Did you know you can learn a lot about Music Theory just by using an app on your phone?
Did you know you can learn to recognize differences in relative pitch just by playing quizzes and games on your iPad?
There are hundreds of Music Theory and Ear Training apps available for both Android and iOS. They all claim to teach you Music Theory and help train your ears in an interactive way which is easy, fun, and stimulating.
Some of these apps are little gems you wish you knew sooner. They are all pretty useful for any musician out there, no matter their level.
Here’s a list of the Music Theory apps we loved the most.
1. Perfect Ear
Perfect Ear is a comprehensive Music Theory and Ear Training app you can use in plenty of ways.
Available for both Android and iOS, it comes in either the free or the premium version. We recommend the latter, which is really cheap ($2.99) but full of functionalities.
Perfect Ear is divided into three main sections: theory, ear training, and rhythm. It also has some bonus exercises to make you excel at specific music skills. Let’s have a closer look at each and every section.
The theory section provides the rudiments of intervals, scales, chords, modes, rhythm, and the circle of fifths. You can also access the theoretical explanation of each topic through the ear training and the rhythm sections.
In the ear training section, you’ll be able to practice your aural skills through intervals identification and comparison, intervals singing, and intervals sight-reading. You can also practice the identification of scales and chords.
In the rhythm section, you can familiarize yourself with rhythmical figures that get progressively more complex or practice how to keep the beat.
The bonus exercises include:
- an absolute pitch trainer, where you have to guess what note is being played without any further clue
- some sight-reading practices to familiarize yourself with the music sheet
- an interactive singing trainer, where you have to exactly reproduce the note that’s being played
- a guitar fret-board trainer
- an exercise on the circle of fifths, where you have to guess the key when the sharps or flats are presented.
2. Piano Companion
This app, available for both iOS and Android, is particularly useful for piano students, but it can benefit anyone wanting to find out more about Music Theory.
You can choose between the free and the premium version. The free version is quite comprehensive, although it limits some features such as the possibility of building and saving chords in your personal dictionary.
Piano Companion feature chords and scales dictionaries that can be very useful for reference at any time. It also provides an explanation about the circle of fifths and chord pads to practice chord progressions.
Last but not least, it features a virtual piano (excellent to compose on the run) and a section dedicated to both free and paid piano courses.
iPhone users can practice Music Theory with the 24 exercises, ranging from ear training to chord recognition, provided by the app Tenuto. It is only available as a premium app, but for the small amount of $3.99.
Its twin app Theory Lessons provides interactive and animated Music Theory lessons that progressively become more advanced.
4. Music Theory Basics
Another great Music Theory resource for iOS, that comes at a slightly higher price.
Music Theory Basics offers a wide range of lessons, starting from notes reading to complex rhythms and chords. It has quizzes and games to engage and stimulate your learning.
iPad users can master Music Theory and ear training with this free, super-comprehensive app.
If features exercises on interval identification and chord identification, all introduced by a theoretical explanation. It is also very useful to practice sight-singing.
EarMaster is particularly interesting because it supports the use of external microphones and MIDI controllers. You can plug in your favorite microphone to practice your sight-reading and have instant feedback on your results. Or you can plug in your MIDI keyboard to submit your answers to Music Theory exercises.
Unfortunately, EarMaster is only available for iPad.
6. Complete Ear Trainer
This Android and iOS app, available in full version for only $3.99, is what you need if you want to develop a full relative or absolute pitch. It also offers precious insights on Music Theory, to help you better understand the ear training exercises presented.
You can use Complete Ear Trainer in three different modes: the Easy Mode, presenting more than fifty progressive drills over twelve different chapters; the Classic Mode, with more than 150 drills; the Arcade Mode, a sort of challenge made of 21 drills.
You can also create a Custom Training to suit your specific needs.
Each chapter, before the exercises, presents a sort of welcoming card, with all the theoretical explanations you’ll need to undertake the challenge.
7. Music Theory Helper
This free app for Android gives you insightful information about chords, intervals, scales, the circle of fifths, and all the basic Music Theory concepts. It also features a few ear training and reading exercises, despite being more focused on the theoretical approach.
8. Functional Ear Trainer
Functional Ear Trainer is an app for both Android and iOS, available for free but requiring in-app purchases, designed to enhance your aural skills.
Developers claim that, through their app, you will develop perfect aural skills with just ten minutes of practice a day.
The app is surely very effective, especially because it puts each tone in the context of a particular musical key, encouraging the development of a perfect relative pitch.
Music Theory used to be boring, but now, with new technologies constantly re-shaping our world, it can be an exciting challenge.
All the apps described in this article will help you improve your Music Theory, aural, and rhythmical skills on the go, in a simple and fun way.