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I'm trying to identify the first 4 notes of a song so I can play it on my piano but I just can't seem to find the right notes...

The song is at Youtube at

and I'm trying to find the notes of the intro.

Any combination that I've tried just doesn't sound right.

Anyone got any idea?

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3  
To whoever left the downvote: Please consider commenting. Users can't learn to ask better questions if people don't indicate why they feel there's a problem. –  neilfein Nov 1 '11 at 18:51

4 Answers 4

up vote 4 down vote accepted

I'll also answer the implied question, which is: "How do I figure out how to play a song from the recording?"

The best way to figure out how to play a song is, for me, to attack it piecemeal. Figure out the easy bits first, then move along to the harder stuff.

The general idea

My procedure is to first write down the lyrics, leaving room for chord changes. (If the piece has no lyrics, I'll sometimes make a list of the different parts of the song, just as a starting point.

Next, I figure out the easiest parts of the song. This is generally the verses or the chorus, but it can be anything. Whatever parts of the song you've figured out, write those chord changes down above the lyrics. If the song has a main riff, work on that as well.

Tricks that work for me

I usually find it easiest to find bass notes. From there, it's easy to figure out if the chords are major, minor, seventh chords, or whatever. (You can try playing both major and minor and seeing what sounds closer. If needed, refine to seventh chords, minor ninth, whatever. This is where experience will build up an instinct for this.)

Also try humming a note along with the recording, pause the recording while holding the note, then find it on your instrument. (Stringed instruments make this easier, since you can slide up on the neck until the note is reached, I have a harder time figuring songs out on the piano than the guitar.)

Chords and the song's basic key

You say there's no instrument playing chords? Untrue, there's harmony in almost every song, and there will be implied chords if nothing else.

You should now know what key the song is in, which will make figuring it out much easier. Keep figuring out various parts of the song until you have a complete lead sheet in front of you. If there are tricky parts, you may want to write them down in musical notation or tabulature, whichever works for you.

How do you know what key the song is in? Often, the first chord in a basic verse-chorus song is the key the song is in. Again, use trial and error to whittle the key possibilities down to a few major and minor keys.

Conclusion

Once you develop your transcribing skills, you'll start finding mistakes in online transcriptions. Please also note that many songs have chord sheets and tabulature on the internet, sometimes even on the artist's own site. These can give you a leg up and save you a lot of time, but they can also be oversimplified, or alternate versions of the song, or just plain wrong.

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I posted the 4 notes and it was deleted by a moderator who claimed that the post wasn't asking for the notes, but a method by which to identify them.

So...

First, with such a song you can first find the key. Feel your way until you find the 'main' note, which is a G in this case. If you can also feel that it's a minor key, it will whittle your notes down to that scale in most cases.

Second, if individual notes elude you, try pausing the music just after one and humming it, then find the note to match.

Third, are you asking for a method or did you just want the notes?

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Expanding on slim's answer, pause it after the first note, then SING the first note. I think that'll be helpful for you. Sing it a few times to cement it in your head. Perhaps even continue to sing it while you try different notes on the piano. Instead of just hitting random piano notes, try to determine how much higher or lower the piano is than the note your singing. Then keep your finger on the key, and restart the video to double check. Listen for the interval between the first two notes, and repeat the process.

In my opinion, singing not only helps you keep the note in your head this time, but increases your internalization of melody, which will eventually let you listen to longer segments, sing them back, then play them on the piano. It's a long process, though!

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Rather than vote to close, I'm going to answer how you might approach this yourself.

Pause it after the first note. Hit notes on the piano until you find that note. Repeat with each note.

Once you have it, notice the intervals between them. Over time, you'll get better at recognising intervals, which will allow you to play tunes like this by ear more easily.

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+1 for providing a solution to the actual issue here =) –  jadarnel27 Nov 1 '11 at 14:29

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