Welcome to the Piano World Piano Forums
Over 2 million posts about pianos, digital pianos, and all types of keyboard instruments
Join the World's Largest Community of Piano Lovers (it's free)
It's Fun to Play the Piano ... Please Pass It On!

SEARCH
the Forums & Piano World

This custom search works much better than the built in one and allows searching older posts.
(ad 125) Sweetwater - Digital Keyboards & Other Gear
Digital Pianos at Sweetwater
(ad) Pearl River
Pearl River Pianos
(ad) Pianoteq
(ad) P B Guide
Acoustic & Digital Piano Guide
PianoSupplies.com (150)
Piano Accessories Music Related Gifts Piano Tuning Equipment Piano Moving Equipment
We now offer Gift Certificates in our online store!
(ad) Estonia Piano
Estonia Piano
Quick Links to Useful Stuff
Our Classified Ads
Find Piano Professionals-

*Piano Dealers - Piano Stores
*Piano Tuners
*Piano Teachers
*Piano Movers
*Piano Restorations
*Piano Manufacturers
*Organs

Quick Links:
*Advertise On Piano World
*Free Piano Newsletter
*Online Piano Recitals
*Piano Recitals Index
*Piano Accessories
* Buying a Piano
*Buying A Acoustic Piano
*Buying a Digital Piano
*Pianos for Sale
*Sell Your Piano
*How Old is My Piano?
*Piano Books
*Piano Art, Pictures, & Posters
*Directory/Site Map
*Contest
*Links
*Virtual Piano
*Music Word Search
*Piano Screen Saver
*Piano Videos
*Virtual Piano Chords
Page 2 of 2 < 1 2
Topic Options
#1135618 - 01/28/08 11:56 AM Re: Playing by ear
monkmonk Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/08/07
Posts: 84
Loc: Osaka, Japan
 Quote:
Originally posted by Danny Niklas:

The problem is actually the arrangement and accompainment of the melody in order words the harmony which is at the very foundation of music itself. But being able to play harmony by ear (where by ear we mean without sheet) has in my opinion more to do with theorical knowledge of harmony construction than ear itself. [/b]
Yes theoretical knowledge is great, but it won't do you much good when it comes to the really interesting sounds, try transcribing Thelonious Monk's exact voicings when he plays solo piano. He destroyed my voicing concept at the piano, "stock voicings" ie "theoretically correct" you can chuck em out with the compost, they're no good for Monk. Besides your "harmony" will be banal at best, and irrelevant at worst if you don't hear the energy of every single note, it's gravitational tendencies in the implied key center(s).
I'd rather hear a beautifully voiced triad played with perfect precision and control than a string of arbitrarily altered dominants any day. That is one of the factors that makes your typical jam session so banal and incoherent, beginning players throw their "theoretically correct" harmonic lines around with little respect for the soloist and other rhythm section players.
You'll really limit what you can hear if you define your harmonic vocabulary by some theory rather than by the music itself.

Top
Piano & Music Accessories
#1135619 - 01/28/08 05:38 PM Re: Playing by ear
Late Beginner Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/06/08
Posts: 588
Loc: West Australia
Hi,

I'm trying to develop both styles as I learn piano - reading piano music, and playing by ear. So far, playing by ear seems to be one of those Good News/Bad News situation.


THE GOOD NEWS

The good news is that there seems to be a Very Simple Trick[/b] to learning to play by ear. \:\)

Cheers,

Chris
_________________________
Who needs feet of clay? I can get into enough trouble with feet made of regular foot stuff...

Top
#1135620 - 01/28/08 11:10 PM Re: Playing by ear
gdguarino Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/20/07
Posts: 317
Loc: New York City
I'd like first to agree with the posters that describe playing by ear as akin to speaking a language; a natural process of letting the music you "hear" (not think) flow into the instrument with as little attention to the mechanics of chords, scales and fingering as possible.

Secondly, I'd like to remind you of how you learned your first language. You absorbed it from all around you. You learned by using it, even when you had only grasped a few scraps. You learned which sets of words "worked" and which didn't not by studying grammar, but by trying them out. Some got you the juice, others didn't. Those that "succeeded" started to just "sound" right to you.

Since you're not two years old anymore you can make use of certain adult shortcuts: dictionaries and phrasebooks for a foreign language, chord charts and scales for music. Instructors for either.

But don't mistake the shortcuts for the main component of the method. You need to play along with the music you want to play. As with a language, there are simply too many permutations of notes and chords to use conscious computation to divine what to play in real time.

Our brains allow us to cope with tasks like that, but only through lots of repetition. Well, not exact repetition. Think of it as repetition with variation. When you play along with records, or (even better) with other musicians, ALL of what you play is valuable, even the mistakes. You're building up an aural picture of what works, and what doesn't, and eventually the strong two way correspondence between notes and sounds that is the essence of playing by ear.

Thirdly, I'd like to relate a truly extraordinary experience that was made possible by the ability to play by ear.

A friend's mother died a week ago under sudden and unexpected circumstances. Her family (adult children and grandchildren) as well as close friends were shocked and grief-stricken. There was a very emotional church service which continued at the funeral home and at the luncheon that followed.

Many of the people who attended were from out of town and were staying the night in the same hotel. We decided to meet in the hotel lounge that evening. My friend used to play guitar and sing in a band we were in thirty years ago. Someone's teenage son had an acoustic guitar. There happened to be a digital piano there too.

We started off playing songs he knew. Over the next three and a half hours we must have taken fifty requests. At least seven or eight people came up to sing songs individually, some doing several songs. Other songs turned into group sing-alongs among the twenty-five or so people that were there.

There were rock songs, folk songs, a couple of standards and a show tune or two, even disco. One guy did at least 75% of Alice's Restaurant. Some songs sounded pretty good. Others were glorious, almost lyric-free train wrecks. But all of it was therapy.

I don't know if I've ever been in a situation in which doing something so effortless and enjoyable could do so much good.
_________________________
Greg Guarino

Top
#1135621 - 01/29/08 03:38 AM Re: Playing by ear
Othello Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/06/07
Posts: 121
Thanks everyone for their wonderful input. I am too learning to play by ears. I have been transcribing a lot of Monk's tunes, and you bet that they are difficult!

I have a question, though: when you play by ear, do you sing either in your heard or out loud the solfege? I feel that if I don't, I tend to lose the sense of position within the tune. But by merely going by intervals I tend to fare much better with Monk's works, albeit very slow. Any thought?

Top
#1135622 - 01/30/08 05:34 AM Re: Playing by ear
gdguarino Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/20/07
Posts: 317
Loc: New York City
 Quote:
Originally posted by Othello:


I have a question, though: when you play by ear, do you sing either in your heard or out loud the solfege? I feel that if I don't, I tend to lose the sense of position within the tune. [/b]
I've been playing entirely by ear since I was a teenager. That would be over thirty years ago, so when I have engaged in these discussions, it hasn't always been easy to remember how I learned to do it, or what the mental process is now. It is mostly like speaking; a natural activity that I don't need to think through.

I have noticed one key bit of the process though, especially when I try to figure out a song with unusual chord changes from memory. I do indeed have the melody in my mind, along with the bass notes. Those two things alone can usually define the basic chords, and even some of the color tones.

This "method" has the advantage of employing the two easiest parts of the music to hear, and in the case of the melody, the easiest to remember. A lot of beginners seem to get stuck on trying to hear a "chord" instrument like piano or guitar in the middle of a dense mix. It's not only difficult to pick it out, on some pop records, it doesn't exist. The "chords" are spread over several instrumental parts.

Try it sometime. Just play the melody over the root notes. See if that doesn't narrow down the list of possible (basic) chords to just a couple, or even one. Armed with that information, you can refine the color tones much more easily. Now it's just a matter of listening for a specific note or two, rather than trying to pick out a whole chord.

Greg Guarino
_________________________
Greg Guarino

Top
#1135623 - 01/30/08 09:29 AM Re: Playing by ear
Sir Lurksalot Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/19/04
Posts: 1244
Playing by ear is difficult and painful. Jazz pianist and comic Pete Barbutti was a frequent guest of Johnny Carson on The Tonight Show. I never saw him play by ear, but he was very good at playing by nose, which made him sound a bit like Count Basie.

Top
#1135624 - 02/05/08 07:13 AM Re: Playing by ear
Zsolt Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 02/04/08
Posts: 5
Loc: Hungary
Hy all.
I really need help. My wife like very much Depeche Mode. Her favorite song is: Sister of night. Can find on Youtube. The original is only with piano. I want to surprize her, so I searched the web for sheet music, but nothing found. Other problem is that I can't learn the song by ear, so if anybody is good is playing by ear, please play, record and contact me.
Big thanks in anticipation.
_________________________
Usicheze na simba, ukamtia mkono kinywani. When you play with a lion, do not put your hand in its mouth (swahili)

Top
#1135625 - 02/05/08 07:52 AM Re: Playing by ear
mahlzeit Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/24/06
Posts: 1910
Loc: Netherlands
You can look at this chord sheet and figure it out from there (note: H means B chord):

http://www.azchords.com/d/depechemode-tabs-1090/sisterofnight-tabs-135200.html
_________________________
No idea what chords you are playing? Reverse Chord Finder Pro will tell you!

Top
#1135626 - 02/07/08 02:37 AM Re: Playing by ear
Zsolt Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 02/04/08
Posts: 5
Loc: Hungary
Thank you, but unfortunally I already tried this sheet, but is not workig. I mean that is not sounds like the original. That can mean, that I'm bad, or the sheet music is not correct... \:\( .
_________________________
Usicheze na simba, ukamtia mkono kinywani. When you play with a lion, do not put your hand in its mouth (swahili)

Top
#1135627 - 02/07/08 02:43 AM Re: Playing by ear
Zsolt Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 02/04/08
Posts: 5
Loc: Hungary
also tried the music sheet on the 911 tabs... \:\( .
I thought on Valentine's day will be a perfect gift... but in this way... \:\(
_________________________
Usicheze na simba, ukamtia mkono kinywani. When you play with a lion, do not put your hand in its mouth (swahili)

Top
#1135628 - 02/07/08 05:07 AM Re: Playing by ear
mahlzeit Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/24/06
Posts: 1910
Loc: Netherlands
Hmm, cool song. I didn't know it.

Let me see what I can do. I should be out looking for a new job but this is more fun. \:\)

No promises, though.
_________________________
No idea what chords you are playing? Reverse Chord Finder Pro will tell you!

Top
#1135629 - 02/07/08 05:18 AM Re: Playing by ear
Zsolt Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 02/04/08
Posts: 5
Loc: Hungary
Thank you, thank you, thank you.
\:\)
_________________________
Usicheze na simba, ukamtia mkono kinywani. When you play with a lion, do not put your hand in its mouth (swahili)

Top
#1135630 - 02/07/08 09:18 AM Re: Playing by ear
mahlzeit Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/24/06
Posts: 1910
Loc: Netherlands
I don't know how romantic playing this particular song for your girl will be, but here it is:

http://www.box.net/shared/28ipz7rk8w

This is not a real transcription because the piano doesn't play the vocals in the original song. So I made it into a simple arrangement. After the verse I got bored by it, so you'll have to do the chorus yourself. \:\)

Enjoy! \:D
_________________________
No idea what chords you are playing? Reverse Chord Finder Pro will tell you!

Top
#1135631 - 02/11/08 07:05 AM Re: Playing by ear
Zsolt Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 02/04/08
Posts: 5
Loc: Hungary
THANK YOU SO MUCH.
Sorry for that, but I'm the happiest man on earth now:D:D:D.
Mahlzeit, I'm your now:).
And thank you again:).
_________________________
Usicheze na simba, ukamtia mkono kinywani. When you play with a lion, do not put your hand in its mouth (swahili)

Top
#1135632 - 02/11/08 03:57 PM Re: Playing by ear
Jared88 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/16/07
Posts: 56
Loc: Cincinnati
If you memorize the chord progression to Canon, you will be able to play ANY modern/traditional song as well as all the Christmas songs. I kid you not. Almost every modern song (major of course) will resemble Canon. It's the most famous major chord progression and every piano player should know it.

I,V,vi,iii,IV,I,IV,V.

Then all you have to do is pick song to play...Use C major at first. Just use the left hand to be aware of what chord your playing to. You can play the full major chord arpeggio's with your left hand and play the theme or voice with your right hand. With the right just think of 3rds and 5ths at first. Its real simple, but it works.

The most important thing is to experiment, find out what sounds good together and what doesn't. This will help your ear training also.

Then all you need to do is learn how and when to use inversions and then you'll have a real sold basis for piano improvisation.
_________________________
88 keys + 10 fingers + 2 hands + the score > 1 set of eyes








Top
#1135633 - 02/12/08 10:58 PM Re: Playing by ear
John Mila Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/11/08
Posts: 245
Loc: So California
I had 3 years of accordion lessons starting when I was 7. Hated it. Quit at 10 and picked up a guitar. Started strumming and singing my favorite songs. On my 11th b-day I got a spinet piano. I started playing the piano like I was playing the guitar. Playing chords and singing the melody. By 12, I had my first garage band, playing the newest Beatle hits. Now in the mid-50s and still play in Garage bands, just bigger garages.
I think the key is to play the chords with Ez play music to start. If you don't know the chords, get a chord book. The big note music makes it easy to get started. If you can sing, you'll use that to help develope your ear and teach it to coinside with the keyboard.
Play your favorites,because you'll know the 'feel', this will help you teach yourself timing.
As you play, you will start to develope the 'what to do's with each song.
Get a metronome, or keyboard with drum machine. Use this to help you develope consistent rhythm.
And Have Fun!
_________________________
John Mila de la Roca, Manager
Keyboard Concepts, Tustin CA
714-544-0088
Yamaha-Schimmel-Bosendorfer
Piano Tuner/Tech 30 years
john.miladelaroca@keyboardconcepts.com
keyboardconcepts.com

Yamaha C3-KorgN364-Kurzweil K2500-Yamaha P200-Roland Ax1 & Les Paul Custom gold Top 57 re-issue and 6 nameless guitars.

Top
#1135634 - 02/14/08 06:27 AM Re: Playing by ear
Piano-pianist Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/03/08
Posts: 50
Loc: Rome, Italy
If a pianist knows music harmony and has a good ear he can play by ear very easily.
Moreover, if he has a bit of experience in music it is yet easier.

Top
#1135635 - 02/14/08 07:00 AM Re: Playing by ear
Gilbert Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/22/06
Posts: 442
Loc: Ireland
I was looking at the music for Simon and Garfunkels 'Bridge over Troubled Water' last night. The opening melody moved through three inversions of Eb in order that the melody note was on top. I thought that if every songs is like this, I don't need to buy sheet music any more - my ear can tell me where the melody moves and I can arrange the chords/chord inversions to suit the melody note. Have I just caught on to something or is it different with different songs?
_________________________
"If your only tool is a hammer, every problem tends to look like a nail!"

Piano: Roland FP-7

Top
#1135636 - 02/14/08 08:13 AM Re: Playing by ear
Astra Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/08/06
Posts: 391
Loc: Slovenia
Hi Gilbert!

When playin solo piano you dont have voice or other instrument to provide the melody, so you have to play it. You can play it as single notes, or you can add additional tones below the melody. And inversions are just that - adding chord tones below the melody so the sound is fuller.

An answer to your question: It depends on the arranger - some people use inversions, in 'easy piano' sheets theres usually only melody etc. etc.

If you want to know, whether you need to buy sheet music or not, then pick a song and try to arrange it by yourself. Use inversions, arpeggios etc. (whatever you like). And if you like your arrangements then you dont need to buy sheet music.
_________________________
ex - pian00b

Top
#1135637 - 02/15/08 05:50 AM Re: Playing by ear
swingal Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/31/05
Posts: 1094
Loc: England
Most professional pianists in the non-classical field,like dance band musicians, have to be able to improvise and play in various keys. It's part of the required ability.

I think they,in by far the majority, are trained musicians,unlike me an amateur, non score reader, never taught. No classical either.

I think they (the proper pianists) memorize the score in some way. They do perform in a 'by ear' a little,

I for sure have to memorize the song and be able to play it in several keys if I wish to play-along to a recorded band or soloist. It is pointless for me to try and do it any other way.

That's fine, up to a point but very limited. I have never heard of anyone playing classical music by ear. Unless we talk of simple popular tunes that people sing etc.

I never fail to admire high profile classical pianists who remember note for note great long concertos.

In the matter of John Mila's way that is again different from me as chords basic is more suitable for playing along with others or singing groups. The filling in is where the single note process begins and with the improvisation effect of melodic scales and arpeggios.

Just a few of my thoughts.

Alan (swingal)

Top
#1135638 - 02/21/08 03:16 PM Re: Playing by ear
gdguarino Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/20/07
Posts: 317
Loc: New York City
 Quote:
Originally posted by swingal:
Most professional pianists in the non-classical field,like dance band musicians, have to be able to improvise and play in various keys. It's part of the required ability.
[/b]
Many non-classical styles, like pop, rock and jazz are based on varying amounts of improvisation over chord changes.

 Quote:

I think they,in by far the majority, are trained musicians,unlike me an amateur, non score reader, never taught. No classical either.
[/b]
"Trained" covers a lot of ground. Many, if not most have taken lessons, probably learning some classical pieces.
 Quote:

I think they (the proper pianists) memorize the score in some way. They do perform in a 'by ear' a little,
[/b]
I may not be a "proper" pianist, or a professional. I do play 2-3 paid gigs a week. In my case, ALL of my playing is by ear, at least these days. I don't think that non-classical musicians necessarily need to "memorize" the songs they know. It is usually enough to remember how the song sounds. My experience playing by ear allows me to translate that mental "sound" into the notes I play.

It's a great deal easier than remembering all the notes to play. I can't even imagine how I could memorize by rote all the many hundreds of songs I know.
 Quote:


I for sure have to memorize the song and be able to play it in several keys if I wish to play-along to a recorded band or soloist. It is pointless for me to try and do it any other way.
[/b]
I'm not convinced that it is pointless. Everyone who can play by ear learned to do it at some point. It required a good bit of work to learn the first few songs, but each one you learn makes the next one easier.
 Quote:

That's fine, up to a point but very limited.

[/b]
I agree. If you want to play pop styles, you really need to learn to play by ear, at least enough to convert a lead sheet into an acceptable piano part.
_________________________
Greg Guarino

Top
#1135639 - 02/25/08 10:38 PM Re: Playing by ear
Master_Z Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/09/07
Posts: 28
Loc: USA
I can. Playing sheet music is just way too hard for me. I listen to the notes and they come to me. I take lessons by ear as well, by a woman who is very talented and blessed with the gift.
_________________________

Top
#1135640 - 02/27/08 03:53 AM Re: Playing by ear
Piano-pianist Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/03/08
Posts: 50
Loc: Rome, Italy
If you know music harmony playing by ear is very simple.
However if You develop your ears with ear training it is also easier.
Most of music we hear is tonal music.
So tonal music is generally based only on three main chords , or tonal centers: tonic, sub-dominant and dominant.
When I do not understand with my ears what chord I have to play I try one of those chord and I find it!
It is easy.
(Obviously NOT all music or songs we hear is so)

Top
Page 2 of 2 < 1 2

Moderator:  sharpsandflats 
What's Hot!!
HOW TO POST PICTURES on the Piano Forums
-------------------
Sharing is Caring!
About the Buttons
-------------------
Forums Rules & Help
-------------------
ADVERTISE
on Piano World

The world's most popular piano web site.
-------------------
PIANO BOOKS
Interesting books about the piano, pianists, piano history, biographies, memoirs and more!
(125ad) Dampp Chaser
Dampp Chaser Piano Life Saver
Ad (Seiler/Knabe)
Knabe Pianos
Sheet Music
(PW is an affiliate)
Sheet Music Plus Featured Sale
(ad) HAILUN Pianos
Hailun Pianos - Click for More
(ad) Lindeblad Piano
Lindeblad Piano Restoration
New Topics - Multiple Forums
Midi keyboard full setup (Kawai VPC1 + .. ? )
by Rockstar
10/31/14 05:18 AM
knight piano returns?
by Jay
10/31/14 05:10 AM
Thinking of trading up to a baby grand...
by Anne H
10/31/14 03:22 AM
Piano Lock Key -> what is it used for ?
by angga888
10/31/14 12:02 AM
Yurmauer Piano
by PhilipInChina
10/30/14 11:54 PM
Who's Online
120 registered (AnimistFvR, abcdefghijkl, Al LaPorte, 36251, András Lieber, ando, 32 invisible), 1876 Guests and 18 Spiders online.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
Forum Stats
76712 Members
42 Forums
158630 Topics
2329814 Posts

Max Online: 15252 @ 03/21/10 11:39 PM
(ads by Google)

Visit our online store for gifts for music lovers

 
Help keep the forums up and running with a donation, any amount is appreciated!
Or by becoming a Subscribing member! Thank-you.
Donate   Subscribe
 
Our Piano Related Classified Ads
|
Dealers | Tuners | Lessons | Movers | Restorations | Pianos For Sale | Sell Your Piano |

Advertise on Piano World
| Subscribe | Piano World | PianoSupplies.com | Advertise on Piano World | Donate | Link to Us | Classifieds |
| |Contact | Privacy | Legal | About Us | Site Map | Free Newsletter | Press Room |


copyright 1997 - 2014 Piano World ® all rights reserved
No part of this site may be reproduced without prior written permission