Listen Up: How to Train Your Ear
Some musical education can help expand your audio experience and have you hearing tunes in a whole new way.
ear training
November 05, 2007 by Robert Archer

Other effects, techniques and instruments commonly used during a recording include drum machines, drum loops and reverb. Like the aforementioned effects and techniques, these, too, can play an important role in how a record sounds. “In a lot of pop, house and techno,” Maggio says, “drum machines are sometimes used in place of acoustic drums. One example is ‘Here Comes the Rain Again’ by the Eurythmics.”  Finally, reverb can be best explained as an effect that simulates the results of sound reflecting off of surrounding surfaces.

Audio Demonstrations: Another Musical Reference
Webster’s New World Dictionary defines music as “the art of combining tones to form expressive compositions.” The combination of tones to form chords and the ability to synchronize these tones to create music is the foundation of any style of music. Any electronics professionals that has a basic grasp on the concepts of tones and time will have the ability to breakdown and transcribe most of today’s popular music for not only their own personal enjoyment, but also for the benefit of their clients.

Maggio says tempo is defined in two ways. “Meter is how you keep time and its defined as duple [or double — 2/4, 4/4] and triple, which is 3,6,9 or 12 [12/8],” he says.  “Most any waltz is in a triple meter, and songs like ‘Nothing Else Matters’ by Metallica is in 6/8. Double time is when you take a meter and double it. It’s the doubling of any tempo. A lot of ska music is in double time. It essentially means to go twice as fast.”

Cut time, he explains is the opposite. “Take what you are doing and cut it in half so you are playing twice as slow. A good example of cut time is the mid section of ‘Master of Puppets’ from Metallica. Another example is ‘Still of the Night’ by Whitesnake.”

Swing time is another reference to tempo and a good reference is anything from Brian Setzer. Swing time is when you take a standard beat and play a little behind it. When you do this you affect the beat so it’s not so regimented. ‘Some Kind of Wonderful’ by Grand Funk Railroad is a good example of swing. Another good one is ‘Somebody to Love’ by Queen.”

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Robert Archer - Senior Editor, CE Pro
Bob is a dedicated audiophile who has been writing about A/V for Electronic House sister publication CE Pro since 2000.

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