The biggest challenge for a musician is to acquire a good sense of pitch and intonation. Music teachers and instructors are responsible for the ear training of the students, as it directly affects the outcome of his/her performing capabilities. However, very few tools are available to the instructors to help overcome this challenge.

Yamaha Corporation developed the Harmony Director HD200  as helper tool that addresses directly to developing the listening capabilities, with amazing results. Let’s have a look.

Harmony Director HD200

Harmony Director HD200

My first impression looking at it is how simple it looks, no colorful display, no high-tech touch sensitive screen, and no demo song! What? everybody wants to press the demo song button…right?
Hmm, what is exactly this instrument? Is it an instrument, or rather a music tool… That’s it! It is a music tool or more precisely a music practice tool.

After fiddling a couple of minutes with the different settings, I quickly discovered how easy it is to use, and very quickly got exited the potential it offers.

We will not do an in-depth review about the technical stuff but rather the what this tool will do to help students, teachers, and professional musicians.

The big question:

Will the Yamaha HD200 improve someone’s listening skill? Definitely, YES.
And I may add most people will experience the improvement almost instantly! Wow that’s a bit pushy isn’t it? It sounds like a marketing scheme for selling a magic pill or those be a millionaire instantly ads.

No really? let me explain.

When we teach tuning, it takes month or even years for students to actually realise what is they have to do when tuning. In the early stages, the teacher or instructor will tell them “you are too low, or to high…”, but the player doesn’t actually know why. It takes some time for someone to realise what it is they have to focus on. For a seasoned musician, it is easy to describe, listen to the waves… When there are waves, it is out of tune. Very easy.

But the hard part is: not everybody are able to hear those waves yet…It is a higher degree of sound perception, because those waves happen because of the relation between two or more sound…We do not focus on the sound, but to the relation of the sounds.

Teaching tuning is like explaining an abstract concept about a certain colour, without being able to show the actual colour we are taking.

And this is where the Harmony Director HD200 shines. With a press of a button, we can demonstrate those waves so that anybody can hear.  And it happens immediately. We can demonstrate an out of tune chord and an in-tune chord side by side, and the difference is so obvious that anyone can hear.

Yamaha Harmony Director HD200 Tempered tuning

Tempered tuning will produce waves

Pure intonation

Pure intonation without waves

Some typical comments after a simple exercise:

“Ooooh, I hear something moving..”

“How come I did not hear that before”

So, once they realise and hear those waves, it becomes so much easier to develop any other listening skill, as the hearing awareness is unlocked… And of course a better hearing skill will definitely help any musician.

That is only the quick start of using the Yamaha Harmony Director HD200, and there are hundreds of other listening and playing exercises that we can develop easily.

I will post some activities using the HD200 soon..