#1
Hi again :P

so my question, and then an update about my progress Oo

How long does it take/did it take to become comfortable transcribing/playing things by ear? you can answer in months/years/songs w/e.


I asked about a way to learn this in earlier threads, and there was alot of suggestions, but nobody really mentioned and I didnt ask how long it takes. I think there was some people who said it takes a long time, and im fine with that.

just to be clear though, we're talking about HUNDREDS and HUNDREDS of songs right? I mean like 2 a day for a year kinda thing...


ive spent the last 3-4 days working out every simple melody i can find... something like 75 simple melodys from rudolph the red nosed reighndeer to cindy lauper time after time... and i dare say it has gotten a bit easier... either that or im more used to the disapointment of not getting it right in 10 seconds. Ive also been messing with the functional ear trainer thing, and constantly singing/playing major scales for 2 octaves. I have to keep finding new songs though because i cant remember most of these songs entirely, only the parts that have easy lyrics.


anyways rather than reposting every time i have a new question about my current crusade, ill just post in here and hope someone helps out


and it goes without saying that I appreciate any advice, especially if its helpful :P
#2
me' any advice is to "mess around" with hertz levels within the range of 25 levels to see if the variance of seperation in the notes brings anything to mind.
#3
Quote by theshroomman
me' any advice is to "mess around" with hertz levels within the range of 25 levels to see if the variance of seperation in the notes brings anything to mind.


not really sure what this means..


Anyway, Im ofc continuing with this... i just try to transcribe stuff and use the functional ear trainer, i gave up on drilling intervals, though i have been singing the major scale and messing with intervals in that way.


I just posted here again because im worried there is no real method to all this :/

when i figure out a simple vocal melody, im always pretty certain if i get it right or not... but when i try to tab out some random song... say glycerine by bush, ill get say half of the chords right... and then im just wrong - its different than a vocal melody because what i will end up will sound to me LIKE the song... but then i check and im wrong, and it seems like a pretty crappy way to practice this, finding out im totally wrong after ive spent 20 minutes on it and decided its the closest i can get isnt a good feeling.
#4
Well you said it's getting easier....doesn't that mean it's working? That's after one day.

Also, are you figuring out the chords too?
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
Soundcloud
#5
Quote by AlanHB
Well you said it's getting easier....doesn't that mean it's working? That's after one day.

Also, are you figuring out the chords too?


thats the problem, the vocal melody type stuff is easier... like time after time, and frosty the snowman, its sort of obvious when you get it right. My issue is like this, let me give a few examples

today i tried to tab out, glycerine by bush, and tnt by ac/dc

glycerine i ended up with 1/2 the chords right, and tnt, i ended up with 2/3 in the intro. My issue is that I never really know if im right or wrong, its just difficult for me to hear it, like for TNT i played E -> A -> B, but in power chords, then a little run on the low e string and back to E, but the actual chords were like.. E -> G -> A then some sort of bend at G etc.

another time it was Island in the sun, i Play somethign like C -> Dm -> G - > C and it sounds right to me, but i check the tab and im dead wrong, some of the notes in each chord are right, but overall its garbage

I mean I imagine im getting better at it, it just bothers me that its like a guess and check sort of thing, im not used to this type of approach to anything. I dont want to be the guy that always complains. I am trying, its just that people offer anecdotal type advice, and its sort of a "wait and see" type thing... like its just supposed to happen over night while im not paying attention - and it makes me think that suffering through each song and getting them wrong isnt the proper way to make headway, hell i might be developing terrible hearing habits and not even know it idk. I find myself continually looking for like I IV V, type stuff - then because I have the right key, it sounds almost right because the chords might have some of the right notes, and i miss the important stuff

ive been singing and feeling like an idiot though, and just hoping in making some progress, its just hard because there is no measurable way to see. Tomorro im going to put one of these jim croce songs in audacity and attempt to work my way through it with no chord references at all, we'll see how it goes :/
#6
Quote by blunderwonder
another time it was Island in the sun, i Play somethign like C -> Dm -> G - > C and it sounds right to me, but i check the tab and im dead wrong, some of the notes in each chord are right, but overall its garbage


Well most tabs are also wrong. Did it sound good playing it?

The chords (for the verse) of that song are Em - Am - D - G. Did you get close to that?
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
Soundcloud
#7
A few pointers by me:

Try and get a program like transcribe or capo, it helps you slow down, repeat and it presents you indicator notes.

Find out the scale of the song (by soloing over the song for example), and write down the seven possible chords.

Just select and isolate a chord in the song with transcribe and let it repeat for a minute. And then try out one of the root notes of the scale you're in. Just the bass, and see what matches, you can also check out in transcribe what the lowest note is that rings out the most.

Repeat ad infinitum.
It's more a practice of not giving up really, it's never easy at first, but everyone can do it even if you're practically tone deaf (like me :p ).

edit: I don't know what Croce song you will try and transcribe, but why start with something as difficult as that? Try some basic singer songwriter songs first, jim croce's stuff has some maniac fingerpicking that I would never dare to transcribe.
Last edited by eSdaze at Apr 5, 2012,
#8
I find it easiest to find the root of the chord, then determine by listening wheather its major or minor etc. you can go to the exercises at musictheory.net and find the chord ear trainer, it basically teaches you to recognize the chord type by ear, making alot of your work already done because you only have to find the root of the chord.

also try to spend more time on each song, it isn't a race. since you seem to have more trouble with chords spend more time figuring it out. don't be afraid to take a few hours for one song. I know the first song that I transcribed by ear took me about 3 hours, given I found out after the first hour that my guitar needed to be tuned lower but then it took 2 hours to figure out a rather simple song....
Quote by Dirk Gently
Some pieces are only meant to be played by people with six fingers on their fretting hand. Sorry.
#9
edit: I don't know what Croce song you will try and transcribe, but why start with something as difficult as that? Try some basic singer songwriter songs first, jim croce's stuff has some maniac fingerpicking that I would never dare to transcribe.


im not really starting with it, i have messed with every vocal melody i could think of or find, and then i messed with some songs, ive been at this for alot longer than a few days :/ between interval drilling and fussing with songs ive been at it for a month and some change. the reason im doing this song is because theres no tabs up for it, and its a song i want to learn to play :/ that is why i want to play by ear after all.. i play it at 1/2 speed in audacity, i figure thats fair and meh.... the stupid way he plays guitar :/ it sounds like bass guitar + regular guitar and its a pain in the ass to figure out, there is chords tablature here for it, but at this point im not even sure if thats right, IM GOING TO FIGURE THIS OUT IF IT FCKIN KILLS ME THO.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sxvd8NEd_C8

thats the song :/ i realize it is probably a dumb one to attempt for someone at my level, but its the one i want to learn so idc - im going to give it another go in a few minutes when my veins are not popping out of my head - i think there must be a different way of tabbing out fingerstyle stuff - like doing the bass notes first then the other ones or something, its sad that i cant even figure out and decide that 3 or 4 notes i have are right..
#10
I found this link http://www.abrsm.org/en/students/speedshifter in mdc's sig, you might find it useful. I think its mainly meant for slowing stuff down to practice fast passages, but it could be useful for working stuff out by ear, probably a bit simpler than using Audacity.
But boys will be boys and girls have those eyes
that'll cut you to ribbons, sometimes
and all you can do is just wait by the moon
and bleed if it's what she says you ought to do
Last edited by Hydra150 at Apr 5, 2012,
#11
Quote by Hydra150
I found this link http://www.abrsm.org/en/students/speedshifter in mdc's sig, you might find it useful. I think its mainly meant for slowing stuff down to practice fast passages, but it could be useful for working stuff out by ear, probably a bit simpler than using Audacity.


Audacity is fine :/ and just with what audacity does it makes me feel like an idiot that i cant figure this out :/

i think its just the way his songs are written, hes just constantly fingering notes that are all within some chord - but it makes it really hard to tell when your hitting a wrong note. for instance if the notes are like.. C-E-G-e-c-G-Cc, as long as my fingers are in that C shape it always sounds close.. Then he has a really nice voice, and he uses it throughout the song so its hard to tell when idk... ive been at this song for a solid hour now in on and off 15 mintues at a time, and im barely through 2 bars of it, and even those im not 100% sure on

im just gonna work at it every day till i break :/
#12
You should probably try work out the chord progressions rather than micro-analysing it a note at a time. Once you have the structure, progression and even melody then you can worry about the guitar embellishments (which are probably largely improvised).
But boys will be boys and girls have those eyes
that'll cut you to ribbons, sometimes
and all you can do is just wait by the moon
and bleed if it's what she says you ought to do
#13
Work out the root movement of the bass guitar first... just that. Then post it here to let me see what you got.

Bass first, don't worry 'bout the chords yet, harmony second.
Last edited by mdc at Apr 5, 2012,
#14
nvm redoign bass part, i dont think im going to be able to do it like this, the bassline seems like almost non existant, its just C C C C F F F F C C C C FEDC, something like that im not sure of the little descending line but for the most part its just repeated, and after i listen to it for a long time i like force my ear to hear stuff thats not there lol... after i listen to it for a long time the other notes that are played with those make it seem like its descending even though its not
Last edited by blunderwonder at Apr 5, 2012,
#15
Quote by blunderwonder
im not really starting with it, i have messed with every vocal melody i could think of or find, and then i messed with some songs, ive been at this for alot longer than a few days :/ between interval drilling and fussing with songs ive been at it for a month and some change. the reason im doing this song is because theres no tabs up for it, and its a song i want to learn to play :/ that is why i want to play by ear after all.. i play it at 1/2 speed in audacity, i figure thats fair and meh.... the stupid way he plays guitar :/ it sounds like bass guitar + regular guitar and its a pain in the ass to figure out, there is chords tablature here for it, but at this point im not even sure if thats right, IM GOING TO FIGURE THIS OUT IF IT FCKIN KILLS ME THO.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sxvd8NEd_C8

thats the song :/ i realize it is probably a dumb one to attempt for someone at my level, but its the one i want to learn so idc - im going to give it another go in a few minutes when my veins are not popping out of my head - i think there must be a different way of tabbing out fingerstyle stuff - like doing the bass notes first then the other ones or something, its sad that i cant even figure out and decide that 3 or 4 notes i have are right..


Well there are two guitars playing... good luck with this :p
I'd give you the advice to work out the chord progression first, and in a few months try to tab the fingerstyle.

But the most important thing is that you really adore the song you are trying to tab... if you got that, you might be able to do it. I will guarantee you that you wil no longer like it though :p
Last edited by eSdaze at Apr 6, 2012,
#16
Quote by eSdaze
Well there are two guitars playing... good luck with this :p
I'd give you the advice to work out the chord progression first, and in a few months try to tab the fingerstyle.

But the most important thing is that you really adore the song you are trying to tab... if you got that, you might be able to do it. I will guarantee you that you wil no longer like it though :p


im goign to work at it every day for at least the next week - if i dont make any progress i will have to thrown in the towel :/ there would be no point in making myself frustrated if im not making any progress.

i have to start all over now though, because the song is in C, but now im not so sure... it might be in G, im 80% sure the first bass notes are G, like a C with a G in the bass or something, anyways im not terribly familiar with fingerstyle type music and i have certain expectations, and somehow i never seem to guess the right thing so idk :/
#17
Do you want the chords? I don't intend to sound arrogant, but when I first heard it, I had it transcribed in about 2 minutes. It's not complicated... it sounds complicated cuz of all the finger picking.

Sometimes, it's good to be provided with the information, and then use that information to train your ear to how these progressions sound.

It's a very common progression, nothing fancy. I'll give you the chords if you want...
Last edited by mdc at Apr 6, 2012,
#18
Quote by mdc
Do you want the chords? I don't intend to sound arrogant, but when I first heard it, I had it transcribed in about 2 minutes. It's not complicated... it sounds complicated cuz of all the finger picking.

Sometimes, it's good to be provided with the information, and then use that information to train your ear to how these progressions sound.

It's a very common progression, nothing fancy. I'll give you the chords if you want...



Ya i would appreciate if you could, ive already seen the set of chords that are on UG though, and they dont sound right to me when i just mess with fingerpicking them but either way im gonna give it a few more tries regardless, i didnt realize i was picking out the bass notes wrong till last night so im gonna start all over and see what happens
#19
I've written this in 2/4 time.

Intro
|C| - |G/B| - |Am| - |G7sus4| - |%| - |G| - |%|

Verse
|C| - |G/B| - |Am| - |G| - |F| - |C/E| - |Dm| - |G|

|C| - |G/B| - |Am| - |G| - |D/F♯| - |%| - |G| - |%|

2nd time ending you can figure out from what I've given you.

Chorus
|C - G/B| - |Am| - |F| - |C/E| - |F| - |C/E| - |F| - |C/E|
|C - G/B| - |Am| - |F| - |C/E| - |F| - |C/E| - |F| - |C - G/B - Am| - |D7| - |%| - |G| - |%|

If you are unsure on how to voice the slash chords then I'll tab it out for you. Do you have GuitarPro? I can do an approximation of the fingerstyle guitar in that if you want. Have to be tomoz tho cuz I need some shut eye!

For example, C/E, G/B and D/F♯ will sound good with only certain strings plucked.
-0---2
-1-3-3
-0-0-2
---0-
---2-
-0---2


These slash chords are nothing more than 1st inversion triads, which I think you understand. If not, s'no biggie. They're easy to get your head round.
Last edited by mdc at Apr 6, 2012,
#20
thanks im gonna be working at this for some time i guess :/ all i know is i cleary spent way too much time on it, and made basically no headway at all. After about the 300th time through it the bass notes got all confused, so i just had to start over, and I realize now that its difficult for me to even match a pitch after all that, then to make it worse, counting up/down to the tonic just lands me in a questionable position at best, and to make matters worse lol.... what you say there is simple/common progression completely baffles me :/i assume the way you wrote it is because of the time and bars or w/e, and thats why certain sets of chords are in brackets, and % means twice?

im gonna work at it some more, but i honestly dont think im going to make much progress :/ I may end up continuing with the functional ear trainer thing, signing scales now and then, but just putting the transcribing thing off for a year, and hope that helps or something idk.

/edit

yes i understand the slash chords, i didnt at first see that they were first inversion till i reread your comment and saw what you said, I went thru part of that ted green thing playing every inversion on each 3 strings and whatnot, but i didnt notice because honestly when i first read all that, i was a little butthurt :/

Im not entirely sure where to go with all this now, but i sort of want to buy a bass guitar jusst so i can work out these issues with not being able to pick out the bass notes correctly. Im not making excuses or anything but to be honest, when i listen to the song, and im listening with headphones, it sounds more like a G in that first chord idk, C is what i had at first but then i got rid of it because when i play my acoustic at the same time, C/G sounded alot better:/

anyway, dont bother tabbing out the fingerstyle. - i will probably make an attempt at this song every few days, maybe in a few years i will get it right :/ For awhile im probably going to just be baffled by all this, i have been playing these silly interval/ear training games on my pc, and i dont think it makes a bit of difference. I can pick out ascending intervals 90% of the time on any of those sites, and if I am wrong, its usually only a semitone off, on the functional ear trainer thing, i consistently get 18/20 when they key is C, and something like 12-14/20 when the key is changing alot. anyway, it all seems for naught because none of that matters if i cant even match a pitch. Ill probably repost in this thread when my confidence cup is not so empty. I really do appreciate all the help though
Last edited by blunderwonder at Apr 6, 2012,
#21
sorry i had to post, for a minute there lol, there was a brief moment where the thought actually crossed my mind that maybe my recording was messed up and i would get a free pass on this one lol. I dont think so tho

Playing by ear = 1 // me = 0
#22
anyway, it all seems for naught because none of that matters if i cant even match a pitch.


Well, I'd say get the book I recommended (again) except that you if you didn't take that advice the first three times I gave it to you, you won't take it the fourth.

But if you had gotten the book, you'd see that the first exercise was something like this:

Get your guitar. Play a major scale comfortably in your range.
Now sing it.

Play it.

Sing it.

Play it.

Sing it.

Now play it ... and check to see where your accuracy is. Sing it up - did you hit the octave accurately? If not, repeat. Sing it down. Sing it up, then down ... did you land on the fifth accurately?

There's lots more stuff in the book that will help you, but you seem intent on going from your first baby steps to the boston marathon, so, well, there's not a lot I or anyone else will be able to do.
#23
i sing the scales i play already :/

and ive been to vocal forum and "figured' out my range, im still not sure how falsetto works into it, but i put myself between the the open a string, and open e string comfortably

i think that makes me a tenor

i comfortably sing the C (3rd fret a string) to the C on the 5th fret of the G string, and ive run through that scale alot playing/singing when i was doing random christmas melodies and 80's songs :/ Ive also done lots of the excersizes on that miles.be site that go along with the scale singing, i have a list a page long for the most common intervals in the major scale, written in scale degrees, which i sing in solfege - its not a great excersize cause i already can sing most intervals somewhat well because of those sites like trainear.com.. i havnt gotten to the minor scale - im not very familiar with the minor scale

im not intentionally being stubborn, ive tried to take baby steps, but the idea is that sooner or later id like to move on to a piece that I enjoy, and I thought with all this slow down technology that it would be possible or i wouldnt have attempted it. I have ALOT of trouble singing along to bass guitar though, there isnt any way i can match my voice to it, and when i try to match it with the guitar, i usually end up playing it wrong :/ either a M3 or a P5 off. Like i said though, i will probably work at this a few days a week or something, but banging my head against the wall is not a good idea :/ i spent a solid 4+ hours overall on this, and i had it slowed down 75%, I even went and looked at some of his more common picking patterns to see if that would help me out.... but a bass guitar going from c->b->a->g when he is doing all that fingerpicking, they all sound like the same note to me, that note being either c or g :/

anyways, im giving it a break, because to be honest with you it isnt easy for me, and its not intuitive. IM not an artistic person by nature, and i hate this form of study. I would rather be reading an encyclopedia and memorizing it, or doing some form of advanced math, at least then there is definitive answers. Here its just guess and check, and hope somewhere along the line I improve while im not paying attention.

Sorry I dont want to keep beating this drum, I dont really have an attitude, but it offends my sensibilities that you try to imbue your message with a kind of "you're not trying" overtone :/ I am trying, probably an excessive amount.

Im not trying to make excuses, im sure I need work, and I will consider buying that book - Im not really sure what the real trouble is, but I do know that matching those basslines is an issue, and i know for sure that voice will not go that low.

/edit So, I dont want to be that guy who is too busy looking for help and not spending enough time playing guitar instead, ill spend a week working through more of that ted greene book, and i might try to ear out some other songs, but just wanted to say thanks mdc for working that song out for me - maybe in a week or two I might be able to figure out the picking pattern or something and ill let you know what i come up with. Thanks everyone for the help.
Last edited by blunderwonder at Apr 6, 2012,
#24
My point wasn't that you're not trying. You obvious are trying. But you're getting frustrated because you have unreasonable expectations. (I actually regret how harsh my last post came across).

Matching basslines can be hard. I've found, for example, that I'm much better at quickly identifying pitches in my singing range than outside. But one of the first things the book wants you to learn to do is to match pitch in a different octave when it's out of your range.

The main issue I think you're having is that you're impatient. Ear training is like learning a language - you can't cram it, there's a limit to how fast it can go. Just because you're matching pitches in the trainer with decent accuracy doesn't mean that you're there, yet. (And also, one of the things that happens as you keep working on it is that you get faster at it. You start out sometimes having to listen to a question multiple times, and having to count the steps to the tonic ... and as you get better you don't. You listen to it once and it's obvious).

But there's a learning curve that goes deeper than getting the exercises right. I remember at one point I was listening to a song and I could hear all the fifths as fifths. The day before I couldn't do that - but I'd been getting all the problems right in the trainer for a while. Other scale degrees came later (and some are still coming).

It's a slow process, and that can be frustrating. At a certain point you need to trust that this stuff has worked for thousands of other musicians, so it's going to work for you, too ... but don't expect an overnight miracle.

This takes time.