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Playing by ear

Who relies on ear playing over reading?


  • Total voters
    117

Alice

Psychedelic
Messages
5,358
Location
Kent
Was wondering what had happened to you Richard and had forgotten about the broadband issue. Good to see you back and to read about your progress.
 

Alc.

Senior Member
Messages
737
Location
High plains of N/W New Mexico.
I tried Windows 10, did not like it, went back to Windows 7. Much better for me.

I began playing by ear many years ago and knew I was missing out. Now, decades later and after a very lengthy absence I play from note and feel that I have joined the club. All these years later, when I am playing a piece by ear that I have known forever, just by myself, there is the chance that when I come to the bridge I may take off on an entirely different path. That's when I can go through my music and find out where I went astray. If playing with a backing-track I don't usually have the problem, as the other instruments lead me where I should go. Playing by ear is a great pleasure, but developing the ability to read from the sheet makes a boy feel rounded out. As in everything else, no knowledge is wasted; it will come in handy sometime.
 

richardr

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,742
I tried Windows 10, did not like it, went back to Windows 7. Much better for me.

I began playing by ear many years ago and knew I was missing out. Now, decades later and after a very lengthy absence I play from note and feel that I have joined the club. All these years later, when I am playing a piece by ear that I have known forever, just by myself, there is the chance that when I come to the bridge I may take off on an entirely different path. That's when I can go through my music and find out where I went astray. If playing with a backing-track I don't usually have the problem, as the other instruments lead me where I should go. Playing by ear is a great pleasure, but developing the ability to read from the sheet makes a boy feel rounded out. As in everything else, no knowledge is wasted; it will come in handy sometime.
I'm stuck with Windows 10 for the life of my new computer and now that I have a decent broadband connection, it works well enough. I still feel sore about the fact that the people who sold me Windows 10 failed to point out the difference compared with previous versions of Windows and allowed me to proceed on the assumption that it is like previous versions of Windows with added bells and whistles. However the company that sold me my new computer with Windows 10 have given me good service in the past and did their best to help.
My major continuing gripe about Windows 10 is that, while I've bought and paid for it to give me service, it provides Microsoft with continuing feedback for their purposes rather than for my benefit. I use other systems that do the same sort of thing, such as Facebook, but that came with a clear statement about the benefits that the Facebook would derive from me in return for my use of this service free-of-charge. Microsoft ought to have done the same thing. Perhaps they did, but the whole thing was set up by the people who sold me the computer and I never saw such a statement.
The other thing is, "if yer knows a better 'ole, go to it": does the obvious alternative, Mac, send a comparable level of information back to Apple? No-one I've asked has given me a definitive answer. The other alternative was Linux which, I'm told, doesn't provide feedback. I was deterred from accepting my suppliers' offer to remove Windows 10 from my computer and replace it with Linux by a consensus of opinion that I'm insufficiently computerate to use Linux.
 

David Roach

Senior Member
Messages
704
Location
London
If you go to 'Settings', 'Privacy' you can turn a lot of this stuff off. There's a list down the LH side of areas that can be tweaked.
Personally, I think people worry far too much about feedback to Microsoft and Apple, but each to their own.
 

nigeld

I don't need another mouthpiece; but . . .
Café Supporter
Messages
7,177
Location
Bristol, UK
This is getting rather far from the topic of playing by ear, but I have a Mac, and I am pretty sure I was given the choice whether to send info to Apple or not. I chose not to.
 

richardr

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,742
I've been prompted to think rather more carefully about why I have such difficulty with sheet music that I've given up to it and play be "ear" instead,
For me, merely reading sheet music is not difficult. It’s playing what I read that’s the problem and timing is the stumbling block. I have tried and tried and tried, but, except for very slow, simple music, where I have time to think between notes, I cannot play a tune where my knowledge of the timing is imparted by sheet music that shows me the length of each note. I have to know how the tune sounds in order to play it, and I can’t grasp that from sheet music.
I might be able to learn to play from sheet music if I try hard enough, but, for me, it's not worth the effort so I'll keep on playing by "ear".
 

Tiberius

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,052
Location
England
...I have to know how the tune sounds in order to play it...
It sounds how it sounds when you play it. If you want it to sound how it sounds when someone else plays it, then yeah to some extent you have to 'play by ear'. But there's no real reason for it to have to sound like when someone else plays it, or even how the composer thought it should sound like.

I admit, most of the time when it sounds like I want it to sound like, it's not as good as when someone on YouTube plays it...but that's the deal :)
 

richardr

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,742
It sounds how it sounds when you play it. If you want it to sound how it sounds when someone else plays it, then yeah to some extent you have to 'play by ear'. But there's no real reason for it to have to sound like when someone else plays it, or even how the composer thought it should sound like.

I admit, most of the time when it sounds like I want it to sound like, it's not as good as when someone on YouTube plays it...but that's the deal :)
I'd have done better to say "how the tune goes". But there are some tunes, particularly middle eights, that I can't remember and when I play those, they sound the way I play them.
 

Dave E

Member
Messages
199
Location
Leicester
I'm presently trying to play along to Sweet Child of Mine by ear and slowly getting somewhere... Maybe unlikely for this forum, but are there sax players out there who ALSO play guitar, live near Leicester AND like the tune enough to try it at a Leicester jam session sometime? (I'd play it on Alto and we'd get a pro rhythm section to back us on bass, keyboard and drums.)
 

richardr

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,742
Beware of guitarists. They like to play in keys such as convert A, D and E which are difficult on sax. It's hard enough on a Bb tenor and I've given up to alto because the transpositions are beyond me.
 

Dave E

Member
Messages
199
Location
Leicester
Thanks Richard but I've tried playing it by ear (with a bit of transposition) a few times against the Guns N roses original track and its starting to fit well.
 

Zugzwang

Member
Messages
679
Location
United Kingdom
Beware of guitarists. They like to play in keys such as convert A, D and E which are difficult on sax. …
Enough with this fallacy! [BGCOLOR=transparent]I’ve been living in the hell of flat keys ever since I returned to the sax and joined a jazz workshop. Give me C# any day of the week over Ab![/BGCOLOR]
It’s just what you’re used to - I’m sure in time it will smooth out (when I pay the singers in the workshop to request a song in Eb be moved, say a semitone up, that’ll sort it ;)).
 

richardr

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,742
Enough with this fallacy! [BGCOLOR=transparent]I’ve been living in the hell of flat keys ever since I returned to the sax and joined a jazz workshop. Give me C# any day of the week over Ab![/BGCOLOR]
It’s just what you’re used to - I’m sure in time it will smooth out (when I pay the singers in the workshop to request a song in Eb be moved, say a semitone up, that’ll sort it ;)).
It may smooth out - in time. Indeed it is smoothing-out for me: someone's posted a video of me jamming with guitarists on Thursday, a rock n' roll medley in concert E. At the time I thought what I did was dreadful (I wanted to walk off stage before they started) but what I hear on the video doesn't sound so bad. Smoothing it out is hard work.
 

Zugzwang

Member
Messages
679
Location
United Kingdom
Congratulations Richard!
Smoothing it out is hard work.
… but no more or less hard than your first C major scale, that’s my point.
[BGCOLOR=transparent]I played with guitarists, so I learned F# before I learned F (probably, frankly it all went away in the intervening decades). If we learned C# as our first scale we’d be struggling over C :eek:when we got to [/BGCOLOR]
it.
 

Taz

Busking Oracle
Messages
3,667
Location
Rugby UK
I'm presently trying to play along to Sweet Child of Mine by ear and slowly getting somewhere... Maybe unlikely for this forum, but are there sax players out there who ALSO play guitar, live near Leicester AND like the tune enough to try it at a Leicester jam session sometime? (I'd play it on Alto and we'd get a pro rhythm section to back us on bass, keyboard and drums.)
I play this with the covers band I’m in. It’s a really great tune to get into with a bit of growl!
 

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