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Thomas J. West Music

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Theta Music Trainer Launches New Ear Training Games And Features For Teachers

Posted on April 19, 2011 at 9:06 PM

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Back in January, I wrote an extended review for a fantastic new ear training web site called Theta Music Trainer. As promised, here is an update on the great things being added to this website.


New Games


Theta Music Trainer now has five new games. In Chord Spells, the player listens to a block chord and is given the chord symbol in contemporary notation, such as Amin/C. The player clicks on the correct letter names of the chord in any order to spell out the chord. A life meter slowly counts down, diminishing quickly with each wrong click and boosting slightly for each correctly spelled chord. Level 1 starts with five simple major and minor triads. The expert levels require 20 correct chords in a mixture of all types of seventh chords including altered dominants. This is good exercise in spelling triads and seventh chords quickly - pre-requisite knowledge includes knowing how to spell major and natural minor scales and triads.


In Number Blaster, the player uses the mouse to blast spaceships. There are two kinds of ships: one labeled with scale degree numbers and one labeled with roman numerals. Each round is based on a specific major or minor key. To play this game, players must know how to spell out all 12 major and natural minor keys and be able to figure out what scale degree any given letter is,


In Tonal Recall, players play the classic Memory tiles game, but with tiles labeled with pitches. This game seems pretty easy at first, because the scale degree for each tile is displayed in the corner, so you really only have to match the numbers and not really listen too much. By the time you get to the expert level, however, the scale degree is only on the screen for a split second, and there are altered scale degrees to listen for as well. You get a limited number of tries to clear the board.


In Speed Pitch, The game plays you a starting pitch, then you have to determine if the next pitch is higher, lower, or the same. Easy enough, right? Not so fast - by the time you get to the expert level, the derivation in pitch is only about 10 cents higher or lower at a time. Not a half-step, not a quarter-tone - ten cents. They also try to throw you by having the pitch performed on three different timbres of instruments. Fine tune your ear with this game.


The new game I am the most excited about, however, is called Dango Brothers. In this game, you have to match the pitch on the left (a little smiley-face dude called a Dango) by fine tuning his brother on the right using the up and down arrows. You can play either pitch as many times as you want, comparing the beats you hear, but you have a limited amount of time to tune up the requried pitches to complete the level. The expert level has you tuning up four four-note seventh chords in 60 seconds. There is only one note out of tune, but you have to figure out which one it is and adjust quickly. This game is extremely valuable for string instrument players to tune their strings, but also for wind players to match pitch with a source.


As with all of the other games on the site, players can practice all games in a practice mode before attempting to complete a level. They can also track their progress in training and progress reports.


New Features For Teachers


Once you create a free account and register for free as a teacher, you and your students get all of the features of the site for nearly 50% off the monthly subscription rate, plus teachers can create, receive, and grade assignments on any game on the site.


teacher console screenshot


Students who use the registration code you give them automatically appear on your teacher console when you log in, and you can track their progress on any game regardless of whether or not it was given to them as an assignment or not.


I'm planning on incorporating the games on this site for my middle and high school students for the 2011-2012 school year and look forward to watching their audiation skills grow.



This article (c) 2011 Thomas J. West. All content on ThomasJWestMusic dot com is licensed under a Creative Contributions Attribution-No Derivative Works 3.0 License. Please contact the author before publishing on or off-line.

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