How to Find the Tonic of Any Song in Major

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One of the most important skills you can learn with ear training is how to find the tonic of a given song or composition.

The tonic gives you information about how the music is organized, and tells you what chords it is likely rooted in. Also, if you get lost in a song and can’t understand what’s going on musically, using the tonic as a point of reference can help get you back on track!

Finding the tonic in sheet music is a fairly straightforward process; you have all the notes written out for you, and a key signature to help you out even further. But what if you don’t have sheet music? What about finding the tonic by ear?

Like any musical skill, being able to determine the tonic of any composition takes practice, practice, practice! Take the opportunity to closely listen for the tonic in every song you can, and soon enough, it will become second nature.

Ear training, and particularly interval ear training will definitely speed up this learning process; understanding the relationship that the tonic has with other notes in terms of pitch will go a long way in helping you develop the skill of tonic identification!


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How to Find the Tonic of Any Song in Major