#1
I am really pissed, I am well informed when it comes to theory, I can improvise in every key, I can mechanically do most guitar techniques, but I have been practicing daily for over a year to transcribe chord progressions by ear and I can’t do it. I can transcribe solos, and harmonize them in many ways, but I can't find the actual chord progression the artists themselves use. Whenever I ask someone how to transcribe by ear they tell me "oh, I just can". They don't have absolute pitch, they don't ever practice, and I want to destroy something. I can establish the key, and usually find where the tonic chord is, but I can’t figure out if the base is the root note or an inversion. I never know the difference between the III and the V, and the II and the VI chords. I am really, really frustrated because I can transcribe the Iron Man solo, but when it come to "If I had a Hammer" by Peter Paul and Mary I can't tell the difference between a bm and a d (capoed of course). I know they say major happy minor sad but with the inversions everything seems to blend together.
#2
well... you apparently know way more theory than me. I can transcribe simple songs (music I listen to is usually simple). Just try and hear the bass guitar, usually it follows the chords.... not every time but usually. And try playing power chords first, then make them minor, major, seventh or whatever. Don't know how much help that was but I hope it did something
Last edited by morciu at Mar 29, 2011,
#3
Quote by morciu
well... you apparently know way more theory than me. I can transcribe simple songs (music I listen to is usually simple). Just try and hear the base guitar, usually it follows the chords.... not every time but usually. And try playing power chords first, then make them minor, major, seventh or whatever. Don't know how much help that was but I hope it did something


This, this is what I usually do, I just start sounding off chords to the song until I find the progression that fits.
#4
When you hear a chord try to arpegiate it in your head. Do this with basic chords first so you have a clear understanding how different chords sound like. Then you can try to analyze chords you hear in songs by arpegiating the notes in your head until it sounds right.

You can't sing chords so this is the only way to compare chords, unless you can straight away think in your head how they sound like.
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#5
Quote by jsmith17
Whenever I ask someone how to transcribe by ear they tell me "oh, I just can". They don't have absolute pitch, they don't ever practice, and I want to destroy something.


They are lying or mean they can't explain how to do it.
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#6
Quote by jsmith17
... Whenever I ask someone how to transcribe by ear they tell me "oh, I just can". They don't have absolute pitch, they don't ever practice, and I want to destroy something. I can establish the key, and usually find where the tonic chord is, but I can’t figure out if the base is the root note or an inversion. I never know the difference between the III and the V, and the II and the VI chords. I am really, really frustrated because I can transcribe ...

I hear you.
Inversions as you mentioned can be tricky sometimes, depending on several factors in the music.
I'm pretty good, but not amazing. Knowing theory definitely helps.

Never mind "how" I do it... There is just one thing I can say will definitely work for you...
Ear train on a regular basis for a good long time. (Get software or use the internet)

You will make tremendous strides in ear recognition if you stick with it guaranteed.
Over time as you interalize things... you'll just start to recognize sounds without a whole lot of concious effort. You'll just know. It's hard to explain until you go through the process for yourself.
The longer you dedicate yourself to it... the more it will pay off. You'll get better and better.
good luck

edit: don't try to ear train for more than an hour a day. Your ears will fatigue. Ear training is all about repetitive re-inforcement to your brain
shorter sessions more often > long sessions once in a while.
(I do about 30 min/day max. - hopefully 5 days a week if I have time)
Last edited by cringer at Mar 29, 2011,
#7
practice it with just root position chords first, then throw in inversions. i have a similar problem. i have absolute pitch, and i'm really good at transcribing melodies but inversions can throw me off pretty bad sometimes, and the thing i struggle most in my music theory class is dictating chord progressions. apparently its pretty common among people with good ears.
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#8
use good headphones, listen to the bassnotes, and learn the melody. then use your knowledge of harmony to figure out what notes are missing, and if all else fails, trial and error.
all the best.
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