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#2116947 - 07/13/13 11:34 AM by ear
Sweet06 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/22/13
Posts: 408
im wondering if someone can confirm with me if what i sometimes do is "playing by ear". I can think of a melody and once i find a good starting note, i kind of pick out using an interval method the correct next note until i've got it all pieced together. I can NEVER do it in one fel swoop my first time, it takes me a little bit to piece it together but i eventually do.

so, my question is: is that playing by ear?
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#2116985 - 07/13/13 01:17 PM Re: by ear [Re: Sweet06]
Ragdoll Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/03/12
Posts: 689
Loc: Illinois
I think maybe you're learning to play by ear... and this can be fun and rewarding both but to learn to play piano and not just play songs will require some dedicated study. Of course if your goal is the former then that's OK too. Can you expand on what you're doing wrt intervallic learning without a score to which you can refer? This is not meant to be snarky BTW, I'm sincerely curious; do you "hear" the interval internally.

Something you might consider; as you pick out a song you like, why not jot the notes down on some ledger paper. It'll be fun...promise. smile As a bonus you will always have it for future reference and be able to put some finesse on it with timing and dynamics.
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#2117000 - 07/13/13 01:35 PM Re: by ear [Re: Sweet06]
Sand Tiger Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/25/12
Posts: 1084
Loc: Southern California
Yes, what is described is typical playing by ear. Very few people can do it in one swoop. The more a person does this kind of activity the better they will get. And yes, some ears are better than others, so some people have a natural aptitude for it.

If a person is ambitious and capable, they might listen to recordings and pick out the melody and the harmony and transcribe. Many will start with the harmony. It tends to be highly skilled folks that can transcribe quickly. Most listen to a bit at a time and decode a bit at a time, making corrections as necessary.
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#2117083 - 07/13/13 04:24 PM Re: by ear [Re: Ragdoll]
John_In_Montreal Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/21/11
Posts: 402
Loc: Montreal Canada
Originally Posted By: Ragdoll
Something you might consider; as you pick out a song you like, why not jot the notes down on some ledger paper. It'll be fun...promise. smile As a bonus you will always have it for future reference and be able to put some finesse on it with timing and dynamics.


I do this all the time. Its sometimes a challenge and I need to get to the keyboard to validate what I hear but yes, it is fun and I get a reference for use later. smile

I wish I was good at it "on the fly", this way whatever pops up in my mind I could write it down immediately - I often think up progressions of some sort out of the blue and they sound good but without the benefit of fast musical writing and a fast ear, a lot of it dissapears into the eternal ether from where it came from. I should carry a recorder along, at least humming it would keep a record for later use!

John
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#2117086 - 07/13/13 04:30 PM Re: by ear [Re: Sweet06]
Sweet06 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/22/13
Posts: 408
to answer ragdoll. I typically will just memorize the notes once i figure out the correct ones. i only do this once my assignments for the week are complete and im just having fun smile i do lots of dedicated study but i spend tons of time on the piano in general so i have lots of time to tool around. afterall, i AM doing this for fun.

my intervallic method is basically like this:
lets say you start with middle c and i hear the pitch go up, i'll take a blind guess as to what that is and im usually fairly close and its obvious which way you need to go when you hear it. so lets say for example i hit a C then i go higher to a G but it sounds off, ill have to play the C again then go to like A and if thats right, i can hear it because the melody sounds correct to me. i follow this process until its complete! i figured out the star wars theme song in this method before downloading the score (with some extra fancy chords to throw in to make it sounds way better than just the melody tho).
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"Doesn't practicing on the piano suck?!?!"
"The joy is in the practicing. It's like relationships. Yeah, orgasms are awesome, but you can't make love to someone who you have no relationship with!"

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#2117171 - 07/13/13 07:35 PM Re: by ear [Re: Sweet06]
dmd Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/15/09
Posts: 1921
Loc: Pennsylvania
Originally Posted By: Sweet06
to answer ragdoll. I typically will just memorize the notes once i figure out the correct ones. i only do this once my assignments for the week are complete and im just having fun smile i do lots of dedicated study but i spend tons of time on the piano in general so i have lots of time to tool around. afterall, i AM doing this for fun.

my intervallic method is basically like this:
lets say you start with middle c and i hear the pitch go up, i'll take a blind guess as to what that is and im usually fairly close and its obvious which way you need to go when you hear it. so lets say for example i hit a C then i go higher to a G but it sounds off, ill have to play the C again then go to like A and if thats right, i can hear it because the melody sounds correct to me. i follow this process until its complete! i figured out the star wars theme song in this method before downloading the score (with some extra fancy chords to throw in to make it sounds way better than just the melody tho).


What will help you with your method is to work on figuring out what key the song is being played in. Then you have a little better idea which chords are being used and subsequently which notes within those chords are a part of the melody.

That is the benefit of understanding music theory quite well.
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Current: ES7, Focusrite Scarlett 2i4 audio device, SennHeiser HD555 Phones, Focal CMS 40 Powered Monitors, Ravenscroft275, Ivory II American Concert D, Pianoteq 5

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#2117186 - 07/13/13 08:35 PM Re: by ear [Re: Sweet06]
Sweet06 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/22/13
Posts: 408
im just getitng into keys right now, a key of G is all F# i believe... thats the only one my teachers taught me so far.
_________________________
"Doesn't practicing on the piano suck?!?!"
"The joy is in the practicing. It's like relationships. Yeah, orgasms are awesome, but you can't make love to someone who you have no relationship with!"

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#2117410 - 07/14/13 08:48 AM Re: by ear [Re: Sweet06]
Ragdoll Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/03/12
Posts: 689
Loc: Illinois
Quote:
to answer ragdoll. I typically will just memorize the notes once i figure out the correct ones. i only do this once my assignments for the week are complete and im just having fun smile i do lots of dedicated study but i spend tons of time on the piano in general so i have lots of time to tool around. afterall, i AM doing this for fun.


Sweet06
OOPS, my bad. I didn't realize you were also a student. Then yes, of course your learning to play by ear is a good thing and a refreshing break from the discipline of playing what is written for you to play. Good for you. I also do this at times; in fact, I think all of us do so. grin
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#2117458 - 07/14/13 11:08 AM Re: by ear [Re: Sweet06]
peterws Online   content
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/21/12
Posts: 3796
Loc: Northern England.
Playing by ear is helped by an understanding of simple and jazz chords. You recognize intervals in which case you can play the tune in one. With an appropriate accompaniment depending on the complexity of the music . . ..
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#2117565 - 07/14/13 03:52 PM Re: by ear [Re: Sweet06]
Sweet06 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/22/13
Posts: 408
i've taken a keen interest to jazz and really would love in the future (probably 3+ years before im good enough) to plays weekend gigs at a bar or something... not paid but just for fun and to meet musical people! can't wait to start really getting into the chord work smile

no worries ragdoll!


Edited by Sweet06 (07/14/13 03:53 PM)
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"The joy is in the practicing. It's like relationships. Yeah, orgasms are awesome, but you can't make love to someone who you have no relationship with!"

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#2117691 - 07/14/13 08:20 PM Re: by ear [Re: Sweet06]
Polyphonist Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/03/13
Posts: 7707
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: Sweet06
im just getitng into keys right now, a key of G is all F# i believe... thats the only one my teachers taught me so far.

Learn the circle of fifths, and be able to instantly play at least I, IV, and V chords in each major and minor key. Then you can start learning to play by ear.
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