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#1515930 - 09/15/10 04:29 PM Re: Harmonization and playing by ear, intermediate level [Re: Soozen]  
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Eweiss, I mean just dig in, without consciously trying to hit any specific chord or note or scale. I might happen to hit specific chords when I play, but if I do, it is not deliberate. I'm hitting either single notes (one note, a scalelike run, an appegiolike run, etc.--but not trying to consciously identify what notes I'm actually hitting), or bunches of notes (intervals, chords--but again, I'm not consciously identifying them). For example, and this is just one of many possibilities, I sometimes like to use stridelike techniques to play a jazzy type waltz. I hit a low bass note (any note; I'm not even trying to identify it), and then I hit two higher chords (any chords, just bunches of notes that I don't try to consciously identify). Thus, you have your basic waltz type pattern which you add the r.h. to: anything, single notes, scalelike runs, arpeggiolike runs, intervals, chords, etc., none of them consciously identified by me.


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#1515938 - 09/15/10 04:35 PM Re: Harmonization and playing by ear, intermediate level [Re: Soozen]  
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Jjo, all those big-time jazz players you mention have their own way of playing, that suits their individual abilities, experience, and musical tastes, which are not yours, nor mine. I have my own individual abilities, experience, and musical tastes, and I prefer to fit my playing to them, not to someone else's.

#1515959 - 09/15/10 05:04 PM Re: Harmonization and playing by ear, intermediate level [Re: Soozen]  
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Thanks for responding Gyro. I've always admired your playing philosophy and your restraint and tolerance when others attack you on this forum. smile


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#1516259 - 09/15/10 11:54 PM Re: Harmonization and playing by ear, intermediate level [Re: Gyro]  
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Originally Posted by Gyro
Jjo, all those big-time jazz players you mention have their own way of playing, that suits their individual abilities, experience, and musical tastes, which are not yours, nor mine. I have my own individual abilities, experience, and musical tastes, and I prefer to fit my playing to them, not to someone else's.


Those big time jazz players learned tons of theory and copied others too.. so what do you say to that?

some Bill Evans quote

"I had eleven piano students, and I would say eight of them didn't even want to know about chords or anything - they didn't’ even want to do anything that anybody had ever done, because they didn't want to be imitators. Well, of course, this is pretty naive"

"First of all, I never strive for identity. That's something that just has happened automatically as a result, I think, of just putting things together, tearing things apart and putting it together my own way, and somehow I guess the individual comes through eventually."

So you see, what you are suggesting accoring to Bill Evan is rather naive..

ewiss,

the problem wit the "stride" Gyro mentioned above is, well, if you aren't even somehow aware of what notes you are playing, then what in the world are you playing then? how is that any different than someone who's never played the piano smacking random keys in the left hand and playing blocks of sound in the right hand?

And btw that's not how stride music is played, most if not all stride music is played by using a pre-determined harmonic progression. To Gyro to say he is playing stride, without understanding the music, is a totally misrepresentation of the music style. It's like you saying I speak french even though the only thing you can do is speak couple of french phrases in bad accent.

What Gyro is doing is something that is like 'stride' but has nothing to do with jazz, just like how his idea of improvisation has very little to do with jazz, which is defined by style. One thing that Gyro needs to understand is that JAZZ IS A FORM OF IMPROVISED MUSIC, and NOT ALL IMPROVISED MUSIC is jazz. and he also need to think about how RELEVANT his advice is to what OP wants to do, which is to be able to harmonize a pre-existing melody. for that "just digging in with no regards to what you play" is not going to help you much.

Last edited by etcetra; 09/16/10 12:05 AM.
#1516314 - 09/16/10 03:06 AM Re: Harmonization and playing by ear, intermediate level [Re: Soozen]  
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I would guess Gyro likes Cecil Taylor and other in the free jazz school. I think that style might be funner to play than to have to listen to soemwbody else playing it.


Roland FP-4 digital piano, Mason & Hamlin acoustic piano.
#1516319 - 09/16/10 03:38 AM Re: Harmonization and playing by ear, intermediate level [Re: Soozen]  
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Few things to consider,

Bill Evans, Chick Corea, Herbie Hancock.. they all went to music school and have studied theory extensively. In fact in Bill Evan's biography, he talks about how his theory teacher was a big influence on him

Every great player mentioned above have copied others and openly admits to their influence. Herbie Hancock talks about how Clare Fischer's harmony was a big influence on him, and Oscar Peterson openly admits imitating Art Tatum. If you watch Chick coreas "piano workshop DVD you realize he can play just like Bud Powell. I saw this one clip, this piano player was talking about how he heard Thelonius Monk playing just like Art Tatum.. and saying how he doesn't play like that, because "it's already been done"

BTW I had a gig yesterday.. and this guy wanted to sit in... I guess he had like a Gyrp-type approach to music. He didn't know anything about theory, he couldn't even tell me what key he is playing, he just "plays by ear" 'digs in' and play... and he wanted to somehow play with us. I gave him a chance and we did that for like 5 min and eventually I had to kindly ask him to get off the stage because this was at a club and he didn't know what he was doing.

He insisted that he wanted to continue and said he can play autumn leaves "by ear".. not only couldn't he play the melody in time, he was so tone-deaf that whatever he played "by ear" did not resemble anything like autumn leaves. But at that point the store manager intervened.

So you see, I am very skeptical of anyone that says they play completely by ear.

Last edited by etcetra; 09/16/10 03:59 AM.
#1516641 - 09/16/10 02:45 PM Re: Harmonization and playing by ear, intermediate level [Re: etcetra]  
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What I can never figure out is when I read that greats like Erroll Garner and Irving Berlin played by ear. confused shocked

#1516679 - 09/16/10 03:31 PM Re: Harmonization and playing by ear, intermediate level [Re: Soozen]  
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Elssa,

Learning by ear doesn't mean they didn't internalize the music theory and the musical vocabulary. Indian Classical music is all taught aurally by imitation, or in other words it's learned by ear with no written music. But they don't have any problem playing music with other people because they have internalized the vocabulary and the theory behind it. So they can actually write a book on what they do if they wanted to.

Ray charles was blind but he could play the piano because he had teachers who showed him how to play. They do have all the theory in their mind, just not with the convention and notation we use in music. So I am guessing anybody who learned by ear did so through apprenticeship, and not out of vacum, by somehow digging in.

so what's really missing in Gyro's idea is that "learning by ear "was done through APPRENTICESHIP. And in reality it's not learning 100% by ear since you are rely your visual information too, (like what the chord looks like)

Last edited by etcetra; 09/16/10 03:33 PM.
#1516702 - 09/16/10 03:58 PM Re: Harmonization and playing by ear, intermediate level [Re: Gyro]  
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Gyro ... thanks for the explanation.

Just tuff to wrap my mind/ear around what that would sound like.
That's why I asked for an example.


#1516729 - 09/16/10 04:30 PM Re: Harmonization and playing by ear, intermediate level [Re: Soozen]  
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Erroll Garner was hearing music from the day he was born and was learning music and piano by the time he was three years old. At that age you don't need to learn any formal theory to learn the "language." Adults do not have the same type of learning capacity as a toddler.


Roland FP-4 digital piano, Mason & Hamlin acoustic piano.
#1516733 - 09/16/10 04:37 PM Re: Harmonization and playing by ear, intermediate level [Re: Soozen]  
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This is the free play approach that Gyro is always talking about:


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=biAy8fZAfHo

#1516744 - 09/16/10 04:50 PM Re: Harmonization and playing by ear, intermediate level [Re: etcetra]  
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Yes, they must have had an innate sense of chords/theory, and I guess the blind greats like George Shearing, Stevie Wonder, etc could feel the keyboard's groups of black keys and internalize the note clusters/chords, handshapes, etc, that they liked to use, even if they didn't name them. They probably also did get some help from people, as you say. Of course, they're mainly just brilliant, "born with it" IMO. smile

http://www.hollywoodoutbreak.com/2009/09/22/on-this-day-in-show-biz-irving-berlin-dies/

"Berlin had little formal education and no instruction in music. A self-taught piano player, he played by ear. Able to play in only one key, F sharp, he had a special piano made for him that could be set to different keys using a gear shift. He never learned to read or write music and used a musical secretary to transcribe the songs he wrote".

#1516777 - 09/16/10 05:41 PM Re: Harmonization and playing by ear, intermediate level [Re: Soozen]  
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Thanks Jazz+ ..... now I know what "just dig in" means.

#1516889 - 09/16/10 09:38 PM Re: Harmonization and playing by ear, intermediate level [Re: Jazz+]  
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Thanks Jazz, for putting that up. Where did you come across that?
I've had some really good chuckles today reading on various forums and threads. I actually listened to the whole piece.
I can relate in one sense to this fellows playing... because I've done a lot of very free style improvisation. But he doesn't seem to care at all about any of the sounds he's making, let alone his piano itself - just flopping around

#1516972 - 09/17/10 01:27 AM Re: Harmonization and playing by ear, intermediate level [Re: Soozen]  
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I am not really sure if what Gyro meant was really free jazz...

but then again to say whether free jazz approach is better than other jazz is silly... and playing lots of free jazz probably won't help you much with finding the right chords to amazing grace... unless you want to play something atonal behind the melody.

Here's Cecil Taylor. The way I understand free jazz.. its like stream-of-consciousness writing.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cP5L8tjnB6w

Last edited by etcetra; 09/17/10 01:28 AM.
#1516985 - 09/17/10 01:56 AM Re: Harmonization and playing by ear, intermediate level [Re: Soozen]  
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Here is another free play master:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q3OOwglVldI

#1517380 - 09/17/10 04:30 PM Re: Harmonization and playing by ear, intermediate level [Re: Soozen]  
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Jazz+, I disagree that an adult cannot learn to improvise by ear like a toddler. In fact, if you are not good at classical repertoire, not good at sight-reading, not good at anything musical, then maybe that means you're good at improvising by ear, because that's the only thing left you could possibly do at the piano. I'm not good at anything on the piano, and I find that I can do quite well, relatively speaking, improvising by ear, certainly better than anything else I can do at the keyboard.

Those free improvisors you posted. I don't sound at all like that. That's the way they play, I play my own way.

#1517386 - 09/17/10 04:35 PM Re: Harmonization and playing by ear, intermediate level [Re: Soozen]  
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Good grief, this everyone-has-to-sound-the-same mindset has infected even the free improvisors. Both of those guys sound quite similar.

#1517392 - 09/17/10 04:39 PM Re: Harmonization and playing by ear, intermediate level [Re: Soozen]  
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Is there a book on "free" improvisation that says you have to play in a certain way?

#1517540 - 09/17/10 08:33 PM Re: Harmonization and playing by ear, intermediate level [Re: Soozen]  
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Gyro please provide some links to other free players, doesn't have to to be you.

#1517541 - 09/17/10 08:33 PM Re: Harmonization and playing by ear, intermediate level [Re: Soozen]  
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#1517545 - 09/17/10 08:40 PM Re: Harmonization and playing by ear, intermediate level [Re: Gyro]  
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Originally Posted by Gyro
Jazz+, I disagree that an adult cannot learn to improvise by ear like a toddler. In fact, if you are not good at classical repertoire, not good at sight-reading, not good at anything musical, then maybe that means you're good at improvising by ear, because that's the only thing left you could possibly do at the piano. I'm not good at anything on the piano, and I find that I can do quite well, relatively speaking, improvising by ear, certainly better than anything else I can do at the keyboard.

Those free improvisors you posted. I don't sound at all like that. That's the way they play, I play my own way.


Very revealing post, Gyro. You wrote "I am not good at anything on the piano, and I find that I can do quite well, relatively speaking, improvising by ear, certainly better than anything else I can do at the keyboard."

I thought you had previously described yourself as an accomplished classical pianist.

The original post was asking about playing tunes like John Lennon's "Imagine" by ear, and so forth. Based on your admission, I would conclude that perhaps you are not somebody to be giving advice to other pianists. And that you have some sort of anti-tradition agenda from a result of your admitted basic deficiencies. That you have latched onto feeling proud of taking a "thinking outside the box" approach to piano. It sounds as if everything else didn't work in your case. Such a direction is a recipe for isolation from all other musicians and from listeners too. One becomes an island unto themself.



#1517602 - 09/17/10 11:09 PM Re: Harmonization and playing by ear, intermediate level [Re: Jazz+]  
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Originally Posted by Jazz+

Very revealing post, Gyro.


Gyro
- I think it is time you reveal yourself. I generally agree with much of what you post:
- I also think that in many ways digital pianos are superior to acoustic pianos, and
- in terms of expressing musical emotion I also think that playing by feel and intuition is superior to learning by rote.

In my opinion you would have more credibility if you would just post some recordings of your piano playing. A video would be even better. By the way, it certainly would not "cost me more than $1000 and hundreds of hrs. of testing to get it all in place".



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#1517612 - 09/17/10 11:33 PM Re: Harmonization and playing by ear, intermediate level [Re: BillM]  
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That's true.. You can get a microphone stand for about $25.00 and a mini-tripod and put that together with a video-audio camera recorder (like Canon PowerShot) for around $100.00, and that would work very well. smile

#1517736 - 09/18/10 08:30 AM Re: Harmonization and playing by ear, intermediate level [Re: Soozen]  
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Here's what Kenny Werner has to do say about "free music" or "free improvisation/jazz" as a state of mind.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UguxxPO-lHM

Of course Kenny Werner can play "freely" like that through years of playing and studying the music. I think every good players play something that is true to their music and cultivate that 'free' state of mind, but they've also spent the necessary time to study the music sot that their expression is much more meaningful than most of us noodling on the piano.

BTW there is nothing with what Gyro is trying to do. It's only a problem when he starts to claim that that's all you need to do, and for that it's not necessary or even bad to learn by wrote or imitate others as a form of learning. Like Jazz+ said, it seems like Gyro is promoting an anti-learning agenda based on ignorance and incompetence in learning jazz in general.

Here's a Mozart quote

"People are wrong who think my art comes easily to me. I assure you, nobody has devoted so much time and thought to composition as I. There is not a famous master whose music I have not studied over and over."


Last edited by etcetra; 09/18/10 08:42 AM.
#1517738 - 09/18/10 08:39 AM Re: Harmonization and playing by ear, intermediate level [Re: Soozen]  
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Gyro

of all the videos below, who do you think has everyone-has-to-sound-the-same mindset" and "sound like everyone else" with no individual voice? And does your music resemble any of these guys?

Fred Hersch
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tBfomCIvzz0

Toni Tixier
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x0OdpeDvs7g

Tigran Hamasyan
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LwjpCGCfRSk&feature=related

Chick COrea & Hiromi
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BRU1o-sCnqY

Kenny Kirkland
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vagTOR44viQ

Taylor Egisti & Julian Lage
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xmIEKcvsoHc

I can tell you that every single one of them went to school and grind through the theory books/classes, which you hate so much.

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