Chord Progressions Ear Training Exercises

Here are some listening exercises to help you practice recognising the chords in common chord progressions.

You can listen to the tracks on this page or download them to practice with on your computer or mobile device. Just right-click an exercise and choose “Save As” or use the download link at the bottom of each set of exercises (Download this exercise).

  • First:
    • Use the “Training” tracks to listen carefully to each set of chords and tune your ear in to the different sounds.
    • Each time, you’ll hear a scale to give you a sense of the key you’re in. Then the progression is announced and played, twice so you know what you’re hearing.
  • Then:
    • Listen to the corresponding “Test” tracks, which don’t announce the progression before it’s played.
    • During the pause, try to identify the chords you just heard.
    • You’ll then hear the correct answer so you know if you got it right and have the chance to hear the progression again.
Before you start, you might like to read:

what is chord ear training
“What is chord ear training and what can it do for you”

Get clear on what chord ear training means and how it can help you in your musical life, in “What is chord ear training and what can it do for you”.

learn chord progressions
“Chord Ear Training How To: Chord Progressions”

Read about the different types of chord you can learn and how to plan your chord ear training in “How To: Chord Progressions”.

Ear Expansion Ear Training Course
Ear Expansion:
Chord Progressions

Learn all the fundamentals of chord ear training with the Chord Progressions module of the Ear Expansion course.

The exercises come with three difficulty levels:

  1. The “easy” exercise uses just root-position triad chords, making it easy to hear the movement of the root up to the fourth, fifth, and sixth degrees of the scale.
  2. The “medium” exercise introduces different inversions of the chords, which means the notes can change without it actually changing chord in the progression.
  3. The “hard” exercise doesn’t play a scale before the progression so you have an extra challenge! Note: In the later exercises this means there are multiple valid interpretations of the progression, so you may need to think carefully about whether your answer was right or not!

We recommend practising with each difficulty level in order for the exercises, building up a robust ability to recognise those progressions in varied musical use.

The exercises are provided in a sequence which builds up your knowledge gradually, and uses the distinctive V7 chord as a stepping-stone to recognising the plain V chord.

This sequence will work well for most students—but you should feel free to change the order based on your own progress!

Chord Progression Exercises


For a full set of chord progression exercises, visit Musical U.