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Author Topic: Playing by ear.  (Read 6532 times)
weldon29
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Posts: 9


« on: December 06, 2009, 06:33:53 PM »

Reading through the forums made me wonder, do all of you play by ear, as in, do you guys play along songs completely by ear? Even if you never heard that song before, or don't have the chord chart, and still able to play along with it?

I always used a chord chart or sheet music when playing in a worship band, and never played by ear, so I would like to know more about this. And I only started to learn a bassline of a song by ear last nigh which is this one http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u89BVc1qWvo didn't finish it all though(will try to tonight) So my question is how would you guys play to that song? Do you listen to the bassline and just follow it, or just play along as you listen to it? Would be great if you will be able to post a video of you playing along it.
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jackthejesusfreak
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Posts: 170


He Did This For You


« Reply #1 on: December 06, 2009, 07:15:52 PM »

Reading through the forums made me wonder, do all of you play by ear, as in, do you guys play along songs completely by ear? Even if you never heard that song before, or don't have the chord chart, and still able to play along with it?

I always used a chord chart or sheet music when playing in a worship band, and never played by ear, so I would like to know more about this. And I only started to learn a bassline of a song by ear last nigh which is this one http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u89BVc1qWvo didn't finish it all though(will try to tonight) So my question is how would you guys play to that song? Do you listen to the bassline and just follow it, or just play along as you listen to it? Would be great if you will be able to post a video of you playing along it.


I do both actually.  I have a decent, not a great ear, and in my junior high and high school days we played everything by ear.  Sitting down with the LP or 45 and figured the song out that way.
However, now in our praise band, we use charts downloaded from online sites.
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Bass Guitars:
1. Rickenbacker 4004Cii
2. Rickenbacker 4004L
3. Peavey Fury IV
Bass Amps:
2-GK MB115
Trace Elliot Commando 12
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oldrookie
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Posts: 292


« Reply #2 on: December 06, 2009, 08:01:30 PM »

I'm just starting to work on ear training.  I prefer to have the written music in front of me.  Reading is getting a lot better in recent months, but I'd like to develop my ear as well.
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cupples
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Posts: 18



« Reply #3 on: December 07, 2009, 06:27:22 AM »

I would play by ear every Sunday, unless I didn't know the piece. I just find it easier to get the key of the piece, and work things out as I go along. I've a reasonably good ear, and most of the music we do is fairly straightforward - once you get the hang of what the intervals and chord progressions 'sound like' inside your head, you can work out if you need to go up a fourth, or a seventh, or whatever. Once you're happy with the root chords of the music, it's easy to work out a few runs and scales etc that will sound good. I would thoroughly recommend practising scales and arpeggios, so that you don't have to think about the intervals, they just happen. I find it really frees my brain up, and I can get into the groove and just express myself through the music that way.

I can't play by ear on any other instrument (bassoon, voice, piano), but that's probably because I was taught formally, from sheet music, for so many years, and have never really loosened up enough to be adventurous and play what's in my head.

I think a lot of worship music is fairly musically straightforward, and once you've got a few moves worked out, in a couple of different keys (D, G, Bb etc), you can transfer that to a lot of different songs.

Andrew
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"As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord" Joshua 24:15

Mania 4 string fretless, Dean Pace EUB, Ashdown Superfly amp and Laney 2x10 cab
weldon29
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Posts: 9


« Reply #4 on: December 07, 2009, 09:04:17 AM »

I would play by ear every Sunday, unless I didn't know the piece. I just find it easier to get the key of the piece, and work things out as I go along. I've a reasonably good ear, and most of the music we do is fairly straightforward - once you get the hang of what the intervals and chord progressions 'sound like' inside your head, you can work out if you need to go up a fourth, or a seventh, or whatever. Once you're happy with the root chords of the music, it's easy to work out a few runs and scales etc that will sound good. I would thoroughly recommend practising scales and arpeggios, so that you don't have to think about the intervals, they just happen. I find it really frees my brain up, and I can get into the groove and just express myself through the music that way.

I can't play by ear on any other instrument (bassoon, voice, piano), but that's probably because I was taught formally, from sheet music, for so many years, and have never really loosened up enough to be adventurous and play what's in my head.

I think a lot of worship music is fairly musically straightforward, and once you've got a few moves worked out, in a couple of different keys (D, G, Bb etc), you can transfer that to a lot of different songs.

Andrew
Ya, I noticed that a lot of the music that our church plays have a lot of similar progressions.
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1954bassman
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« Reply #5 on: December 07, 2009, 02:32:44 PM »

I almost always learn songs for church p&w by ear. One drawback to that is the actual recorded version and the chord charts form the internet, fake books, etc seldom match up perfectly. And since almost no one else practices outside the 90 minute weekly team practice - our arrangements also never match the recorded versions.

My method is as follows:
 * I make myself listen to the entire cut three times before I start playing along with it
 * I play through the entire cut several times without stopping
 * I pain-stakingly chart the song using the Nashville Numbering System
 * I play the song over and over until I can play it flawlessly (right)  Roll Eyes
 
Then at group practice I make notes of the changes in the way we play it.


And we will still most likely play it differently Sunday am, since no one else practices outside team practice but myself.  Huh
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Bass with Grace
Eddy
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« Reply #6 on: December 08, 2009, 07:17:14 AM »

I have a pretty good ear and learn things really quickly. For a typical P&W song, I can have the structure blocked by the time the song finishes.. maybe a rewind here or there.

For our youth praise band, I always learn the songs by ear. The M.O. is to play the songs like the recording, and there's no charts, just the listening CD. For the main worship service, we always play to the charts. Differing keys, alternate arrangements, and repeats/endings are not uncommon.


here's an ear training exercise:
I often watch TV with my bass or an electric guitar nearby. Instead of unplugged noodling, do this:
During commercials, try to play along with the incidental/background music on the TV. I start by finding a note/chord then find the key. Once that's done, the progression/melody is quickly under your fingers.
If I'm by myself, I'll do this with all the music, even background music in the show. However a word of caution: it can become annoying to a spouse, so commercial breaks are the least offensive.  Wink
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mishicoco
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Posts: 29


« Reply #7 on: March 10, 2010, 01:31:24 AM »

Reading through the forums made me wonder, do all of you play by ear, as in, do you guys play along songs completely by ear? Even if you never heard that song before, or don't have the chord chart, and still able to play along with it?

I always used a chord chart or sheet music when playing in a worship band, and never played by ear, so I would like to know more about this. And I only started to learn a bassline of a song by ear last nigh which is this one http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u89BVc1qWvo didn't finish it all though(will try to tonight) So my question is how would you guys play to that song? Do you listen to the bassline and just follow it, or just play along as you listen to it? Would be great if you will be able to post a video of you playing along it.
                                      i play almost entirely by ear, but it is nice that our songleader does give us very a very basic idea on paper, knowing how songs are written does give one the advantage when playing by ear ( also knowing the rules of music) i think it's a good idea to practice alot with your instrument ,obviously , i like to play by ear all the time ,the way i see it you had to learn how to speak , i think thats pretty amazing how we learned to do that ,and we dont even think twice about it ,if you listen to  yourself speak  you may notice that  it sounds kind of  like some kind ofchromatic music, now just imagine that we used our basses as much as we use our mouths. the key is to learn as many songs by ear that  you can and try to  learn theory as well so  you can have a pretty good idea what sounds good, eventually you will be able to play ,even what you hear in your head with incredible precision!
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SavnBass
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Posts: 89



« Reply #8 on: May 10, 2010, 08:07:37 PM »

I find that my ear helsp me to learn the gist of the song.. but I still use charts... because it just makes t easier if you have that roadmap in front of you..
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OnePlace|ChristChapelChurchWoodbridgeVa
Satan doesn't care if you believe the lie as long as you doubt the truth.
Child of God
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Posts: 149



« Reply #9 on: May 11, 2010, 07:09:04 AM »

As you play more and more, you start hearing things that sound familiar.  That's because they are!  One idea in music is that nothing is new under the sun.  It's all been done before.  There are only a few notes that are possible to play.  It's all in the arrangement.  Some simpler songs I can pick up by ear on the spot.  Some of the more intricate ones I need a chart to keep me on track.

Try to expose yourself to different styles of music.  Although I am from a classic rock and jazz background, I find it a real blast to play some polka/ooompa stuff every now and then.  Difficult -- no.  Fun -- Extremely!  It makes the whole team laugh and smile ... and worship should be fun/happy/joyous.
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Whom have I in heaven but You?  And there is none upon earth that I desire besides You.  My flesh and my heart fail; but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
Psalm 73: 25&26 (NKJV)
CRBMoA
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« Reply #10 on: May 11, 2010, 10:46:21 AM »

I play by ear unless it is some special song or arrangement that they want.

I firmly believe that the use of charts diminishes a players attention to what is going on around them. How many times have you seen a musician with their head buried in the music stand, oblivious to what is going on around them?

If I don't know what the next chord will be, I look at the keys or the guitars. I can play both enough to read their hands in a pinch.

To be fair, I picked up the bass at 14, I have always been an ear player, and I'll turn 44 this week, so I've been doing this a while.
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2 Cor 10:5
embellisher
Holy Ghost filled Bass Player
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« Reply #11 on: July 20, 2010, 08:48:46 PM »

I also picked up bass at 14, and will turn 44 this year! Cool

I have always played by ear, in most of the churches I have attended over the years, up until June of 2007.

We moved to a small town in Arkansas, and the church that I joined used charts for everything, and played a lot of songs that I had never even heard, let alone played. So I took a couple of the books (none of them were 100% complete) and made my own book with all of the charts in it. For the next year or so, that's what we did. I had used charts before in various bands I was in, so that was no big deal.

Our church changed Pastors in 2008, and our new Pastor, who is also a great pianist and plays several other instruments as well took over the music the first year and a half he was here. Charts went out the window, but we started having rehearsal before every service, so with the good ear I was blessed with, things went great! He stepped down from music a few months ago, and a guy who had only been playing piano a few months took over. He is really making progress, but he 'hears'  things a bit differently than my Pastor, so when we do a song I had worked out a lot of parts for, I often have to adjust due to the chord progression being a bit different.

I have no formal training, but over the past 30+ years I have taught myself notation, Nashville Numbers, and learned to play from charts or Lead Sheets, so I am pretty much ready for any situation!
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us4given
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Posts: 2


« Reply #12 on: December 06, 2010, 03:09:59 PM »

 Well I have no other choice to play by ear. I am 38 and the rest of the guys are 22, 23 and they change every song we play and they love the capo so sheet music does no good. But playing buy ear is so much more fun and you can use your imagination with the song instead of playing the same thing over and over.
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oldrookie
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Posts: 292


« Reply #13 on: December 07, 2010, 10:00:20 AM »

Would be nice to have been gifted with an "ear" but not to be.

I recognize that you all nail it when you get it right, but can't seem to get there when the bass is in my hands.  Sigh.

But still, God is more than gracious  in allowing me the resources to keep attempting to play and that will be enough.

Joel
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kael89
That Leigh Guy
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Posts: 7



« Reply #14 on: December 09, 2010, 03:31:01 AM »

i think its a really hand tool to develop regardless of whether you use it in ur playing or not as you never know what new musical situation you might find yourself in.

i enjoy playing by ear just jamming in headphones to new praise songs early into the morning.
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The truth? God. There is only God. Everything else can and will change. There is only God.
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