Playing exactly what you hear in your head - functional pitch recognition

Discussion in 'Playing and Technique' started by mcmurray, Dec 21, 2009.


  1. mcmurray

    mcmurray Member

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    I wrote this a while back and thought you guys might be interested in the ideas presented.

    Guitarists in particular (as opposed to other instrumentalists) amaze me as they generally have a LOT of trouble playing simple melodies by ear without mistakes. Years of relying on tabs and pentatonic scales will do this.

    If you can't play your national anthem or simple tunes like happy birthday or twinkle twinkle by ear in any position and get it right every time, this method will help you.

    http://www.jsguitarforum.com/forum/showthread.php?t=56336

    I will be re-writing this soon, and I'll update the thread when it's done. I plan on inlcluding how to sight read standard notation using solfege as a foundation, and hear the melody in your head before you play it. Also, transcribing directly to standard notation will be covered.

    I'd also recommend Bruce Arnold's book - "Fanatic's Guide to Sight Singing and Ear Training", it contains proven solfege exercises that will develop your sense of functional pitch.

    To those that have used interval recognition when learning ear training, I highly suggest augmenting your knowledge with functional pitch recognition.

    If anyone has any queries, post them here and I'll try to help.
     
  2. jaydub69

    jaydub69 Member

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  3. mcmurray

    mcmurray Member

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  4. TubeStack

    TubeStack Supporting Member

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    This is a huge generalization. I know several guitarists who can do this, no problem. Even teen students of mine can do it.
     
  5. JonnyAlright

    JonnyAlright Member

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    while a generalization, i will say that from my experience i totally agree with the OP.

    any way you look at it, we can all use some improvement in ear training! great article, i didn't really start with solfege until college, but it helped me out so much when i did.
     
  6. russ6100

    russ6100 Member

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    As kind of an aside, I have issues with something I hear a lot:

    "But I just want to be able to play what I hear in my head..."

    In my experience, more often then not, the problem is that they *don't* hear it in their head...

    er...back to your regularly scheduled.....ah...thread....
     
  7. IGuitUpIGuitDown

    IGuitUpIGuitDown Member

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    As a guitarist who plays with my ear more than a pick, I've seen it, too. And heard it. And it is odd how many guitarists DO seem to miss some notes, the exact "flavouring" that makes a song what it is...

    Not all. But some.

    I was told by a Berklee jazz grad that I took a lesson from, that my playing-by-ear abilities were above a senior graduate level. I guess that's something.
     
  8. Guitarheel

    Guitarheel Member

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    mcmurray, does the Bruce Arnold Book deal with the Guitar fretboard the way you did in the thread on the other site?(Wonderful by the way!) If not, how could I combine the two? Thanks...
     
  9. Tomo

    Tomo Member

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    Thanks for sharing this. It's important. I studied with Bruce!

    I wrote my new book/cd is called "Playing by ear and feeling. I presented similar approach, using degree/color/triads etc ... twinkle twinkle examples.

    Tomo
     
  10. bluesmain

    bluesmain Member

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    I am guilty! Good thread thanks !
     
  11. mcmurray

    mcmurray Member

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    It's been a while since I read that book, and I don't own a copy.

    Bruce treats the tonic of any tonality as 'do'. I prefer to use 'do' as the tonic for major tonalities and 'la' as the tonic for minor tonalities.

    Both ways will work, though I feel that using a la-minor approach works better for guitar study, as the same fretboard syllable patterns can be used for both major and minor.
     
  12. mcmurray

    mcmurray Member

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  13. Clifford-D

    Clifford-D Member

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    Twinkle is easy because it's been etched into my memory from a long time ago.

    All the harmonic possibilities and counter lines are a bit more difficult to hear.
    What goes with Twinkle? That's the harder and more interesting stuff to hear.

    Here is Lee Konitzs 10 step idea
    http://www.melmartin.com/html_pages/Interviews/konitz.html
     
  14. tweedster

    tweedster Supporting Member

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    I found that playing slide guitar on just the high E string and playing cornball melodies (nursey rhtmes etc.) helped my ear a lot.
     
  15. FFTT

    FFTT Member

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    I always seem to hear the part I'm trying to play in my head before I play it.

    If I don't have a guitar handy, I'll try to see what it sounds like on keyboard
    just to hear the part for further development.

    I can't explain the theory or even tell you what notes I'm playing, I just play
    what sounds right.
     
  16. Gene

    Gene Member

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    Charlie Banacos had ET for jazz players down to an artform with science mixed in. In my humble opinion, he really nailed it and he pretty much had the technique down and was teaching it to others when he was like 12 or 13 years old...
     
  17. guitarua

    guitarua Supporting Member

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    Can you elaborate on this? I would love to hear Banacos approach.
     
  18. Cuthbert

    Cuthbert Member

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    Great post, thanks for sharing it. I hope I'm not too old to get this down. Playing for 32 years. I too would love to hear about Charlie Banacos' approach to ear training Gene.
     
  19. ThomasRS

    ThomasRS Member

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    Yes, it would be interesting to hear more on Charlie Banacos work

    Thomas
     
  20. Gene

    Gene Member

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    I think Charlie's method was ground breaking in that it dealt directly with the neuroplasticity of the auditory cortex. The cochlea plays a role as well but you are pretty much stuck with what you are born with here.

    I don't want to get into specifics as his method is copyrighted and since his passing, his son has reminded all of his students as such.

    Good luck!
     

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