Ear Expansion: Chords

Learn all about chords and how you can improve your ears to appreciate and recognise them in music.

After completing this module: you will understand the different types of chord, and how learning to recognise them will help you to be more musical.

Chord ear training helps you to recognise the different types of chord in musical harmony, such as major, minor, and seventh chords.

Developing your ear for harmony gives you a better appreciation of how music is put together and helps you play music by ear or write more interesting songs.


  • Harmonic hearing: truly hear multiple notes at once
  • Appreciate the musical context in which you play
  • Build your harmonic palette for song writing
  • Gain confidence with unusual chord types

Module Preview

chord ear training intro


Watch the introduction video for the chords module to learn what exactly we mean by a “chord”, and the ways chord ear training can benefit you in music.

Plus: A great demonstration of the difference between “major” and “minor” chords!

chord ear training why

Why do Chords Ear Training

Discover the specific ways that chord ear training helps:

  • Chord-based instrument players
  • Melody instrument players
  • Singers
  • Song-writers
  • All musicians!

chord ear training how

How to do Chords Ear Training

There are so many different types of chord, it can be overwhelming when you first approach chord ear training.

This part of the module explains a simple framework for thinking about your chord ear training so that you can plan and train effectively.

You’ll also learn a powerful “dissection” technique to use as part of your chord ear training.

chord ear training tips

Chord Ear Training Tips

There are many common pitfalls musicians make when learning to recognise chords, and also some great ways to ensure swift results.

These “Do”s and “Don’t”s let you learn from other peoples mistakes so you can make faster progress yourself.

chord ear training listen

Listen to Examples

Following the framework from earlier in the module, it’s time to start listening to different types of chord and tuning your ear into each one’s characteristic sound.

Listen to major, minor, augmented, diminished and three types of seventh chord.

chord ear training try

Try It!

With your ear starting to be sensitive to the different types of chord, you can start trying to recognise them by ear.

These simple exercises let you begin practising your chord ear training using the knowledge and listening skills you’ve learned in the module.


Take the interactive end-of-module quiz and check you’ve learned the fundamentals of chords.

Member Success

“By recognizing the underlying chords it is easier to select notes from the correct scale in order to solo or add harmony.”
“When I learn to recognize chords, I can improvise on guitar with correct arpeggio and play more harmonically.”
“I didn’t really know how to distinguish different chords before. This is a big improvement for me. I found this training to be very helpful.”

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