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Author Topic: Do you learn by ear or off sheet music  (Read 9602 times)

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caddy

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Do you learn by ear or off sheet music
« on: October 03, 2013, 10:36:58 AM »

How does everyone learn the tunes they play. Do you learn by ear or off sheet music?

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Lester

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Re: Do you learn by ear or off sheet music
« Reply #1 on: October 03, 2013, 10:38:15 AM »

Both of those and from ABC as well.

Helena Handcart

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Re: Do you learn by ear or off sheet music
« Reply #2 on: October 03, 2013, 10:44:56 AM »

Both of those and from ABC as well.

Wot Lester said.  ABC offers a bit of the best of both worlds.
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Re: Do you learn by ear or off sheet music
« Reply #3 on: October 03, 2013, 10:48:19 AM »

Both.  Never got the hang of ABC.

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Re: Do you learn by ear or off sheet music
« Reply #4 on: October 03, 2013, 10:51:41 AM »

    Ear.
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SolGatos

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Re: Do you learn by ear or off sheet music
« Reply #5 on: October 03, 2013, 11:06:26 AM »

I learn by ear, I never learned to read music. I've recently discovered some really helpful, slowed down, note by note, shows you how, youtube videos. These have helped me considerably in working out more complicated fingering. My interest is in cajun, tex-mex, blues and soul.
 Cheers Sol.
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John MacKenzie (Cugiok)

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Re: Do you learn by ear or off sheet music
« Reply #6 on: October 03, 2013, 11:32:49 AM »

The tadpoles are a my6stery to me, unfortunately. However, having reached 71, I have decided that life is too short to start learning them now.
Shame though, I'm sure it would have helped if I had been taught it at school, where they me taught Tonic Sol Fa, which I have forgotten now.


John  :|bl
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Re: Do you learn by ear or off sheet music
« Reply #7 on: October 03, 2013, 12:20:50 PM »

By ear only... I use a slowdowner software and learn from recordings of others.
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StupidFingers

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Re: Do you learn by ear or off sheet music
« Reply #8 on: October 03, 2013, 12:21:12 PM »

Dots.  I haven't gotten to the point where I can hear a note and know which button to press!
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Lester

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Re: Do you learn by ear or off sheet music
« Reply #9 on: October 03, 2013, 12:26:01 PM »

Dots.  I haven't gotten to the point where I can hear a note and know which button to press!

Interesting point, not sure I can do single note to button correlation but give me a short phrase of music, and I have little or no problem. I guess I have a stock of phrases which appear in many tunes and it's just a matter of sticking the right ones together.

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Re: Do you learn by ear or off sheet music
« Reply #10 on: October 03, 2013, 12:47:06 PM »

I'm with the dots. However, by ear is progressing, slowly.

I surprised myself by playing nearly all the A of Black Joke straight off once I'd played the first two bars from the dots, mostly accurately. Then did it with the B.

I have done similar with short pieces of other tunes, only to subsequently discover that the version that I was happily playing differed by a few notes from the dots I was ostensibly following.

However other tunes - even Lollipop Man, which I know well - just do not gel.

What I can't do is hit named notes. If someone says play an A, I have to think - where's an A? Similarly, when looking at a score, I have to stop and think if I need to name anything much other than low G, D or E.
I guess my brain just works graphically on positions on scale/relative positions.
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malcolmbebb

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Re: Do you learn by ear or off sheet music
« Reply #11 on: October 03, 2013, 12:49:03 PM »

I suppose I should add that originally learnt straight from ABC, still do to some extent. But, probably for reasons noted above, it's a much slower process.
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Helena Handcart

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Re: Do you learn by ear or off sheet music
« Reply #12 on: October 03, 2013, 12:56:22 PM »

Dots.  I haven't gotten to the point where I can hear a note and know which button to press!

This started happening on the odd note during the latter part of the summer, I think the first sign was when I started playing phrases on the 'wrong' row (not the one I had learned to play them on) without meaning to.  Then I learnt 'Bob and Joan/Bobbing Joe' by ear after morris practice a couple of weeks ago, then last week looked at the first two bars of 'Orange in Bloom', looked at the TV and absent-mindedly played the tune straight through. 

Clearly some connections are being made between ear and finger and I am really encouraged by this  (:)
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Helena Handcart

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Re: Do you learn by ear or off sheet music
« Reply #13 on: October 03, 2013, 12:59:24 PM »

What I can't do is hit named notes. If someone says play an A, I have to think - where's an A?

I know that feeling too I'm trying to improve on this 'cos I hate having to think in terms of fifth button pull, fourth button push etc when all I need to do is remember the names of the flipping notes.
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Lester

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Re: Do you learn by ear or off sheet music
« Reply #14 on: October 03, 2013, 01:08:03 PM »

all I need to do is remember the names of the flipping notes.

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Re: Do you learn by ear or off sheet music
« Reply #15 on: October 03, 2013, 01:09:32 PM »

I do both. I can read ABC but have been reading sheet music for 20 years so it's much easier for me to convert it and read the dots instead of trying to read the ABC.

I am trying more and more to play by ear. I also use slowing down software or even better just sitting down with someone who can play the tune you want and have them break it down for you.

I definitely can't hear a note and know which button to push (perfect pitch?) but I'll take a stab and guess and can then get to the right note after 2 or 3 tries. My relative pitch is getting better. I still can't hear two notes and be able to tell the interval but my fingers are getting better and better at guessing which note to hit if that makes sense. I guess my brain doesn't have relative pitch but my fingers sort of do.
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David J

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Re: Do you learn by ear or off sheet music
« Reply #16 on: October 03, 2013, 01:19:21 PM »

I know some people can 'read' ABC code but for me its real benefit is to provide a bridge between my (fairly good) musical ear and (pretty poor) sight reading of the dots. So when I come across a new tune I want to learn the process is to first find the right version on abcnotation.com or wherever. I select which version seems closest to what I remember, dump it into my abc editor, and then listen to the tune being played back and make any changes as necessary to arrive at the remembered version (not always right of course  :-X).

So this process not only reinforces the tune in my head, but also I've found that it has facilitated my sight reading of the dots. The next step is to work out the chords I want to put with the tune, add them to the abc, listen back and play around with various options until I'm happy. Save the file - and move on to the next tune!!
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Re: Do you learn by ear or off sheet music
« Reply #17 on: October 03, 2013, 01:24:15 PM »

I learned to read music at school (my first instrument was the cello, and I played piano too).
Over the last 20 years or so I've been learning to pick up tunes by ear. I can play something back that I've just heard, and follow a tune in a session, but it still take a long time for a tune to stick, and if I want to learn it I usually need to get the dots so I can practice at home, because I'm not going to remember it reliably otherwise.

In an emergency I can just about identify a tune by reading the ABC, but ABC was never intended for reading that way, only as a really quick and simple source code for creating staff notation for printing. I can read dots fluently, to the extent that when I'm inputting ABC on my computer I only have to convert to staff notation on the screen and look at it to check I've got it right.
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Helena Handcart

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Re: Do you learn by ear or off sheet music
« Reply #18 on: October 03, 2013, 01:39:16 PM »

In an emergency I can just about identify a tune by reading the ABC, but ABC was never intended for reading that way, only as a really quick and simple source code for creating staff notation for printing.

Indeed, I assumed that when referring to ABC in this thread we meant ABC pasted into a converter programme such as ABC Navigator so that the dots can be viewed and the tune played simultaneously.  That for me is the magic of ABC, you can share these tiny text files with players of a variety of instruments who can then choose to learn by ear, by reading the dots or a combination of both.

Although I am starting to 'read' unconverted ABC as a sort of by-product of learning to transcribe tunes I wouldn't want to learn tunes this way routinely.  Do people really really learn tunes this way?

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Theo

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Re: Do you learn by ear or off sheet music
« Reply #19 on: October 03, 2013, 01:42:04 PM »

What I can't do is hit named notes. If someone says play an A, I have to think - where's an A?

And yet you also say:

I suppose I should add that originally learnt straight from ABC, still do to some extent. But, probably for reasons noted above, it's a much slower process.

Which seems to imply that if you read an A in abc then you can find the note. Could you elaborate please?
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