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Re: Aural training: What good is it? [Re: Tyrone Slothrop] #2918758 12/01/19 08:35 PM
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I think for the most part this thread has not been convincing about the importance of solfege skills. This surprised me because I know most professionally trained pianists study this skill.

The major aural skills proponent on the thread(guess who) listed things like being able to sight sing in a choir or being able to hear the music before playing it as examples of the importance of aural skills. But sight singing in a choir is important for singers but not for pianists. While it might be fun to hear a piece without playing it first, one can either listen to a recording or play it if one wants to hear it.

Almost all of the musical activities he listed as requiring training in aural skills I have done, some of them very extensively, despite any aural skills training. It's certainly possible training in aural skills would have helped me in all those activities but saying those musical activities require aural training is simply not true.

Some other uses of aural skills mentioned(playing by ear, improvisation, help with sight reading, being more attuned to harmonic considerations) I found more useful but far from utterly convincing.

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Re: Aural training: What good is it? [Re: pianoloverus] #2918769 12/01/19 08:54 PM
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Originally Posted by pianoloverus

The major aural skills proponent on the thread(guess who) listed things like being able to sight sing in a choir or being able to hear the music before playing it as examples of the importance of aural skills.

I wonder who that was. He must be a genius. thumb

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While it might be fun to hear a piece without playing it first .........

It's more than just fun.

Try thinking outside the confines of your own tiny little box, for once......

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Almost all of the musical activities he listed as requiring training in aural skills I have done, some of them very extensively, despite any aural skills training.

But we mustn't forget that you're a prodigy - almost as good as LL. wow

Quote
It's certainly possible training in aural skills would have helped me in all those activities but saying those musical activities require aural training is simply not true.

Who said that??


"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: Aural training: What good is it? [Re: Tyrone Slothrop] #2919229 12/02/19 09:38 PM
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I hate to think this thread has been shut down due to intimidation or avoidance of unpleasantness. I'm looking at the post right above mine. "confines of little box", "prodigy" (immediately makes people think twice of stating any ability they may have gotten outside of the sanctioned one) etc.

I actually like the idea of learning new things, including music theory together with hearing, which I think belong together. But I don't like the tone this has taken.

People come with different natural abilities, and they also develop abilities along different paths. Some of the things that were mentioned: hearing different voices (lines) in polyphonic type music, singing along with someone else by harmonizing in thirds, are things that I did decades before I had any kind of training. It had to do with what I was exposed to, and what I was attracted to and thus listened for. Each of us will have a story like that. Anyone stating they have some such abilities should not be shut down with words like "prodigy" - mocking them - and probably shutting down everyone else - it is possible.

There are also things that didn't develop in my case. chord qualities beyond majors and minors stayed weak, especially if played harmonically rather than melodically. Everybody is different and there are many paths.

Re: Aural training: What good is it? [Re: Tyrone Slothrop] #2919253 12/03/19 12:20 AM
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I think there are many ways that you can train your ear apart from the usual formal exercises. For example, listing to a piece while trying to sing the bass line, or listening to a string quartet and focussing on the viola part. For people who can follow a score, which many people find a lot easier than they first imagine (e.g. by following the pitch contour), try and pick out instrumental parts or lines. Sharpening up your ear like this can help you to hear more of what's going on in the music.

Re: Aural training: What good is it? [Re: johnstaf] #2919400 12/03/19 12:43 PM
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Originally Posted by johnstaf
I think there are many ways that you can train your ear apart from the usual formal exercises. For example, listing to a piece while trying to sing the bass line, or listening to a string quartet and focussing on the viola part. For people who can follow a score, which many people find a lot easier than they first imagine (e.g. by following the pitch contour), try and pick out instrumental parts or lines. Sharpening up your ear like this can help you to hear more of what's going on in the music.

I agree, but many (probably most) students will have difficulty until they have practised solfège and done some basic ear training already - or preferably, joined a choir which sings in harmony (not unisons) and reads from the score, not learning by rote. In fact, singing in a choir is probably the quickest and most enjoyable route towards ear training.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mBmCcSz6HWw
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QVW9GJrm9SU

I think without some training, most students won't be able to focus on even the cello part, let alone the viola part of the Emperor hymn, much less the tenor or bass part of the Bach chorale.....even with the score to hand, unless they're able to sight-sing (in which case their aural skills are already well up to snuff......).

Even picking out the bottom part of this duet from Hänsel und Gretel would be quite tricky for a novice:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V6Fr3I4fUAo

Whereas a teacher can play it several times on the piano while emphasising the lower part, starting forte (with upper part pp), then gradually levelling out the respective parts with each subsequent play-through while the student concentrates on listening to the same line. There is a lot of suitable stuff for training the ears, like this famous trio:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gMY3Ou9L5xE


"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: Aural training: What good is it? [Re: Tyrone Slothrop] #2919912 12/04/19 10:29 PM
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It seems that various people had wide ranging experiences... I can only add a short comment, based on my own. Quite a few years ago I joined a music school and asked the director (a scary Nadia Boulanger type) to assign a piano teacher to me. She told me “ you will work with Marie-Agnes, and YOU WILL BE a member of our choir” which I duly did, as a tenor. I thought it was crazy, at first, but quickly realized that I developed a slightly better sense of polyphonic works and counterpoint that I doubt I could have grasped otherwise.


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Re: Aural training: What good is it? [Re: bennevis] #2919953 12/05/19 01:10 AM
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Originally Posted by bennevis
[ In fact, singing in a choir is probably the quickest and most enjoyable route towards ear training.


I am unable to send a comment on this phrase. Why?

Re: Aural training: What good is it? [Re: Tyrone Slothrop] #2919954 12/05/19 01:11 AM
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What means "what is the enjoyable route "? I remember how joyfully we sang popular songs at the school in this way, although this was not part of the curriculum (keine Jessmuzik!); and exactly the pianists were the most active in this (it’s understandable why).
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This is some kind of bug. The whole post is not sent, in parts, yes.

Last edited by Nahum; 12/05/19 01:13 AM.
Re: Aural training: What good is it? [Re: Nahum] #2920021 12/05/19 06:05 AM
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Originally Posted by Nahum
What means "what is the enjoyable route "? I remember how joyfully we sang popular songs at the school in this way, although this was not part of the curriculum (keine Jessmuzik!); and exactly the pianists were the most active in this (it’s understandable why).
.
It's about barbershop harmonies.I don’t know if classical teachers are familiar with them.

Re: Aural training: What good is it? [Re: Nahum] #2920037 12/05/19 06:40 AM
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Originally Posted by Nahum
What means "what is the enjoyable route "? I remember how joyfully we sang popular songs at the school in this way, although this was not part of the curriculum (keine Jessmuzik!); and exactly the pianists were the most active in this (it’s understandable why).
-.

When I moved to my new high school, I was able to practice ear training every weekday morning during school assembly, as the whole school always sang two hymns accompanied by the pipe organ.

Initially, I'd sing the melody like everyone else, then try to sing the bass line on the second or third verse - very softly, so that the kids around me wouldn't notice whistle (By then, my voice had broken to something like a baritone). If I thought I got that, I'd try the tenor line next: much more tricky. I usually couldn't pick out the alto line, but when I got the chance later to write out the whole hymn on manuscript paper (just like Mozart wrote out Allegri's Miserere mei, Deus from memory after hearing it at the Sistine Chapel wink ), I'd fill out the whole hymn in four-part harmony as I thought the organ scholar played it, when the alto part would be quite easy to guess. Then, after school, I'd try it out on the piano, and make corrections if something obviously wasn't right, or wasn't the way I remember hearing it. As time went on, and I wrote out more and more hymns in this manner, I got better at it, as my ears got better at hearing the different parts, and how they fitted together, and my harmonic sense improved too.

The good thing is that the hymns that we sang were all straightforward harmonically as well as melodically, so even though I was only just grappling with basic harmonic progressions at the time (while learning music theory for my exams), by intent listening and trying to pick out and sing the respective parts and writing down the whole hymn later, I improved my aural skills day by day - all in the name of fun & games grin.

Here's a seasonal hymn that everyone knows - but can you pick out the bass part in this harmonization by David Willcocks (which is the standard one in the UK)?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8ZYZEr3JtZY

This might be easier:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9FH-TnzLP4k

N.B. The organists don't play the complete bass part on the keyboard.


"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: Aural training: What good is it? [Re: Tyrone Slothrop] #2920059 12/05/19 07:51 AM
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Choral singing in the church is an excellent school for the development of multi-voice hearing; however, most young people interested in contemporary popular songs, which, for example, can be heard on contests like "The Voice"; and the possibility of singing them in several voices, in the style of barbershop chords, rather than a traditional choral texture, adds another tool for motivation to the fact that in the end it develops hearing - in the process of pleasure. And again: are teachers with a classic background familiar with this type of multi-voice arrangement?

Last edited by Nahum; 12/05/19 07:55 AM.
Re: Aural training: What good is it? [Re: Nahum] #2920235 12/05/19 02:58 PM
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Originally Posted by Nahum
however, most young people interested in contemporary popular songs, which, for example, can be heard on contests like "The Voice"; and the possibility of singing them in several voices, in the style of barbershop chords, rather than a traditional choral texture, adds another tool for motivation to the fact that in the end it develops hearing - in the process of pleasure. And again: are teachers with a classic background familiar with this type of multi-voice arrangement?

As there is a defining silence, I'll fill in the void grin.

My first attempt at singing in harmony was this barbershop-style song, Yellow Bird:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zuyb7zhcxIg

.....which I tried to sing in thirds with a cousin (older than me by several years) who taught me to play chords on the guitar to accompany pop songs. I heard him sing it with his friend, and it sounded lovely. I was still a year or two from beginning piano lessons then, so I had no idea what I was doing. I just thought that if it sounded good, it was right.

Subsequently, of course, I discovered lots of other pop songs in which the performers (especially the likes of ABBA) sing in harmony, though not necessarily close harmony like this:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7eEHx_a-XGQ


"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: Aural training: What good is it? [Re: Tyrone Slothrop] #2920331 12/06/19 01:07 AM
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Originally Posted by bennevis
Just last week, I enjoyed listening to the radio 1 hour program with King Singers . And who would refuse to sing in a group Because ?

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

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