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School of Music

Department of Theory, Composition & Musicology

What are aural skills?

Musical training is unique in that it emphasizes the development of a sensory function (hearing) as a vital component. If you can:

  • hear and adjust your intonation while playing
  • hear the quality of a chord
  • hear and recognize pitches in a melody, or the chords of a progression
  • tap a rhythm that you have heard
  • sing a melody at sight from written music without the aid of a piano or other instrument

you have already begun to develop an acute sense of hearing. Your success as a musician is by and large dependent on your ability to hear quickly and accurately, music you see and hear.