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Playing by Ear?

Tigger the Tiger 09 Nov 11 - 07:05 AM
Spongebrother 09 Nov 11 - 07:17 AM
Will Fly 09 Nov 11 - 07:30 AM
Will Fly 09 Nov 11 - 07:32 AM
GUEST,leeneia 09 Nov 11 - 10:31 AM
GUEST,van Gogh 09 Nov 11 - 10:36 AM
GUEST,Mr. Spock 09 Nov 11 - 10:42 AM
BTNG 09 Nov 11 - 10:45 AM
GUEST,Earnie d`Ohr 09 Nov 11 - 10:49 AM
GUEST,highlandman at work 09 Nov 11 - 10:51 AM
GUEST,Santa Cluas 09 Nov 11 - 10:52 AM
GUEST,Black bEARd 09 Nov 11 - 10:54 AM
GUEST,highlandman at work 09 Nov 11 - 11:03 AM
GUEST,Sharp Claws 09 Nov 11 - 11:05 AM
Backwoodsman 09 Nov 11 - 11:11 AM
GUEST,highlandman at work 09 Nov 11 - 11:25 AM
Amos 09 Nov 11 - 11:33 AM
Amos 09 Nov 11 - 11:36 AM
John MacKenzie 09 Nov 11 - 11:49 AM
Leadfingers 09 Nov 11 - 12:01 PM
Backwoodsman 09 Nov 11 - 12:02 PM
meself 09 Nov 11 - 12:14 PM
Les in Chorlton 09 Nov 11 - 12:46 PM
Marje 09 Nov 11 - 12:48 PM
Richard Bridge 09 Nov 11 - 06:51 PM
Paul Burke 09 Nov 11 - 07:02 PM
Mo the caller 10 Nov 11 - 06:07 AM
meself 10 Nov 11 - 12:13 PM
Gurney 10 Nov 11 - 01:29 PM
janemick 10 Nov 11 - 02:03 PM
Mark Ross 10 Nov 11 - 02:04 PM
GUEST,leeneia 10 Nov 11 - 02:53 PM
Paul Burke 10 Nov 11 - 03:16 PM
olddude 10 Nov 11 - 04:20 PM
Leadfingers 10 Nov 11 - 08:51 PM
Bobert 10 Nov 11 - 09:22 PM
GUEST,Ellen Vannin 11 Nov 11 - 04:27 AM
Tigger the Tiger 11 Nov 11 - 06:17 AM
Charley Noble 11 Nov 11 - 10:06 AM
GUEST,highlandman at work 11 Nov 11 - 04:53 PM
Charley Noble 12 Nov 11 - 10:15 AM
Backwoodsman 12 Nov 11 - 11:29 AM
GUEST,Guest Brian May (in NZ) 12 Nov 11 - 01:54 PM
GUEST,cockneybanjo 12 Nov 11 - 05:17 PM
GUEST,highlandman at home 12 Nov 11 - 10:58 PM
GUEST,Eb 12 Nov 11 - 11:19 PM
GUEST 13 Nov 11 - 03:56 AM
GUEST 13 Nov 11 - 03:57 AM
Allan C. 13 Nov 11 - 06:38 AM
Rockhen 13 Nov 11 - 01:36 PM
Brian May 13 Nov 11 - 01:55 PM
GUEST 14 Nov 11 - 07:42 PM
Black belt caterpillar wrestler 15 Nov 11 - 07:41 AM
Rockhen 15 Nov 11 - 07:22 PM
Banjo-Flower 16 Nov 11 - 03:37 AM
Rockhen 16 Nov 11 - 06:39 PM
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Subject: Playing by Ear?
From: Tigger the Tiger
Date: 09 Nov 11 - 07:05 AM

I realize now that I made a huge mistake by not learning to read music. I began picking out songs on a piano when I was four;my parents started young on lessons,but I could not understand why I needed to read music. I learned to play guitar when someone drew diagrams of chords. I learned the rest by watching.Does anyone know what this playing by ear really is,why people have it?Is it inherited?


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Subject: RE: Playing by Ear?
From: Spongebrother
Date: 09 Nov 11 - 07:17 AM

Its real music you play Tigger: any notation is only an artificial way of preserving what is real.


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Subject: RE: Playing by Ear?
From: Will Fly
Date: 09 Nov 11 - 07:30 AM

Nothing wrong with playing by ear - I also started with chord diagrams and my ears, over 45 years ago. It served me well. As I played more, I realised that, no matter how good my ear was - and it pretty good - I needed something more if I wanted to get right into music. I'd started getting into music hall songs, ragtime, early jazz and stuff from the 1920s and 1930s, and wanted to dissect these things thoroughly. So I started buying sheet music and learning the dots - and found it incredibly useful for this type of music.

I still enjoy winging it at sessions and informal music gatherings - good training for the ear that it is - but I'm very glad that I can go to the SheetMusicDirect site (for example) and get 5 pages of a professional score for £.099p. I can print this out, analyse it, adapt it for my guitar style, play it, write out my arrangement in a professional manner - and enjoy the learning experience by doing all this.


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Subject: RE: Playing by Ear?
From: Will Fly
Date: 09 Nov 11 - 07:32 AM

Get the decimal point correct, fly - £0.99p


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Subject: RE: Playing by Ear?
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 09 Nov 11 - 10:31 AM

Does anyone know what this playing by ear really is?

I do it. It's a biofeedback thing, where you look at the pattern of keys on the piano (for example) and start sounding things out. Your eye sees the keys, your ears hear the sound, and when you've played the tune, your brain says "That's right." It's similar to how the new kids in a school band learn to time by looking at their music while hearing the older kids play it right.

It's also similar to how children learn to read in school. We look - hear; look - hear; and pretty soon we're doing it.

The more you do it, the better you get. I find it is far easier to sound out something that goes up and down the scale than to do it with a song with a lot of big hops.

However, it's also good to learn to read music. There are always songs which prove hard to sound out, and someday a strange and unexpected chord calls to us. Then it's good to read the music and see what to play.

Is it an inherited ability? Probably. But I think doing it regularly is more important.


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Subject: RE: Playing by Ear?
From: GUEST,van Gogh
Date: 09 Nov 11 - 10:36 AM

It`s highly disriminating.

Lend an ear, anyone?


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Subject: RE: Playing by Ear?
From: GUEST,Mr. Spock
Date: 09 Nov 11 - 10:42 AM

Always done by me and the Pointear-Sisters.


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Subject: RE: Playing by Ear?
From: BTNG
Date: 09 Nov 11 - 10:45 AM

I tried it once, got me ear 'hole stuck between the strings!


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Subject: RE: Playing by Ear?
From: GUEST,Earnie d`Ohr
Date: 09 Nov 11 - 10:49 AM

Ear Scruggs plays a mean banjo!


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Subject: RE: Playing by Ear?
From: GUEST,highlandman at work
Date: 09 Nov 11 - 10:51 AM

I know trained musicians who can sight play anything, yet always seem to me to have left their ears at home when they play.
Music without hearing is a dead thing. Too much of it can bring about the worship of mere velocity as if it were virtuosity, but that's another subject for another rant.
Leeneia, Tigger, I think "playing by ear," done well, is an awesomely complex process. As you explore your instrument, and try to internalize the music you are emulating, you develop an astoundingly powerful network of mental and physiological tools, that all come to bear together mostly beyond conscious effort. There is a visual component, a motor memory component, an aural memory component, a cognitive component, an emotional component, and certainly other things I can't think of right now.
I do believe that this menagerie of skills is necessary to truly make music, much more than the ability to accurately bash keys in response to the flow of dots on a page, like a player piano.
My own reading skill has always lagged behind the other skills, too. One obvious disadvantage has been the inability to quickly pick up a new piece from written music. Another one, not so obvious, is that you become limited in your comprehension of music to that which you already have been exposed to, and understand.
If you have access to a mentor you can learn something new, but you are still limited to the scope of the mentors you can find (and induce to spend enough time with you).
But with the ability to read music (don't have to be a sight-playing wizard, either) you can branch out and explore things that your "ear" skills can't quite bring you to.
-Glenn


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Subject: RE: Playing by Ear?
From: GUEST,Santa Cluas
Date: 09 Nov 11 - 10:52 AM

Sorry... couldn't resist.


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Subject: RE: Playing by Ear?
From: GUEST,Black bEARd
Date: 09 Nov 11 - 10:54 AM

This thread has now been hijacked by the pEARates of the carribbEARn!

Aaarghhh!

(just in case you haven`t noticed yet)


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Subject: RE: Playing by Ear?
From: GUEST,highlandman at work
Date: 09 Nov 11 - 11:03 AM

I see that while I was typing my deeply thought through analysis, the Mudcat wags were having their irrepressible way with this thread.
That's why I love the 'Cat -- you never know what you're going to see next!

I did have one more serious thing to add.
Lately I've been making a renewed effort to improve my sight reading (again) and I had an epiphany. (Actually it was a combination of something I read and a questionable pepperoni pizza.)

The thing is, stop trying to be that pizza-eating player piano, scanning the dots and trying to whack the right keys at the right time (or whatever your instrument requires). You don't do that when you read words aloud -- you scan ahead a bit at a time and mentally digest them before you speak them.
Likewise, I am discovering that if I read for comprehension, a small unit at a time, then I *understand* the music that is upcoming and can bring all those other skills I talked about to bear on producing it. I haven't mastered this, far from it, but so far it seems to be a better approach than the brute force method I've always tried to use.

Cheers
-Glenn


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Subject: RE: Playing by Ear?
From: GUEST,Sharp Claws
Date: 09 Nov 11 - 11:05 AM

sorry...... ;-)


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Subject: RE: Playing by Ear?
From: Backwoodsman
Date: 09 Nov 11 - 11:11 AM

I wish I could play from music, but I'm also glad that I play by ear. I can 'hear' a song and work out how to play it very quickly, and I can go to a session and play successfully by 'hearing' how tunes are moving and assessing what chords will come next, yet I come across so many "real" musicians who are great readers, yet they are completely bollocksed if they don't have the dots in front of them, and are incapable of winging it by ear, or learning a piece by listening to it and working it out.

Being a reader seems to be very much a strait-jacket for a lot of players - not all, I hasten to add, but an apparently significant number. Even if I could read, I would still want to be able to play by ear.


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Subject: RE: Playing by Ear?
From: GUEST,highlandman at work
Date: 09 Nov 11 - 11:25 AM

BW, I agree. I prize the suite of skills that comprise "playing by ear." I've told the story before of a dear church pianist who could sight play, quite convincingly, anything you stuck under her specs -- yet she couldn't tack an "A---men" onto a hymn unless I pencilled it in for her. Amazing!
Somehow I don't think it's the reading that strait-jackets players, it must be something else. Because as you said, there are those who do both well. Must be something in the training process. It probably perpetuates itself by the you-teach-like-you-were-taught principle.
-G


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Subject: RE: Playing by Ear?
From: Amos
Date: 09 Nov 11 - 11:33 AM

Most of the music we polay in Folkieville is created in a fairly small sandbox, musically. When you roll around long enough along these beaten trails -- cowboys, blues singers, Doowop kids, and the modal legacies of Celtic and English music--you build a vocabulary of relationships which adds up to fluency. It is no more tricky than speaking English by ear, which native children do by the time thery are three or four. It's a vocabulary of sound pairings rather than phonemes and morphemes, but the principle is similar.


A


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Subject: RE: Playing by Ear?
From: Amos
Date: 09 Nov 11 - 11:36 AM

And similar to spoken language,some folks have a tin ear and others get fired up with flights of creative combination. Some are literal-minded and others poetic.

One of the milestones to any parent is the day their baby first offers a thought from their own point of view that was not fed to them by Mom. One of the bright marks in a musician's timeline is when his instincts of playing produce a clear and beautiful musical statement that is not a cliche but which harmonizes with what is around it.


A


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Subject: RE: Playing by Ear?
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 09 Nov 11 - 11:49 AM

If you play bny ear, you could end up in dire trouble.
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Dire ear.   Run for it!


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Subject: RE: Playing by Ear?
From: Leadfingers
Date: 09 Nov 11 - 12:01 PM

I am cursed wth two NON complimentary conditions - A pretty good ear and severe Idleness - Means I have never spent the effort to learn to sight read , as I can 'fake' round most Folkie and Jazzy things , provided they dont have REALLY silly chord runs !


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Subject: RE: Playing by Ear?
From: Backwoodsman
Date: 09 Nov 11 - 12:02 PM

I will say that I know some fantastic readers who are amazing improvisers - our church organist being one such. But I'm always surprised at how many are rendered incapable of playing by the non-availability of sheet-music.


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Subject: RE: Playing by Ear?
From: meself
Date: 09 Nov 11 - 12:14 PM

A moderately-intelligent person can always learn to read music if they have the motivation, time, etc. - but the reverse doesn't necessarily hold true: to decide in mid-life that you are going to master the art of playing by ear if you've never really played by ear before might be wishful thinking. It's more important to develop the ability to play by ear at a young age than it is to learn to read music at a young age.


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Subject: RE: Playing by Ear?
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 09 Nov 11 - 12:46 PM

I learned Uncle Bernard's Polka by ear and played it to a friend - a flautist. He said your only playing half the notes. I personaly don't hear or cannot detect all the notes in country dance tunes.

About 7 years ago I bought a mandola and played a few things by ear then got out music, which I couldn't read but to tunes I knew. I played each note one at a time. With jigs the tunes jump out pretty quickly diddly, diddly so to speak.

I wasted years trying to play the tunes of folk songs - most don't have much of tune but jigs and hornpipes, etc. do and they jump of the page even at slow speeds.

I say to anybody do what I did I now have access to thousands of geat little tunes

L in C#


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Subject: RE: Playing by Ear?
From: Marje
Date: 09 Nov 11 - 12:48 PM

That's an interesting point by Meself above. Playing by ear is what (some) children do if you give them an instrument, just as they will copy adult speech patterns. Later they may learn to read music, and will (in our culture) very likely learn to read text, but the listening, speaking and playing-by-ear skills are more natural and best acquired early.

I think it may well be the case that the adults who simply can't play anything without written music have not had enough opportunity to play by ear when young. They may even have been discouraged from listening, when their music teacher said, "Play what's written down, not what you want!" So they never learned to trust their ears.

You never hear anyone say they can't sing unless they see the music written down - they'll learn both the words and the tunes of songs by listening, because almost every child is encouraged to to this early in life.

So, if this is the case, being able to read music does not hinder people from learning to play by ear, it's just that this is the first and only method they have ever learned to use. With singing, those who learn later to sing from written music are still capable of remembering songs and singing them by heart, because this was learned early.

Those of us who are lucky enough to have both skills are not in any way disadvantaged by having some musical literacy, any more than people who can read and write are disadvantaged when it comes to speech. But I'm sure it's a lot to do with the opportunities encountered in the early years.

Marje


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Subject: RE: Playing by Ear?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 09 Nov 11 - 06:51 PM

Or, to translate Amos into English - if you know the format, you can usually see what's coming.


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Subject: RE: Playing by Ear?
From: Paul Burke
Date: 09 Nov 11 - 07:02 PM

Les: I had to look up UBP and I can see both why you learned it that way by ear, and why t'other chap thought you were playing half the notes. Different traditions, the Lewes version only has half the notes I play (I never knew the name)!

Paraphrasing Richard Bridge- learn the cliches and work outwards.


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Subject: RE: Playing by Ear?
From: Mo the caller
Date: 10 Nov 11 - 06:07 AM

I certainly learned to play from the dots, both in piano lessons and on the recorder at school.
Fortunately times have changed. I saw a tv programme where Kathrine Tickell was saying that she goes into schools and teaches both methods.
But it is possible to learn at the grand old age of 60+. Pick up your instrument, play a couple of notes, see what it reminds you of and try to go from there. Keep doodling. The first session we went to there were people who sang well know songs (Whisky in the Jar, Irish Rover...) and expected instruments to join in. Good ear practice. Though you wouldn't try it in a soulful solo rendition, obviously.


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Subject: RE: Playing by Ear?
From: meself
Date: 10 Nov 11 - 12:13 PM

I'm not saying that a person can't develop some ear skills at 60+, but they are unlikely to be able to 'master' ear-playing after a certain age. It is one thing to noodle along with Irish Rover, but I've known many an 'ear-fiddler' to play fairly involved fiddle-tunes the second time through - that is, as someone else plays, they bumble along the first time, then when it's repeated, they are able to play along essentially 'error-free'. That's what I mean by 'mastering' ear-playing.


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Subject: RE: Playing by Ear?
From: Gurney
Date: 10 Nov 11 - 01:29 PM

Ian Campbell once said that he learned to play, not by ear, but by the rule of thumb. "The thumb of the right hand" (demonstrates strum) "and the thumb of the left hand!" (barre with the left thumb.)


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Subject: RE: Playing by Ear?
From: janemick
Date: 10 Nov 11 - 02:03 PM

highlandman at work said: "I know trained musicians who can sight play anything, yet always seem to me to have left their ears at home when they play."

this seems to be true, when people learn to play from music only they seem to find it really hard to play anything by ear.

If I learn a new tune from the music, I then have to re-learn it again to play it by ear! I think different parts of the brain deal with the two different processes.


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Subject: RE: Playing by Ear?
From: Mark Ross
Date: 10 Nov 11 - 02:04 PM

Pete Seeger once asked his father, Charles, the noted ethno-musicologist, "When should someone learn to read music. His father answered, "When they know what kind of music they want to play."


Mark Ross


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Subject: RE: Playing by Ear?
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 10 Nov 11 - 02:53 PM

A silly answer. (Never trust a music-ologist.) Not wrong, but incomplete. Obviously, if you want to learn cello, you should learn bass clef, and if you want to play flute, you learn treble clef. etc etc

I think that everyone should have the chance to learn read treble clef at about age 10. That way, music will not seem mysterious and elitist for the rest of the child's life.

As for age, I have a friend who is a piano teacher. She doesn't want students who are so young they can't read books yet. Some people want their four-year-olds to take piano, but she doesn't want them as students. Once the child is reading, she thinks it's okay to start piano. That sounds like a good idea to me.


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Subject: RE: Playing by Ear?
From: Paul Burke
Date: 10 Nov 11 - 03:16 PM

Advantages to reading music:

You can pick up tunes faster if they are written out.
It's difficult to remember complex pieces.
You can play pieces in a genre you haven't played before.
You can remind yourself of tunes you haven't played for a long time, or variations that you've made up.
You can mark off tunes that you've played recently to avoid boring people by repetetiveness, even when tiddly.
You can easily transmit tunes to other people.

Disadvantages of reading music:

The tendency to think of the written version as complete, authoritative and static.
A tendency not to listen to others, or to be unable to respond to variant versions.
A tendency to get stuck if you lose sight of the dots.

Advantages of playing by ear:

You can pick up tunes when there's no written version readily available.
You are (hopefully) listening to yourself and other musicians, so the blend is more likely to work without an external moderator (e.g. conductor)
Because of this it's easier to reconcile divergent variants.
You don't have to carry round bundles of paper, or have them blown round the room when someone opens the door.
Because you're not looking at the music, you can make eye contact with that fabulous dark- haired beauty on the edge of the session (decreasingly useful these days).
Or signal to the bloke at the bar getting the round in (increasingly useful).

Disadvantages of playing by ear:

Unless you're very quick on the uptake, it's hard to pick up new tunes.
New genres can be almost impossible.
In the heat of a session/ playaround, when you're on the spot to come up with something, it's all too easy to play the same as you last played when asked to start something. Repetetiveness results.
It's hard to pass music on, the session is too noisy, and you can't email/ post it to them. Unless of course that FDHB from the edge of the session asks what was that thing you played after the Bottle of Turnips, and you slip out of the bar to find somewhere quiet....


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Subject: RE: Playing by Ear?
From: olddude
Date: 10 Nov 11 - 04:20 PM

I admire those that can read music.   I can only play by ear .. but it works for me cause I have fun. That is all that matters for sure.


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Subject: RE: Playing by Ear?
From: Leadfingers
Date: 10 Nov 11 - 08:51 PM

My Two Favourite quotes re Reading Music . Each replied when askd the question " Do you read Music ?"

Louis Armstrong (Learned to read in Boys Brigade Band ) when playing 'Virtuoso Solos with Big bands in the thirties - " Not enough to hurt my playing !"

Blues Guitarist who's name I cant (sadly) remember - " Hell Man ! You dont READ music , you just play the stuff !"


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Subject: RE: Playing by Ear?
From: Bobert
Date: 10 Nov 11 - 09:22 PM

I've tried over the years to jam with classically trained musicians and guess what???

Doesn't work either way and most of the trained musicians have expressed frustration that they couldn't play by ear... My wife included... Music major in college and she constantly tells me, "It's not fair that you can just play..."

B~


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Subject: RE: Playing by Ear?
From: GUEST,Ellen Vannin
Date: 11 Nov 11 - 04:27 AM

Why do people assume it's either/or? What about people who can do both equally well? Or do they just get hated by both sides?


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Subject: RE: Playing by Ear?
From: Tigger the Tiger
Date: 11 Nov 11 - 06:17 AM

I knew a music theory major whose major instrument was the piano. He had to practice about 2 or 3 hours per day. After a lifetime of classical piano,his reach on the guitar was fantastic. He knew where each note of a chord was,all the way up the neck on the guitar. He saw the music on the page as he was playing. These students had to compose written works in various styles,Bach,Mozart,etc. Too clean,precise, and unemotional,but then again, he did not take guitar too seriously;it was a toy to him.


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Subject: RE: Playing by Ear?
From: Charley Noble
Date: 11 Nov 11 - 10:06 AM

The best training I ever had for learning tunes "by ear" was a weekly session with the Pretty Shaky Stringband" in East Lansing, Michigan. We'd gather together, a mix of experienced and inexperienced players. A lead fiddler would announce and start a tune and everyone one try to catch up. Occasionally a guitar player would shout out some chords. Initially, all the tunes sounded pretty similar but after a while I would figure out what the chord structure was, and how best to position my capo to play along on my 5-string banjo.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Playing by Ear?
From: GUEST,highlandman at work
Date: 11 Nov 11 - 04:53 PM

Ellen, I don't think those who can do both equally well are hated by either side, but rather admired and valued. Because they are the workhorses who can hold their own in whatever situation they find themselves.
-Glenn


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Subject: RE: Playing by Ear?
From: Charley Noble
Date: 12 Nov 11 - 10:15 AM

There's no particular reason to be proud of being musically illiterate, or for people who are musically literate to be proud of not being able to play a tune by ear.

Charley Noble, musically illiterate


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Subject: RE: Playing by Ear?
From: Backwoodsman
Date: 12 Nov 11 - 11:29 AM

"I don't think those who can do both equally well are hated by either side, but rather admired and valued."

Absolutely.


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Subject: RE: Playing by Ear?
From: GUEST,Guest Brian May (in NZ)
Date: 12 Nov 11 - 01:54 PM

I can't read a note and admire those that can. I don't want to invest the time and effort in learning.

I find that NOT having the external restrictions allows me to improvise and experiment. Since I only play for my own amusement it really doesn't matter.

however, when presented with new material, unless I hear it, I'm knackered.


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Subject: RE: Playing by Ear?
From: GUEST,cockneybanjo
Date: 12 Nov 11 - 05:17 PM

Playing by ear can be a lot of things. For players who start in mid or later life, learning to identify the key can be quite challenging. Some teachers are happy to teach what might be summarised as "basic jamming" as a goal, most aren't.

I have one teacher I've seen over the time I've been playing, who I get on with very well. He started by teaching me basic chords and keeping time, and since then most of our sessions have been in the form of working on particular tunes or forms, or smoothing out the problems in something I've picked up on my travels (I work in the offshore oil industry so my lessons aren't regular). There are some big gaps in what I've learnt but he has kept my motivation going.

I had another teacher a couple of years ago for a few months, working in the South West. His view was that older starters tend to suffer from lack of time, self-consciousness, lack of family support and lack of knowledge of the genre. He felt that if you try and teach a 45-year-old to play Twinkle Little Star, they will not take it in for these reasons. He taught me some basic BG chord progressions and how to anticipate, to some extent, where the music was likely to go, and this was very useful.

However I've also had a couple of teachers - for fairly short periods - who didn't take this view and this didn't work out.

I tend to go to BG sessions, although I'm not a BG player. The reason is simple. It does tend to be something of a cliche, but experience has tended to be that if you go to a BG session and don't really know what is going on, someone will give you a bit of a steer in the right direction, whereas at a traditional session you will be ignored at best. My favourite session is a local group which plays country, traditional and pretty well anything anyone brings in.

Where does this lead? Good question. FWIW, I'd say learn to identify C, D and G reliably and quickly. Learn 4:4, 3:4 and 6:8 times. At that point you will some sort of handle in what is happening and will start to nake some actual progress.


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Subject: RE: Playing by Ear?
From: GUEST,highlandman at home
Date: 12 Nov 11 - 10:58 PM

BG = ?
Background Guitar? Bubble Gum?
Bum Grease?
help?


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Subject: RE: Playing by Ear?
From: GUEST,Eb
Date: 12 Nov 11 - 11:19 PM

Bluegrass?


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Subject: RE: Playing by Ear?
From: GUEST
Date: 13 Nov 11 - 03:56 AM

... found this http://archive.mandolinsessions.com/backissues.html a while ago, interesting site. Go to the "Building a traditiobnal repertoire" section, makes you think about the song itself.


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Subject: RE: Playing by Ear?
From: GUEST
Date: 13 Nov 11 - 03:57 AM

http://archive.mandolinsessions.com/backissues.html


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Subject: RE: Playing by Ear?
From: Allan C.
Date: 13 Nov 11 - 06:38 AM

My guitar teacher taught "by ear". She taught me how to hear the chord changes, how to discover the key being played in a recording, a good bit of some general concepts of music theory, and a neat trick for writing down notes: l3 meant, first string, third fret; 44 meant, fourth string, fourth fret - and so on. Lyrics and chord changes, along with numeric notations were written and read; but never were there any staffs, clefts or dots.

When I first got into folk music I decided that I would NEVER attempt to learn any songs by way of printed music. It just wasn't part of the folk process, in my way of thinking (then). I wanted to only learn songs through aural means, using the tools I had been taught. But then someone showed me a Joan Baez songbook. Still stubbornly resistant, I had to have someone who could readily read music to teach me the melodies.

Despite having studied music theory for a couple of semesters along with having been in numerous choirs, I still remain musically illiterate. Oh, I can s-l-o-w-l-y decipher written dots if anyone were to ask it of me. But I never, ever learned or taught myself how to apply the written notes to any instrument.

Today I find that I have limited myself greatly. I have a very fine library of books filled with songs and yet still must have someone "read" them to me.


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Subject: RE: Playing by Ear?
From: Rockhen
Date: 13 Nov 11 - 01:36 PM

I am lucky in that my parents, although they made financial sacrifices to do it, were able to give their kids the opportunity to have music tuition.
I had lessons, so can read music. I am also lucky because I have had many chances to play by ear in less formal situations. I do not find that one method affects the other in a negative way, in fact, I think they run alongside each other. Sometimes I play music with a mixture of musicians, some who read and some who don't, together. Sometimes it is easier to say...transpose up a minor 3rd to one and use capo 4 to another person...it is good to be able to explain things in several different ways. If you only use one method of playing, I really don't see why some need to knock other ways, they are all valuable and unless you use it, how do you really know whether it is worthwhile.
I know some musicians who imply that because they are 'classically trained' they can't/won't play without written music...I would suggest that being classically trained is different to being closed minded. True education about any subject, makes you want to find out more and more, not restrict you and place walls around you.


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Subject: RE: Playing by Ear?
From: Brian May
Date: 13 Nov 11 - 01:55 PM

Rockhen - neatly covered, and that's a nice attitude to both 'camps'.


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Subject: RE: Playing by Ear?
From: GUEST
Date: 14 Nov 11 - 07:42 PM

Thanks Brian, that is kind of you. I do think there are benefits from using both techniques. I know I am lucky to have had lessons but also to have the chance to play with some great musicians who play by ear and/or prefer to use music.
Here's to diversity!


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Subject: RE: Playing by Ear?
From: Black belt caterpillar wrestler
Date: 15 Nov 11 - 07:41 AM

My wife reads music so I get her to play what's written when I need to "get at" a new piece that I don't have a recording of.
Usually about ten minute later she's telling me to slow down!

In fact she learns by ear as well as from the dots but when using them has to have the dots there in front of her until she has thoroughly "heard" herself play it in order to later play it without the dots.


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Subject: RE: Playing by Ear?
From: Rockhen
Date: 15 Nov 11 - 07:22 PM

Oops sorry, the guest after Brian was me, Rockhen...logged back into my biscuit thingy, now! :-)


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Subject: RE: Playing by Ear?
From: Banjo-Flower
Date: 16 Nov 11 - 03:37 AM

Nice to meet you last night Rockhen at Reely Grim and hope you keep coming


Gerry


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Subject: RE: Playing by Ear?
From: Rockhen
Date: 16 Nov 11 - 06:39 PM

Thanks Gerry! It was a great night and...keeping with the thread, a good example of how musicians who play with music and/by ear, can do music together with no ill effects and with excellent results!Brilliant!:-)


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