20 November 2009

Online Guitar Applet - Ear Training Tool

Beginner guitar players interested in developing their ears to recognize the sounds of chords should be interested in the Online Guitar applet from Apronus.

When I recently tried this web software I admit I was sceptical because of the fretboard layout. The chords are not in the same place as on the guitar fretboard. It seemed to me that this was not a good idea as it won't do much to help guitar students learn chord positions on their guitar neck.

But I tried playing a couple of song progressions using the applet and I found it was quite easy to pick out the desired chords using the mouse. The sound is good on my laptop PC and makes it easy to hear the different chord changes. After playing with the applet for a while I found myself actually enjoying picking out some of my favourite songs and I got a whole different perspective on them compared to the guitar.

So, why are the chords not laid out like a real guitar neck? Here's what Michal Wojcik, the creator of Online Guitar applet has to say.

"Chords on our online guitar are located in the special ergonomic order. In this order tonics, dominants and subdominant chords are close to each other for most scales, so it should be convenient to play simple accompaniment for known songs. We hope that this makes our online guitar a useful tool for people interested in playing guitar that want to discover chords for songs by themselves."
The important thing to keep in mind is that the Online Guitar applet is really an aid to figuring out a song's chords by ear. It could even come in handy as a song writing tool to make up new songs of your own. And in these uses it isn't really limited to only guitar, it could be useful for students and players of any instrument.

One small thing that could be improved in my opinion is to use small letter 'm' to denote the minor chords as is more usual in musical notation. The capital M used in the tool makes me think of Major which is a little distracting. But this is only a minor point and not a real hindrance.

I think the keyboard controls would actually be a better way of playing the chords but I was only able to give this a limited try. Some of the keys on my keyboard didn't produce any chord, maybe due to the AZERTY layout of my keyboard...?

In conclusion the applet is a useful little ear training tool. I think I will use it to try picking out chords to songs I want to learn, it could be a nice way to get a quick first match on the chords to play.

Try out the Online Guitar Applet for yourself. Please leave a comment to let us know how you enjoy using it and if it helps you.

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