ET - Ear Trainer

IOS Appstore Download ButtonMac Appstore Download ButtonPlaystore Download Button

“Die Voicings haben mich überzeugt! Endlich mal ein Gehörbildungssoftware, wo die Voicings so sind, wie sie in der Praxis auch meist gespielt werden.“

- Thomas Silvestri, Pianist / Komponist







ET - Ear Trainer

Yet another ear-training app? Well, this one is different!

Playing jazz, pop and improvised music means being able to quickly recognize and replay what you hear. The app focuses on microphone input and includes active and passive hearing. An integrated voicing generator ensures that piano voicings common in jazz practice are used. The app provides exercises for specific hearing problems, such as identifying root tones. Although this app began as an ear-training tool for students of jazz and pop at the Zurich University of the Arts (ZHdK), it is also intended for musicians playing in other styles, and at all levels. It was developed by Swiss IT specialist and jazz trumpeter Daniel Schenker, professor at ZHdK, in collaboration with his son Elia (19, Informatiker EFZ).

How it works

The app offers a host of ear-training exercises, many of them quite enjoyable, all designed to enhance both active and passive hearing. Active hearing means reproducing what you have heard on an instrument or with your voice, while passive hearing refers to the ability to identify such things as the scales, triads and four-note-chords, tensions and slash chords, on which active hearing is based. One of the features that makes our app so special is the fact that its microphone enables a sort of dialogue between the app and the musician – whether on voice, wind, string instruments, guitar, piano or electric bass. Unlike other apps, this one uses an integrated voicing generator to ensure that the chords played (position, voicing) correspond to the actual performance situation. In addition, the app uses a detailed educational guidance system, which allows users to individually customize the exercises. You can obtain over 250 achievements. Compete with other users and publish your high scores and trophies on the in-app leaderboard! The app also offers an easy way to backup statistics and settings and transfer them to other devices.

Active exercises (use of the microphone)

  • Imitating / singing notes of the first five notes of a major or minor scale; suitable for younger students or amateurs
  • Diatonic imitation: reproduction of notes in a particular key, vocally or on an instrument
  • Atonal imitation: improvement of relative or referential hearing
  • Sequences of 2-6 random tones
  • Intervals
  • Resolution game: technique for the improvement of downward interval singing or playing
  • Bass imitation exercises: double bass notes and root notes of various chords are to be reproduced vocally or on an instrument, a central skill that is often underdeveloped
  • Tensions imitation exercises: Re-sing or replay chord tensions of a given chord (#9, b13 for example)
  • Scales sandbox: imitation practice in tonal spaces from over 40 different scales
  • Tonal memory game

Passive exercises (identification practice)

  • Melodic or harmonic Intervals, within an octave or greater than 1 octave.
  • Triads/four-tone-chords in root position and inversion, as well as identification of top note positions
  • Four-note-chords with one tension (17 types) and with two tensions (15 types)
  • All 12 major and minor triads above a root tone (slash chords/hybrids)
  • Identification of scales and modes Depending on the setting, the chords can also be played arpeggiated.
  • Chord progressions jazz and pop (diatonic in major and minor, modal interchange, modulations and others)
  • Over 50 classical progressions: Predominant chords, plagal resolutions, top note positions, the Neapolitan sixth chord, suspended fourth sixth chords, Pachelbel progressions, augmented fifth sixth chords, lamento movements, elliptic functions and many more (see here)

For whom is the app intended?

  • Singers both amateur and professional who want to incorporate (noteless) aural imitation exercises into their practice programme. Enables practice of chords, scales, intervals and root notes of chords, vocally or on an instrument
  • Musicians in primary and secondary school, musicians and singers preparing for university entrance exams (practical theory), and conservatory students
  • Musicians and singers of all genres, especially jazz/pop/rock, who want to freshen up or expand their chord vocabulary
  • Brass players: control in mouthpiece exercises (buzzing)



Promotion Image Microphone sound inputPromotion Image 30 Exercises and 190 AchievementsPromotion Image Educational Guidance system: Customizable exercisesPromotion Image Active exercisesPromotion Image Recognizing chordsPromotion Image Explanatory textsPromotion Image Achievement boardPromotion Image Online leaderboard

FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions


Inside Limmattal, Thomas Pfann, November 2022 - Portrait about Daniel and Elia Schenker (german)


Read the article

Schweizer Musikzeitung, Andreas Chr. Szalatnay , 24.11.2021

Daniel Schenker's ear training app can be used to train active and passive listening. It is mainly focused on jazz, pop and improvised music, but by far not only.

If we remember our first contact with ear training as a school discipline, we usually think back to the first courses at the conservatory, in which individuals had perfect pitch, but most still heard absolutely nothing. To do justice to this scattering of talents was the greatest challenge for lecturers in frontally offered lessons. In the ear training application ET-Ear Trainer, developed at the Zurich University of the Arts under the direction of the jazz trumpeter and IT specialist Daniel Schenker, the users themselves make the individual adjustments to the respective learning level in the clear basic settings. If the "Easy" checkbox is activated, a number of parameters such as playback tempo, reference tone specification or response time of the tasks are changed in favor of the learners.

At the beginning of the exercise sequence, one of 21 subject areas can be selected. From diatonic imitation to recognizing four-notes over a bass note including tensions to tapping the correct scale, the individual menus offer plenty of material and challenge. Accurate listening, recognition, imitation, analysis and memorization are equally trained and encouraged in a structured way. The scope of the app's content and the required terms make it clear that it is not possible to simply train while playing, but that the basic knowledge has to be acquired beforehand or in parallel. Only the not generally known "Resolution Game" for interval determination is explained with note examples. The target audience is primarily music students at technical colleges. For younger students or amateurs, the program should be supplemented, for example, with tetrachords or five-tone spaces. Also, harmonic connections (cadences) with corresponding voice-leadings or polyphonic listening are still completely missing.

Since the app in the present version 1.02 (on the iPhone S) can only be operated in portrait mode, errors creep in again and again when tapping the displayed keys. Also, the relatively sluggishly reacting on-screen keyboard does not allow rhythmically correct playback in the memory game. The ten interactive exercises, which are controlled via the microphone, are therefore much more fun. Although the microphone flashes somewhat hesitantly, it reacts very subtly to what is played, and voice as well as wind or string instruments and piano reliably trigger the corrective reaction of the device up to octave determination. Caution: in exam mode, the three seconds between question and answer choice can be cheatingly abused to quickly approach the solution before it is scored. In the demanding mode, the scales are played very quickly, whereby the tone lengths are unfortunately not adapted to the tempo. Thus, two three notes blur into a cluster, which makes listening even more difficult.

The design of the app comes across as very simple and purposefully clear. It is not a game, but a learning application! The fact that after a short time quite a few improvements like the explanation tour (including links to Youtube clips in German or English) or the replay button could be included, gives hope that the app will appeal to an ever broader community. It is not only highly recommended to improvising musicians, but also to performers and composers who can achieve more precision in performance and memory with the Ear Trainer.


Read the article


* Name

* Subject

* Email

* Message



Daniel Schenker

Daniel Schenker started his career as a IT specialist. Since 1995, he works as a musician. He teaches trumpet and ear training at Zurich University of the Arts ZHdK.

Link to Website

Link to an Interview from ETH Zurich

Elia Schenker

Elia Schenker completed his training as an Informatiker EFZ, graduating in 2023 with an IPA with the highest grade. He works at the Zurich-based IT company Digio AG.

Link to Website