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#1617217 - 02/10/11 08:59 PM You prefer to be a gifted sight-reader or have a gifted ear?
MathTeacher Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/25/11
Posts: 256
Loc: Toronto, Canada
If you had to choose between being able to sight-read almost anything but cannot play anything properly by ear, or being able to play almost anything by ear but can't sight-read anything properly, which would you choose?

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#1617219 - 02/10/11 09:04 PM Re: You prefer to be a gifted sight-reader or have a gifted ear? [Re: MathTeacher]
cast12 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/14/09
Posts: 219
If having a "gifted ear" entails having absolute pitch, then I'd take that option.

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#1617221 - 02/10/11 09:08 PM Re: You prefer to be a gifted sight-reader or have a gifted ear? [Re: MathTeacher]
Tritones Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 02/07/11
Posts: 7
I would rather be a gifted sight reader, mostly because sight reading has been one of my weaknesses since beginning the piano.

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#1617223 - 02/10/11 09:10 PM Re: You prefer to be a gifted sight-reader or have a gifted ear? [Re: MathTeacher]
currawong Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/15/07
Posts: 5943
Loc: Down Under
Develop both. There's no real reason why most people can't become equally proficient at both.

But just for the sake of your "what if" premise, I'd take the reading, because that would allow you access to any music that was written down, whereas by ear you would only have access to music you had actually heard. But it's only a hypothetical, because I value both.
_________________________
Du holde Kunst...

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#1617226 - 02/10/11 09:15 PM Re: You prefer to be a gifted sight-reader or have a gifted ear? [Re: MathTeacher]
findingnemo2010 Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/17/09
Posts: 1491
Ear. Who likes reading? not me
_________________________
music to me is kind of like putting together pieces of a puzzle
i call it the paino because its where i put all my pain

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#1617229 - 02/10/11 09:16 PM Re: You prefer to be a gifted sight-reader or have a gifted ear? [Re: currawong]
MathTeacher Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/25/11
Posts: 256
Loc: Toronto, Canada
Originally Posted By: currawong
Develop both. There's no real reason why most people can't become equally proficient at both.

Not me. I don't think I'll ever be able to play properly by ear, so I'm just stuck with choosing to develop the first of the two skills. I just hope that I won't be missing out much. If someone requests "Hey can you play for me ...", then I'll just have to say "Sorry, can't play be ear. But give me the score, and I will." Oh well.


Edited by MathTeacher (02/10/11 09:19 PM)

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#1617234 - 02/10/11 09:20 PM Re: You prefer to be a gifted sight-reader or have a gifted ear? [Re: MathTeacher]
beet31425 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/12/09
Posts: 3810
Loc: Bay Area, CA
I wonder if it's possible to be a great sight-reader and not have an ear for sounding things out. Theoretically, perhaps, but I wonder if this ever really happens.

To be a great sight-reader, you have to develop strong links between how things look on the page, how they feel under your fingers, and how they're going to sound. I think all three components are necessary, not just the first two. If so, great sight-readers understand the correlation between how things feel and how they sound, which is a big piece of playing by ear....

-Jason
_________________________
Schubert: Bb Impromptu D.935/3; Mozart: D minor concerto; Chopin: first Ballade

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#1617235 - 02/10/11 09:23 PM Re: You prefer to be a gifted sight-reader or have a gifted ear? [Re: beet31425]
MathTeacher Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/25/11
Posts: 256
Loc: Toronto, Canada
Originally Posted By: beet31425
I wonder if it's possible to be a great sight-reader and not have an ear for sounding things out. Theoretically, perhaps, but I wonder if this ever really happens.

Well the extreme case is computers. They can play anything at any tempo if you give them the score. But currently they cannot covert any MP3 music to midi file adequately. They cannot even sense where the beats are.

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#1617237 - 02/10/11 09:25 PM Re: You prefer to be a gifted sight-reader or have a gifted ear? [Re: MathTeacher]
currawong Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/15/07
Posts: 5943
Loc: Down Under
Originally Posted By: MathTeacher
Originally Posted By: currawong
Develop both. There's no real reason why most people can't become equally proficient at both.

Not me. I don't think I'll ever be able to play properly by ear, so I'm just stuck with choosing to develop the first of the two skills. I just hope that I won't be missing out much. If someone requests "Hey can you play for me ...", then I'll just have to say "Sorry, can't play be ear. But give me the score, and I will." Oh well.
You may have to work at it - I didn't mean it would just happen automatically. smile
_________________________
Du holde Kunst...

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#1617241 - 02/10/11 09:29 PM Re: You prefer to be a gifted sight-reader or have a gifted ear? [Re: MathTeacher]
drexel Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/22/10
Posts: 129
Loc: Earth
Originally Posted By: MathTeacher

Well the extreme case is computers. They can play anything at any tempo if you give them the score. But currently they cannot covert any MP3 music to midi file adequately. They cannot even sense where the beats are.


But computers can convert an MP3 to sound waves... not to mention that if you were to shove a hand written score into your computer's cd drive you wouldn't get very far!

Regarding the topic of the thread, I would have to say ear. With a good enough ear, I could simultaneously play several recorded pieces through headphones at any speed and hear every possible combination of musical possibility while remembering the pieces after the first listen a la one of my musical superheroes, Derek Paravicini, but better of course.

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#1617243 - 02/10/11 09:34 PM Re: You prefer to be a gifted sight-reader or have a gifted ear? [Re: MathTeacher]
Orange Soda King Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/25/09
Posts: 6070
Loc: Louisville, Kentucky, United S...
Well, I would like to think I have a gifted ear and need to work on my sightreading more. I don't know which skill is easier to develop, but I think it's possible that in the future both will be at a high level.

I don't have absolute pitch, but I have VERY good relative pitch, and I have very good interval recognition and a very harmonically driven mind, so I believe that is actually more helpful than relying SOLELY on absolute pitch. Many people with absolute pitch may also have good interval recognition, but I actually know a couple people who don't, so I'm curious if all of these various aspects are separate things you have to work on, or if they're connected with each other somehow, and how closely they are connected.

So my answer: gifted ear. Sight reading can always improve, but I don't know if ear training improves as fast as sight reading. (Maybe it does?)

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#1617267 - 02/10/11 10:04 PM Re: You prefer to be a gifted sight-reader or have a gifted ear? [Re: MathTeacher]
Canonie Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/04/09
Posts: 1941
Loc: Australia
If I had nothing at all and was just about to embark on learning music, I would go for gifted ear. As an adult i imagine that developing a good ear (as an adult) is more difficult. Then I'd practise my reading for a few years and become brilliant at that too laugh Especially because (as Jason suggests) my good ear will help me to achieve a higher level of sight reading.

And that's basically what happened grin

1. You have to do a LOT of varied reading
2. You have to do it in a way that it's enjoyable (or you'll have trouble with number 1.)
_________________________

Composers manufacture a product that is universally deemed superfluous—at least until their music enters public consciousness, at which point people begin to say that they could not live without it.
Alex Ross.

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#1617271 - 02/10/11 10:16 PM Re: You prefer to be a gifted sight-reader or have a gifted ear? [Re: MathTeacher]
eweiss Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/28/09
Posts: 2393
Loc: Beautiful San Diego, CA
Ear of course. No contest. smile
_________________________
Play New Age Piano
http://www.quiescencemusic.com

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#1617379 - 02/11/11 02:17 AM Re: You prefer to be a gifted sight-reader or have a gifted ear? [Re: MathTeacher]
BruceD Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 18131
Loc: Victoria, BC
I don't understand the premise; why should it have to be one or the other?
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BruceD
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Estonia 190

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#1617380 - 02/11/11 02:19 AM Re: You prefer to be a gifted sight-reader or have a gifted ear? [Re: MathTeacher]
jonnyboy126 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/11/07
Posts: 59
People with great ears are usually also great sight-readers; it goes with being able to "hear" where your fingers should go.

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#1617382 - 02/11/11 02:23 AM Re: You prefer to be a gifted sight-reader or have a gifted ear? [Re: BruceD]
drexel Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/22/10
Posts: 129
Loc: Earth
Originally Posted By: BruceD
I don't understand the premise; why should it have to be one or the other?


Because that's the premise...

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#1617391 - 02/11/11 03:00 AM Re: You prefer to be a gifted sight-reader or have a gifted ear? [Re: jonnyboy126]
beet31425 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/12/09
Posts: 3810
Loc: Bay Area, CA
Originally Posted By: jonnyboy126
People with great ears are usually also great sight-readers; it goes with being able to "hear" where your fingers should go.


I think I disagree. (If by "people with great ears" you mean people who can play well by ear.) I think the converse is true: great sight-readers are mostly pretty good by ear too, as I tried to argue above. But you could play really well by ear without even knowing how to read music.

-J
_________________________
Schubert: Bb Impromptu D.935/3; Mozart: D minor concerto; Chopin: first Ballade

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#1617397 - 02/11/11 03:30 AM Re: You prefer to be a gifted sight-reader or have a gifted ear? [Re: MathTeacher]
wr Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/23/07
Posts: 7892
Since I am primarily interested in playing notated music, the choice for me would have to be sight-reading. Just earlier this evening I was reading through some stuff, some of it for the first time (Tishchenko's Shostakovitch-on-LSD 4th sonata). It was a lot of fun, and I am very grateful that I can do it.

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#1617445 - 02/11/11 06:34 AM Re: You prefer to be a gifted sight-reader or have a gifted ear? [Re: MathTeacher]
Kuanpiano Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/06/10
Posts: 2151
Loc: Canada
Prefer ear, since the thing that will make you a better musician is your ability to listen to yourself.

Though I agree, why all these threads where we have to choose one or the other? I mean, it's not like we're forced to choose between our eyes and ears with the threat of death or something otherwise, right?
_________________________
Working on:
Chopin - Andante Spianato and Grande Polonaise Brillante
Rachmaninoff - Preludes op. 23 nos. 3,4,6, op. 32 no.12
Franck - Violin Sonata

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#1617462 - 02/11/11 07:12 AM Re: You prefer to be a gifted sight-reader or have a gifted ear? [Re: MathTeacher]
RedKat Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/14/10
Posts: 173
Loc: Belgium
Very strange question... How can one play music without a gifted ear? shocked
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#1617489 - 02/11/11 07:53 AM Re: You prefer to be a gifted sight-reader or have a gifted ear? [Re: MathTeacher]
Damon Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/22/06
Posts: 6167
Loc: St. Louis area
Gifts appear very early in life and magical aliens have yet to be discovered. I just hope perseverance pays off.
_________________________
It's been scientifically proven that Horowitz sucks.

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#1618505 - 02/12/11 06:35 PM Re: You prefer to be a gifted sight-reader or have a gifted ear? [Re: MathTeacher]
pianist.ame Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/18/07
Posts: 1166
Loc: Singapore
Ear smile ever since I have learnt how to make full use of this ability of mine it's made a huge difference to the speed which I learn at+ when I know exactly what tone I want I can just sit down and produce it.

However it has taken years for me to discover this on my own. even my teachers couldn't really help me in this expect
_________________________
Mastering:Chopin Etudes op.10 nos.8&12 and op.25 no.1, Chopin Scherzo no.4 in E major op.54, Mozart Sonata in B flat major K.333& Khachaturian Toccata

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#1618562 - 02/12/11 08:23 PM Re: You prefer to be a gifted sight-reader or have a gifted ear? [Re: MathTeacher]
Dustin Sanders Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/11/10
Posts: 479
Loc: US
Is a gifted ear just one that can recognize intervals and chord progressions , or one that is able to determine tone color and impeccable phrasing?

I feel like my ear is superb when it comes to tone coloring , voicing chords and creating distinctive textures within orchestral type pieces , but if you played a simple progression I wouldn't be able to play it back.

My sight reading is very good too , and it's extremely fun to be able to open up any piece of music and begin playing it relatively well unless it is something like Feux Follets or some of the more advanced romantic , russian music.

I don't think one could choose - A great pianist has both. If you can't read well you will learn slower and those guys (and ladies) absorb music like a sponge absorbs water.
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An Eclectic Piano Teaching Experience







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#1618630 - 02/12/11 11:11 PM Re: You prefer to be a gifted sight-reader or have a gifted ear? [Re: MathTeacher]
Little_Blue_Engine Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/30/09
Posts: 1233
Loc: Ohio, US
I don't have either at this point, given the choice I'd take ear.
_________________________
I'll figure it out eventually.
Until then you may want to keep a safe distance.


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#1618672 - 02/13/11 01:36 AM Re: You prefer to be a gifted sight-reader or have a gifted ear? [Re: RedKat]
RonaldSteinway Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/11/08
Posts: 1492
Originally Posted By: RedKat
Very strange question... How can one play music without a gifted ear? shocked


The same like a cook, if he or she does not have a talent to taste (figure out) the ingredients of a dish, s/he will have hard time to copy something new, and most likely will need recipe book all the time, because it is hard to remember all kinds of ingredients for so many dishes. However,people who have tongue that can figure out the ingredient do not need to memorize every single ingredients needed to cook a certain dish. As long as s/he remember the taste, s/he will be able to easily figure out the ingredients that is needed.

The ones who cannot figure out the ingredients, however, can still cook very well, as long as they follow the recipe perfectly and diligently. Exactly the same like playing piano. One does not need to have good hearing to be able to play well. Good hearing here means the ability to recognize notes. I know many people cannot recognize ANY note, but have the talent to play well...(good techniques, good feeling, etc).

I think it is very tiring for OP to learn all those difficult pieces with poor hearing ability.

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#1618675 - 02/13/11 01:52 AM Re: You prefer to be a gifted sight-reader or have a gifted ear? [Re: MathTeacher]
jeffreyjones Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/31/10
Posts: 2358
Loc: San Jose, CA
I'm fortunate enough to pretty much have it all, as far as raw gifts. My sight-reading ability is the basis for about $20,000 worth of work a year for me, and as a choral accompanist I often read seven staves at once. I have perfect pitch and tested out of 4th-year aural skills class in college. I can memorize a short piece in a half-hour and it'll stick. I don't play by ear much, but the first time I heard "Clocks," I sat down and played the whole piece after one listening in front of my dad who introduced it to me.

But, I'd give it all away if I could just have enough discipline to practice regularly. That's the most important thing, and it really holds me back.


Edited by jeffreyjones (02/13/11 02:00 AM)

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#1618680 - 02/13/11 02:09 AM Re: You prefer to be a gifted sight-reader or have a gifted ear? [Re: MathTeacher]
Percival Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/15/11
Posts: 66
Loc: United Kingdom
My teacher said I was the best sight-reader he's ever had but I cannot pick out even simple tunes by ear. Why, God? frown

@jeffreyjones: That really puts my talent in perspective! smile


Edited by Percival (02/13/11 02:10 AM)
_________________________
But Cristes lore, and his apostles twelve,
He taught; but first he folwed it himselve.

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#1619124 - 02/13/11 04:00 PM Re: You prefer to be a gifted sight-reader or have a gifted ear? [Re: MathTeacher]
ChopinAddict Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/29/09
Posts: 6109
Loc: Land of the never-ending music
I am actually a good sight-reader. I can also play by ear, but mainly melodies (one voice), so rather pieces for the flute for example. I think it must be very difficult (if possible at all) to play for example Bach by ear (because of the polyphony).
_________________________



Music is my best friend.


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#1619157 - 02/13/11 04:37 PM Re: You prefer to be a gifted sight-reader or have a gifted ear? [Re: jeffreyjones]
RonaldSteinway Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/11/08
Posts: 1492
Originally Posted By: jeffreyjones
I'm fortunate enough to pretty much have it all, as far as raw gifts. My sight-reading ability is the basis for about $20,000 worth of work a year for me, and as a choral accompanist I often read seven staves at once. I have perfect pitch and tested out of 4th-year aural skills class in college. I can memorize a short piece in a half-hour and it'll stick. I don't play by ear much, but the first time I heard "Clocks," I sat down and played the whole piece after one listening in front of my dad who introduced it to me.

But, I'd give it all away if I could just have enough discipline to practice regularly. That's the most important thing, and it really holds me back.


Laziness can be changed....not having good hearing is not something one can just acquire.

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#1619425 - 02/13/11 11:26 PM Re: You prefer to be a gifted sight-reader or have a gifted ear? [Re: RonaldSteinway]
BruceD Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 18131
Loc: Victoria, BC
Originally Posted By: RonaldSteinway
[...]....not having good hearing is not something one can just acquire.


Huh? What is something one can not just acquire? You're saying you can't acquire not having good hearing?

How can you "acquire" something and "not have" it? You can't acquire bad hearing?

I'm so confused ...
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BruceD
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Estonia 190

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