If you’ve mastered the ascending and descending forms of an interval but are having difficulty with the harmonic version (both notes at once) there are a number of things you can try:

1. Sing it back

Singing is probably the most powerful way to improve your harmonic hearing. Whether or not you’re a star singer, you should try singing out the notes of an interval after you hear it – this really helps your brain internalise the sound.

Here’s the step-by-step:

  1. Play the harmonic interval (with your instrument, recording, or app!)
  2. Listen closely and try to ‘pick apart’ the sound into its two notes
  3. Sing back the two notes, one after the other

The reason this is so powerful is that it truly tests whether your ear is hearing both notes, or just their blend.

It’s a bit like how you can’t be sure you understand something until you try explaining it out loud to someone else! You may think you’re hearing two notes – but unless you can sing one and then the other, you may be fooling yourself…!

Practice singing back the two notes of harmonic intervals and you’ll find yourself improving rapidly.

If you’re training with the RelativePitch app, go to the app settings and increase the Training Mode ‘Time before announcing’. Then you can sing back each interval after it’s played.

You can also turn on ‘Repeats’ and the “Play melodic first” option, and increase the “delay before repeat”. This way, you’ll hear the harmonic interval, have