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Re: Lesson Learned: Playing By Ear vs Sight Reading [Re: Colin Miles] #2749030
07/03/18 11:42 AM
07/03/18 11:42 AM
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Originally Posted by Colin Miles
Originally Posted by bennevis

The downside of course, is that you can never play anything you haven't heard before. .

The downside of NOT being a memoriser is that you always have to have the music in front of you.

I wasn't aware of anyone mentioning memorising here, let alone the OP. I believe he was talking about playing from reading sheet music v not learning to read at all.

But as I've mentioned lots of times, I never memorised anything until eight years ago, yet I had no difficulty playing for hours on the Bösendorfer Imperial in Vienna that I "came across" in my travels - simply based on snippets (often just a bar here & there) of Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Chopin, Brahms, Liszt and Rachmaninov that I'd once learnt and all but forgotten - with not a snippet of sheet music in sight.


"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."
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Re: Lesson Learned: Playing By Ear vs Sight Reading [Re: bennevis] #2749034
07/03/18 11:55 AM
07/03/18 11:55 AM
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Originally Posted by bennevis
Originally Posted by Colin Miles
Originally Posted by bennevis

The downside of course, is that you can never play anything you haven't heard before. .

The downside of NOT being a memoriser is that you always have to have the music in front of you.

I wasn't aware of anyone mentioning memorising here, let alone the OP. I believe he was talking about playing from reading sheet music v not learning to read at all.

But as I've mentioned lots of times, I never memorised anything until eight years ago, yet I had no difficulty playing for hours on the Bösendorfer Imperial in Vienna that I "came across" in my travels - simply based on snippets (often just a bar here & there) of Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Chopin, Brahms, Liszt and Rachmaninov that I'd once learnt and all but forgotten - with not a snippet of sheet music in sight.

Not reading usually doesn't necessarily preclude the ability to read. I have a good friend who started Suzuki at 5yo. I remember high school with him and he seemed to be able to play almost any song by ear and improvise on the spot -- mostly in high school, we were interested in popular music and rock, and so he was popular at any party where there was a piano. I actually never saw him with any sheet music. However years later, when we had some business together, I remember being at his house and on his grand was some sheet music. I asked him if he played the piece set up on his piano, and he immediately started playing it although he never bothered turning the page so I assume his memorizations hadn't failed him. Could it be possible that children who are taught to memorize music at an early age find it easier to memorize than people who try to develop this skill later in life?

I don't see why people who play by ear shouldn't also learn to read music. I started learning myself in February this year, and if I was to add up all the time I spent learning to "read" music, I think 60 minutes total would be generous, so I think anyone of average aptitude should be able to quickly do it. Unlike learning to read/write a foreign language, reading music is not rocket science. (Reading it quickly while you are trying to also direct your fingers is the rocket science! laugh )


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Re: Lesson Learned: Playing By Ear vs Sight Reading [Re: bennevis] #2750643
07/10/18 05:21 PM
07/10/18 05:21 PM
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Originally Posted by bennevis
The downside of course, is that you can never play anything you haven't heard before. ......


Notation is a wonderful useful thing. But there's more to music than can be contained in notation. For instance, the music of Cole Porter played back by a notation program may be recognizable, but it's clearly not right.


-- J.S.

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Re: Lesson Learned: Playing By Ear vs Sight Reading [Re: JohnSprung] #2750665
07/10/18 06:37 PM
07/10/18 06:37 PM
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Originally Posted by JohnSprung
Originally Posted by bennevis
The downside of course, is that you can never play anything you haven't heard before. ......


Notation is a wonderful useful thing. But there's more to music than can be contained in notation. For instance, the music of Cole Porter played back by a notation program may be recognizable, but it's clearly not right.



If you're familiar with a certain genre, it's easy to get into the 'swing' of it.

When I sing pop songs, accompanying myself on the guitar, I don't sing right 'on the beat' - similarly, when I play pop or jazz from lead sheets or fully-notated arrangements.

In fact, even playing something like Gershwin's Prelude No.2, you can swing it......


"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."
Re: Lesson Learned: Playing By Ear vs Sight Reading [Re: RhodesFanatic] #2750873
07/11/18 09:04 PM
07/11/18 09:04 PM
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Originally Posted by RhodesFanatic
... pick ONE method and stick with it ...

This is the advice the OP was trying to get across before the thread got hijacked. It’s pretty good advice. I’d even amend it and say - ... pick ONE method and finish it ...

(yeah, yeah I know, it’s never finished, but it’s still a good guiding principle)


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Re: Lesson Learned: Playing By Ear vs Sight Reading [Re: Groove On] #2750906
07/12/18 01:53 AM
07/12/18 01:53 AM
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Originally Posted by Groove On
Originally Posted by RhodesFanatic
... pick ONE method and stick with it ...

This is the advice the OP was trying to get across before the thread got hijacked. It’s pretty good advice. I’d even amend it and say - ... pick ONE method and finish it ...

(yeah, yeah I know, it’s never finished, but it’s still a good guiding principle)


It's only good advice if it works. We are all different and sometimes alternating between different methods will be the answer. But all methods require practice.


Roland LX7

South Wales, UK
Re: Lesson Learned: Playing By Ear vs Sight Reading [Re: Colin Miles] #2750909
07/12/18 02:46 AM
07/12/18 02:46 AM
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Originally Posted by Colin Miles
... sometimes alternating between different methods will be the answer ...

I agree, studying from multiple methods is a great strategy, but at some point it’s important to finish one.


We are the music makers,
And we are the dreamers of dreams.
Re: Lesson Learned: Playing By Ear vs Sight Reading [Re: RhodesFanatic] #2750950
07/12/18 11:01 AM
07/12/18 11:01 AM
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The title of the thread says "Playing By Ear vs Sight Reading". I'd absolutely *not* recommend picking only one of those two. Both are extremely valuable, and incomplete.


-- J.S.

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Yamaha CP33
Kawai FS690
Re: Lesson Learned: Playing By Ear vs Sight Reading [Re: RhodesFanatic] #2750973
07/12/18 12:31 PM
07/12/18 12:31 PM
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The idea of choosing between playing by ear and playing from a score makes sense only perhaps for people with very limited time to practice and low aspirations. Both are definitely desirable.

Only a few great jazz musicians couldn't read music, and all good classical musicians(except for one-off examples like some blind pianists)can read music.

Re: Lesson Learned: Playing By Ear vs Sight Reading [Re: RhodesFanatic] #2750974
07/12/18 12:31 PM
07/12/18 12:31 PM
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The idea of choosing between playing by ear and playing from a score makes sense only perhaps for people with very limited time to practice and low aspirations. Both are definitely desirable.

Only a few great jazz musicians couldn't read music, and all good classical musicians(except for one-off examples like some blind pianists)can read music.

Last edited by pianoloverus; 07/12/18 12:32 PM.
Re: Lesson Learned: Playing By Ear vs Sight Reading [Re: pianoloverus] #2750978
07/12/18 12:46 PM
07/12/18 12:46 PM
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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Only a few great jazz musicians couldn't read music,

Good reasons to believe George Winston can't read music, and if he could, he would not have any interest in reading it. BTW, he has absolute pitch, and it seems many with absolute pitch are at least somewhat unorthodox since they sense pitch differently than the rest of us.


across the stone, deathless piano performances
Re: Lesson Learned: Playing By Ear vs Sight Reading [Re: Tyrone Slothrop] #2751003
07/12/18 01:34 PM
07/12/18 01:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Only a few great jazz musicians couldn't read music,
Good reasons to believe George Winston can't read music, and if he could, he would not have any interest in reading it.
Why would he have no interest?

Re: Lesson Learned: Playing By Ear vs Sight Reading [Re: pianoloverus] #2751008
07/12/18 02:03 PM
07/12/18 02:03 PM
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Tyrone Slothrop Online content
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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Only a few great jazz musicians couldn't read music,
Good reasons to believe George Winston can't read music, and if he could, he would not have any interest in reading it.
Why would he have no interest?

He has implied that the music he produces is almost improvisational and varies each time. This can be confirmed be comparing, for example, his published recording of certain of his pieces with his live concert recordings (on youtube). There are many variations in the same pieces -- new measures of music, changes in some of the glissades, etc. He does not prepare scores for his music and in interviews he gives a reason for that -- he has said that if you want to hear his music, come to his concerts or buy his recordings as only he can produce his music the way he intends. (I assume there is some sort of metaphysical implication there, and that he doesn't mean this literally, but who knows?)


across the stone, deathless piano performances
Re: Lesson Learned: Playing By Ear vs Sight Reading [Re: Tyrone Slothrop] #2751028
07/12/18 03:26 PM
07/12/18 03:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Only a few great jazz musicians couldn't read music,
Good reasons to believe George Winston can't read music, and if he could, he would not have any interest in reading it.
Why would he have no interest?
He has implied that the music he produces is almost improvisational and varies each time.
But that could be said for virtually every jazz pianist to varying degrees.

I don't have statistics but my guess is an extremely high percent of good jazz pianists can read music and see an advantage in being able to do so. For good classical musicians, the percent would be 99.9+. Obviously, for jazz musicians playing by ear is also a requirement.

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