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#2699187 - 12/23/17 06:36 PM Ear training  
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Jitin Offline
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Hello, I am trying to improve my ability to interpret songs by ear and I'm running into a challenge. Sometimes I'm not sure if I'm interpreting the song right or playing the right notes in the piano, what do you advise , so that I can improve this ability ?


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#2699195 - 12/23/17 07:06 PM Re: Ear training [Re: Jitin]  
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I really do not even know what you mean by "interpret songs by ear".

Usually ear training is for the purpose of "hearing" things that you wish to replicate or "hearing" things in your head and wishing to produce that as you play "by ear".

So a bit of clarification might be needed on this topic.


Don

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#2699201 - 12/23/17 07:40 PM Re: Ear training [Re: dmd]  
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Jitin Offline
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I'm sorry , by ear training I mean I want to play something i hear in my head or what I hear on the radio etc


P155
#2699206 - 12/23/17 08:09 PM Re: Ear training [Re: Jitin]  
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Last week I was at an early Christmas party. There was a keyboard in the room and 2 men took turns at the instrument playing Christmas songs including some hymns. And 1 of the men has a good ear. People usually use that term to describe someone who can play a tune off his/her head without having to use sheet music... and adding embellishments along the way such as chord arpeggios, glissando and even changing a few notes and still maintaining enough of the original melody to be recognizable. At some point I started playing "Go Tell It on the Mountain" with the violin in G (the version I normally play from a church hymn book) and somewhere in the middle of the tune the man on keyboard started playing the piece in A. Paused for a second and followed along and played the rest of the song in A.

A lot of piano students listen to a song on radio or in a recording but has to get the sheet music and learn it from the score. Others can put something back together that sounded like the original but not necessarily the exact note-for-note reproduction. Like you know the melody line to the common hymn "Amazing Grace". Your right plays 1 line (1 note at a time) and your left plays chords as accompaniment by using appropriate chords without any sheet music.

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#2699211 - 12/23/17 08:30 PM Re: Ear training [Re: Jitin]  
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dmd Offline
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This is probably one of the best sites for learning to play by ear ....

https://www.pianomagic.com/


Don

Current: ES8, Focusrite Scarlett 2i4 audio device, SennHeiser HD598 Phones, Focal CMS 40 Powered Monitors, JBL LSR305 Powered Monitors
#2699255 - 12/24/17 03:09 AM Re: Ear training [Re: Jitin]  
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If you want it fairly cheap, have a look at the 2 app in my signature. it will learn you to recognize how an F sounds in the key of C, or how an F sounds in the key of Bb,(and much more... The Chord app will learn you to recognize chord changes by ear.

#2699260 - 12/24/17 03:57 AM Re: Ear training [Re: Jitin]  
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Originally Posted by Jitin
Hello, I am trying to improve my ability to interpret songs by ear and I'm running into a challenge. Sometimes I'm not sure if I'm interpreting the song right or playing the right notes in the piano, what do you advise , so that I can improve this ability ?


I'm not sure whether the skill you want to learn can be acquired, other than by direct repetition. That is, trying it over and over again, and evaluating the results (or having somebody else evaluate the results) critically. Some knowledge of theory and the conventions of the genre of music in which you are interested probably helps.

There is plenty of software for general "ear training," so you can learn, for example, to identify some sequence of two notes as an interval of a major sixth, or some chord as a dominant seventh in second inversion, or whatever. I use Auralia for this, and it's good, but expensive. I suspect that the skills learned by carrying out exercises of this sort do translate to playing by ear, to some extent; but I'm not sure what extent.

#2699310 - 12/24/17 10:40 AM Re: Ear training [Re: kevinb]  
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I think if I can identify intervals then I should focus on trying over and over again , not having the foundation puts more guess work imho


P155
#2699377 - 12/24/17 07:04 PM Re: Ear training [Re: Jitin]  
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I second the suggestion by johan. Learn to recognize scale degrees, i.e. how a note relates to the tonic. After a lot of practice you will start to hear notes as numbers, for example, you will start to hear the melody of "Happy birthday" as the numbers "5-5-6-5-1-7"

For clarification: In the key of D major the notes are "A-A-B-A-D-C#". If you write down the scale of D major and enumerate the notes, then you have:

1 - D
2 - E
3 - F#
4 - G
5 - A
6 - B
7 - C#

This also allows you to figure out the chords quickly because you only need to listen to the bass (assuming the chord is in root position) and translate it to a number (scale degree).

My advice is to start with the Functional Ear Trainer which teaches you to hear scale degrees. Combine that with melodic dictation exercises, e.g. MiReDo and HookTheory and listening to a lot of music to identify chord progressions.

Last edited by Veelo; 12/24/17 08:56 PM. Reason: Added a link to HookTheory
#2699382 - 12/24/17 07:42 PM Re: Ear training [Re: Veelo]  
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Originally Posted by Veelo
I second the suggestion by johan. Learn to recognize scale degrees, i.e. how a note relates to the tonic. After a lot of practice you will start to hear notes as numbers, for example, you will start to hear the melody of "Happy birthday" as the numbers "5-5-6-5-1-7"

The solfège system has a lot to recommend it. If you've ever seen The Sound of Music, you'll know what I mean:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jp0opnxQ4rY

All diatonic tunes (which is really almost all pop, folk and hymn tunes) can be sung using do-re-mi. Some people imagine the notes corresponding to those in the C major scale on the piano, and thus play them on the piano easily that way, just using the white keys.

Don't try to do it in other keys until you're completely familiar with them.

Next step is to add the harmony. Learn I, ii, IV, V, vi (again, start with C major and master that key first) - get familiar with how they sound like in context, and in progressions - and you'll have enough to use for most pop songs and hymn tunes. For example, Silent Night (and Amazing Grace) uses just I, IV and V; O Come All Ye Faithful adds ii and vi.


"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
#2699971 - 12/27/17 05:04 PM Re: Ear training [Re: Veelo]  
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1. does the chord progression numbering and melody numbering you showed always reflect the major scale?

or can it also reflect the minor or other scales

2. also, when i practice intervals should i always practice in the same key (i.e c major scale) , or always different keys?

Last edited by Jitin; 12/27/17 08:13 PM.

P155
#2700011 - 12/27/17 09:52 PM Re: Ear training [Re: Jitin]  
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Originally Posted by Jitin
Hello, I am trying to improve my ability to interpret songs by ear ... what do you advise , so that I can improve this ability ?

The thing is, playing "by ear" is many skills. When you hear a piece/song, what exactly do you 'hear'? Can you identify the rhythm? Melody notes? Chord progression? Cadences? Voicing?

For me the best ear training has been to pay attention to each of these things in every piece/song I learn. Picking them out, mindfully playing and improvising with each of them individually, and playing them round the circle until my ear understands <that particular sound>. For me this takes at least 3-7 days of repeating it. Realistically my ear only masters <that sound> after I learn it in different variations across several different pieces/songs. lt looks magical after the fact, but each one takes some time to full learn.

My blues/jazz teacher had me playing I IV V triad progressions until my ears were bleeding from the sound. When he started assigning the Major 6th into the exercises, it was like the sweetest sound in the world. And I can hear a 6th almost immediately, but once again only after putting in the time and mindfully playing all those progressions so my ear has been trained to identify <that sound>. It is a good feeling when you're listening to a Peanuts song during Christmas and you say to yourself 'well damn if that isn't a 6th' and I figure out that it's in the key of A to boot thumb

But once again, it looks magical, but I also know how much time I had to put in - so my ear could hear that.

Scales/Arpeggios/Cadences etc. - I do find that these technical exercises are a good foundation for ear training. Firstly as a way make the connections between what you’re physically playing on the keyboard and the sound you’re making and secondly as the foundation for clearly identitying how things are actually applied in music. Its where you learn how to babble and mumble before you can talk.


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#2700027 - 12/28/17 12:50 AM Re: Ear training [Re: bennevis]  
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Originally Posted by bennevis
For example, Silent Night (and Amazing Grace) uses just I, IV and V; O Come All Ye Faithful adds ii and vi.

Faithful adds what is in classical analysis a V/V, not a ii. In C, ii would be Dm.


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#2700074 - 12/28/17 08:36 AM Re: Ear training [Re: Gary D.]  
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Originally Posted by Gary D.
Originally Posted by bennevis
For example, Silent Night (and Amazing Grace) uses just I, IV and V; O Come All Ye Faithful adds ii and vi.

Faithful adds what is in classical analysis a V/V, not a ii. In C, ii would be Dm.

In the UK, we use Sir David Willcocks's harmonization almost exclusively (from his book Carols for Choirs, which I play from when accompanying carols). The annual Festival of Nine Lessons & Carols from King's College Chapel, Cambridge, for instance. The second chord is ii7d (hence, I - ii7d - Vb):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kRq8eywc57I

In the key of G, the notes are G, C, E, A from bottom note up. You also could say that the G in the bass is a suspension, resolving down to F#. It sounds better to my mind (certainly more interesting) than straightforward I - Vb.


"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
#2700085 - 12/28/17 09:23 AM Re: Ear training [Re: Jitin]  
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Just to help with terminology and prevent misunderstanding, because the earliest harmony book I used had this terminology, and it doesn't seem that common except in some corners:
Quote
ii7d (hence, I - ii7d - Vb):


In this system, a, b, c, d refer to inversions. Thus for a seven chord (C7),
V7 or V7a = C7 (for that chord), meaning root position V7
V7b = C7/E, V65 or meaning 2nd inversion V7
V7c = C7/G, V43 or meaning 3rd inversion V7
V7d = C7/Bb, V42 or meaning 4th inversion V7

Is this the system you're using?

In some (hybrid?) systems, the b in "Vb" means "flat" as in "flat five", i.e. a V chord that has been lowered by a semitone. My very first harmony book was by a Canadian author, 1950's, and it used lower case letters to represent inversions. I've only met one other person since who was familiar with the system. You're the second. wink

#2700103 - 12/28/17 10:03 AM Re: Ear training [Re: keystring]  
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Originally Posted by keystring

In this system, a, b, c, d refer to inversions. Thus for a seven chord (C7),
V7 or V7a = C7 (for that chord), meaning root position V7
V7b = C7/E, V65 or meaning 2nd inversion V7
V7c = C7/G, V43 or meaning 3rd inversion V7
V7d = C7/Bb, V42 or meaning 4th inversion V7

I've only met one other person since who was familiar with the system. You're the second. wink


I'm one of those people who was also unfamiliar with this system. When I've marked up lead sheets I've used numbers instead of letters to represent specific inversions that I want to play but somehow I find the use of letters more elegant. I may start using this. Thanks for the tip!


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#2700115 - 12/28/17 10:34 AM Re: Ear training [Re: Jitin]  
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V/V... secondary dominants... to know them is to love them. Especially in the last two stanzas of this arrangement!

#2700121 - 12/28/17 10:47 AM Re: Ear training [Re: fizikisto]  
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Originally Posted by fizikisto
Originally Posted by keystring

In this system, a, b, c, d refer to inversions. Thus for a seven chord (C7),
V7 or V7a = C7 (for that chord), meaning root position V7
V7b = C7/E, V65 or meaning 2nd inversion V7
V7c = C7/G, V43 or meaning 3rd inversion V7
V7d = C7/Bb, V42 or meaning 4th inversion V7

I've only met one other person since who was familiar with the system. You're the second. wink


I'm one of those people who was also unfamiliar with this system. When I've marked up lead sheets I've used numbers instead of letters to represent specific inversions that I want to play but somehow I find the use of letters more elegant. I may start using this. Thanks for the tip!

The only danger is that if you use these symbols in a forum, others may not know what you're talking about, or think that Vb means "flat V". That's why I gave the heads up when Bennevis posted.

The same system (that I learned first) does not distinguish between II and ii (or IIm). The reasoning is that it tends to be used to teach simple 4 part harmony that is quite diatonic. If you know your chord is built on the 2nd degree of a major key, then obviously it will be minor, and you don't need to indicate it. When it's used with figured bass, or even figured bass with no degree indications (my book did that), then if in the key of C, your D chord is major instead of minor, the 3rd of the chord is shown to be raised by a semitone in the figured bass symbolism. Therefore they don't bother indicating quality to the degree chords. .......... Get into a forum with other conventions and write "II", people will think you are indicating a major II chord (often a V/V), while you've written "generic chord built on the 2nd degree". wink

Come to think of it, in that book one didn't see Roman Numerals under the notes; you only saw figured bass. But in the text, when inversions were being discussed, they used the a, b, c, d as a kind of shorthand, in order to not have to write out "V7 chord in 4th inversion".

#2700131 - 12/28/17 11:35 AM Re: Ear training [Re: Jitin]  
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I know the letter system for inversions. It’s used in the online Fundamentals of Music Theory course taught by the University of Edinburgh. This led me to suspect it’s common in Scotland, and indeed in the whole United Kingdom.


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#2700539 - 12/29/17 09:35 PM Re: Ear training [Re: Jitin]  
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Originally Posted by Jitin
1. does the chord progression numbering and melody numbering you showed always reflect the major scale? or can it also reflect the minor or other scales


The numbers always refer to the major scale, and other scales are expressed as alterations of the major scale. For example, the notes of the natural minor scale are represented by the numbers 1 2 b3 4 5 b6 b7. This just means you take the major scale and flatten the third, sixth and seventh note. For example, C major has the notes

C D E F G A B C ,

and C minor has the notes

C D Eb F G Ab Bb C .


Other examples are the modes of the major scale. You can also use scale degrees to describe how chords are constructed, e.g. a Cmaj7 chord has the scale degrees 1 3 5 7, while a C7 chord has the scale degrees 1 3 5 b7.


Originally Posted by Jitin
2. also, when i practice intervals should i always practice in the same key (i.e c major scale) , or always different keys?


When using the app Functional Ear Trainer you start listening to the key of C, but soon listen to all keys. And it doesn't make a difference whether you are in C or some other key like D since the scale degrees are relative to the tonic note.

#2704683 - 01/13/18 07:31 PM Re: Ear training [Re: Jitin]  
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I’m in process of learning a song called yunas ballad( c major),and , I was doing the harmonic analysis , and one question can to mind , if you have a measure that plays notes defcg.. would you call that a c major chord since that is closest fit?


P155
#2704689 - 01/13/18 08:02 PM Re: Ear training [Re: Jitin]  
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To learn to play piano by ear:
I would second dmd's suggestion: try pianomagic.com
It's not free, but it works--I've done it.
I have no affiliation with Piano Magic other than being a satisfied customer.

I think, if you want to play tunes by ear, learn to play tunes by ear--
that's what "Piano Magic" is all about.

If you want to pass "ear-training" tests for a music degree or whatever,
use one of the various interval-training program out there.


tinman1943
Adult Learner
--Music is poetry; why print it like prose?--

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