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#2303839 - 07/18/14 08:16 PM Help with hearing chord progressions
ttttcrngyblflpp Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 05/15/14
Posts: 7
I'm looking for some advice on how to train my ears for transcribing for piano. I'm pretty good with hearing melodies as well any passagework or runs: basically if any given instrument is only playing one note at a time, I can hear what it is. When it comes to chords, however... I pretty much have little to no idea. The last transcription I did I ended up harmonizing the melody myself and comparing against the original recording to see if anything sounds weird, but this kind of goes against the transcribing philosophy and I think it would speed up the process significantly if I can actually hear the chord progression. My knowledge of chord progressions from the perspective of theory is also not the best.

I have Sibelius Auralia, but I don't use it nearly as much or as consistently as I should due to my busy schedule. While I recognize that there is no shortcut to acquiring aural skills, does anyone here have any advice to make this learning process as fast and as painless as possible?

Edited by ttttcrngyblflpp (07/18/14 08:17 PM)

Piano & Music Accessories
#2304063 - 07/19/14 03:23 PM Re: Help with hearing chord progressions [Re: ttttcrngyblflpp]
champy Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/14/09
Posts: 135
My humble suggestion is... Try to hear the bass... (the lowest note of chords). If you can't hear the bass, you won't hear any right harmony... Bass is the root of harmony, in general.

One trick a lot of my friends use is using EQ. Put all the high frequencies down and maybe boost up the low-end a bit. Try to figure out what the bass part is, just like the way you transcribe melody... or even play along to check if it is correct.

Everything goes from there.

#2304090 - 07/19/14 04:11 PM Re: Help with hearing chord progressions [Re: champy]
Michael Martinez Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/22/12
Posts: 384
Loc: California
Good advice, generally works. Just realize that sometimes the bass note does not correspond with the root of the chord

My advice is to train your ears to recognize the different harmonies: there are a handful of basic chords: you already know what they are: major, minor, dminished, augmented, etc.

There's an exercise you can do where someone else sits at the piano, they play you a major scale or a minor melodic scale. Then they play a random triad from this key and by ear alone you need to identify the flavor of the chord and the scale degree which is its root. A great exercise.
Music Educator, Computer Engineer, avid reader of literature, enjoyer of the outdoors

#2304311 - 07/20/14 08:32 AM Re: Help with hearing chord progressions [Re: Michael Martinez]
Rerun Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/28/07
Posts: 576
Loc: Louisiana

Hey TTT, I'd say click this link and listen to that youtube tape and what he has to say about it:


"Seat of the pants piano player" DMD

#2306807 - Today at 03:36 AM Re: Help with hearing chord progressions [Re: ttttcrngyblflpp]
ttttcrngyblflpp Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 05/15/14
Posts: 7
Thanks for everyone's advice.

I have been applying the `listening to the bass note' technique, and while it doesn't tell you the root of the chord, it usually gives big hints as to what the chord is when you take into account the melodic note/s.

I guess I will keep trucking at Auralia's Chord Recognition section. I've not actually thought about selecting all the chords from a single key... I have no idea why I didn't come up with this earlier, but Auralia's built-in lessons aren't exactly great I guess.


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