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25

It's absolutely possible, based on personal experience. I was essentially tone-deaf before starting interval training, and now have no problem recognizing notes and playing songs by ear. It provides a major advantage because you only need to figure out one note of the song. The next note can always be identified if you can recognize its interval from the ...


19

I break ear training into 3 different categories: The ability to identify notes from hearing them. This includes hearing intervals, hearing what the note is within a key, or hearing notes from memory. The ability to tune pitches by telling if they are sharp or flat. The ability to imagine what the music will sound like from notes before ever having heard ...


17

You need both ear training and music theory. Ear Training By "ear training", musicians mean the ability to identify musical intervals, chords, scales, etc. It means developing your relative pitch as opposed to perfect pitch. Perfect pitch is the ability to hear a tone and be able to identify what note it is ("is it a C# or a Bb?"). Relative pitch is the ...


14

Perfect Pitch has some different Definitions: There are different levels of perfect pitch and absolute pitch. They are all about being able to either identify or generate (i.e. sing) notes without a recent reference. People's ability range from being able to guess right some of the time, to instantly telling you which note is not being played when someone ...


11

I think a more realistic goal is to aim for relative pitch; then when you have that, perhaps try for perfect pitch. Relative pitch is essentially being able to recognise and identify intervals, relative to the root note. Gaining relative pitch is fairly easy, a good way to do it is to pick a simple Major scale ditty, play it, and identify the intervals in ...


11

Here's how I did it. Your mileage may vary. I had a junior high band director who would often tune the band by having each player in a section play a B-flat and telling them whether they were flat or sharp based on the electronic tuner at the front of the room. I made a bit of a game for myself by trying to guess (to myself) whether people were sharp or ...


10

An Anecdote: This is totally anecdotal , but I have always liked to tune with a tuner and make sure that I was right at 440. After doing this for a year or so, I could usually feel if my group was higher or lower than 440, but it wouldn't bother after a minute of adjusting. For me, I have always understood playing in tune as a sort triangulation between: ...


10

Technically, I think the vocals portion of Rock Band counts for this, as would its precursor SingStar. If you've got a Mac and a familiar iTunes library, my friend made this game, almost as a joke. (It plays back x number of tracks from your iTunes library simultaneously until you identify them... it's called "Counterpoint.") That could feasibly train your ...


10

Transcribing by ear can seem daunting at first. The key is to break a big, complex piece down in to little, manageable bits and tackle those first. Then piece them together to build up the entire song. I've always found that slowing things down, when trying to transcribe by ear, is the best thing I can do to learn a piece. Break it up in to small pieces, by ...


10

I started by learning to recognize intervals with some ear-training software. This sort of practice is quite frustrating at first and you'll make lots of mistakes. The error rate goes down quite gradually, but you do get better over time. It's best to do it a few minutes a day, and don't ramp up the difficulty too quickly. Singing or humming each interval ...


9

MusicTheory.net has a flash application to practice chord recognition. It doesn't go into more complex chords like 7#9, but it presents 10 chords (typical four-note chords and triads). That's a starting point. There must be applications supporting more "advanced" chords but I'm not aware of them, so I typically end up programming my own.


9

I would say it sounds from your description that you do have perfect pitch as you can identify the pitch, and any transposition from the original, but you just can't articulate it. I think this is not uncommon. I know more people who can hear differences or similarities in music than are able to sing or play them without some "fumbling"


8

I think what you're describing fits Perfect Pitch pretty neatly. Let me explain my reasoning behind that (and please, refute or correct me if I've misunderstood you) People without perfect pitch (like myself) are often capable of relative pitch, which allows them to identify the intervals between given tones, and pitch each note in a melody according to ...


8

I explain audiation to my students like this: Audiation is just like transcribing a given external melody or rhythm, only it happens internally. When you compose music, you are constantly audiating - your "inner ear" "hears" something, you write it down, you check it, and if it matches, you move on, if it doesn't, then you modify your understand of what it ...


7

A few years ago I carried a tuning fork for a whole winter, and did notice improvement. The first week or so I would just bump the tuning fork and listen to the A. Then I started to try to guess before listening. Having the tuning fork with you all the time, you can practice whenever and as often as you want. It takes only a couple of seconds. I believe ...


7

Sheet music is fine for those first few years, but there's nothing worse than an 'experienced' musician with 10 years experience who can't improvise. The quickest and most fun way to learn how to improvise is this: 1) Learn the pentatonic scale. Play it up and down and all around, all day long. 2) Learn some licks that use the pentatonic scale. There are ...


7

Ok, so if you're looking to take a song on guitar and work out the key the easiest way is to look at the chords being played, and work out the key they all relate to. If the song goes like this: C, F, G, C We can see the that these are the I, IV and V chords of C Major I, IV, V, I Or a different example: Dm, G7, C Is also C Major, with ii, V, I being ...


7

Eventually, if you keep practicing, all intervals will be obvious to you without having to relate to a song. At least by then it will not matter. I was taught (for some really tricky non-tonal sight singing ear training exercises) to use all tricks I could think of to find the next note. Suggested tricks included such as humming scale steps up or down to ...


6

People have different ways of thinking about music, so don't beat yourself up too much. I suspect there are many wonderful musicians who can't play by ear or improvise. However, here's how I would start with the jingle bells problem. I'm assuming a piano here. Try to play Jingle Bells monophonically, in C major using only the white keys. Do it by trial ...


6

I use David Lucas Burge's method for learning perfect pitch. I know many people who think that perfect pitch is something that cannot be learned, but within a few months of working with this method I have made tremendous progress: I can often recognize certain tones (for example F# and B), without using any kind of reference (i.e., without playing any note ...


6

The two main things you need to practice are theory and ear training. For theory I suggest you start with learning scales, intervals, chords and chord progressions. For ear training you should practice transcribing intervals and simple rhythms first, and eventually chord progressions and complete songs.


6

I suggest you find a recording of Benjamin Britten's "The Young Person's Guide To The Orchestra". There are versions on YouTube, iTunes etc. and any classical music shop will stock it on CD or DVD. It was composed specifically to demonstrate the various sections and instruments of the orchestra in turn. It is sometimes recorded with a narration, and ...


5

Training to play by ear starts with 2 of your senses: Feeling and obviously Hearing. Most people underestimate their ability to Play By Ear. Practically ALL THE TIME, everybody would rate themselves very low in their scores until I show them their TRUE scores whenever I conduct a TALENT EVALUATION on them. It would be good to assess the strength of your ...


5

After interval training, which is a necessary first step, one important way to improve your ear is actually to improve your brain: learn music theory. There are musical conventions that let musicians make educated guesses when they have trouble picking out individual chords. For instance, in the chord progression Dm7 G7 X, there's a pretty darn good chance ...


5

I think what you are describing is known as "partial pitch". This is when the starting note of a well known or recent melody can be retained, or a note that's often played for tuning up purposes. I developed it myself for the pitch of my tuning fork, when after a couple of weeks practice I would not strike it all day, then test myself in the evening by ...


5

"Tone deaf" is a bit of a misnomer -- if someone truly wasn't able to understand relative pitch, it would show up in their speech patterns. So, usually the term is applied to people for whom discerning differences in pitch is difficult, at least with the precision that is required for music. The fact that you must multitask this process with the act of ...


4

Three ear-training exercises that will be beneficial whether you intend to study pop or classical music: Key: Find the key of a piece. This is the note often referred to as "1", "do", or sometimes "the home note". Solfege: Next, try to determine what other pitches (the pitches of the melody, for example, or the bass line) are, relative to do. Use solfege ...


4

People with perfect pitch often find out-of-tune notes very disturbing even when played alone. People with relative pitch don't, unless they're played played together with in-tune pitches. I honestly don't understand why people with perfect pitch hate out of tune music, even when the intervals are correct. I don't have perfect pitch, and I'm glad I don't. ...


4

Your EDIT is the right track. What you described all falls under the category of Ear Training. Or better you would say: Brain Training. Because the whole purpose is to write down what you already have heard (or imagined) and maybe even can sing or play. As always: You have to train and you have to practice. And start simple. Better too simple than too hard. ...


4

It looks like you're trying to figure out how to play a song by listening to it. Unfortunately, there are few hard and fast rules, other than listening very carefully and trying to play the same thing. This is much harder than it seems at first glance! Like with many problems, though, what seems insurmountable at first can be broken down into simpler ...



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