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#2124565 - 07/29/13 01:42 AM Playing music from recordings by ear
ChazG Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/07/11
Posts: 46
Does anybody know how to play music spontaneously from recordings that you hear from the radio or CD? If so, what is your first approach and what steps do you take? How long does it take to learn a song by ear that you hear?

I am interested in learning this technique if it is possible; or is it just inborn talent.

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Piano & Music Accessories
#2124637 - 07/29/13 05:44 AM Re: Playing music from recordings by ear [Re: ChazG]
beeboss Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/18/09
Posts: 1202
Loc: uk south
Yes it is easy when you have developed your ear and theory skills. How long it takes depends on how obvious and complicated the changes are but it is quite possible to do it in real time. It is very possible to develop your ear but you have to work at it. Learn to recognise intervals, then chords, learn some theory about what chords normally go together, transcribe melodies etc etc
_________________________
http://www.youtube.com/davebeeboss

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#2124688 - 07/29/13 08:43 AM Re: Playing music from recordings by ear [Re: beeboss]
Farmerjones Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/25/12
Posts: 197
Loc: USA
I don't know if they do it these days, but many rock and pop groups either would not tune to concert pitch, or the recording engineers would mess with the pitch, as sort of a deterrent. This is the first obstacle in finding the key. The second is finding where the verse resolves. This last note is usually the key. If it goes by fast, I may have to listen to the next verse, and possibly the one after that. This is the reason it's good to have a recording to rewind. 1. find the key 2. find the chord changes 3. by the time steps 1 & 2 are complete, hopefully you're familiar enough with the piece, you can flesh out the melody. Or if you're familiar enough with the piece, you can transpose it into an easy key for yourself, and go from there. No talent here. Just trial and error.

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#2124748 - 07/29/13 11:25 AM Re: Playing music from recordings by ear [Re: ChazG]
rada Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/07/06
Posts: 1124
Loc: pagosa springs,co
The quickest way for me is to write out the melody and then the accompaniment. If there are many layers it will always be more difficult......also pitch can be a problem because it is more difficult to hear it and then to transpose it....I mean if the melody doesn't match a pitch on the piano....certainly you have more leeway with other instruments. Much easier to read the music and learn but all music is not available that way.

rada

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#2124854 - 07/29/13 02:22 PM Re: Playing music from recordings by ear [Re: ChazG]
Michael Martinez Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/22/12
Posts: 415
Loc: California
It's not necessarily inborn talent. You need to develop your ear by going through simple exercises where you harmonize the melody. The best way to do this is to take simple folk tunes, Christmas carols, that sort of thing, learn the melodies and practice harmonizing them in different keys so that your ear becomes familiar with the IV-V-I type progressions and cadences that those songs use. DO NOT REFER TO WRITTEN SHEET MUSIC. Use your knowledge of basic chords and fit the chords to the melody. Once you have substantial practice, you'll find that your ear guides you to the correct choices when listening to new music.
_________________________
Music Educator, Computer Engineer, avid reader of literature, enjoyer of the outdoors
http://www.michael--martinez.com/music/

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#2124910 - 07/29/13 04:54 PM Re: Playing music from recordings by ear [Re: ChazG]
ChazG Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/07/11
Posts: 46
Thank you all for your input.

I have heard that listening to the bass of a song helps to figure out what chords are being played. I have already learned how to listen for the key of the song, but find it difficult to figure what chords are being played. I have seen that knowing patterns helps to figure out songs from recordings.

The other day, I tried to figure out what key Elton John's new song, "Home Again" is being played in. It is hard to figure it out; but it sounds like D minor. I first tried figuring out the intro before the chorus but found that there are some complicated chords in the song. It was more than just the basic three chord song. Of course, I got frustrated and gave up to figure out the melody, harmonies, and chords in the song.

Thank you,
pkeys

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#2125023 - 07/29/13 09:44 PM Re: Playing music from recordings by ear [Re: ChazG]
rada Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/07/06
Posts: 1124
Loc: pagosa springs,co
Never heard of it but listened to it and it is in d minor....

Not quite what I would expect to hear from Elton but I am a fan of his music!

rada

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#2125119 - 07/30/13 03:05 AM Re: Playing music from recordings by ear [Re: rada]
ChazG Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/07/11
Posts: 46
Oh great! Thank you Rada, at least I know I am on the right track. Now I just have to figure out the intro and the chorus with the chords. I know that there are F chords and Bflat chords in the song to go along with the D minor key.

The video on Elton John's website shows him playing the new song; but it is still hard to see what chords he is playing.

I am sure there were be a tutorial on it very soon; but I want to learn it before to know if I can really transcribe a song by ear.

Thank you,
Pkeys

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#2125148 - 07/30/13 05:47 AM Re: Playing music from recordings by ear [Re: ChazG]
R0B Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/03/08
Posts: 1439
Loc: Australia
I will kick you off with the basis of the first few chords.

Dm, Am, Bb, F, C, Dm
_________________________
Rob

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#2125232 - 07/30/13 10:29 AM Re: Playing music from recordings by ear [Re: ChazG]
rintincop Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/11/04
Posts: 1521
It is easy if you use Transcribe! software... otherwise it's quite time consuming.

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#2125335 - 07/30/13 02:02 PM Re: Playing music from recordings by ear [Re: ChazG]
ChazG Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/07/11
Posts: 46
Thank you Rob, I will have to try that pattern to get me started in learning the new song. It is great that you were able to figure out this pattern so quickly, which I would like to learn how to do.

Thank you Rintincop, I will have to checkout the Transcribe software, which can be used to see if I am headed toward the right track in figuring how to play songs that I hear.

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#2126027 - 07/31/13 06:05 PM Re: Playing music from recordings by ear [Re: ChazG]
Michael Martinez Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/22/12
Posts: 415
Loc: California
Originally Posted By: ChazG
Thank you all for your input.

I have heard that listening to the bass of a song helps to figure out what chords are being played.


The traditional function of the bass is to outline the root and fifth of the chord changes, so you might find those tones being played on the first and third beats of the bar . .... But then again, depending on how much counterpoint the bassist is doing, or how much they veer away from the basic function, you might not, so you just kind of have to keep that in mind as you listen to the bass line.

Quote:

I have already learned how to listen for the key of the song, but find it difficult to figure what chords are being played.


Knowing they key, and whether there are any key modulations in the song, is definitely the first step. Then, it's up to your experience with the basic 7 chords that you can make in the key (I through VII). At this point, it's really just a matter of practicing different songs and getting that toolset under your belt. It just takes exposure to different kinds of songs, is all.

I have seen that knowing patterns helps to figure out songs from recordings.

Quote:
Of course, I got frustrated and gave up to figure out the melody, harmonies, and chords in the song.


That's why I said you have to train your ear on simple folk melodies first. You gotta get familiar with the building blocks, before moving on to the more complex stuff.

Thank you,
pkeys[/quote]
_________________________
Music Educator, Computer Engineer, avid reader of literature, enjoyer of the outdoors
http://www.michael--martinez.com/music/

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