Playing By Ear


Ok, I'll admit it- I can't play by ear.

I have to have the chords and the melody in front of me on a stand.

The are as many musicians who need the help of a chart as there are those who have managed to leave the sheet music at home and turn up with 'big ears'.

These big eared guys can hear the changes. I envy them.

And that's the reason for this book. I want to learn to hear them as well!

Ear training? Yes and a bit of theory. The two go hand-in-hand because once you hear a V chord and assume, from experience, that the next chord will be a I chord but in the same instant recall the 'tritone theory'! Could that be the next chord instead of the I?

So it's all about listening and a bit of guessing. The two work together.

There two types of 'ear training'

1  You listen to a tune and slowly, with some trial and error, you work out the melody notes, and in time, the chords as well.

2  You spend time learning the chords from a lead sheet so that when you hear the song played by a band or your band, you recognize/ are reminded of the chords and can improvise over them. You may also have made a list of tunes that have (fairly) similar chord progressions. Books are available that have lists of tunes that have fairly similar chord progressions.

This book focuses on no 2 

I remember a school music exam where the teacher played the tonic of a scale and then followed this note with another higher up the scale. We had to guess the name of this second note. The examiners must have thought that to gain a higher score a good ear was an asset!

However, this recollection has made me ask: would it help us to recognise chords if we could place their tonic on a position in the scale ?

Let's see:

90 pages

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