FORUM

Welcome to our forum. A Message To Our New and Prospective Members . Check out our Forum Rules. Lets keep this forum an enjoyable place to visit.

ATTENTION - The Little Drummer Boy project submission deadline is extended to the 19th of December because of a lack of submissions. As of now, 10 people have participated. Please consider participating. “The Little Drummer Boy Project”

A A A
Avatar
Please consider registering
guest
sp_LogInOut Log In sp_Registration Register
Register | Lost password?
Advanced Search
Forum Scope




Match



Forum Options



Minimum search word length is 3 characters - maximum search word length is 84 characters
sp_Feed Topic RSS sp_TopicIcon
Does the music come alive...
A little sheet music and play by ear!
Topic Rating: 0 Topic Rating: 0 Topic Rating: 0 Topic Rating: 0 Topic Rating: 0 Topic Rating: 0 (0 votes) 
Avatar
Mimi Aysha
Members

Regulars
August 13, 2019 - 11:54 am
Member Since: April 26, 2012
Forum Posts: 284
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
So now we skip ahead a month after first real fiddle camp - and after several tries playing all the fiddle tunes in the book they gave us, I am finally able to get the actual feel of the tune…even if I haven’t heard it, seems like the music comes to life on the page….(It has taken me 1 year and 8 months to get to this point)…probably longer than most, but even though I could read music, I don't believe I could actually feel it....now it's alive...
 
The grandsons asked, do we need to learn how to read music….
 
Not sure if there is a right or wrong way….but, for classical (I might be wrong) I do not think there is a replacement for learning how to read sheet music…but for fiddling….that's a whole other story... 
 
My friend and I started playing around the same time, I with sheet music, her with tabs and by ear. I personally enjoy getting to play a tune instantly, then focusing on my bowing, timing and such….the sheet music is my little security blankie, and my playing has to catch up with my reading. 
 
I wonder if because she plays by ear she commits it to memory better? In the end, I have played it over 50 times and she may have only played it 10, but our input time seems the same.
 
I am stunned cause she loses her keys, glasses, purse, all the time, and yet she can remember a song….whereas I often have to be jump started with the first couple notes….and I always remember my stuff (….and hers!) 
 
Now, we have run into a problem playing stuff together, our timing and notes are different and when her husband accompanies us on the guitar it is really noticeable…..I explain that this note should be held a touch longer or slurred with the next one, or whatever….and she tells me which band played the tune she listened to, and how she plays 3 notes together and then skips the next 2….one of us caves into whatever sounds better…we make it work...
 
I hope I am catching up with her natural talent of having an “ear for music” and replacing it with knowledge….which hopefully will become natural one day? Hers does seem to come alive instantly, and mine has taken a while to get there...
 
So that’s what I explained to the kids...they are different, just like us…the music should be fun and sound alive, and I would love that they could do both…at his young age when their brains are like little sponges!
 
PS - skip forward 2 weeks, the little one is not impressed with sheet music, says it's boring, (I had to bribe him with ice cream and sodas) but he got the basics at least….
 
The 12 yo is loving it, he is pretty much reading all the notes…and now he's asking me to explain everything else on the sheet....and just begged me to print him out some blank pages, or get an app so he can write his own!
Avatar
Pete_Violin
Utah
Honorary advisor
Members

Regulars
August 13, 2019 - 12:44 pm
Member Since: March 25, 2018
Forum Posts: 456
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

@Mimi Aysha 

I do both...  Especially with unfamiliar pieces.  I will learn the piece with sheet music, then commit it to memory as much as possible.

The 12 yo is loving it, he is pretty much reading all the notes…and now he's asking me to explain everything else on the sheet....and just begged me to print him out some blank pages, or get an app so he can write his own! 

This one is ready for lessons if he is not already taking them!

- Pete -

Avatar
wtw
Regular advisor
Members

Regulars
August 14, 2019 - 3:30 am
Member Since: November 10, 2018
Forum Posts: 115
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

I know the basic theory but I'm much more comfortable without sheet music, learning by ear… reading sheet music is too "cerebral" for me 😛 
At a young age it's easier to get into the habit of reading I guess.

Avatar
Leaviathan
Advanced member
Members
August 14, 2019 - 6:25 am
Member Since: May 18, 2019
Forum Posts: 91
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

I've been an ear player for 40 years on the electric bass, and also an ear player on piano and guitar. I have basic music reading skills but plan on expanding on that with the cello and viola. I want to be able to play classical.

Avatar
AndrewH
Sacramento, California
Members

Regulars
August 14, 2019 - 8:44 pm
Member Since: November 5, 2017
Forum Posts: 578
sp_UserOnlineSmall Online

It's funny how memory works. I'm an experienced classical player, and played piano for 12 years before I started on string instruments. I can look at sheet music for a couple minutes without playing at all, and then put away the sheet music and play 20-30 measures of it from memory. And yet I can't learn anything by ear, because it's hard for me to remember more than one or two measures at a time that way unless I've heard it many times. It's possible to have phenomenally good visual memory and terrible auditory memory, and vice-versa.

Avatar
damfino
my own little world
Members

Regulars
August 14, 2019 - 9:07 pm
Member Since: July 23, 2015
Forum Posts: 1944
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

I'm not great at reading sheet music... I can read all the notes just fine, but figuring out the rhythm takes so much concentration, that I don't really feel the music, and it takes longer to memorize because I am not hearing the music in my head. So it takes a while for me to get away from the sheet music, unless I find a good recording to play along to, then I could read the notes and play along, and then get it memorized.

Learning by ear I memorize it as I figure out each grouping of notes, and by the time I figure out the tune, it's in my head and under my fingers. I can get the feel of it and then work on all the fun bits. Any tune I learned by ear I don't lose. Tunes I learned from sheet I do and need to relearn here and there, they are always dots on the page in my head. 

But it's different for everyone. I've watched people sight read a tune at speed, adding in all the fancy ornamentation on their first go, and have it memorized right away, I don't think I could ever hope to have that skill. 

☆•*¨*•¸¸¸.•*¨*•☆•*¨*•¸¸¸.•*¨*•☆•*¨*•.¸¸¸.•*¨*•☆
World's Okayest Fiddler
☆•*¨*•.¸¸¸.•*¨* •☆•*¨*¨*•¸¸¸.•*¨*•☆

Avatar
GregW
Members

Regulars
August 14, 2019 - 11:42 pm
Member Since: February 9, 2019
Forum Posts: 505
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

As far as playing music with others...Ive practiced and memorized a tune before only to completely fall apart when I tried playing it with a group.  Not only from the speed but hearing an ornament or something from someone or maybe a measure played a little different.  Its a skill I'm struggling with that can be so cool when it goes good but so embarrassing when it goes wrong.  I fall more into the last.  But I'm still new at it and trying not to rely so much on the sheet music.  In the style I like..not everyone plays the tune exactly the same way but close enough to sound good if that makes any sense at all.  I think in the jam or session setting being able to learn a tune by ear is probably one of the most important things to be able to do.  So far I haven't been able to do that.  I'll have to use both (hearing a tune and practicing with sheet music) and over time pieces of it fall into place.  Being able to read music ( and Im talking AABB format stuff not multiple page scores wink) is valuable for me I just wish I had a better ear to pick stuff up on the fly like I see so many doing.  I envy that! 

Avatar
Pete_Violin
Utah
Honorary advisor
Members

Regulars
August 15, 2019 - 12:46 pm
Member Since: March 25, 2018
Forum Posts: 456
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

Music is a feeling...

By this I mean....  by all means, read the music!  Play what is on the page!  But then play the feeling of the music...

Listen to Prairie Spring.  Listen to how it feels rather than how the music would be written. 

That is the only way I can explain it.

- Pete -

Avatar
BillyG
Brora, North-east Scotland
August 15, 2019 - 1:51 pm
Member Since: March 22, 2014
Forum Posts: 3127
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

Great topic @Mimi Aysha and great responses from everyone.

I seriously recommend not copying my mistakes. D'oh - guntohead.JPG

Please make your own, different mistakes, and help us all learn :-)

Avatar
Mimi Aysha
Members

Regulars
August 15, 2019 - 3:38 pm
Member Since: April 26, 2012
Forum Posts: 284
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
10sp_Permalink sp_Print
0

Yep, we are all different!...Thanks all cheerleader

I booked them up for lessons ...2 teachers, every 2 weeks alternately, one who likes to go by sheet music and the other doesn't so they can get the most out of both sides....I told them they could both go to each, or swop out with who they preferred once they get a feel for it....I'm sure I'll learn a lot just by watching and listening to their lessons.

Avatar
starise
Members

Regulars
August 16, 2019 - 11:25 am
Member Since: September 9, 2016
Forum Posts: 256
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
11sp_Permalink sp_Print
0

Mimi, Thanks for sharing this. I'm not sure how the fiddle camps are where you live. The ones I attend are Irish music. The teacher of that "camp" passes out a pile of printed notation that we all first sing to in perfect time. The teacher might explain a little about the tune such as origin, the type of tune it is such as horn pipe, reel, jig, slip jig etc. He also adds a little history about the tune and if there is anything odd or noteworthy about the key signature. Since the camp is mostly about learning new music we are all slogging through them sight reading unless you happened to be lucky enough to know it already. You see a lot of dumbfounded looks at these things sometimes including me :). After about the third time through we begin to get the feel of it and move on to the next. There's generally a pile of at least 20 tunes. The expectation is that we will have learned these well in a few weeks on our own.

The fact that people almost never show up to sessions with printed music means that the expectation is we have them memorized. I might occasionally spot a few players peeking at a small piece of paper tucked in their pocket.

@GregW I can fully relate to thinking I know a tune until I try to play it in a group or play along with one I'm supposed to know. The tunes generally move so fast that if I miss something small the rest are halfway through it before I can attempt to jump back on board. Knowing the players and how they play makes a huge difference. There's a lot of individuality in some of these tunes. 

I love it when I get the "feel" for a song like Mimi mentions. Sometimes I think it should come more naturally. It often doesn't and not everyone plays it with the same kind of vibe. Group playing without music is probably more of a challenge than playing with notation IMHO. The tempo, the dynamics, the individual parts are often more determined by the players than by written music. Players that are used to one another can pick up on things a new player needs to acclimate to.

Avatar
MoonShadows
Stroudsburg, PA
Honorary tenured advisor
Members

Regulars
September 8, 2019 - 7:26 am
Member Since: January 30, 2019
Forum Posts: 543
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
12sp_Permalink sp_Print
0

GregW said
As far as playing music with others...Ive practiced and memorized a tune before only to completely fall apart when I tried playing it with a group.  Not only from the speed but hearing an ornament or something from someone or maybe a measure played a little different.  Its a skill I'm struggling with that can be so cool when it goes good but so embarrassing when it goes wrong.  I fall more into the last.  But I'm still new at it and trying not to rely so much on the sheet music.  In the style I like..not everyone plays the tune exactly the same way but close enough to sound good if that makes any sense at all.  I think in the jam or session setting being able to learn a tune by ear is probably one of the most important things to be able to do.  So far I haven't been able to do that.  I'll have to use both (hearing a tune and practicing with sheet music) and over time pieces of it fall into place.  Being able to read music ( and Im talking AABB format stuff not multiple page scores wink) is valuable for me I just wish I had a better ear to pick stuff up on the fly like I see so many doing.  I envy that! 

  

I'm not sure if this is a question you, or anyone else, can answer...or maybe you can, but what can be done to hone one's skills to better learn a tune by ear. Am I wrong by thinking the better I learn my scales and recognize keys is the way? I would like to improve my ability to learn by ear.

Jim

Fiddling for Older Folks - Learning to Play the Fiddle as an Adult

The Friends of the Sons of Liberty - Three Inspiring Young Men playing Early American Fiddle Music 

Avatar
Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
September 8, 2019 - 1:03 pm
Member Since: September 26, 2010
Forum Posts: 14808
13sp_Permalink sp_Print
0

Not just scales but also the more you play. The more you play the more you recognize the tones coming from your instrument and are able to match them with what you hear.
It's also great to practice playing along with music. Listen and try to recognize the pitches that you hear and attempt to match them. It might just be the base note of the chord or key the piece is being played in but it gets better over time.

"The richest person is not the one who has the most,
but the one who needs the least."

Forum Timezone: America/New_York
Most Users Ever Online: 424
Currently Online: Bob, AndrewH, Peter
71
Guest(s)
Currently Browsing this Page:
1 Guest(s)
Members Birthdays
sp_BirthdayIcon
Today marta
Upcoming Reacher, Andrew, palmfiddler, Lajer, Lenicus, wookieman, Gil, MrWilf, Taper123, Diana Ungaro Arnos, Longstride46, bocaholly, klezmerkat
Top Posters:
Mad_Wed: 2849
Barry: 2678
Fiddlestix: 2647
Oliver: 2439
DanielB: 2379
Kevin M.: 1971
damfino: 1944
cdennyb: 1814
TerryT: 1726
Ferret: 1575
Member Stats:
Guest Posters: 3
Members: 27065
Moderators: 0
Admins: 7
Forum Stats:
Groups: 16
Forums: 55
Topics: 8178
Posts: 101748
Newest Members:
trillzango, dilawless54, Olivia X., Colette, irishpiper, Vimu
Administrators: Fiddlerman: 14808, KindaScratchy: 1747, coolpinkone: 4176, BillyG: 3127, MrsFiddlerman: 2, Jimmie Bjorling: 0, cid: 1504