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  #1  
Old 03-29-2015, 05:55 PM
Fred Watson Fred Watson is offline
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Default Ear training

One of my biggest challenges is learning to recognize tones and the differences in tones. I am considered trying some ear training courses on the Internet. Any advice on this?
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Old 03-29-2015, 06:23 PM
delaorden9 delaorden9 is offline
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I don't think that in music you have to train your ear....it is kind of a gift, I mean, either you got a good ear or you don't, and that would make a huge difference in your career or aspirations in music, if applied. Hope it makes some sense.
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Old 03-29-2015, 06:49 PM
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http://justinguitar.com/en/ET-000-EarTraining.php
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Old 03-29-2015, 08:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by delaorden9 View Post
I don't think that in music you have to train your ear....it is kind of a gift, I mean, either you got a good ear or you don't, and that would make a huge difference in your career or aspirations in music, if applied. Hope it makes some sense.
I couldn't disagree more... It's a skill that can be practiced and improved upon. Sure, not everyone can have perfect pitch, but good relative pitch is something that you can attain if you put your mind to it.
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Old 03-29-2015, 09:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by delaorden9 View Post
I don't think that in music you have to train your ear....it is kind of a gift, I mean, either you got a good ear or you don't, and that would make a huge difference in your career or aspirations in music, if applied. Hope it makes some sense.
There are people who are born with good pitch recognition, but it is absolutely a skill that can be taught.

OK, let me put a finer point on it. There are really (at least) two types of pitch recognition, relative and absolute.

I am certain that relative pitch recognition can be taught. Relative pitch recognition is based on being able to discern whether one pitch is higher or lower than another. If you can play a high note and a low note and tell which is which, then you can improve relative pitch recognition. From there it is just a matter of learning what intervals sound like. For instance, and octave is "Some-where..." from "Somewhere Over the Rainbow." You learn to recognize an octave, a perfect fifth, etc based on prominent intervals between the notes of songs.

I am less sure that so-called perfect pitch, or absolute pitch, can be taught. This where you recognize individual notes, an Ab sounds like an Ab in the same way red looks like red.

In college, Ear Training classes were funny. The students with good pitch recognition skated through, and the students with poor pitch lived in constant fear of failing. There really was no middle ground. The students who were bad seldom put forth any effort to get better, but I know from personal experience that my relative pitch recognition has improved. I can't identify a random note on a keyboard, but if you play 2 notes, I can accurately identify the interval.
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Old 03-29-2015, 10:14 PM
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I had terrible pitch recognition. Still not great but better than I used to be. It is practice, rewiring your brain to recognize the intervals. I think singing the notes probably helps you more than just playing or listening. Your body gets involved not just your mind.
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Old 03-29-2015, 10:35 PM
charles Tauber charles Tauber is offline
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Ear training is relatively straight forward and easy, though it does take practice.

Start by learning intervals. This gives you a vocabulary and an ability to label or apply a name to what you hear. Then learn to recognize each interval when you hear it. These days, there are apps for that. Next learn to sing each interval.

Next learn triads - a reference note and two intervals. Learn to recognize each of the four types of chords. Practice singing them. Then learn to recognize them and sing them in their inversions. Next, add extended notes/intervals to the four basic triads - 7ths, 9ths...

At that point you can hear the types of chords being played and their relative distances.
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Old 03-31-2015, 03:23 PM
Fred Watson Fred Watson is offline
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Originally Posted by charles Tauber View Post
Start by learning intervals. This gives you a vocabulary and an ability to label or apply a name to what you hear. Then learn to recognize each interval when you hear it. These days, there are apps for that. Next learn to sing each interval.
Next learn triads - a reference note and two intervals. Learn to recognize each of the four types of chords. Practice singing them. Then learn to recognize them and sing them in their inversions. Next, add extended notes/intervals to the four basic triads - 7ths, 9ths...
At that point you can hear the types of chords being played and their relative distances.
That sounds like pretty good advice, Charles. I will work on it.
Thanks.
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Old 03-31-2015, 03:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by posternutbag View Post
There are people who are born with good pitch recognition, but it is absolutely a skill that can be taught.

OK, let me put a finer point on it. There are really (at least) two types of pitch recognition, relative and absolute.

I am certain that relative pitch recognition can be taught. Relative pitch recognition is based on being able to discern whether one pitch is higher or lower than another. If you can play a high note and a low note and tell which is which, then you can improve relative pitch recognition. From there it is just a matter of learning what intervals sound like. For instance, and octave is "Some-where..." from "Somewhere Over the Rainbow." You learn to recognize an octave, a perfect fifth, etc based on prominent intervals between the notes of songs.

I am less sure that so-called perfect pitch, or absolute pitch, can be taught. This where you recognize individual notes, an Ab sounds like an Ab in the same way red looks like red.

In college, Ear Training classes were funny. The students with good pitch recognition skated through, and the students with poor pitch lived in constant fear of failing. There really was no middle ground. The students who were bad seldom put forth any effort to get better, but I know from personal experience that my relative pitch recognition has improved. I can't identify a random note on a keyboard, but if you play 2 notes, I can accurately identify the interval.
This is true. Ignore the mail order and on-line courses promising perfect pitch. There have been many University studies done on pitch training and if there is a system to teach perfect pitch it it hasn't been proven yet.

I had a good friend who claimed to have perfect pitch. He had this incredible gift and could name a note on guitar or keyboard, but he had horrible timing and wasn't a very good musician except for his ability to nail the chord changes. There were little things that would bother him too. If an artist changed the key of a song for a live performance different to that of the album version he would get upset and leave and say "I can't stand to listen to it". He was also super sensitive to non musical sounds. He did work at trying to develop relative pitch but struggled with it.

I think relative pitch is much more useful.
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Old 03-31-2015, 03:49 PM
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Way back in the day, I picked up Jamey Aebersold ear training cassettes (I said way back) and the cassettes focused on interval recognition; M2, m6 etc and chord quality; major, minor, diminished etc, and chord relationships. Very helpful. Back then Aebersold was about the only show in town.

I imagine that or similar content is readily available today from a number of sources including free sources. And I imagine Aebersold is still doing it.

The play alongs were useful too. Try jamming with an extended set of ii-Vs ascending or descending in thirds or in random patterns. It'll sharpen your saw for sure. I probably need to go back to that woodshed myself.

hunter
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Old 03-31-2015, 04:56 PM
Guilty Spark Guilty Spark is offline
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I was blessed with a good ear. Must've come from Mom, the piano major/music teacher.

The only regret I have in life is that I grew up with a piano in the house, a mother with a degree in piano.......but I never learned to play it. Taught myself guitar, but never quite got the hang of the piano on my own.
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  #12  
Old 03-31-2015, 05:24 PM
Hotspur Hotspur is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by delaorden9 View Post
I don't think that in music you have to train your ear....it is kind of a gift, I mean, either you got a good ear or you don't, and that would make a huge difference in your career or aspirations in music, if applied. Hope it makes some sense.
I strongly, strongly, strongly disagree.

There may be some people who can't train their ear, and some people (particularly those who started playing music as children) don't have to work at it very much.

But there's a reason why ear training is a key component of every single music-education program. It makes a huge difference, and you can improve on it substantially. I used to be totally clueless - I had been able to play guitar for years, but I couldn't pick out a tune by ear if my life depended on it.

Now I can.

Here's my recommendation for how to develop this skill:

Start by practicing simple melodies that you know by heart, picking them out on your guitar. Hunting and pecking is okay. This will be very difficult at first, and that's okay. Good sources for this are movie themes, christmas carols, and nursery rhymes.

Concurrent with this, start using the functional ear trainer, which is a free download from miles.be. Interval training didn't translate into practical results for me, but this program did: it teaches you to recognize the unique "color" of each scale degree relative to a key center. You can find an explanation for why this is more important than interval training on that site.

If you want more, after doing both of these for a while, you could pick up a book like "Ear Training for the Contemporary Musician" by Wyatt et al, which is a series of structured exercises, gradually increasing in difficulty.

This approach made a huge impact for me. YMMV.
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Old 03-31-2015, 05:48 PM
zhunter zhunter is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hotspur View Post
Start by practicing simple melodies that you know by heart, picking them out on your guitar. Hunting and pecking is okay. This will be very difficult at first, and that's okay. Good sources for this are movie themes, christmas carols, and nursery rhymes.
I use a slightly different approach. I usually have a guitar nearby while we waste our brains on the TV. When a commercial comes on, I grab the guitar and try to work out the melody for whatever commercial music pops up. Sometimes, I will work out movie and TV show theme and soundtrack music while we watch. It really does help build the ear no matter how mundane the music is.

Most of the time, she says it is pretty entertaining, albeit sometimes mildly annoying, to listen to me cop melodies. I finally crossed the line the other night when the commercial music was Here Comes Peter Cottontail". Before I could stop myself, I started playing the melody. I hear a voice saying, "That's enough. You have gone too far". She was probably correct.

hunter
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Old 03-31-2015, 06:52 PM
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I too have been interested in learning how to play by ear. Everyone that I have talked to say that jamming with other people is the best way to do it.

Maybe find a local old time or bluegrass jam and try to keep up. I hear that it does get easier if you continue trying to follow along with the other players. ymmv.
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Old 04-01-2015, 01:39 PM
ScottyV6290 ScottyV6290 is offline
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I know that it's already been posted, but, I will second the JustinGuitar.com reference. He has incorporated ear training into his lessons. Even if you only used Justin for this purpose it might be a good place to start.
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