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#2060544 - 04/06/13 10:05 PM Has anyone ever...
Damon Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/22/06
Posts: 6168
Loc: St. Louis area
..learned a classical piece, of intermediate or higher difficulty, entirely by ear? For the record, I haven't but I'm thinking about doing it for fun.
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It's been scientifically proven that Horowitz sucks.

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#2060551 - 04/06/13 10:20 PM Re: Has anyone ever... [Re: Damon]
JoelW Offline
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Registered: 05/25/12
Posts: 4828
Loc: USA
Maple Leaf Rag (if it counts). This was before I could read music.

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#2060557 - 04/06/13 10:46 PM Re: Has anyone ever... [Re: Damon]
Mark_C Offline
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Registered: 11/11/09
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Sorta kinda, but not completely and not well -- and it's not really a classical piece.

It was how I first 'learned' Horowitz's "Stars and Stripes." I was only able to do about the first half of it, and I wasn't really "doing" even that. But I had no other way to do it, because no score was available -- until it was. smile

Quote:
....I'm thinking about doing it for fun.

I think it would be a neat exercise -- even with a piece below "intermediate." While I've never done it, I can imagine that I'd make mistakes even with many simple pieces, because with just about every great composer's piece I learn, there are places where I'm consciously like "hey, I never would have known those were the notes" (especially with inner voices and stuff like an added 6th).

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#2060589 - 04/07/13 12:17 AM Re: Has anyone ever... [Re: Mark_C]
Damon Offline
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Registered: 09/22/06
Posts: 6168
Loc: St. Louis area
Originally Posted By: Mark_C

Quote:
....I'm thinking about doing it for fun.

I think it would be a neat exercise -- even with a piece below "intermediate."


One of the Chopin preludes would make a good candidate, plenty of people here to point out the mistakes. smile
_________________________
It's been scientifically proven that Horowitz sucks.

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#2060590 - 04/07/13 12:19 AM Re: Has anyone ever... [Re: JoelW]
Damon Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/22/06
Posts: 6168
Loc: St. Louis area
Originally Posted By: JoelW
Maple Leaf Rag (if it counts). This was before I could read music.


Not what I had in mind, but I suppose it counts. I think you posted a recording of it, didn't you? Have you since looked at the sheet music?
_________________________
It's been scientifically proven that Horowitz sucks.

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#2060598 - 04/07/13 12:43 AM Re: Has anyone ever... [Re: Damon]
argerichfan Offline
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Registered: 11/15/06
Posts: 8904
Loc: Pacific Northwest, US.
Originally Posted By: Damon
..learned a classical piece, of intermediate or higher difficulty, entirely by ear?

No. But plenty of pop songs and movie scores! Some years ago I totally fell in love with the opening flourish of Korngold's 'Kings Row', and simply had to work that out at the piano.
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Jason

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#2060610 - 04/07/13 01:46 AM Re: Has anyone ever... [Re: Damon]
JoelW Offline
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Registered: 05/25/12
Posts: 4828
Loc: USA
Originally Posted By: Damon
Originally Posted By: JoelW
Maple Leaf Rag (if it counts). This was before I could read music.


Not what I had in mind, but I suppose it counts. I think you posted a recording of it, didn't you? Have you since looked at the sheet music?


No actually I haven't. I don't really play ragtime anymore, but I still acknowledge Scott Joplin's genius. I don't think enough classical listeners give him proper credit.

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#2060669 - 04/07/13 07:52 AM Re: Has anyone ever... [Re: Damon]
patH Online   content
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/09/13
Posts: 581
Loc: Germany
Originally Posted By: Damon
..learned a classical piece, of intermediate or higher difficulty, entirely by ear? For the record, I haven't but I'm thinking about doing it for fun.

Not classical piano pieces, but I sometimes play classical orchestra pieces on the piano, by ear. Because there I can choose what notes to leave out, and it does not always sound like the original.

Examples: Smetana's "Moldau", Schubert's "Unfinished Symphony".
_________________________
Everything is possible, and nothing is sure.
XXXI

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#2060690 - 04/07/13 09:21 AM Re: Has anyone ever... [Re: Damon]
jeffreyjones Offline
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Registered: 01/31/10
Posts: 2359
Loc: San Jose, CA
I was really smitten with the Medtner Second Concerto the first time I heard it, and I spent some time working it out by ear while I was waiting for the score on order from Zimerman in Germany. The actual piano part turned out to be very different than the way I imagined it!

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#2060808 - 04/07/13 02:35 PM Re: Has anyone ever... [Re: argerichfan]
Damon Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/22/06
Posts: 6168
Loc: St. Louis area
Originally Posted By: argerichfan
Originally Posted By: Damon
..learned a classical piece, of intermediate or higher difficulty, entirely by ear?

No. But plenty of pop songs and movie scores! Some years ago I totally fell in love with the opening flourish of Korngold's 'Kings Row', and simply had to work that out at the piano.


I figured I might see a few answers like this. I play a lot of classic rock, professionally, and learning it by ear is usually the most accurate method. I've purchased a couple of those "note for note" books by Hal Leonard and they aren't note for note, and they don't usually have the work I'm after.
I'm a little surprised with myself that I haven't yet tried it with something classical. I imagine making some subtle omissions and wondering if I would be caught. I guess it mostly depends on the popularity of the piece.
_________________________
It's been scientifically proven that Horowitz sucks.

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#2060974 - 04/07/13 07:37 PM Re: Has anyone ever... [Re: Damon]
argerichfan Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/15/06
Posts: 8904
Loc: Pacific Northwest, US.
Originally Posted By: Damon

I figured I might see a few answers like this.

Well perhaps not very surprising, Damon. Elderly classical works are available on IMSLP, and later, copyrighted classical works would probably be beyond my modest abilities to learn by ear.

You will love this: when I was about 12, my mother introduced me to Light My Fire, it certainly lit MY fire, and I worked it out at the piano in about 12 minutes.

The day before, I learned Petula Clark's Downtown. Helps to have a mum who lived through the era, albeit on the tail end. But the only thing I could figure out at the piano on After Bathing at Baxter's was 'rejoyce'. The rest of the album was too sophisticated, and to this day, I think it one of the greatest albums ever recorded, leagues ahead of what anyone else -including the Fab Four- were doing at the time.

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Jason

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#2061037 - 04/07/13 09:57 PM Re: Has anyone ever... [Re: Damon]
rada Offline
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Registered: 09/07/06
Posts: 1124
Loc: pagosa springs,co
I've always thought that being able to play ragtime and the classics would cover all the bases....or should I have said basis?

rada

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#2061055 - 04/07/13 10:49 PM Re: Has anyone ever... [Re: Damon]
JoelW Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/12
Posts: 4828
Loc: USA
Anyone with a good ear could likely pick out a simple Chopin nocturne with time, but I'd really like to see someone pick out his first scherzo, or the coda to the fourth ballade.

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#2061058 - 04/07/13 10:52 PM Re: Has anyone ever... [Re: Damon]
Orange Soda King Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/25/09
Posts: 6070
Loc: Louisville, Kentucky, United S...
I am very good at playing by ear, but I've never done a note-for-note classical work.
I do think that good aural skills/playing by ear is a vital skill for a well-rounded musician, just like sight-reading well is.

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#2061591 - 04/08/13 11:28 PM Re: Has anyone ever... [Re: Damon]
ChopinAddict Offline
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Registered: 08/29/09
Posts: 6112
Loc: Land of the never-ending music
I used to have fun with this before I started studying (and reading) music. smile
_________________________



Music is my best friend.


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#2061597 - 04/08/13 11:46 PM Re: Has anyone ever... [Re: Damon]
Frankni Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/12/13
Posts: 160
Loc: UK
Originally Posted By: Damon
..learned a classical piece, of intermediate or higher difficulty, entirely by ear? For the record, I haven't but I'm thinking about doing it for fun.


Mozart has. (He famously learned Gregorio Allegri's Miserere, the setting to music of the fiftieth psalm, just by listening to it in the Sistine Chapel, and he copied it down from memory when he returned home). But I don't think this is what you had in mind?


Edited by Frankni (04/08/13 11:47 PM)
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Yamaha C3, Sauter Delta 185

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#2061662 - 04/09/13 02:42 AM Re: Has anyone ever... [Re: Damon]
btb Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 4261
Loc: Pretoria South Africa
My party piece off-the-cuff is playing the first two measures of the Moonlight ... at which point I strategically break off with the audience baying for more ... but that’s all they get ... as I shut the lid of the piano ...and get myself a drink (brandy and soda) .

They’ll never discover that I don’t know the rest.

Sorry about that chaps ... but you asked for it.

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#2061693 - 04/09/13 04:44 AM Re: Has anyone ever... [Re: Damon]
fnork Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/01/04
Posts: 1796
Loc: Helsinki, Finland
Picking things up by ear is really great for the learning process, as long as you pick pieces that aren't beyond your capacities. About ten years ago or so I was so fond of Keith Jarrett's improvisations that I decided to transcribe some - I obviously picked a slower one, and figured that if you start by separating all of the different layers - bass line, chords, melody - and focus on just one at a time, you can get a lot of stuff done. Initially, if you try grasping everything at once, you easily become overloaded with information. Separating things in the beginning, until you become more fluent, is the way to go, I think.

But I haven't done much of this lately - tried a bit with some Chopin nocturnes that I've mostly just listened to...

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#2062110 - 04/09/13 07:50 PM Re: Has anyone ever... [Re: Frankni]
Damon Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/22/06
Posts: 6168
Loc: St. Louis area
Originally Posted By: Frankni

Mozart has. (He famously learned Gregorio Allegri's Miserere, the setting to music of the fiftieth psalm, just by listening to it in the Sistine Chapel, and he copied it down from memory when he returned home). But I don't think this is what you had in mind?


Well no, because he is dead and not a member of this forum. smile
_________________________
It's been scientifically proven that Horowitz sucks.

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#2062112 - 04/09/13 07:54 PM Re: Has anyone ever... [Re: Damon]
carey Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/13/05
Posts: 6373
Loc: Phoenix, Arizona
Originally Posted By: Damon
Originally Posted By: Frankni

Mozart has. (He famously learned Gregorio Allegri's Miserere, the setting to music of the fiftieth psalm, just by listening to it in the Sistine Chapel, and he copied it down from memory when he returned home). But I don't think this is what you had in mind?


Well no, because he is dead and not a member of this forum. smile


Mozart....dead????? sick
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YouTube channel - http://www.youtube.com/user/pianophilo

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#2062122 - 04/09/13 08:19 PM Re: Has anyone ever... [Re: JoelW]
Damon Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/22/06
Posts: 6168
Loc: St. Louis area
Originally Posted By: JoelW
Anyone with a good ear could likely pick out a simple Chopin nocturne with time, but I'd really like to see someone pick out his first scherzo, or the coda to the fourth ballade.


That would be part of the fun, finding out just how good your ear is. The first scherzo would be extremely hard to do.
_________________________
It's been scientifically proven that Horowitz sucks.

Top
#2062124 - 04/09/13 08:22 PM Re: Has anyone ever... [Re: carey]
Damon Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/22/06
Posts: 6168
Loc: St. Louis area
Originally Posted By: carey

Mozart....dead????? sick


Yes(!)³ laugh
_________________________
It's been scientifically proven that Horowitz sucks.

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#2062142 - 04/09/13 09:08 PM Re: Has anyone ever... [Re: Damon]
Horowitzian Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/18/08
Posts: 8453
He's going to haunt your dreams Damon...trust me...you don't want that to happen. laugh laugh
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Close only counts in horseshoes, hand grenades, and nuclear weapons.

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#2062187 - 04/09/13 11:18 PM Re: Has anyone ever... [Re: Damon]
Polyphonist Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/03/13
Posts: 7648
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: Damon
Originally Posted By: JoelW
Anyone with a good ear could likely pick out a simple Chopin nocturne with time, but I'd really like to see someone pick out his first scherzo, or the coda to the fourth ballade.


That would be part of the fun, finding out just how good your ear is. The first scherzo would be extremely hard to do.


And the coda of the fourth ballade would be even harder, because of the sheer speed and the dense polyphony.
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Polyphonist

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#2062237 - 04/10/13 01:29 AM Re: Has anyone ever... [Re: Frankni]
wr Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/23/07
Posts: 7895
Originally Posted By: Frankni
Originally Posted By: Damon
..learned a classical piece, of intermediate or higher difficulty, entirely by ear? For the record, I haven't but I'm thinking about doing it for fun.


Mozart has. (He famously learned Gregorio Allegri's Miserere, the setting to music of the fiftieth psalm, just by listening to it in the Sistine Chapel, and he copied it down from memory when he returned home). But I don't think this is what you had in mind?


There is some interesting information about that Mozart story towards the end of this scholarly paper.

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#2062245 - 04/10/13 02:25 AM Re: Has anyone ever... [Re: jeffreyjones]
Cinnamonbear Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/09/10
Posts: 3927
Loc: Rockford, IL
Originally Posted By: jeffreyjones
I was really smitten with the Medtner Second Concerto the first time I heard it, and I spent some time working it out by ear while I was waiting for the score on order from Zimerman in Germany. The actual piano part turned out to be very different than the way I imagined it!


Which is why, if anyone says "Yes" to the OQ, I would want to hear recorded proof of the deed.

It is slightly easier to make peanut butter fudge than it is to make striped ribbon candy.
_________________________
I may not be fast,
but at least I'm slow.

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#2062246 - 04/10/13 02:29 AM Re: Has anyone ever... [Re: carey]
Frankni Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/12/13
Posts: 160
Loc: UK
Originally Posted By: carey
Originally Posted By: Damon
Originally Posted By: Frankni

Mozart has. (He famously learned Gregorio Allegri's Miserere, the setting to music of the fiftieth psalm, just by listening to it in the Sistine Chapel, and he copied it down from memory when he returned home). But I don't think this is what you had in mind?


Well no, because he is dead and not a member of this forum. smile


Mozart....dead????? sick



Yes, according to my latest information. But I don't like discrimination, even against dead people.
_________________________
Yamaha C3, Sauter Delta 185

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#2062247 - 04/10/13 02:30 AM Re: Has anyone ever... [Re: Damon]
Frankni Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/12/13
Posts: 160
Loc: UK
Originally Posted By: Damon
Originally Posted By: Frankni

Mozart has. (He famously learned Gregorio Allegri's Miserere, the setting to music of the fiftieth psalm, just by listening to it in the Sistine Chapel, and he copied it down from memory when he returned home). But I don't think this is what you had in mind?


Well no, because he is dead and not a member of this forum. smile


The question was: "has anyone ever ... ". My answer it seems was correct, but not what was intended. But let me not distract any further from what is a perfectly interesting opening question in this thread.


Edited by Frankni (04/10/13 04:56 AM)
_________________________
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