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Terrific responses and a lot to ponder. Thank you everyone. Unfortunately the videos do not seem to be supported in my country.

After considering this further, this is making more sense to me and perhaps does get to the meat of the matter.

Originally Posted by pianoloverus
...
The important thing is "by ear" or "from the score". If one was using the score no one would discuss learning from the score vs. playing from the score. Although they are different the important thing is "from the score". it's the same thing if one is "by ear".

For most observers looking in, it may be as simple as that. If they have a score they are readers and if they do not, they are ear players. But, we know that there is far more to it than that.

This has been on my mind (well, on and off) for a long time. You see, when I was very young and learning to play, my Dad taught me primarily by Rote until later years and I just memorized everything. But, when the adults visited or ever happened to see me play, they would say ... how nice he plays by ear. Of course, I wasn't going to argue with them. But to me, no, I wasn't playing by ear. Dad taught me this last week and I memorized it completely.

There seems to be a lot of overlap. As others have mentioned, I similarly rely heavily on my ear when I am reading, which likely detracts from my reading. But, by the time I am done with it, I have memorized it. I can say now, that I am playing by memory, but to be honest with myself I can't really say I learned it entirely by reading or by ear. What ever helps me to learn a piece, I will use it, but it is usually more of a combination of things and not as cut and dry as saying it is one or the other.

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Originally Posted by Greener
Terrific responses and a lot to ponder. Thank you everyone. Unfortunately the videos do not seem to be supported in my country.

After considering this further, this is making more sense to me and perhaps does get to the meat of the matter.

Originally Posted by pianoloverus
...
The important thing is "by ear" or "from the score". If one was using the score no one would discuss learning from the score vs. playing from the score. Although they are different the important thing is "from the score". it's the same thing if one is "by ear".

For most observers looking in, it may be as simple as that. If they have a score they are readers and if they do not, they are ear players. But, we know that there is far more to it than that.

This has been on my mind (well, on and off) for a long time. You see, when I was very young and learning to play, my Dad taught me primarily by Rote until later years and I just memorized everything. But, when the adults visited or ever happened to see me play, they would say ... how nice he plays by ear. Of course, I wasn't going to argue with them. But to me, no, I wasn't playing by ear. Dad taught me this last week and I memorized it completely.

There seems to be a lot of overlap. As others have mentioned, I similarly rely heavily on my ear when I am reading, which likely detracts from my reading. But, by the time I am done with it, I have memorized it. I can say now, that I am playing by memory, but to be honest with myself I can't really say I learned it entirely by reading or by ear. What ever helps me to learn a piece, I will use it, but it is usually more of a combination of things and not as cut and dry as saying it is one or the other.
Quite
Originally Posted by Greener
Terrific responses and a lot to ponder. Thank you everyone. Unfortunately the videos do not seem to be supported in my country.

After considering this further, this is making more sense to me and perhaps does get to the meat of the matter.

Originally Posted by pianoloverus
...
The important thing is "by ear" or "from the score". If one was using the score no one would discuss learning from the score vs. playing from the score. Although they are different the important thing is "from the score". it's the same thing if one is "by ear".

For most observers looking in, it may be as simple as that. If they have a score they are readers and if they do not, they are ear players. But, we know that there is far more to it than that.

This has been on my mind (well, on and off) for a long time. You see, when I was very young and learning to play, my Dad taught me primarily by Rote until later years and I just memorized everything. But, when the adults visited or ever happened to see me play, they would say ... how nice he plays by ear. Of course, I wasn't going to argue with them. But to me, no, I wasn't playing by ear. Dad taught me this last week and I memorized it completely.

There seems to be a lot of overlap. As others have mentioned, I similarly rely heavily on my ear when I am reading, which likely detracts from my reading. But, by the time I am done with it, I have memorized it. I can say now, that I am playing by memory, but to be honest with myself I can't really say I learned it entirely by reading or by ear. What ever helps me to learn a piece, I will use it, but it is usually more of a combination of things and not as cut and dry as saying it is one or the other.
There are some misconceptions in your post IMO.
1. The people who heard you play saw no sheet music so they assumed you were playing by ear. They could have also thought you learned from the score and had memorized the music. The fact they thought you had learned by ear doesn't change the fact you you had memorized what your father had showed you, and so you weren't playing by ear. Your ear might have helped you memorize the music, but this isn't called playing by ear which means playing without ever having seen the music or without learning it by rote from someone playing it for you.
2. You could only rely on your ear when you are reading the score if you have heard the piece before. Even then, when most people are reading the music they are relying overwhelmingly on the score since many classical scores or advanced non classical pieces would be too difficult for most people to play by ear unless they were supremely gifted in that area, far beyond even most professionals.

Last edited by pianoloverus; 05/04/21 11:54 AM.
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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Originally Posted by Greener
... but to be honest with myself I can't really say I learned it entirely by reading or by ear. What ever helps me to learn a piece, I will use it, but it is usually more of a combination of things and not as cut and dry as saying it is one or the other.
There are some misconceptions in your post IMO.
1. The people who heard you play saw no sheet music so they assumed you were playing by ear. They could have also thought you learned from the score and had memorized the music. The fact they thought you had learned by ear doesn't change the fact you you had memorized what your father had showed you, and so you weren't playing by ear. Your ear might have helped you memorize the music, but this isn't called playing by ear which means playing without ever having seen the music or without learning it by rote from someone playing it for you.
2. You could only rely on your ear when you are reading the score if you have heard the piece before. Even then, when most people are reading the music they are relying overwhelmingly on the score since many classical scores or advanced non classical pieces would be too difficult for most people to play by ear unless they were supremely gifted in that area, far beyond even most professionals.

I agree with this, learning by ear is when you have never seen the score. But once you've seen the score, the op can never use the term playing by ear. And as pianoloverus pointed out, the ear is used help you move forward in a written score, once you've heard it's actual recording. In this case,the op is correct to use all his senses and faculties (meaning mental memory), but still it cannot be called "by ear" in any sense. That is as cut and dry as it could be. smile


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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
There are some misconceptions in your post IMO.
1. The people who heard you play saw no sheet music so they assumed you were playing by ear. They could have also thought you learned from the score and had memorized the music. The fact they thought you had learned by ear doesn't change the fact you you had memorized what your father had showed you, and so you weren't playing by ear. Your ear might have helped you memorize the music, but this isn't called playing by ear which means playing without ever having seen the music or without learning it by rote from someone playing it for you.

I'll agree with this. Just that memory was never the assumption. Mind you, it is mostly from non-musicians as musicians would more likely think memory 1st. and either method could have been used and who really cares which. But, if I pick it up myself by ear, it is fully legit, even if it takes me a week or more and I memorize it. OK, I can go along with this too. I wouldn't have called this playing by ear before, but I guess it is if no score has ever been present.

Originally Posted by pianoloverus
2. You could only rely on your ear when you are reading the score if you have heard the piece before. Even then, when most people are reading the music they are relying overwhelmingly on the score since many classical scores or advanced non classical pieces would be too difficult for most people to play by ear unless they were supremely gifted in that area, far beyond even most professionals.

I do not agree with this one so much. It is not like I am going to play it all by ear. No, I would use the score for all the fancy bits that I agree, I could never pick up by ear. But the feel of the rhythm and singing of the melody, I can most definitely get by ear and I would be completely lost if I didn't have a notion of how the tune goes. So thank goodness for the internet, for me.

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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
2. You could only rely on your ear when you are reading the score if you have heard the piece before...

Originally Posted by Greener
... But the feel of the rhythm and singing of the melody, I can most definitely get by ear and I would be completely lost if I didn't have a notion of how the tune goes. So thank goodness for the internet, for me..

That my friend are are two statements that meant the same thing. smile


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Perhaps similar, but you omitted the 2nd part of point #2 that my response was pertaining.

I have always relied on both reading and listening when learning from the score. Mostly the score of course, but an actual recording will help keep things on track. I mean, how would I even know I want to learn something, if I have never heard it before? You can play by ear without reading, but I could never learn reading without also relying on my ear. Not everyone would be the same of course, but there is overlap and I think it is a good thing.

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Originally Posted by josh_sounds
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
2. You could only rely on your ear when you are reading the score if you have heard the piece before...

Originally Posted by Greener
... But the feel of the rhythm and singing of the melody, I can most definitely get by ear and I would be completely lost if I didn't have a notion of how the tune goes. So thank goodness for the internet, for me..

That my friend are are two statements that meant the same thing. smile

Originally Posted by Greener
Perhaps similar, but you omitted the 2nd part of point #2 that my response was pertaining.

I have always relied on both reading and listening when learning from the score. Mostly the score of course, but an actual recording will help keep things on track. I mean, how would I even know I want to learn something, if I have never heard it before? You can play by ear without reading, but I could never learn reading without also relying on my ear. Not everyone would be the same of course, but there is overlap and I think it is a good thing.

Your opinion maybe right? Perhaps..

(If your thoughts are already made up or your queries resolved, no need to read the rest. It won't convince you.)

But then again I'm one those "observers looking in", and I see it that way, they are the same. There were no omissions, simply topic sentence vs topic sentence. Even now, you say "relied on both reading and listening" which was what pianoloverus said "You could only rely on your ear when you are reading the score if you have heard the piece before". Both of you meant you need your ears as part of studying a written score. But neither of you said it is called learning or playing "by ear" in any sense.

Nope, no overlap at all. You don't see the score, it's "by ear". You see the score, it's no longer "by ear".

Last edited by josh_sounds; 05/04/21 05:39 PM.

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What this exercise has made clear to me and clearer than it was before, is that there is a lot of overlap. We may always like to think in terms of Black and White, but we live in a world of Grey.

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Originally Posted by Greener
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
2. You could only rely on your ear when you are reading the score if you have heard the piece before. Even then, when most people are reading the music they are relying overwhelmingly on the score since many classical scores or advanced non classical pieces would be too difficult for most people to play by ear unless they were supremely gifted in that area, far beyond even most professionals.
I do not agree with this one so much. It is not like I am going to play it all by ear. No, I would use the score for all the fancy bits that I agree, I could never pick up by ear. But the feel of the rhythm and singing of the melody, I can most definitely get by ear and I would be completely lost if I didn't have a notion of how the tune goes. So thank goodness for the internet, for me.
The parts you say you can play by ear are because you've heard the piece before, right? That's why you have a notion how the tune goes.That's what I meant in my first sentence.

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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Originally Posted by Greener
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
2. You could only rely on your ear when you are reading the score if you have heard the piece before. Even then, when most people are reading the music they are relying overwhelmingly on the score since many classical scores or advanced non classical pieces would be too difficult for most people to play by ear unless they were supremely gifted in that area, far beyond even most professionals.
I do not agree with this one so much. It is not like I am going to play it all by ear. No, I would use the score for all the fancy bits that I agree, I could never pick up by ear. But the feel of the rhythm and singing of the melody, I can most definitely get by ear and I would be completely lost if I didn't have a notion of how the tune goes. So thank goodness for the internet, for me.
The parts you say you can play by ear are because you've heard the piece before, right? That's why you have a notion how the tune goes.That's what I meant in my first sentence.

Sorry mate, he's already made up his mind... let him be, smile


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What is your point you are trying to trip me up on here? You said I must have heard it before and I admit that of course I have. And then you said I would need to be beyond pro to play a classical work by ear, and to this I explained that I am not doing that but still use my ear, and so disagreed with this part. Why is this so hard to understand ? I never called it playing by ear, just that I still need to rely on my ear.

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Originally Posted by Rickster
Originally Posted by josh_sounds
I know this is composition, but this one looks like playing by ear but with a lot of music theory learned innately to back it up.


Creating a piano sonata in under a minute from just 4 notes:


Very interesting! And, and very gifted and talented young lady! I enjoy watching and listening! Thanks for posting! smile

I'm a big fan of the "60 Minutes" TV program; always interesting and informative.

Rick

Lovely...really
But the musical message in what she did is very memorable.
Maybe that is the most important thing...


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You guys haven't properly defined what playing by ear means, so you're all arguing about different things, getting no where. grin

Last edited by EinLudov; 05/06/21 09:10 AM.
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Originally Posted by RaggedKeyPresser
Originally Posted by Rickster
Originally Posted by josh_sounds
I know this is composition, but this one looks like playing by ear but with a lot of music theory learned innately to back it up.


Creating a piano sonata in under a minute from just 4 notes:


Very interesting! And, and very gifted and talented young lady! I enjoy watching and listening! Thanks for posting! smile

I'm a big fan of the "60 Minutes" TV program; always interesting and informative.

Rick

Lovely...really
But the musical message in what she did is very memorable.
Maybe that is the most important thing...

I know right!!! Glad you guys love it. Now go and make some beautiful music!


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I wouldn't call this as 'playing by ear'.
This is more like improvisation within certain constraints.
I'm guessing that this is similar to what Mozart was doing as a boy (E.g. while playing around with Twinkle Twinkle and coming up with all kinds of variations).
Some things she's doing sounds a bit like that to me. Giving it a Mozart treatment.

'Playing by ear' would be to play a certain tune/song one can hear in one's mind (the original) and emulate it with whatever musical devices it takes to make it sound as the original.
Not likely to work with a more advanced classical piece, of course.
But some can take a melody or invent one (as this girl does from a constraint of 4 notes) and play it in a certain classical style (like Baroque e.g.).


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Now done 1½ years of violin for a change, and back for some more piano.
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