Playing by ear

To discuss / ask questions about learning methods/styles/teachers/techniques etc.
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m33ksy
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Playing by ear

Post by m33ksy » Mon Mar 20, 2017 6:14 pm

Apologies is this has already been asked, I couldn't find it anywhere. This may be a very vague question but what advice can people give me with regards to learning to play by ear. I can read music but want to be able to hear a piece of music and be able to play it. I understand this will take many months and years to perfect but any pointers on how to attack this would be greatly received.

Many thanks

george garside
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Re: Playing by ear

Post by george garside » Mon Mar 20, 2017 7:49 pm

there is a h uge thread on here re playing by ear - I have brought a section of it up again in the portal part of the forum.
Perhaps someone who knows how to do these things can provide a link to the start of the thread

george

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m33ksy
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Re: Playing by ear

Post by m33ksy » Mon Mar 20, 2017 7:51 pm

Thank you for that George I figured there might have been but a search proved fruitless. Thank you for bumping that to the top :)

george garside
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Re: Playing by ear

Post by george garside » Mon Mar 20, 2017 8:13 pm

m33ksy wrote:Apologies is this has already been asked, I couldn't find it anywhere. This may be a very vague question but what advice can people give me with regards to learning to play by ear. I can read music but want to be able to hear a piece of music and be able to play it. I understand this will take many months and years to perfect but any pointers on how to attack this would be greatly received.

Many thanks
loads of hints and tips on the thread I have bumped up and which is well worth reading right through. However to get you started I would suggest that to begin with you take a simple tune that you can hum or whistle ( that proves it is in the head so to speak) and pick it out slowly in the key of C . When the saints go marching in,amazing grace, coming round the mountains , winster gallop, or whatever!. when you have sorted out a tune in C then play it in some other keys eg F,G,D,A.

As to the bass stick with the 3 chord trick once you have the melody sorted and just busk in using , if playing in C, FCG bass notes and major chords the choice being whichever sounds best. Busking in the bass becomes totally intuitive once you get the hang of it!

hope this helps

george

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m33ksy
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Re: Playing by ear

Post by m33ksy » Mon Mar 20, 2017 9:12 pm

Thanks for the quick summary, I have started reading through the 17 or so pages and there is some great information,a brilliant topic one that I guess will always have mixed opinions but then that's not a bad thing. {}

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Re: Playing by ear

Post by rancoman » Mon Jun 05, 2017 11:04 am

Yippee! A thread I might know something about at last! I play entirely by ear - don't have a note of music.

Sometimes I look at sheet music in front of someone else and think 'Good God! Am I playing all these wee dots and squiggles? WOW!'

Being serious (not an easy thing for me to do) I would always recommend that people learn to read music - not being able to do that is a limitation, but playing by ear is great fun and a perfectly reasonable option for anyone who doesn't want to become a virtuoso.

Happy to contribute to this thread if it comes live again. With videos, and mistakes. Mr Garside - I'm still patiently waiting for your debut video on the 'lift' thread! :D Here would be good as well......

Signed

A Troublemaker :b

Geoff de Limousin
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Re: Playing by ear

Post by Geoff de Limousin » Mon Jun 05, 2017 3:09 pm

Playing by ear is something I have always done since primary school on the Recorder. Easy enough when you have another person play a new tune to you phrase by phrase or note by note.

I used to pick up tunes from records by jogging the needle back a few grooves to play a section again and again or later on using a two or three speed tape recorder to slow the tune down to gain the tricky bits but these days it is better to use one of those clever 'slowing down' programs on a computer or MP3 device which can be set to play a section of a recording over and over again until all the notes have sunk into one's fingers. My wife encourages me to write the tunes down as I'm picking them up but I find that slows the process... although it is better to do so I am sure.

Eventually ,with practice, it is possible to pick up tunes from other musicians as they are being played, but it is best to work on this skill at home and only try it in public in the genres of music you are most familiar with.

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Re: Playing by ear

Post by Corsaire » Mon Jun 05, 2017 7:54 pm

I also find it much easier to hear the tune before reading the music. I never had to learn to play by ear it just came naturally. On the other hand, I had to learn to sightread to get through those wretched piano exams.
The ability to sight read is incredibly useful but needs practice because it's not always possible to hear the tune before trying to learn it.

When learning something new I turn to YouTube to see if there's anything there, but if it's a new or obscure tune or song, I don't always find it.
The only solution I have found is to improve my sight reading !

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