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27

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 ...


20

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 ...


19

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 ...


17

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


15

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 ...


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

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 ...


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: ...


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 ...


11

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 ...


11

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 ...


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

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 ...


10

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.


10

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 ...


9

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


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"


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 ...


9

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 ...


9

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 ...


8

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 ...


8

My music teacher taught us to memorise and recognise intervals using the "compare-it-to-a-familiar-song" method too. It works really well and Somewhere Over The Rainbow was the exact song we used as well. However, it's only effective if you're actually familiar with the tune - Also Sprach Zarathustra doesn't ring any bells with me. So, as my teacher did, ...


8

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 ...


7

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 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

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 ...


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 ...


6

Everyone is "born with" the ability to learn a language, but not everyone pays attention to their spelling. It's simply a matter of being attentive to the right things and learning to increase your accuracy and responsiveness. Both language and music are learned skills, but only the groundwork is in our biology. Everything else is education, be it explicit ...


6

"I like to know why humans can detect a note out of tune relative to the scale or harmony." Why questions are never easy to answer since it is not clear what the one who asks is prepared to settle for. "We seem to be born with the ability to notice," I would say that this is not as easy as it seems like. I was born and grew up in Western Europe, and I ...



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