Ear Training Exercises –
Major and Minor Chords!

Ear Training can help us to improve various aspects of our listening ability for singing, and one of these aspects is to be able to identify whether a chord or sound is major or minor in nature.

Knowing whether the music we hear is major or minor will help us in our interpretation of the song, and also allow us to be able to harmonise better, since we would be more aware of the sounds in the chords being played!

There are of course many aural training resources that we can use to train our aural awareness and listening ability, and I have also provided some useful self-practice exercises with music uploaded here for you to try out!

You may also wish to learn about some basic musical scales and intervals before you embark on the following ear training exercises, so that you have a better understanding of the basic scales used in singing. In the 1st demonstration clip, I have played a variety of Major Chords for you to get used to how a major sound is like. Notice how the tone is positive and happy, compared to the minor sounds you will hear later. I have also played the notes in the chords separately for you to be able to hear the individual notes better, and to know how a chord is formed! I will explain more about chords later on this page. Here is the demonstration music for Major Chords:

Major Chords Demonstration Clip
Now, contrast the above music to the next demonstration clip, which consists of ALL Minor Chords:

Minor Chords Demonstration Clip
Were you able to tell that the minor chords sounded sad and less positive than the major chords? This allows you to be able to ‘feel’ the music that you sing with, and to capture the mood of the songs that you sing!

Now, let us just do a simple test of your new-found listening abilities! Listen to the following clip carefully, and as you listen, write down whether you think the chord being played is a Major or Minor one (each chord is played twice so you can hear it well):

Major and Minor Chords Ear Training Test
Have you written down your answers? You can double-check your answers with the ones I have provided at the bottom of this page.

Now, for those who are interested to find out more about Chords, they are actually formed by taking the 1st, 3rd and 5th notes of the respective scale that you want!

For example, for a Major Chord to be formed, we would take the 1st, 3rd and 5th notes of the Major Scale and play them together!

If we use solfege notation, then a Major Chord would consist of the notes Doh (1), Mi (3) and Sol (5)! This is the easiest way to build a major chord, and it is also simplest to understand!

If we extend this idea further and add a high doh to our Major Chord, we find that we would have now formed a Major Arpeggio!

We would usually use major chords as well as major arpeggios for the various basic vocal warmups before singing, as well as some basic vocal exercises that we would practice to train our singing voice!

Try out these exercises and you will be able to learn even more about major and minor chords and arpeggios, as well as other musical scales!

Also, do try to form your own major and minor chords by referring to the various basic musical scales provided on this website and playing only the 1st, 3rd and 5th notes of the various scales to form the chords you want!

Now, back to the Major and Minor Chords Ear Training Test! Here are the answers for the order of the chords that were played:

Major, Minor, Minor, Major, Major, Minor
Did you get them all correct? Listen to those chords that you missed out and try to listen out for their major or minor characteristics!

Learning Singing is fun, and these Ear Training Exercises for major and minor chords and sounds will certainly make your learning journey even more interesting and enriching!

Return from Major and Minor Chords Aural Training to Ear Training for Singing

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