#1
I need to know some tips about how when Imagining a melody or riff (I can do this in my head well) how I can apply the melody to the guitar. This also goes with hearing a melody, and being able to play it. Ive been working on this, and I don't want to go all the way as to start perfect pitch training, but could I get some tips? Lesson link? Article? ECT?
#4
Quote by FallsDownStairs
Start learning songs by ear.


What a great nugget of wisdom you offered. I believe the OP was asking how to learn by ear. What you posted is not an answer.
#5
just familiarize the fundamentals of music and know the tune of every tune.
#6
Quote by bubbamc119
I wrote this to address exactly this issue.

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

Hope it helps! If you have any questions, let me know.

btw perfect pitch is not required, or even desirable to play by ear imho. Relative pitch is the key, and anyone can acquire it with practice.


don't you think it's kind of unnecessary work to actually learn the solfege pattern on the fretboard itself? So far I've been doing interval ear training using the fretboard, so for example, I know that the distance between the 5th fret on the A string and the 7th fret on the D string is a perfect fifth, and similarly anything played on the next string down and 2 frets down will be a 5th (except for the B string of course). And also anything played 1 string down and 3 frets down will be a minor 6th. this is how i've been familiarizing myself with the intervals. and it seems like learning solfege is pretty much the same thing except it's more work cuz you have to memorize the syllables and the patterns.

or am I interpreting your method incorrectly?
#7
Quote by Moonshield17
don't you think it's kind of unnecessary work to actually learn the solfege pattern on the fretboard itself? So far I've been doing interval ear training using the fretboard, so for example, I know that the distance between the 5th fret on the A string and the 7th fret on the D string is a perfect fifth, and similarly anything played on the next string down and 2 frets down will be a 5th (except for the B string of course). And also anything played 1 string down and 3 frets down will be a minor 6th. this is how i've been familiarizing myself with the intervals. and it seems like learning solfege is pretty much the same thing except it's more work cuz you have to memorize the syllables and the patterns.

or am I interpreting your method incorrectly?


Solfege does NOT concern itself with intervals. Solfege trains you in the art of functional pitch recognition. Interval recognition and functional pitch recognition are two very different beasts. IMHO functional pitch recognition wins every time. Some music analysts even think that interval recognition training is useless.

see here under the heading "functional pitch recognition";

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ear_training#Functional_pitch_recognition

I like this part in particular;

"with functional pitch recognition there is no need to keep track of the last note of the previous line or solo nor any need to keep track of a series of intervals going back all the way to the start of a piece."

and

"Since the function of pitch classes is a key element, the problem of compound intervals with interval recognition is not an issue—whether the notes in a melody are played within a single octave or over many octaves is irrelevant."

A question for you Moonfield - can you listen to a melody and track the intervals in your head in real time without access to a guitar? If you can, good stuff and you might as well keep going the way your going. This is a very hard thing to do though, taking a functional pitch approach will make transcribing much, much easier.
Last edited by bubbamc119 at Oct 14, 2009,
#8
Quote by bubbamc119
Solfege does NOT concern itself with intervals. Solfege trains you in the art of functional pitch recognition. Interval recognition and functional pitch recognition are two very different beasts. IMHO functional pitch recognition wins every time. Some music analysts even think that interval recognition training is useless.

see here under the heading "functional pitch recognition";

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ear_training#Functional_pitch_recognition

I like this part in particular;

"with functional pitch recognition there is no need to keep track of the last note of the previous line or solo nor any need to keep track of a series of intervals going back all the way to the start of a piece."

and

"Since the function of pitch classes is a key element, the problem of compound intervals with interval recognition is not an issue—whether the notes in a melody are played within a single octave or over many octaves is irrelevant."

A question for you Moonfield - can you listen to a melody and track the intervals in your head in real time without access to a guitar? If you can, good stuff and you might as well keep going the way your going. This is a very hard thing to do though, taking a functional pitch approach will make transcribing much, much easier.


No I cannot yet do that but that is what I'm aiming for right now. Thank you for that wiki article, I didn't know about this functional pitch recognition technique. It does seem like it'll help me to get exactly where I want to be.

However I do have a question. To use FPR does this mean that once we figure out the tonic a melody, we will have to "hold" the tonic in our minds? So we can then figure out all the other notes by comparing it to the tonic note, and in this way we are identifying the relative pitch? And if this is the case, then technically we ARE dealing with intervals, are we not? Like just identifying the intervals relative to the tonic.
Last edited by Moonshield17 at Oct 14, 2009,
#9
Quote by Moonshield17
No I cannot yet do that but that is what I'm aiming for right now. Thank you for that wiki article, I didn't know about this functional pitch recognition technique. It does seem like it'll help me to get exactly where I want to be.

However I do have a question. To use FPR does this mean that once we figure out the tonic a melody, we will have to "hold" the tonic in our minds? So we can then figure out all the other notes by comparing it to the tonic note, and in this way we are identifying the relative pitch? And if this is the case, then technically we ARE dealing with intervals, are we not? Like just identifying the intervals relative to the tonic.


Yes the intervals are still there. However, you will find that it's a million times easier to hold the tonic in your mind than it is to keep track of intervals. The tonic usually becomes obvious after a measure or two, and will remain as the same note for the entire piece unless there is a key change. Once you can hear the tonic, you know where it is at any time throughout a piece of music - you don't have to consciously 'hold' it in your mind. It sticks out like dogs balls, so to speak. With a bit of practice, every scale degree (or note function) will stick out like dogs balls also, without even thinking about intervals.

Good luck with your ear training endeavor, it's the single most important thing to be fluent with as a musician. If you have any more questions I'd be happy to try and answer them.
Last edited by bubbamc119 at Oct 15, 2009,
#10
ok thank you for everything you've explained so far.

I still have a few questions though.
on that site you linked, you said to memorize the solfege pattern as you've drawn it on there. however I see that as simply memorizing the shape of the major scale (ionian mode) all over the fretboard.

so what exactly do you mean when you say this, "Now, to play in a minor key the same thing applies, however, instead of lining up the do's on the key required, line up the la's instead."

what do you mean by "line up the la's?" do you mean we should also learn the shape of the minor scale all over the fretboard? and similarly the dorian, phrygian, all those other modes shapes?
Last edited by Moonshield17 at Oct 15, 2009,
#11
Quote by Moonshield17
ok thank you for everything you've explained so far.

I still have a few questions though.
on that site you linked, you said to memorize the solfege pattern as you've drawn it on there. however I see that as simply memorizing the shape of the major scale (ionian mode) all over the fretboard.


Yes the pattern does indeed correspond to the shape of the major scale on the fretboard - you've no doubt seen it before, but it shows more information than just a series of dots. It also explicitly shows the syllables for each note within a key, which directly correspond to the notes function. A different syllable = a different function. Note function is a fancy way of saying note sound compared to the tonic.

Quote by Moonshield17
so what exactly do you mean when you say this, "Now, to play in a minor key the same thing applies, however, instead of lining up the do's on the key required, line up the la's instead."

what do you mean by "line up the la's?" do you mean we should also learn the shape of the minor scale all over the fretboard? and similarly the dorian, phrygian, all those other modes shapes?


It simply means to put the "la's" on the note that corresponds to the key you want to play in. So to play in A minor, position the pattern so the "la's" fall on A, and treat the "la" as your tonic or home base note.

You don't need to learn a new pattern to play minor, once you've got the major pattern down you automatically know the minor pattern.

btw take a look on page 4 of that thread, I've listed all 12 fingerings explicitly. The second one is a good starting point, play that for a while and try to associate the syllables with the fretboard, and your ear.

Here it is for your convenience;


--fa---|-------|--so---|-------|--la---|-------|
-------|-------|--re---|-------|--mi---|-------|
-------|--la---|-------|--ti---|--do---|-------|
-------|--mi---|--fa---|-------|--so---|-------|
-------|--ti---|--do---|-------|--re---|-------|
--fa---|-------|--so---|-------|--la---|-------|

Fingering (starting on the 6th string, 1=index, 2=middle, 3=ring, 4=pinkie):
124,124,124,134,24,124


Position the "do" on C, 5th string. Play simple tunes like "happy birthday" (see first post in that thread for the syllable sequence) etc and try and hear how each syllable sounds distinct. Then try a tune in a minor key, like the crazy train riff using that pattern (eg position the "la" on B, 6th string).

I would focus on just that pattern exclusively for a few weeks until you know it inside out, then move onto the next. It takes a long time to learn each pattern, but that's the eventual goal - to map the sounds (solfege syllables/note functions) to your fretboard, and your fingers.

Don't worry about modes for now, I need to re-write that section as I'm not entirely happy with it. Just focus on natural minor, since it's the most common for rock/metal.
Last edited by bubbamc119 at Oct 15, 2009,
#12
Quote by bubbamc119
Yes the pattern does indeed correspond to the shape of the major scale on the fretboard - you've no doubt seen it before, but it shows more information than just a series of dots. It also explicitly shows the syllables for each note within a key, which directly correspond to the notes function. A different syllable = a different function. Note function is a fancy way of saying note sound compared to the tonic.


It simply means to put the "la's" on the note that corresponds to the key you want to play in. So to play in A minor, position the pattern so the "la's" fall on A, and treat the "la" as your tonic or home base note


You don't need to learn a new pattern to play minor, once you've got the major pattern down you automatically know the minor pattern.


when I do that (treat the la as the tonic note) then I see myself as playing in the aeolian mode. the thing is, I've learned all the mode shapes. and I'm kind of familiar with how they relate to each other. so for example if I were to start playing the Ionian shape diatonic to G major, starting on the 3rd fret of the low E string, then I would know that the dorian shape (still diatonic to G major) will start 2 frets right above it (the 5th string on the low E). So I'm thinking there must be a way for me to apply this stuff I already know to your method.

btw take a look on page 4 of that thread, I've listed all 12 fingerings explicitly. The second one is a good starting point, play that for a while and try to associate the syllables with the fretboard, and your ear.

Here it is for your convenience;


--fa---|-------|--so---|-------|--la---|-------|
-------|-------|--re---|-------|--mi---|-------|
-------|--la---|-------|--ti---|--do---|-------|
-------|--mi---|--fa---|-------|--so---|-------|
-------|--ti---|--do---|-------|--re---|-------|
--fa---|-------|--so---|-------|--la---|-------|

Fingering (starting on the 6th string, 1=index, 2=middle, 3=ring, 4=pinkie):
124,124,124,134,24,124


Position the "do" on C, 5th string. Play simple tunes like "happy birthday" (see first post in that thread for the syllable sequence) etc and try and hear how each syllable sounds distinct. Then try a tune in a minor key, like the crazy train riff using that pattern (eg position the "la" on B, 6th string).

I would focus on just that pattern exclusively for a few weeks until you know it inside out, then move onto the next. It takes a long time to learn each pattern, but that's the eventual goal - to map the sounds (solfege syllables/note functions) to your fretboard, and your fingers.

Don't worry about modes for now, I need to re-write that section as I'm not entirely happy with it. Just focus on natural minor, since it's the most common for rock/metal.


yeah, I tried out your examples you gave on the first post.

but ok, if I start on this, should everything I try to tab out/transcribe be only in this pattern? for now at least?
#13
here's an example of something I'm already familiar with:


like I know the modes in these 2 octave shapes covering all six strings in one position, and I also know how they relate to each other in their one-octave shapes. and I realize that this is actually just another way of knowing the right notes to play on the fretboard provided you know your tonic note. so even tho we're calling them mode shapes (which they are) they are also just giving us another way of playing the major scale all over the fretboard.
#14
Quote by Moonshield17
when I do that (treat the la as the tonic note) then I see myself as playing in the aeolian mode. the thing is, I've learned all the mode shapes. and I'm kind of familiar with how they relate to each other.


Bingo. Now focus on recognizing where each syllable is within the shape, and it's sound relative to the tonic.

Quote by Moonshield17
so for example if I were to start playing the Ionian shape diatonic to G major, starting on the 3rd fret of the low E string, then I would know that the dorian shape (still diatonic to G major) will start 2 frets right above it (the 5th string on the low E).


While this is definitely true, in practice we don't relate the other modes to the major pattern while playing. Try and learn to treat each one separately (just major and minor for now). The A dorian shape has nothing to do with G major in practice, it just happens to coincide with it. I like to think of dorian as a natural minor scale with a raised 6th, but as I said don't bother yourself with modes for now.

Quote by Moonshield17
but ok, if I start on this, should everything I try to tab out/transcribe be only in this pattern? for now at least?


Yes. Speaking from experience, these patterns take quite a while to internalize, it makes a LOT of sense to focus on one for now, especially while you're trying to acquire functional pitch recognition.

What you could do though when you get bored, to see how they join together, is play all 12 patterns in sequence, moving your hand up 1 fret at the end of each pattern.

Quote by Moonshield17
so even tho we're calling them mode shapes (which they are) they are also just giving us another way of playing the major scale all over the fretboard.


Exactly right.

btw to speed up the process of acquiring functional pitch recognition, try singing what you are going to play BEFORE you play it, in solfege form. Also sing the minor scale in solfege form. Then sing the minor arpeggio i.e. la>do>mi>la<mi<do<la. Then make up your own random combinations, sing them and play them, paying attention to the syllable and sound.
Last edited by bubbamc119 at Oct 15, 2009,
#15
so what I'm missing out on is knowing the syllables within each shape.

why do we need to learn those 12 positions if the 5 mode shapes actually cover the same thing?

why should I start on that 2nd shape with the fa as the first note as opposed to any other?


p.s. sorry for all these questions, but I'm a very analytic person and I just like to thoroughly understand what I'm doing before I do it
Last edited by Moonshield17 at Oct 15, 2009,
#16
Quote by Moonshield17
so what I'm missing out on is knowing the syllables within each shape.


Yes, and how each syllable sounds relative to the tonic - and then "seeing" the sounds on the fretboard.

Quote by Moonshield17
why do we need to learn those 12 positions if the 5 mode shapes actually cover the same thing?


Because those 12 positions cover every possible way to play scales/melodies on the fretboard. When you study the associated fingerings this will become clear. The 5 mode shapes you are referring to will work, but do not cover every possible fingering option. The more you know the better right?

The end goal is to land any finger on any string on any scale degree and be able to keep playing what ever you hear in your head without looking down. This is only possible if you're familiar with ALL the possible fingerings.

btw from those 12 patterns you can mix them up to generate the 3 note per string scales. Worry about that later though.

Quote by Moonshield17
why should I start on that 2nd shape with the fa as the first note as opposed to any other?


That particular position is one of the easier ones to finger. That is the only reason I chose it. Also have a look at the 7th position, that's another easy one. When you try the rest you will see what I'm talking about - some are tricky.

Quote by Moonshield17
p.s. sorry for all these questions, but I'm a very analytic person and I just like to thoroughly understand what I'm doing before I do it


No worries. I'm the same. I learnt solfege on the piano back when I was a child, and just had to apply it to the guitar because it works so well. It even works better on the guitar because the patterns stay the same when you change keys - not so on the piano.
Last edited by bubbamc119 at Oct 15, 2009,
#17
Wow, alright. This will definitely take some time and discipline. But it's what I need to do. Thank you so much for explaining all this. It's 2:51am here so I'll start setting up a schedule for this tomorrow. Is it alright if I PM you in case any more questions come up? I'm sure this thread will die out very soon.
#19
TS, you're overcomplicating the issue - you learn by doing, simple as.

The only way to get better is to start trying to do it, it will be a pain in the arse at first but it'll get better. It doesn't really matter how much theory knowledge you have, it's not necessarily going to make it much easier to connect the sound in your head with a sound on the guitar, that's something you need to start doing when you play.

Pick a simple, familiar song like Twinkle Twinkle Little Star...because the melodies is practically hardwired into your brain. You probably haven't sung, played or even heard Twinkle Twinkle Little Star for years but you can still recall that melody note for note without even thinking. That means it's going to be simpler to work out on guitar because you're not worrying about other stuff...what tone to use, other instruments, whether you can remember the melody perfectly. It's just there in your head as a set of tones, most likely one of the first examples of music you ever heard. That means all you need to concern yourself is finding those sounds on your guitar...the better you know what you're looking for the easier it'll be.

Just try to work it out one note at a time - listen to the first note, find it on the guitar, listen to the second note, find it on the guitar. It's all major scale so that narrows down the possibilities for you but if it's your first time trying to work something out by ear even a seemilngly simple melody may take you a while. Singing does help because it's another way of internalising the sounds you're looking to play, it's probably not necessary for something as simple as this but it's still worth doing to get you used to the process. There's no point trying to jump in and work out complicated stuff because you'll just overwhelm yourself - starting simple is the best way to develop the skills you need.

Slogging through that simple melody is what helps you absorb that knowledge, because you're listening intently to the note you get when you fret in a particular place, and you're having to think about the intervals between notes not just in physical terms on the fretboard but also in terms of the difference in their pitches. This is what helps crystalise those associations in your mind and the connections gradually become more evident so you'll know that when you put your finger in a certain place you'll get a certain note, and you'll know how far from that note you need to move to get to the next one you want.
Actually called Mark!

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Last edited by steven seagull at Oct 15, 2009,
#20
Technically I think perfect pitch refers to the inborn ability to identify any note without an outside referance. You either have it or you don't. A friend of mine has it. I was actually researching it yesterday.

But you can train for what's called "Relative Pitch". It's slightly different heres the Wiki
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Relative_pitch
#21
Quote by steven seagull
TS, you're overcomplicating the issue - you learn by doing, simple as.

The only way to get better is to start trying to do it, it will be a pain in the arse at first but it'll get better. It doesn't really matter how much theory knowledge you have, it's not necessarily going to make it much easier to connect the sound in your head with a sound on the guitar, that's something you need to start doing when you play.

Pick a simple, familiar song like Twinkle Twinkle Little Star...because the melodies is practically hardwired into your brain. You probably haven't sung, played or even heard Twinkle Twinkle Little Star for years but you can still recall that melody note for note without even thinking. That means it's going to be simpler to work out on guitar because you're not worrying about other stuff...what tone to use, other instruments, whether you can remember the melody perfectly. It's just there in your head as a set of tones, most likely one of the first examples of music you ever heard. That means all you need to concern yourself is finding those sounds on your guitar...the better you know what you're looking for the easier it'll be.

Just try to work it out one note at a time - listen to the first note, find it on the guitar, listen to the second note, find it on the guitar. It's all major scale so that narrows down the possibilities for you but if it's your first time trying to work something out by ear even a seemilngly simple melody may take you a while. Singing does help because it's another way of internalising the sounds you're looking to play, it's probably not necessary for something as simple as this but it's still worth doing to get you used to the process. There's no point trying to jump in and work out complicated stuff because you'll just overwhelm yourself - starting simple is the best way to develop the skills you need.

Slogging through that simple melody is what helps you absorb that knowledge, because you're listening intently to the note you get when you fret in a particular place, and you're having to think about the intervals between notes not just in physical terms on the fretboard but also in terms of the difference in their pitches. This is what helps crystalise those associations in your mind and the connections gradually become more evident so you'll know that when you put your finger in a certain place you'll get a certain note, and you'll know how far from that note you need to move to get to the next one you want.


wait, so are you saying that the solfege method for the fretboard that bubbamc119 is advocating isn't really necessary to get to this level? or like is that method itself making this learning process too complicated? I'd just like to hear your thoughts on it.
#22
I think he doesn't understand it, or at least is totally unfamiliar with the method.

His method is what you would call a "stab in the dark" approach. I used to take that approach, didn't get anywhere with it. Ear training is a mental exercise, you don't need your guitar to practice.

Follow the solfege method and you'll be golden. There's a reason why it forms the basis of ear training for university music courses - it works, and you will not waste any time as you would just mindlessly trying to pick out a melody on the fretboard.

Functional pitch recognition is extremely important, both for transcribing and composing.

One other thing I haven't mentioned, is that solfege can be used as a (very good) tool for reading standard notation on guitar, as well as writing what you hear in your head directly to paper without even having a guitar in your hands.
Last edited by bubbamc119 at Oct 16, 2009,
#23
I'm sure he understands it, he seems very knowledgeable about music theory in general and how to apply it to the guitar. but maybe he doesn't see the benefits of this method.

btw, did you get my PM?
#24
I'm just saying that you don't actually need anything else to work things out on the guitar, so you shouldn't feel like there's anything stopping you from doing it now. Granted, any theory knowledge or methods for pitch recognition you have at your disposal will help and make things easier, but trust me, you can already work things out by ear. It may take a long time and you may not be able to work out anything particularly complicated but it is a skill you already possess.
Actually called Mark!

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#25
Quote by Moonshield17
I'm sure he understands it, he seems very knowledgeable about music theory in general and how to apply it to the guitar. but maybe he doesn't see the benefits of this method.

btw, did you get my PM?


edit: I just found your PM
Last edited by bubbamc119 at Oct 16, 2009,
#26
Quote by steven seagull
I'm just saying that you don't actually need anything else to work things out on the guitar, so you shouldn't feel like there's anything stopping you from doing it now. Granted, any theory knowledge or methods for pitch recognition you have at your disposal will help and make things easier, but trust me, you can already work things out by ear. It may take a long time and you may not be able to work out anything particularly complicated but it is a skill you already possess.


I suppose it depends on how far you want to take your musicianship. If you just want to learn a new solo once every now and then, you could get by with trying to match note pitches on the fretboard. However, if your intention is to compose music, improvise on the fly at a fast speed or efficiently transcribe complicated passages, a structured ear training program is *absolutely* necessary. I get the feeling that the TS was interested in developing his/her musicianship to these levels, hence the original question.
Last edited by bubbamc119 at Oct 16, 2009,