Wednesday, August 17, 2005

3 Quick & Easy Steps To Playing Music By Ear

3 Quick & Easy Steps To Playing Music By Ear: "3 Quick & Easy Steps To
Playing Music by Ear

Playing by ear is the ability to play a piece of music (or, eventually, learn an instrument) by simply listening to it repeatedly. The majority of self-taught musicians began their education this way; they picked up their instrument and began playing an easy melody from a well-known song, slowly picking out the notes as they went along. And even after these musicians master their instruments or a particular song, playing by ear still plays a large role. Many pop and rock bands don't play or write their songs based on sheet music, they figure the songs out by playing by ear. It's even common among non-musicians. Ever sit down a piano and mindlessly pick out the tune to 'Mary Had a Little Lamb'? What about grabbing a guitar and suddenly finding yourself playing the opening licks to 'Smoke on the Water'? That's playing by ear. You're able to play part of the song just because you've heard it so often.
Since music is basically composed of 3 elements � melody, rhythm, and harmony, it is logical that there are also 3 basic steps to learning to play music by ear:
1. Charting the contour of the melody. Tunes move higher and lower � up and down � as the song progresses. Being aware of that movement is the first step. Once you mentally define the parameters of the melody, you can then begin to hone in on picking it out on your instrument. As an example, think of �Joy To The World�. We�ve all sung it a zillion times, but have you ever noticed that the melody moves down exactly 8 steps (an octave), then gradually moves back up in increments, then repeats the down movement, etc. The entire melody is contained within those 8 notes, so you now know the parameters of the song and can begin to pick out the "
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