I was wondering if there's any people that approach harmony by ear. I've noticed the majority of instructors teach harmonizing by knowing: 1. the scale pattern. 2. figuring the diatonic chords from the scale pattern. 3. pairing a given melody with these diatonic chords, which most often than not is just the I IV V in a major key.
But I've found this process tedious. I noticed it's fairly basic to find a melody by ear (regardless of what note I start off with, which puts it in a different key). Can't harmony be learned in the same way? So instead of knowing visual patterns just to "hear" in your mind what chords sounds nice and then play them on the piano along with your melody.
One thing I've noticed is if I play a chord, let's say an F# major on a piano. Electronic tuners (I have an app on my phone for this) they hear it as "F#". Same with pretty much any chord -regardless of its inversion- when you play a chord its overall sound is just the name of the chord, ie its root note. This works on both piano and guitar. Which leads me to believe a sound of a chord is just the sound of its root, and it also sounds this way to the ear. As far as major or minor chord that's pretty easy to hear the difference. So when harmonizing, it's just looking for that basic root tone that encapsulates the sound of the entire chord and making it sound either major or minor. This would make finding chords as easy as finding melodies. wouldn't it be better to just play without looking and doing the whole thing by ear.
Said in another way, are there musicians that don't even know what scale or chords they're playing in and just do the whole thing by ear; yet can successfully jam with people in different keys?