penultimate chord is a V, and the final chord is a I, you'll hear a wonderful resolution, called perfect cadence - your ear does not hear tension, you don't yearn for another chord to resolve the sequence. If the sequence ends on a V or VIIo, you'll yearn for the I chord. You can cheat a bit if the sequence starts on the I chord - just quickly click on the sequence again after the final chord is played. If the first chord resolves the final chord, you know where you are at :).

The I, iii, and vi chords make you feel at home. The ii and IV give you a sense of movement, but without tension. The V and VIIo chords create tension and yearn for release/to be resolved. If you can't decide between chords of the same group, try to pick out movement. You can always grab a life ring and check for the bass notes. Remember, V to I goes up, and IV to I goes down. If you have any other questions, let me know :)