Feeling a bit tone-deaf lately? Want to elevate your aural skills?
Look no further because we've compiled a list of the best ear training apps for 2023 that will have you singing like Mariah Carey and identifying intervals like a musical genius.
Put on your headphones and come dive in with us as we explore the wonderful world of ear-training apps.
What Are Ear Training Apps?
You can think of ear training apps as personal trainers for your ears. However, instead of doing squats and dumbbell curls, you're doing pitch exercises and identifying chords.
Ear training should be part of your daily music routine, like a musical boot camp with fewer drill sergeants and a lot more harmonies.
These apps can teach you how to find certain notes and intervals or distinguish major and minor chords. Through practice and repetition, these skills help give you a deeper understanding of the relationships between pitches, chords, and scales.
1. ToneGym - Best Ear Training App Overall
If you're ready to get ripped in the ear department, that is, then ToneGym is the ear training app for you!
With a sleek and user-friendly interface, ToneGym offers a variety of exercises that range from identifying intervals to recognizing chord progressions. Do note that unlike some of the other apps on this list, ToneGym is a completely web-based application, meaning you won't need to download any other app on your smartphone.
The app's customization options allow you to tailor your exercises to your skill level, and the gamification aspect of ToneGym adds an extra layer of motivation to your ear training journey. One of the things we love about ToneGym is the Contests page, which allows you to "compete" with other ear trainers online, ranking you against others in the app.
Plus, the app's developers are constantly updating and adding new exercises, so you'll never get bored or feel like you've hit a plateau. The price is a bit steep at $13.95 per month or $74.95 per year , though if you're serious about ear training, it's a great investment.
All in all, if you're looking for an ear training app that will help you get shredded, ToneGym is definitely worth checking out.
Pros and Cons
- Web-based application
- Fun app interface
- Comes with a solid list of ear training games
- Plenty of unique tools and exercises
- Pricing is a bit steep
2. SoundGym - Best for Audio Engineers
SoundGym is less of a tool for audio enthusiasts and more of a tool for music producers and audio engineers. If you're looking to hone your listening skills and take your ear training to the next level, SoundGym is one of the strongest ear-training apps on the market today.
With a library of over 100 audio exercises, SoundGym offers a wide range of tools and games to train your ears to identify frequencies, spatial sound, and even audio effects. Some of my absolute favorite games include Dr. Compressor, Stereohead, EQ Mirror, Peak Master, and EQ Cheetah.
The web-based app's unique interface is reminiscent of a video game, complete with levels and points, which makes ear training feel more like a fun challenge than a tedious task. Like ToneGym, you can see how you stack up against other uses. They have hourly beat-making races, weekly one-on-one contests, and much more.
Note that it is fairly expensive, at $24.95 per month or $109 per year , though with everything it offers, the investment is well worth it.
So, whether you're a sound engineer or a budding producer, SoundGym will definitely elevate your listening game.
Pros and Cons
- Web-based application
- Makes ear training exciting
- Great for producers and audio engineers
- Tons of competitive features to keep your interested
- Is more expensive than most ear-training apps
3. The Ear Gym - Ear Trainer - Best Free Option
If you don't want to pay a dime for ear training, check out The Ear Gym's Ear Trainer app. This app offers a wide range of ear training exercises that cover everything from pitch recognition to rhythm training to interval reading and more.
What sets The Ear Gym apart is its ability to generate random exercises based on your skill level, so you'll never get stuck doing the same old thing. Of course, you can also choose what you want to work on, studying both ascending and descending intervals, which is a feature that (surprisingly) many of these apps don't have.
Plus, the app offers detailed feedback on your progress, so you can see exactly where you need to focus your training efforts. I really like the Roman numeral chord identification exercises, perfect for any musician who is serious about their music theory.
So, if the two gyms above didn't do it for you and you still want to give your ears a good workout, The Ear Gym - Ear Trainer is definitely worth a download.
Pros and Cons
- Easy-to-navigate interface
- Tons of specific learning content
- Great Roman Numeral identification section
- The chord and harmony analysis tabs aren't clearly outlined
4. Complete Ear Trainer - Best Overviews
Getting away from the gym-themed apps, let's talk about Binary Guilt Software's Complete Ear Trainer app.
This free and comprehensive ear training app offers a wide range of exercises that cover everything from interval recognition to scale identification. The app's user-friendly interface makes it easy to customize your training sessions to focus on specific areas of weakness, and the app's adaptive learning algorithm adjusts to your skill level in real-time, ensuring that you're always challenged but never overwhelmed.
Plus, like some of the other apps on this list, you can enjoy training in an arcade-style setting. With the app's fun and addictive game-like structure, you always feel motivated to improve your skills.
There's an incredible amount of content on this ear training app, including 28 unique chapters, four distinct levels, and more than 150 drills. It's also worth noting that the grand piano samples sound great. It's weird to me that many of the other ear-training apps don't focus on sound quality.
What might be the best thing about this ear training app, however, is the fact that each chapter ends with a theory card, which goes over all of the concepts that were discussed in the last chapter.
All in all, if you're ready to banish your ear guilt and take your musical skills to the next level, Binary Guilt Software's Complete Ear Trainer app is definitely worth checking out.
Pros and Cons
- Tons of incredible content
- Arcade-like game structure to keep you entertained
- Very easy app to navigate
- Intro tutorials for each section
- The content isn't as in-depth as some of the other ear training apps listed
5. EarMaster - Best Real-Time Feedback
If you're really serious about getting the best feedback and want an app that can take your ear training skills to the next level, EarMaster Software is definitely worth a closer look.
This powerful ear training tool, which is an excellent alternative to ToneGym, offers a wide range of exercises that covers everything from identifying chords and scales to recognizing cadences and melodies.
What sets EarMaster Software apart from some of the other great ear training apps on this list is the fact that you can use a MIDI keyboard or microphone to play the onboard games. Whenever you finish an ear training quiz or one of the app's ear training games, EarMaster will input and process your scores based on your pitch accuracy.
The app's interface is sleek, intuitive, and incredibly in-depth, offering detailed feedback and progress-tracking features that help you to monitor your progress each step of the way. You'll find plenty of great workshops and lessons that not only help you recognize melodies, scales, and chords but also transcribe them, making it a functional ear trainer for musicians and composers.
I love the fact that EarMaster Software is compatible with a wide range of devices, including desktops, laptops, and mobile devices, including Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android, making it one of the most versatile and convenient tools for musicians at home and on the go.
So, if you're ready to take your ear training to the next level and become a true ear master, EarMaster Software is one of the best ear training apps around.
Pros and Cons
- Very in-depth interface and music theory lessons
- Easy progress tracking
- Great for composers or music students
- Offers the ability to take quizzes using a microphone or MIDI keyboard
- Not very many lessons in the free version of the app
6. Perfect Ear Trainer - Best for Guitarists
Android users looking for the best ear training app to help them achieve pitch-perfect hearing should look no further than EDuckAppsSV's Perfect Ear Trainer .
This feature-packed app offers a comprehensive range of exercises that cover everything from interval recognition to chord progressions and even sight singing. Beyond your standard ear training exercises, it also offers rhythm exercises and music theory articles, though, for the sake of this article, I'll focus on the ear training exercises.
The ear training app's user-friendly interface is clearly divided into chord, scale, and interval sections, making it easy to customize your ear training sessions and track your progress. I love the fact that this app feels focused, allowing you to hone in on the trickier ear-training skills.
Whether you decide to focus on melodic dictation, scale identification, or beginner scales, the detailed feedback you get on your performance ensures that you're always improving.
And let's not forget about the app's unique instrument options, which make ear training feel a bit less mundane. As a guitarist, I love the ability to work with the guitar interface.
All in all, if you're looking for a great ear training app that is super easy to navigate and comes with tons of focused content, EDuckAppsSV's Perfect Ear Trainer is one of the best ear training apps around.
Pros and Cons
- Very well-rounded ear training app
- Separate instrument options for guitar and piano
- Plenty of lessons and exercises to choose from
- Can be a bit overwhelming for inexperienced users
7. Functional Ear Trainer - Best for Relative Pitch
Despite the name, Kaizen9 Apps' Functional Ear Trainer is just as fun as it is functional.
This ear training app, which is more like a relative pitch application, offers a wide range of ear training exercises to help you develop as a musician. You'll find everything from interval recognition to chord progressions to identifying scale degrees in particular keys.
The ability to learn how to identify chords and notes in context is great.
In fact, this is what sets the Functional Ear Trainer apart — its focus on real-world applications with exercises that are specifically designed to help you improve your music transcription skills. The app's layout is based on the Alain Benbassat program, and after you get done with the C major scale section, you can move on to other types of scales, such as chromatic, minor, and more.
The app's detailed progress-tracking features allow you to easily monitor your improvement over time, and the simple interface is easy enough for kids to use.
If you're ready to take your ear training to the next level and improve your relative pitch with an app that feels truly functional, Kaizen9 Apps' Functional Ear Trainer is one of the best ear training apps out there.
Pros and Cons
- Does not require any sight-reading skills
- Excellent for developing relative pitch skills in context
- Great for both kids and adults
- A bit limited in its relative pitch training
8. ET - Ear Trainer
DesCom Ear Trainer is one of the most comprehensive and customizable ear training apps on the market today. Developed by father and son duo Daniel and Elia Schenke (Daniel is a jazz trumpeter, Zurich University professor, and Swiss IT specialist), this powerful app offers a wide range of exercises that cover everything from scale identification to chord progression training and more.
DesCom ET's Ear Trainer allows you to test your skills using your own microphone or piano, or the included piano in the ear training app.
As with some of the other ear training apps on this list, Ear Trainer compiles detailed feedback and progress tracking, allowing you to monitor your progress and see how you stack up against other users.
Whether you're looking for an ear training app to improve your note recognition or singing pitch, DesCom ET's Ear Trainer is definitely worth checking out.
Pros and Cons
- Plenty of unique passive and active training exercises
- Can connect a MIDI device, allowing you to sing or play piano
- Cool leaderboard feature to challenge other users
- Not the best UI
From complete beginners to advanced musicians, ear training is an essential skill. With such a wide range of ear training apps available today, there's no excuse not to work on improving your listening, ear training, or sight-singing skills every day.
Even beyond the excellent ear training apps on this list, the options are virtually endless. Download a few and start working on your ear training skills today, and with a little practice and the right ear training app, you'll be amazed at how quickly your skills will improve!