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3 note ratingReview of The Musicbox - A Personal Ear Trainer




usic majors of old will recall taking dictation in ear training classes. Were any of us EVER brave enough to ask the teacher to repeat that phrase or interval - for the fifth or sixth time? There is no sense of such dread when ear training and dictation are performed with the aid of a PC and The Music Box: A Personal Ear Trainer. This review is based on the downloadable demo shareware version of The Music Box (for Windows 3.1 and Windows 95).



Options under the PRACTICE menu are especially engaging as you listen to intervals or triads (as many times as you need to!) and respond with an answer when you're ready. Of course, it would be a motivational plus to have a firework or two explode onto the screen when you answer correctly, but, alas, the shareware in its current form provides the answer without such fanfare. The program also requires that you press the ANSWER button after each exercise, though it would be more beneficial for it to let you know - automatically - whether your answer is correct.

Teachers - even those who don't operate computer labs - will delight in the service The Music Box provides under the DICTATION menu. Although this part of the program requires users to locate pencil and paper, and staff paper for melodic dictation, it is well worth the effort. Students can train on major and minor triads, Major 2nd's, Major 3rd's and Perfect 5ths's, or take down melodies of selected lengths - at their own pace and on their own time during the week. They have the opportunity to enjoy the challenge of the exercises without any of the pressure associated with a class or lesson. This program would extend its usefulness if future versions combined note-to-note dictation with rhythmic dictation. Obviously, the exercises would then match the form in which music is most commonly seen and studied.

While the graphical presentation of this shareware lacks the color of a full-blown commercial program, the usefulness of its function shouldn't be underrated! For those interested in such added features such as PITCH RECOGNITION exercises, diminished and augmented triads, and wider choice of intervals, a full-scale version is available on a 3.5" diskette for a registration fee of about $22.00 (including shipping and handling). The on-line help file in the demo version has full instructions on how to register.

The Music Box: A Personal Ear Trainer is a tool by which teachers and students of all levels can benefit. Its scope is limited to the basics: simple intervals, common triads, and note-to-note dictation, but its contribution to any student's musical development will make it a worthwhile and inexpensive addition to your shareware library.

Amy Y. O'Grady

The Musicbox, Version 1.0, Registration fee: $22.00 Distributed by Carner Enterprises, 13298 Rocky Ridge Road NW, Silverdale, WA 98383-9511.  Minimum system requirements: IBM PC (or compatible) running Windows 3.1, 3.11 or Windows 95; Windows-compatible sound card
Page created: 11/21/96
Last updated: 01/30/15
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Reprinting from the Piano Education Page The Piano Education Page, Op. 10, No. 1,
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