#1
What is the best way to go about being able to hear chords and know which ones to play when you are improvising or writing? I often want to venture to different chords when I'm playing and just can't figure out which ones to play.
#2
Just stay in key with your root note when it comes to chords, from the root note you can use first and second basic major/minor chords. Also there are a ton of guides out there for chord progressions.
#4
There are many ways to train your ear to hear chords. I think the way that works best is to first learn about your note intervals (Root, 2nd, 3rd, etc). It's important to establish the root in your ear.

Next it's important to know chord-scale relation ships (If you're in the key of C, the I chord is C major, IV is F major, V chord is G major, etc).

Then just take any song you enjoy playing (it's more fun that way ), and just play the chords one at a time (as in, don't play the song in tempo and all that). Determine the kind of chord that you play and how it fits into the scale, soak in its sound, and try to pick out all of the individual notes of the chord in your ear (it's very beneficial to sing the notes as well).

Once you feel like you've "heard" the chord, move on to the next chord, and do the same.

Do this with as many songs as possible, so that you can learn to understand how chords function in many different contexts.


It's also helpful to find songs you haven't heard (or at least, haven't learned how to play) and trying to learn chord progressions by ear- first listen to the song WITHOUT a guitar in your hands, try to guess the chord progression (in terms of I, iii, IV, vi, etc) and then see if you got it right on the guitar.
#5
Quote by spargmeister
There are many ways to train your ear to hear chords. I think the way that works best is to first learn about your note intervals (Root, 2nd, 3rd, etc). It's important to establish the root in your ear.

Next it's important to know chord-scale relation ships (If you're in the key of C, the I chord is C major, IV is F major, V chord is G major, etc).

Then just take any song you enjoy playing (it's more fun that way ), and just play the chords one at a time (as in, don't play the song in tempo and all that). Determine the kind of chord that you play and how it fits into the scale, soak in its sound, and try to pick out all of the individual notes of the chord in your ear (it's very beneficial to sing the notes as well).

Once you feel like you've "heard" the chord, move on to the next chord, and do the same.

Do this with as many songs as possible, so that you can learn to understand how chords function in many different contexts.


It's also helpful to find songs you haven't heard (or at least, haven't learned how to play) and trying to learn chord progressions by ear- first listen to the song WITHOUT a guitar in your hands, try to guess the chord progression (in terms of I, iii, IV, vi, etc) and then see if you got it right on the guitar.


I agree with this... this ^^^ is EXACTLY how I do my submissions here for UG. I first listen to the song without a guitar... get the words down and the beat and most of the chords, then I listen again...with my guitar to make sure it's all sounding the same. At that point, I'm just about done.

Works great. I've gotten to the point where I seldom have to even use the guitar to ensure my 'heard' chords are correct. You will too with practice.

Good luck and keep on learning!
#6
Cool. Do you guys find it's harder to pinpoint the individual notes played in the chords in records with lots of compression and layering and stuff...is it harder?
#7
Chords are the hardest part of ear training. Almost everyone has trouble with them, and inversions make them even harder. In my experience I've found that there isn't any way to really figure it out except practice.
#8
To learn to hear chords, listen to the bass first. Bass most of the time plays the root of the chord. It can also play other notes but root is the most common bass note. If the bass doesn't play the root, it most likely plays the third or the fifth. When the bass note is something else than the root, the chord kind of sounds "less stable".

But yeah, I would start with some basic pop songs. They tend to use pretty simple progressions and usually stick with diatonic chords (chords that fit the key signature). Learn to recognize the most common progressions (like i-VI-III-VII in minor or I-V-vi-IV in major - there are lots of good examples, but I would suggest watching "Four Chord Song" by Axis of Awesome).
Quote by AlanHB
Just remember that there are no boring scales, just boring players.

Gear

Bach Stradivarius 37G
Charvel So Cal
Fender Dimension Bass
Hartke HyDrive 210c
Ibanez BL70
Laney VC30
Tokai TB48
Yamaha FG720S-12
Yamaha P115
#9
Quote by tyle12
What is the best way to go about being able to hear chords and know which ones to play when you are improvising or writing? I often want to venture to different chords when I'm playing and just can't figure out which ones to play.


Start by working on your ability to hear a melody.

Hearing harmony is harder.

Once you can hear and transcribe the melody easily, start by following the root movement of the chords. Follow the "melody" of the lowest note.

Then, as you gain experience, you'll get better at distinguishing chord types.
#10
Quote by tyle12
Cool. Do you guys find it's harder to pinpoint the individual notes played in the chords in records with lots of compression and layering and stuff...is it harder?



It can be, if there's distortion and all that it can muddy the sounds of the individual notes, but they will still be there.

The purpose of trying to hear (and sing) all of the individual notes is to open up your inner ear. The more you do it, the more your brain wires itself to hear them on its own. And eventually you'll be able to determine the build of the chord without really trying.

Best of luck!
#11
I disagree with everyone here. Hearing chords is a lot easier than hearing melodies.

When a song is moving through a I chord, it always has a I chord quality sound, regardless of how that I chord is voiced.

If it's moving through a V chord, it always has a V chord quality, regardless of how the V chord is voiced.

If it's moving through a ii chord, it always has a ii chord quality sound, regardless of how the ii chord is voiced. This means that you can have really good voice leading without changing the sound of a song too much.

Training you chord ear is as easy as just learning to recognize the sound of the chord functions.. for the 7 diatonic chords it's really easy, and then move into borrowed chords and such.

Here a few good tools for training your chord ear.

For distinguishing the type (Major, minor, dimished, augmented, sus2, suss etc) of chord, NOT the function of the chord:
http://www.musictheory.net/exercises/ear-chord

For training the functions of chords, you can customize this so that you have triads, sevenths, just the I IV V, if you want to do major or minor, whether or not you want to use inversions, which key etc.
https://www.teoria.com/exercises/pd.php
#12
^ Yeah, I would say I'm better at chords than melodies. If I hear something for the first time, the melody may not stay in my mind. It's also a lot harder for me to figure out the exact notes. I can do it pretty well, but listening to chord functions is just so much easier to me. I can listen to a song just once and figure out almost any chord almost instantly (of course depends on how complex the song is).
Quote by AlanHB
Just remember that there are no boring scales, just boring players.

Gear

Bach Stradivarius 37G
Charvel So Cal
Fender Dimension Bass
Hartke HyDrive 210c
Ibanez BL70
Laney VC30
Tokai TB48
Yamaha FG720S-12
Yamaha P115
#14
Quote by tyle12
What is the best way to go about being able to hear chords and know which ones to play when you are improvising or writing? I often want to venture to different chords when I'm playing and just can't figure out which ones to play.


Do you know:

Diatonic Harmony?

Modal Interchange, or Non diatonic borrowed chord usage?

Secondary Dominants?

Cadences?

Voice Leading?

Ear Training?

Best,

Sean
#15
I know about diatonic chords yes and modal interchanges, secondary dominants cadences and all that. I'm just stummped sometimes. there was this song i was learning the vocals to and the progression went (without changing key) vi-I-V for a few bars then went iii-vi-IV. I only figured that out when I watched a youtube cover though. Thats just one example of many.
#16
Quote by tyle12
there was this song i was learning the vocals to and the progression went (without changing key) vi-I-V for a few bars then went iii-vi-IV.


Which song are you talking about? I'm not entirely convinced that you are interpreting the chord progression correctly.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
Soundcloud
#18
Incorrect. It goes (for the first/second verse and first chorus anyway)

V - G#m - B - F# - G#m - E - B (x2)

C - D#m - G#m - E - B - G#m - E - G#m - F#m - E

It also resolves clearly to G#m, meaning that you are using the wrong roman numerals for each chord (G#m is "i" not "vi").
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
Soundcloud
#19
Quote by tyle12
What is the best way to go about being able to hear chords and know which ones to play when you are improvising or writing? I often want to venture to different chords when I'm playing and just can't figure out which ones to play.



I had the same problem.

If you want to sound good, you need to learn how to lead voices (voice lead) and have a solid understanding of harmony and the way harmony functions (functional harmony). Once you understand that your problem will be solved. Also, your ear is not very developed if you are having this problem because I have been there and have found that to be the case. If you want to hear chords and melodies more solidly I believe it is better to train your ears on a piano because it has more body and resonance. So, perhaps buy a digital piano and maybe get some of the fancy software for it such as Synthogy Ivory or Galaxy Piano.

Believe it or not, there is a very structured approach one can take to solve a problem like yours.
Last edited by Unreal T at Jun 21, 2014,
#20
Unreal T..Can you please elaborate...Do you mean something like identifying each interval with some symbol to identify where you are going?