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29

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 ...


25

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 ...


24

I wasn't there, but I would not find it completely out of the question. In every field of expertise, experts are capable of chunking information in ways that amateurs are not. An expert listener will not just hear a few hundred notes performed by several voices, they will hear harmonies, their relationships to each other, and rhythmical patterns. More ...


22

Neuroscience still can't explain some of the amazing things human brains can do. A person alive in our time has interesting and similar ability to mentally manage music in a way that suggests that some people might be wired for this sort of thing. The study detailed at http://www.radiolab.org/story/148670-4-track-mind/ showed that Bob Milne has the ability ...


20

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 ...


20

It's worth noting that the Miserere is extremely repetitive. For example, this version is roughly 15 minutes long, but you get all the melodic and harmonic content in the first 2:45 except for the final cadence; everything after that is more verses set to the same music. Mozart still would have had to remember the varying text overlay as well as any ...


18

Check out Theta Music Trainer. Lots of games for ear training and music theory.


17

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 ...


16

There are big differences between those two scales. The C major scale consists of the following notes: C D E F G A B The C minor scale consists of the following notes: C D Eb F G Ab Bb 3 of the 7 notes of the scale are different so it is not a small difference. It sounds to me like you need to take ear training classes. Ear training can make you ...


15

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 ...


15

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 ...


15

If one watches those [insert nation here]'s Got Talent programmes, especially the audition phase, most people will be able to tell the difference between people who are good at [insert talent here] and those that are not. Having the performer's skill is not required in order to be a judge, you're only required to understand what the performer is trying to ...


14

The pentatonic scale is a great vehicle for moving outside. It has a very clear structure and sound which the listener is familiar with. Due to its simplicity and familiarity, you can get away with playing it, even if it does not fit the harmony in a traditional sense. The first thing I experimented with when I got into playing outside was "side-stepping", ...


13

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: ...


13

All documented resources I can find agree with the story. The Pope, instead of excommunicating Mozart, conferred on him the Order of the Golden Spur, a papal knighthood, for "contributing to the glory of the Church" through his transcription of the Miserere. The record of that award, as well as the minutes of that audience, are part of the archives of the ...


12

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 ...


12

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 ...


12

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 ...


12

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 ...


12

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.


11

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 ...


11

GNU Solfege does this. http://www.solfege.org/


11

The foundation of scales and relative tonality is the fact that all humans are innately able to detect intervals. We can detect an octave because an octave is two notes where one is twice the frequency of the other. Similarly, there are basic proportional relationships between the frequency of two notes that are fifth, or a third, or a whole step apart but ...


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 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"


10

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 ...


10

There aren't any special intervals you should focus on. All of them are equally important. What you can do is to find songs you know, with melodies you can sing, and see what kind of intervals they use. This way you'll remember what the intervals sound like. Now, no one can really suggest these kind of songs to you. They have to be songs you know and ...


10

Any tips on how to make it sick, so to speak, when trying to internalize the distance between notes? There are three ways you can easily get those intervals in your head. Sing Singing the intervals will make learning them much more easier and effective. Try this before doing your interval exercises: Pick one interval you are having troubles with. ...


9

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 ...


9

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 ...



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