#1
Hey all. I have been moving away from tabs lately and trying to figure out songs by ear. I definitely have noticed improvements and believe this to be a great way to get better. I have noticed that I can figure out alot of notes played in solos just by feel, but when two or three notes are played together as part of the lick, its often harder for me to figure out.

For instance, I have been trying to learn some hendrix stuff, and I find it a lot easier to find out the notes in redhouse including the solo than to figure out a piece like spanish castle magic where he is using little two and three note chords on different parts of the guitar. Is this normal? I feel like my ear is pretty competent when I hear a single note, but when I hear a chord like in Spanish Castle magic its pretty hard for me to figure out what is going on. Thanx
#2
Makes sense, something you will just have to get better at.
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#4
Just think about it - can you sing one note? What about two notes at once?

That's the reason why.
Quote by AlanHB
Just remember that there are no boring scales, just boring players.

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#5
I think that your post has some validity, however knowledge of music and theory can help isolate these as well. I do it all the time.

Most of the time, these partials are just normal chords in the key in disguise. If I know the key, and the partial chords sound "right" to my ear, then I know I'm likely dealing with a chord that's diatonic to that key.

Let's say the notes ultimately prove to be the notes E and G# in the double stop. And, let's say that my knowledge of theory also tells me I'm in the key of A.

With this knowledge, I can mentally diagram the possible diatonic chords in A:

A Bm C#m D E F#m G#o

Now if I start playing triads, my options become very easy to see. The G# and E notes, I recognize as likely being from C#m, my iii chord in A. It might also be in E, and to determine which, I'll listen for the bass note, and the apparent function of the chord within the progression. An E sounds like it wants to go right to the A (again, theory lets me understand this, in the form of cadences), and a C#m might not sound as strong to resolve there.

C#m is C# E G#.

This "working knowledge" means that I never have to be baffled with learning by ear. The song isn't abstract. It's something I understand, in terms of the key, the possible chords, and the notes that make up all those chords. When you can understand the big picture of a song figuring out the notes become very easy. I frequently blow people away by working out the essentials of most songs in "real time" on first listen, without needing to pause or rewind. To them I look like some musical genius, but in reality, music can be very predictable once you understand how it works.

Best,

Sean
Last edited by Sean0913 at Sep 28, 2014,
#7
Quote by hanginout

For instance, I have been trying to learn some hendrix stuff, and I find it a lot easier to find out the notes in redhouse including the solo than to figure out a piece like spanish castle magic where he is using little two and three note chords on different parts of the guitar. Is this normal? I feel like my ear is pretty competent when I hear a single note, but when I hear a chord like in Spanish Castle magic its pretty hard for me to figure out what is going on. Thanx


That's normal. The better your ear gets, the better you'll get at more complex chords.

A lot of times we key on the root movement of the chords, and our basic understanding of what major and minor chords sound like. We're not actually picking out every note. So when something that isn't a straightforward major or minor, or an inversion, shows up, our ear is confused.

This is a normal part of developing your ear. Just keep at it. Jimi played some really complicated stuff sometimes and you shouldn't expect yourself to instantly be able to get it all right away.
#8
HaHa don't feel bad about it you need really developed ears to transcribe Jimi Hendrix songs. The more you do it the better you get at it honestly especially if this is your first time transcribing partial chords that Jimi uses.

#9
True, but as you know there are different ways to playing something. If you ever use tabs you'll find no two are usually the same.
#10
Yeah man chords are definitely harder to pick out by ear than single note solos. I try and find the root note of the chord, then add notes from there. Note that sometimes you think you may have found the root note, but what you're actually playing is the third or the fifth or whatever of the chord.
Quote by AlanHB
It's the same as all other harmony. Surround yourself with skulls and candles if it helps.