Author Topic: Quick thought (sharing a secret- actually)  (Read 1303 times)

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Offline A.J. Fedor

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Re: Quick thought (sharing a secret- actually)
« Reply #30 on: September 20, 2021, 08:05:27 PM »
I don't think I have enough years left in me to ever be a jazz player but the journey's still a lotta fun. (and I'm a certified fun-freak  ;D)

Offline Rechmbrs

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Re: Quick thought (sharing a secret- actually)
« Reply #31 on: September 20, 2021, 08:22:07 PM »
"What I'm finding is that, if I pay close attention, I'm beginning to "hear" a note or two ahead, and I can sorta "feel" the interval coming up that will require a push of the button.
Does that make any sense?"

THAT is 'playing by ear'. When you're finally confident about 'hearing' a note (or six) ahead and know for sure exactly
when you hit the intervals so push the button automatically because your brain 'just knows' then you're completely there. :)
And it isn't whack.

Another way I do it since I don't think in terms of intervals or notes, is to listen to the song being sung (or the instrumental being played) in my head, and simply play along by allowing my brain and hands to do their thing. I listen to music incessantly and I suppose I've learned the songs I love by heart, including the pauses, rhythm and timing. Playing those I love does require mental concentration of course - which is why I usually close my eyes when I play. I absolutely couldn't play at all if I had to focus on pushing the button 'now', or thinking of what note lives where or when an interval is coming up, etc. It all has to become ingrained and just flow naturally. I'd guess 90% of by-ear playing takes place subconsciously?

scotty

I think that your ability to predict what notes are coming, is not playing by ear but that your brain is telling you what should come next.  Playing by ear to me is hearing a song and then playing it yourself with no sheet music in front of you.  Your brain is just translating the input from your ear into it's representation of music then into harmonica output.  Kind of like memorizing a poem.  Good predictive players might become improvisationist or composers as that is what they do.

RONC

Offline Scotty

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Re: Quick thought (sharing a secret- actually)
« Reply #32 on: September 21, 2021, 03:16:12 AM »
I suspect (since we've had interminable discussions about this very subject over the years here), that exactly how or
what 'playing by ear' is, means different things to different people. Whatever works for the individual.

I can often hear something just once then play it back--most often though,  it's a song I've likely heard more than once--songs I grew up with or heard accidentally without realizing it - which became ingrained in my brain. I can play them back in my head as if I'm actually hearing them from a CD or the radio with the singer's voice and all instrumental accompaniment - and use my instrument (chromatic or piano/keyboard) to play along. To me that's 'playing by ear' since I was able to do it the very first time I picked up a harmonica at age 4 without even knowing what it was or how to play it
(I played Scotland the Brave all the way through--likely the only tune I knew in full at that age). From then on, though - I could play any tune or song I knew - somehow already knowing where the notes would be that I needed.

Other people might be trying to learn to read music, then suddenly realize they already know where the next note should be and are then able to play what's in their heads, rather than what's on the sheet music (sometimes both). I don't believe that it's an exact science. Perhaps for those people they're beginning to unlock an ability that we all might have but don't always recognize?

scotty

Offline A.J. Fedor

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Re: Quick thought (sharing a secret- actually)
« Reply #33 on: September 21, 2021, 08:14:54 PM »
That "Ability" has always been good to me, till I tried to learn to read music. In my case, my ear "playing" completely defeated my "music learnin" till just lately, when I decided to take another whack at it. Knowing how the number goes utterly defeated the "chart" in my case. :P. All the chart did was slow me down.

Offline Bernie9

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Re: Quick thought (sharing a secret- actually)
« Reply #34 on: September 22, 2021, 05:06:47 AM »
I too, have the ability to remember thousands of songs, including dynamics and phrasing of the original recordings.  Other than humming the tune, I didn't have a meaningful way of playing what was in my head without notation until I tried a harmonica, and found I could play what was in my head.  For some reason I knew instinctively when to blow or draw, and within one hole, hit intervals fairly accurately.
This was when I was a teenager, and graduated to trombone, accordion, piano, organ, and arranger keyboards.  However, I had to learn to read music, and was dependent on it for years, until I was told enough times that was a mental crutch. Sheet music is still necessary for some music, but the freedom gained from playing by ear is gratifying.

Today, I have been back to harms two years, after an absence of sixty five years. The difference is that the chromatic can now play the accidentals, but is not so easy to find them the first time, even playing keyed chroms.  Native ability will only take me so far, then work is involved to present the song the way I want it.

The bottom line is that I am blessed with certain music abilities to give me a head start, but it still just a start in a quest to be an accomplished chrom meister,


Offline Grizzly

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Re: Quick thought (sharing a secret- actually)
« Reply #35 on: September 22, 2021, 03:24:37 PM »
That "Ability" has always been good to me, till I tried to learn to read music. In my case, my ear "playing" completely defeated my "music learnin" till just lately, when I decided to take another whack at it. Knowing how the number goes utterly defeated the "chart" in my case. :P. All the chart did was slow me down.
Ooh! Ooh! Ooh! Maybe you're going about this the wrong way. Sheet music isn't a crutch ( see Bernie above), but a blueprint. You can't hear the music by holding the paper up to your ear. (Which you aren't doing, I know!) Sometimes the sheet music isn't there to learn from, but as a reference blueprint. Learning to read fluently at sight is daunting and engrossing. It takes time and effort.

But you can study printed music after learning it by ear as a way to practice reading skills. It's like (not just like, but…) learning to read words. We knew lots of words before we ever crank open a primer. If we can coordinate our ears with our eyes, things start to make sense, even if we're not actually "reading" music. That comes later. If we want it to.

It's hard to remember the Dark ages when I was first learning ~65 years ago, but I'm sure I went through it to get where I am today. For most single-line, vanilla music, I can read it and hear the pitches in my mind's ear just as if I'm reading text silently to myself. It took me a decade or more to become fluent; others may say they don't have that much time (left). But we're a lot smarter now than we were at 10.

Take it as fast or as slow as you want, don't expect miracles, play what you like from memory, and take a peak at the sheet music occasionally to see how you're doing.

That's all.

Tom
working on my second 10,000!

Offline Grizzly

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Re: Quick thought (sharing a secret- actually)
« Reply #36 on: September 22, 2021, 03:40:54 PM »
[Bernie] "This was when I was a teenager, and graduated to trombone, accordion, piano, organ, and arranger keyboards.  However, I had to learn to read music, and was dependent on it for years, until I was told enough times that was a mental crutch. Sheet music is still necessary for some music, but the freedom gained from playing by ear is gratifying."

Reading music is only a crutch if you think of it that way. In any music, whether playing by ear to emulate what you've heard, or reading music, where you're emulating a style or genre you're familiar with beyond the printed notes, you're making music worth listening to.

I can read music "in the style of" what I'm familiar with, without sounding stilted and mechanical. I can play by ear in the very same way. By ear is not guaranteed to sound musical any more than reading it.

"By ear" may not be the most accurate way of describing the technique. "By memory" might be more accurate. With or without printed music, though, it's still by memory. Just like we wouldn't read words in a singsong monotone, we don't play music that way either. We remember the tune, but we also remember the style we've heard before. Sight reading or memorized.

Tom

working on my second 10,000!

Offline Bernie9

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Re: Quick thought (sharing a secret- actually)
« Reply #37 on: September 22, 2021, 05:10:45 PM »
Tom
Sage advice as always.  You said what I meant, in that music is a crutch if you allow it to be.  I meant to say "I allowed myself to be dependent on reading from the score, music I know very well. Consequently, my performance tended to sound more robotic, and without eye contact.  I learned to trust my ear, chord, and finger memory. Since, when playing chroms, I have only the melody, with attendant nuances to worry about, I am happy not to need the score in front of me, but rather concentrate on my performance.


Offline Grizzly

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Re: Quick thought (sharing a secret- actually)
« Reply #38 on: September 22, 2021, 08:12:53 PM »
One of my shortcomings as a musician is that, although I can play from memory, both after studying a score and by playing familiar tunes, having the music in front of me, even with pieces I know well, means that I don't memorize as easily as those who learn only by ear. (Try diagramming that sentence! ;D)

But I feel I can play with expression when playing I already know from a score, and even sightread with expression music in styles I'm familiar with.

I'm in awe of people who can listen to a recording and then reproduce it in its entirety (or nearly so) on just one hearing. I have music running in my head in the background almost all the time, but sometimes have trouble remembering what it is—even ones I wrote! :o

Tom
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Offline Scotty

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Re: Quick thought (sharing a secret- actually)
« Reply #39 on: September 23, 2021, 06:49:37 PM »
I agree with much of what you wrote, Tom - and Bernie as well, but (and it's a BIG but, lol) - I simply cannot read music
for chromatic harmonica. It eludes me, yet I can  - to a small degree, for piano keyboard. Perhaps something to do with
physically seeing those black and white keys? No idea. Yet, I tend ot play my keyboards with eyes closed and drifted off somewhere in space as well.

I have never been able to accurately describe this: actually 'hearing' a song or instrumental playing in my head exactly as
it was originally. I can hear - say, Streisand's voice even with all of her little laughs and asides on certain songs - those
recorded Live. I can hear specific instrumentals in every detail - those I grew up with. When I wish to recall a song by a
specific performer (such as Shirley Bassey), I can do so instantaneously, with every word, inflection and music, including the timing since I'm hearing them as if they're playing on the radio. I've tested myself: in the car, going through a fairly long tunnel where the sound cuts off completely--I continue singing or playing and am dead on as we emerge from the tunnel. Try it, it's a great way to test your particular sense of timing.

Is this 'memorization'? Or just hearing being locked into one's 'onboard computer' and being able to be recalled at will?

scotty

Offline Bernie9

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Re: Quick thought (sharing a secret- actually)
« Reply #40 on: September 24, 2021, 05:05:37 AM »
Wow! Scotty, What a gift.
I can recall thousands of songs, including many I heard many years ago without even knowing the title, but your degree of recollection is far more encompassing than mine, in that you can remember the artist, intonations, and lyrics, which I know just a smattering of.

In my opinion, our onboard computers are on automatic pilot, in that we don't have to do anything to commit this information to memory.  I am sure many musicians here, and elsewhere, have varying degrees of musical recall that they have retained through the years, that required no conscious memorization.

To whatever degree we have this gift, is just that; a gift to be nurtured.  Most of us have many innate musical abilities, but have to work at different aspects, like lyrics, timing, accuracy etc etc.  Whatever gifts the good Lord bestowed upon us, should be utilized and appreciated.

Offline Scotty

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Re: Quick thought (sharing a secret- actually)
« Reply #41 on: September 24, 2021, 01:50:03 PM »

'Wow! Scotty, What a gift.'

Thanks, Bernie. It didn't make me much of a musician, though--since life got in the way and for most of my life I
assumed this was true for everyone else as well - especially musicians/singers. I could never explain it to my own
satisfaction.

'in that you can remember the artist, intonations, and lyrics,'

Ahh, that last is the rub. ;) IF I didn't know all of the lyrics back when, I still might not know them now, hahaha. It's whatever became ingrained...and I ofttimes have to do a modicum of research to clarify those I jumbled as a kid (didn't
we all on a song or two?)  :D

scotty


Offline Grizzly

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Re: Quick thought (sharing a secret- actually)
« Reply #42 on: September 24, 2021, 10:20:34 PM »
So. Some people have a photographic memory. You have a phonographic memory. ;D

Tom
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Offline Scotty

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Re: Quick thought (sharing a secret- actually)
« Reply #43 on: September 24, 2021, 10:47:01 PM »
So. Some people have a photographic memory. You have a phonographic memory. ;D

Tom

Lol - You just might have hit on it! Now if I could only will my slowed-down hands to do what my brain wants them to.
In my head I know exactly how to play along with the piece of music (song, instrumental) I wish to play--but my very
painful thumb/and wrist  arthritis simply can't keep up. sigh. :(

scotty