#1
I'm currently going through ear training in one of my University classes, but I don't see the point of it. How will knowing how notes and intervals sound like make me a better musician? I did fine making up stuff on my own prior to ear training and i never felt at a disadvantage because i didn't know what an interval size sounded like. I just started this class so maybe I need to finish the class to understand, but at this moment, i don't see the point of it. Ear training isn't useless I just find it to be a waste of time when i could be learning something else. Just because a musician knows what a C# sounds like from memory and I don't doesn't make him better.
Last edited by J23L at Jan 13, 2016,
#2
What? Ear is the most important tool of a musician. Well, maybe the ear training class you are taking doesn't focus on the right things for you. Or maybe you are understanding it incorrectly. But the point of ear training is having a better ear. So that when you hear a sound, you can play it.

If you don't have perfect pitch, you'll never learn how C# will sound like out of context. But you will learn how C# sounds like in different keys. I don't understand how that would not be useful.

Maybe they are not teaching it the right way for you (or maybe it's because it was your first lesson). But having a good ear is pretty much needed to be a good musician. Somebody who doesn't have a good ear is not a musician. I mean, music is sound. You use your ears to hear sounds.


You most likely have relative pitch (ie, not perfect pitch - that's something you need to be born with). That's what intervals are for. They are distances between two different notes. And a minor 6th always sounds like a minor 6th. You can learn that sound. With relative pitch you can't really memorize how a C# sounds like. But you can definitely learn how the 6th note of the minor scale sounds like.

Of course if it's too technical and you just sing intervals from different pitches or try to recognize the interval between two completely random notes (out of context), that's kind of useless. Functional ear training is a lot more useful.


So what's the use of ear training? With a good ear it's just a lot easier to figure out what's happening in music. I don't know if the class you are taking teaches it well but that's the goal. If you hear a chord progression, you can instantly play it if you have a great ear. If you hear a melody, you can instantly play it if you have a great ear. And if you have a musical idea in your head, it's easier to process it (that's where the knowledge of intervals comes in handy). If I hear something in my head, I can figure out all the notes without having an instrument in my hand. And that also makes it easier to play the notes when I have the instrument in my hand.

I mean, when people hear something in their head (and don't have good ears) and then pick up their instrument and try to play it, they can't play it and it ends up sounding way different and then they lose their original idea. If they had good ears, they wouldn't have that problem. Sometimes people may think they hear something great in their head, but actually they are not able to think in pitch. They aren't actually hearing anything concrete. If you have good ears, you also start hearing more concrete things.

Now, again, the course you are taking may focus on the wrong things. But what's the point of ear training in general? It is to train your ears. It's kind of the same as asking what's the point of practicing. You will only get better by practicing. Again, ear is the most important tool of a musician. I don't think you are an actual musician if you don't have at least a decent ear.
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Last edited by MaggaraMarine at Jan 13, 2016,
#3
Sorry Mags, I don't have the patience to read through your whole post, but I know your stance in this anyway.

And I agree.

Ear is, at least in my very humble opinion, your most important tool. It will help tremendously in every area of music - learning new songs, composing new songs, improvising, teaching, learning, anything. From what I spy from Mags post he already gave you a more in depth explanation so I won't parrot him here, but learning to use your ear properly (I'm not sure what and how they are teaching you there) is pretty much the most valuable skill you can have.
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#4
In the large scheme of things, music is ultimately an aural art, and being able to name the tools you use (notes, instruments, articulations, what have you) is more useful in the long run.

As MM said, most tonal music has functional chords, and ear training will help.

I won't go on about how to do ear training, because I know only one person on the forums who might have a similar experience.
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Quote by Jet Penguin
lots of flirting with the other key without confirming. JUST LIKE THEIR LOVE IN THE MOVIE OH DAMN.
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you're acting like you have perfect pitch or something
Last edited by NeoMvsEu at Jan 13, 2016,
#5
Quote by MaggaraMarine
What? Ear is the most important tool of a musician. Well, maybe the ear training class you are taking doesn't focus on the right things for you. Or maybe you are understanding it incorrectly. But the point of ear training is having a better ear. So that when you hear a sound, you can play it.

If you don't have perfect pitch, you'll never learn how C# will sound like out of context. But you will learn how C# sounds like in different keys. I don't understand how that would not be useful.

Maybe they are not teaching it the right way for you (or maybe it's because it was your first lesson). But having a good ear is pretty much needed to be a good musician. Somebody who doesn't have a good ear is not a musician. I mean, music is sound. You use your ears to hear sounds.


You most likely have relative pitch (ie, not perfect pitch - that's something you need to be born with). That's what intervals are for. They are distances between two different notes. And a minor 6th always sounds like a minor 6th. You can learn that sound. With relative pitch you can't really memorize how a C# sounds like. But you can definitely learn how the 6th note of the minor scale sounds like.

Of course if it's too technical and you just sing intervals from different pitches or try to recognize the interval between two completely random notes (out of context), that's kind of useless. Functional ear training is a lot more useful.


So what's the use of ear training? With a good ear it's just a lot easier to figure out what's happening in music. I don't know if the class you are taking teaches it well but that's the goal. If you hear a chord progression, you can instantly play it if you have a great ear. If you hear a melody, you can instantly play it if you have a great ear. And if you have a musical idea in your head, it's easier to process it (that's where the knowledge of intervals comes in handy). If I hear something in my head, I can figure out all the notes without having an instrument in my hand. And that also makes it easier to play the notes when I have the instrument in my hand.

I mean, when people hear something in their head (and don't have good ears) and then pick up their instrument and try to play it, they can't play it and it ends up sounding way different and then they lose their original idea. If they had good ears, they wouldn't have that problem. Sometimes people may think they hear something great in their head, but actually they are not able to think in pitch. They aren't actually hearing anything concrete. If you have good ears, you also start hearing more concrete things.

Now, again, the course you are taking may focus on the wrong things. But what's the point of ear training in general? It is to train your ears. It's kind of the same as asking what's the point of practicing. You will only get better by practicing. Again, ear is the most important tool of a musician. I don't think you are an actual musician if you don't have at least a decent ear.

Ok, I see your point. I have had instances where i was noodling around with my guitar and i stumbled upon something interesting, but i couldn't flesh the idea out completely because I didn't know what notes to hit next. I would hear it in my head, but i couldn't find it on the fretboard. Despite this, I still never felt at a disadvantage because I would still turn the idea into something cool regardless if it was what i heard in my head or not. If i kept hammering at the idea i would eventually find other cool stuff to go along with it. Your point has made me think a bit differently about ear training though.
#6
Think of ear training in terms of music as a whole, not just how it applies to guitar. You are focusing to much on how does it help you play guitar better. It does but it helps you in all levels of music. It's really important if you are a singer or are working with a singer and want to add a harmony part. I have worked with excellent lead singers who have no reference to notes and scales and cannot sing harmony parts because they have never learned to identify intervals.

It also makes playing live gigs a lot easier and more enjoyable. My band has been together a long time and we have a song list of about 175 or so songs that we have played through the years and can pull out at any time. I don't memorize songs. That would be almost impossible for me and frankly not necessary. I learn to play a song and look for any exceptions or unique parts that don't fit the key structure but once I have the song down in my head I just need to remember what key we are playing in and relax and let my "ear training" guide me through the song. It's hard to explain but that's how it works for me.
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Last edited by Rickholly74 at Jan 13, 2016,
#7
Quote by Rickholly74
It also makes playing live gigs a lot easier and more enjoyable. My band has been together a long time and we have a song list of about 175 or so songs that we have played through the years and can pull out at any time. I don't memorize songs. That would be almost impossible for me and frankly not necessary. I learn to play a song and look for any exceptions or unique parts that don't fit the key structure but once I have the song down in my head I just need to remember what key we are playing in and relax and let my "ear training" guide me through the song. It's hard to explain but that's how it works for me.


This. So much.

I'm currently playing the bass at a play based on some Beatles songs, and we play about 24 of them. As I'm familiar with the music and have a fairly decent ear, I can pay attention to the conductor's and the actors/singers' intention instead of looking at the sheet to know the next lines or chords. It avoids having to memorize the whole set or having to be constantly reading what I'm playing
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#8
It depends on the person. I don't find that useful at all either, really. But if you can do it, the odd situation might come up where it would come in handy.

If I can think an idea in my head, I can easily sing it. If I want to play it on guitar, then I need to learn the guitar in such a way that I can play it easily. Chords are another thing which is a bit more difficult to make sense of, especially on guitar.

For me, all of that training needs to be done on the guitar, and learning about the guitar, not just intervals that you sing out or solfege, or whatever. To me, that kind of just adds an extra step for nothing. For me, it's like I would learn something by sound, and how to sing it, and then go the guitar, and learn that again, with how to play it. Whereas I could just go straight to the guitar instead. I also don't find learning intervals like that very useful, because for me what matters is the key and the relationship any note has with the key pattern, and not so much with the note before it. I mean the note before it obviously matters a lot from a design, or artistic point of view, and the timing and everything, but, a major third interval, rooted on a IV, does not sound the same as a major third interval rooted on the iii. The interval is the same, and in isolation it sounds the same, but the true character of notes, to me, and why I choose them, is because of where they sit in the key. Them, and the other notes behind them.

So, I never did spend any time explicitly ear training whatsoever, and I don't regret that in the slightest. I can compose without difficulty, and improvise without difficulty, and harmonize without difficulty. But if I am singing a melody and then you stop me and ask me what that last interval I just sang was, I will probably not be able to answer that, and I'm fine with that.

That's me though. Different people have different strengths and weaknesses and experience music differently, and have different preferences of how to go about it.

But learning about the key etcetera, to me, is very important, and what's more important about that to me, is learning it on the instrument. But you need to know that by ear as well. It's associating what you hear, in your mind or otherwise, with a pattern or something on the guitar. So you can hear something and then play it right away. You could call that ear training, but I consider the term ear training to be training the ear away from your instrument, wither with singing, or clicks on a computer screen, or something like that.
Last edited by fingrpikingood at Jan 13, 2016,
#9
the names are relatively unimportant, but if you have a good ear, you bridge the gaps between ear, brain, and fingers much more effectively. you end up requiring less time "figuring things out," so you get more time to really experiment, and you're in control the whole way.

with the way stuff is presented in classrooms though, it may take a while (or some additional effort) to really feel that you're benefiting from the learning.
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Last edited by vIsIbleNoIsE at Jan 13, 2016,
#11
Ear training is especially useful if you want to for example write something down away from your instrument. That's because you can actually name the intervals you're hearing.
#12
Quote by Elintasokas
Ear training is especially useful if you want to for example write something down away from your instrument. That's because you can actually name the intervals you're hearing.


You can do this without that also though. Standard notation is actually conveniently designed for it. You just need to establish what set of 7 notes you're working in, and then you can just write easily, knowing where your tonic is, and you just follow the staff lines. You would at that point work visually from a key relative mindset, rather than actually having to worry about what the actual interval is. So, a iii, will always look like a iii, and a III will always look like a III, with a sharp in there, inversions aside, of course.


For me it's like that, anyway. It would very odd for me to ever think of an interval in the absolute sense, rather than in a key relative sense. For me, the key is the key, and anything absolute is sort of secondary, more for naming conventions. I would never really think of a melody going from I root, to iii root, as a major 3rd. I would think of it as a skip one of the key, and play the next one, specifically I-iii. That works in standard notation, or any instrument I play. Except, on guitar, because it is weird, I will pattern-wise recognize that I'm playing the chord I, and that I want the 3rd of the chord in that position, which I would immediately know is a major 3rd, because I can clearly see on my fretboard that I'm playing a major chord and not a minor one, but on piano, that wouldn't be as obvious. On guitar, if I do that, I wouldn't be thinking the major 3rd is a iii root though. I would think of it as the 3rd of the I chord, which happens to be major. And which one specifically, which is why learning with the instrument is so important to me. On guitar, I would recognize that it is a major 3rd because that would be obvious from the shape of the grip I'm using, and I need to know that to understand the fretboard. But it's not the same for piano. For example, every chord in the key of C looks the same on piano. One white key, skip one, play one, skip one. Same thing for sheet music. Every diatonic chord in first inversion will be either 3 lines in a row, or 3 spaces, because you've corrected everything with the key signature. That way you don't have to worry about the actual intervals, but only which diatonic notes you are using, or their relationship to the key, if you choose non diatonic ones.

I always make that correction in my brain on piano, or guitar. I establish what the key pattern is, and then I'm grounded. That's why the major scale pattern is so important to me, but intervals, or specific ear training, is not something I'm really interested in.
Last edited by fingrpikingood at Jan 13, 2016,
#13
^ Again, scale degrees are intervals. How many times do we need to have this discussion?


It doesn't matter how you train your ears. The point we are trying to make is that having a good ear is important. As I said, I'm not sure how good the classes TS attends are. But ear training is important.
Quote by AlanHB
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Gear

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Hartke HyDrive 210c
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Last edited by MaggaraMarine at Jan 13, 2016,
#14
Quote by MaggaraMarine
^ Again, scale degrees are intervals. How many times do we need to have this discussion?


It doesn't matter how you train your ears. The point we are trying to make is that having a good ear is important. As I said, I'm not sure how good the classes TS attends are. But ear training is important.


Everything is intervals. Ear training is ear training, and it trains what ear training trains. You can say scale degrees are intervals, but then if you go off practicing listening to isolated intervals, and naming them, that doesn't help you. It's completely different. A key creates a framework, a relative environment that every note develops a character from. You can train for that in that context, but that's not typically how ear training is conducted.

Obviously having a good ear is absolutely vital. But we actually are talking specifically of how it is trained. OP is complaining about a specific section of curriculum, which is the ear training section. Obviously most would agree that the goal of musical training is to be able to recreate musical ideas your mind develops in some externally tangible form. But what might be more different between people, is how exactly to go about training to develop that ability. For you, and obviously others, taking the time to do ear training is worth it to them. To me, and OP, at least when he made the thread, it doesn't.

Training to name intervals, or recognize intervals, for me, is not productive training. I agree with OPs first post, the sort of training he has to complete is not of value to me. You might find it of value, but I don't, and I explained that. You can think "but scale degrees are intervals" should make a difference, but I know what intervals are, I know what scale degrees are, I know what ear training is, and I know me. So, you can say whatever you want, the fact will remain that it's not useful to me. I explained why, and that's all I can do. You might think that's a poor justification, but what can I tell you? That's the way music is for me. It's the way I am, and it's what works for me. There is no logic or reasoning you could come up with that will change that. Ear training exercises, just aren't for me, and that will always be the case.

But that is not to say I have a poor ear. You can play me a melody and I can repeat it on my instrument. But I never did ear training, in and of itself, I'm good with that, and that's what I would recommend to anyone else that similar to me, has similar strengths and weaknesses as me, and similar goals to me.

I'm just stating how I am. I am not telling you how you should be, or how the next person should be, what training you should do, or anything like that. I'm telling you, this is the experience of music for me, and this is what is or sin't important to me, due to my strengths and weaknesses, and how I make sense of music. If you don't like that, I'm sorry, but that's just the way it is. You and I are different. You might as well be telling me how mushrooms are delicious and there's no reason I shouldn't like them. But my experience of the flavour of mushrooms isn't like yours. You can dictate whatever facts about them you want. You can't change what the experience of mushroom flavour is for me.

Ear training is not for me. You can go right ahead and do ear training if you want to, and recommend it to people if you want to. I won't stop you or bad mouth you for it or anything like that. But if you categorically make the statement that everyone should do an hour of ear training a week or something, not saying you did, but if someone made a statement like that, I'd say. "Actually, there are people like me that exist in the world, and that would be a waste of time for me." That's all I can say. I won't speak for you, and what is or sin't useful for you.

If I was totally rubbish at music, and refused to do ear training for spite or just some poor piece of reasoning, then ok, you might have a point that I should look into it. But I can music well enough, and I've never spent any time on ear training whatsoever. So, I agree with OP it's not something I find necessary, and if I had to take an ear training class, I would find that a pain in the ass also.

So, I heard you, you believe that "scale degrees are intervals" matters. But to me, it doesn't. Not in so far as the utility of ear training is concerned. So, how many times will you have to repeat that? Literally an unlimited amount of times, because you might as well be saying "the sky is blue". It's completely irrelevant to me. Just an irrelevant technically correct statement.
#15
Transcription and ear training are two separate but related skills. To reach your maximum potential, develop both

I don't really know what else can be said of it
#16


Just because someone hasn't formally trained their ear doesn't mean that their ear isn't trained. How is someone supposed to write their idea down if they can't translate their mind's idea onto paper? This is aided by training the mental ear to hear intervals... That is, unless you have perfect pitch.
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Quote by Jet Penguin
lots of flirting with the other key without confirming. JUST LIKE THEIR LOVE IN THE MOVIE OH DAMN.
Quote by Hail
you're acting like you have perfect pitch or something
#17
@fingrpikingood

To me it sounded like OP didn't know what's the point of improving your ear. For me "ear training" is everything you do by ear. It doesn't need to be formal ear training. You don't need to have any "ear training sessions" to have a trained ear. You can do it all by just playing music by ear. That's how I learned a lot (not everything, though - I was also formally trained). I mean, you don't need to be like "now I'm going to train my ear". You can just play music by ear.

That was basically my point. You were basically talking about scale degrees in your previous posts. ("I would never really think of a melody going from I root, to iii root, as a major 3rd. I would think of it as a skip one of the key, and play the next one, specifically I-iii.")

That to me sounds exactly like scale degrees. That's why I said scale degrees are intervals.
Quote by AlanHB
Just remember that there are no boring scales, just boring players.

Gear

Bach Stradivarius 37G
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#18
Quote by J23L
I'm currently going through ear training in one of my University classes, but I don't see the point of it. How will knowing how notes and intervals sound like make me a better musician? I did fine making up stuff on my own prior to ear training and i never felt at a disadvantage because i didn't know what an interval size sounded like. I just started this class so maybe I need to finish the class to understand, but at this moment, i don't see the point of it. Ear training isn't useless I just find it to be a waste of time when i could be learning something else. Just because a musician knows what a C# sounds like from memory and I don't doesn't make him better.


First, your example of a musician knowing a C# by memory is called "perfect pitch" and that has nothing to do with interval training and that is not what your class is actually teaching you ( perfect pitch is basically something very few people are born with - I know one person who has it out of the hundreds of musicians I know ).

"relative pitch" is why you learn intervals - so that you can identify the relationship/distance between two notes or more. This is absolutely crucial for any musician who ever intends to write music or improvise. It will help you learn things by ear, it will help you in writing parts, it will help you create harmonies, it will help you write chord progressions - the list goes on. Intervals are basically EVERYTHING in music. Ever wonder why a certain note in a guitar solo sounds so epic? Check which note it is in relation to the root of the chord it's being played over and then you understand how and why that worked and you can do it in another context.

I can now hear basically every interval when soloing and it makes improvising a much more musical experience rather than the mechanical experience of simply playing patterns and guessing what will sound good.

I can't stress this enough - know your intervals and you will double or triple your awesomeness as a musician.
#19
I'm not sure that the term "ear training" is really a good description for me personally. I have never attempted to develop my ability to hear changes or steps or intervals by doing anything other than playing and singing. It kind of just happened naturally as I progressed in my playing and singing. The word "training" sounds like I actually took lessons on listening and developing that ability to hear changes and harmony. I didn't. When I started playing guitar it was partly to accompany singing with friends. Being a child of the 60's my friends and I started by singing songs that were loaded with harmony and we struggled to learn the different parts just by trial and error. (Pick up the needle, move it back, try it again and again...) Some people seem to hear it easier than others and it's always been that way in my experience. We use to say that person has "good ears" (I still use that reference) meaning they may not have any formal musical training or any idea theory wise but they hear the changes and know where the harmony parts are and can sing them. As I progressed as a musician I saw that there was a definable reason or "theory" why certain notes worked (or didn't work) when creating harmony or chords or scales. I was able to apply theory to explain what I was already doing. In my case the ability to hear it came before I knew the theory behind it.

I'm not sure I am explaining it well but I didn't set out to do anything in a formal way to develop a "good ear" so it's difficult to explain and just because I mentally hear the part doesn't mean I can sing it (I have a limited range) or play it. That's a matter of practice, learning and technique. I hope this rambling makes sense in some way.
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Last edited by Rickholly74 at Jan 14, 2016,
#20
Formal ear training was probably the worst blow-off class for me ever, particularly due to the fact that I had to learn movable do after a good 6 years of fixed do. The rest of it was fine - it helped me visualize music better, particularly for theory purposes - but movable do was the worst. Like, I know how to sightread fine, but you're asking me to change my whole frame of reference just for one class... @.@

Ear training in general, though - learning how to do things by ear is one of the most freeing things you could ever learn to do as a musician.
Glad to cross paths with you on this adventure called life
Quote by Jet Penguin
lots of flirting with the other key without confirming. JUST LIKE THEIR LOVE IN THE MOVIE OH DAMN.
Quote by Hail
you're acting like you have perfect pitch or something
#21
Quote by reverb66
I can now hear basically every interval when soloing and it makes improvising a much more musical experience rather than the mechanical experience of simply playing patterns and guessing what will sound good.

Im having a problem with this. So far I have learned a few intervals through my class, but i can't understand how to use them while improvising. When I improvise I usually just play a lot of licks and create random melodies around those licks. The last thing Im thinking about when improvising are intervals. Since you think heavily on intervals when soloing, what is your mindset when improvising? Do certain intervals sound good when played before/after other intervals?
#22
This is how I do it/how I think of it:
Knowing your aural intervals is simply being able to translate the sound you hear into something you can understand in words/visually once you have the prerequisite knowledge. An abstraction in other terms. So when your ear gets good enough, you're just able to translate your ideas (sounds) into words (intervals), which then comes out of your guitar again as sound. Sort of like the human version of converting you digital ones and zeros into an acoustic vibration by a speaker.
Where it really comes in handy, is actually when you have all the other important bits of knowledge (fret board knowledge for example). Like for example since I know a 1, b3, b6 is a major chord in first inversion. Since my ear is good enough that when I hear it I know what it is, I instantly know it's the major chord of the b6. Combined with my pitch memory, it becomes a very powerful tool.
#23
Quote by J23L
Im having a problem with this. So far I have learned a few intervals through my class, but i can't understand how to use them while improvising. When I improvise I usually just play a lot of licks and create random melodies around those licks. The last thing Im thinking about when improvising are intervals. Since you think heavily on intervals when soloing, what is your mindset when improvising? Do certain intervals sound good when played before/after other intervals?


1) the first thing you should focus on is using intervals to start your solo lines - i.e. the first note you play over the first chord of your progression.

2) The first interval you should focus on is the 3rd ( major or minor). So, if you're playing over an Aminor vamp - you would play A's minor third, which is the note C. Playing the minor third with a vibrato is probably one of the most common starting points for any rock , blues or metal solo. Now, it doesn't matter which minor chord you play, if you hit it's minor third, things will sound good - memorize that sound.

3) The second interval that is crucial is the 5th. Same thing, play over an A minor vamp but now start your solo on the 5th note of A, which is E. Notice the difference. You're basically always safe playing 5ths, unless the chord has a flat 5, then play that.

4) The next important interval is the 7th - over A Minor that means a flat seventh, which is G - start a line with the G - this will sound a bit less "comfortable" than the 3rd or 5th, but it works well anyway.

5) The next important one is the 9th - over A minor that is the B note- play the one on the 7th fret on the high E string - notice how that is a sweet note to play over A minor, one of my favorites.


The next step is to target the crucial intervals over each chord of a progression - this will lead the listener through the chord changes and your solo will sound good by default. Try playing a three chord progression and simply play the third of each chord when it hits - do the same for the 5th, or the 7th.

The end game here is that you'll be able to hear how your solo will play out before the notes hit the fretboard - giving you creative control over your solos and allowing you to "hear " more options over each chord, which will result in less repetition. I would note that this will take years to master and requires much more than the simple exercises I laid out above.
Last edited by reverb66 at Jan 14, 2016,
#24
Quote by MaggaraMarine
@fingrpikingood

To me it sounded like OP didn't know what's the point of improving your ear. For me "ear training" is everything you do by ear. It doesn't need to be formal ear training. You don't need to have any "ear training sessions" to have a trained ear. You can do it all by just playing music by ear. That's how I learned a lot (not everything, though - I was also formally trained). I mean, you don't need to be like "now I'm going to train my ear". You can just play music by ear.

That was basically my point. You were basically talking about scale degrees in your previous posts. ("I would never really think of a melody going from I root, to iii root, as a major 3rd. I would think of it as a skip one of the key, and play the next one, specifically I-iii.")

That to me sounds exactly like scale degrees. That's why I said scale degrees are intervals.


Well, idk, how you thought that. Maybe you didn't read OPs post? To me, even the title is self explanatory. In my experience, ear training refers to the specific training of the ear. Exercises designed specifically to train the ear.
Quote by J23L
I'm currently going through ear training in one of my University classes, but I don't see the point of it. How will knowing how notes and intervals sound like make me a better musician? I did fine making up stuff on my own prior to ear training and i never felt at a disadvantage because i didn't know what an interval size sounded like. I just started this class so maybe I need to finish the class to understand, but at this moment, i don't see the point of it. Ear training isn't useless I just find it to be a waste of time when i could be learning something else. Just because a musician knows what a C# sounds like from memory and I don't doesn't make him better.


It's a bit puzzling to me, because you must realize by now, I think, that I have a good ear, and can play by ear without problem. I have stated so a number of times. I mean obviously, all of the training in music is naming sounds and their relationships. That's the meat of it. It's not naming patterns. We are dealing with sound. I'm pretty sure I have stated as much a number of times also. So, idk why you thought I was advocating playing deaf, or I don't know what you thought I was saying.

Most of the time, when people talk about ear training, or interval training, they are talking about someone singing or playing an interval, and then you name it, or vice versa. If you go search for ear training games on the web, or on your phone, that's the sort of thing you will find. They don't usually associate the intervals with positions in a key.

For me, that's not useful, because the key changes everything, and to me, a note has it's own character in the key, independently of the note that came previously, or that will come afterwards. That's the important thing to name for me, and that's not typically what "ear training class" is.

But can I repeat a melody you sing on my guitar? Yes I can. I can ear out a lot of songs before it is finished playing through once also, except maybe the bridge, if there is one. But I never spent any time ear training. That doesn't mean I don't know the names of some sounds. I didn't do speech training either but I can speak, nor typing training, but I can type.

I forget who it was now, but last time we had this discussion, I believe it was someone else that brought up that scale degrees are intervals, but I think what they meant was that there is always an implied tonic against which any given degree you play creates an interval, and that's probably pretty close to my philosophy, but it is still too different for me, from a sound standpoint, but also from a pattern standpoint on my guitar.

When I name a thing, it needs 3 main components;

1. A name, which fits coherently with a consistent system of organization, as much as possible. Incidently, that's one of the reasons I prefer my weird way of naming scale degrees as related to modes, that I'm sure you're sick of . Because that way, I can name a mode "ii mode" instead of "dorian" which is just a random name with no coherence to any organizational methodology.

2. A sound. The sound again needs to fit with the organizational framework. Like obviously, it would make no sense to name a V chord, in isolation, but the sound needs to be named in its relative setting.

3. A pattern on my instrument(s) of choice. I consider sheet music an instrument that way.

Naming a given tone as an interval from the tonic, is missing point 3. Because to realize the thing I've named, the interval from the tonic, I would need to refer to the tonic, which is unwieldy. That's an odd way to improvise, so I wouldn't want to think of it that way, which I think must be a common thing.

So, for me, the pattern is the major scale pattern, and every note within that has a name. A name which is consistent, and fits coherently within a system of organization, which happens to be a roman numeral.

So, I would not be interested in interval training, in an explicit way, however, as we actually did discuss last time, I do know intervals in so far as chord construction is concerned on the guitar. That's specifically for the guitar chord grips though, and I didn't spend any time training to be able to call them out, because for me, that sound gets all muddied up and changed in context of a key anyway, so it's not something I would spend time working on explicitly. Certainly not in a class, vocally, or written on a sheet of paper, unless that was my intended aim. But my aim is to play guitar.
Last edited by fingrpikingood at Jan 14, 2016,
#25
The best thing to do in my opinion is just play. No tabs, no written music, no YouTube "How to play....." videos, no one figuring it out for you. If you already have an understanding of how to play all your basic chords and a few scales, it's time to throw away the crutches and figure it out yourself. Find a relatively straight song and listen to it. Start with something really easy with 3-4 chords. Try to learn the chords and the inversions of the chords on the neck. At first it will seem difficult and often time consuming but after awhile your ears will start to recognize the sound of the chords, major, minor, Maj7, 9th etc. and you'll find it easier and easier to just figure it out yourself.

Take off the training wheels. Set aside the time to do this like you would practice anything else. You'll be surprised how much your live playing improves and how much more relaxed you are when performing because you have developed the tools to just "play by ear". That's my two cents.
Yes I am guitarded also, nice to meet you.
Last edited by Rickholly74 at Jan 14, 2016,
#26
Quote by Rickholly74
The best thing to do in my opinion is just play. No tabs, no written music, no YouTube "How to play....." videos, no one figuring it out for you. If you already have an understanding of how to play all your basic chords and a few scales, it's time to throw away the crutches and figure it out yourself. Find a relatively straight song and listen to it. Start with something really easy with 3-4 chords. Try to learn the chords and the inversions of the chords on the neck. At first it will seem difficult and often time consuming but after awhile your ears will start to recognize the sound of the chords, major, minor, Maj7, 9th etc. and you'll find it easier and easier to just figure it out yourself.

Take off the training wheels. Set aside the time to do this like you would practice anything else. You'll be surprised how much your live playing improves and how much more relaxed you are when performing because you have developed the tools to just "play by ear". That's my two cents.


I think definitely playing by ear is important, like you say, and of course it always depends on exactly what your aim is, but I think in many cases it is also important to name things. Naming things is pretty powerful.

"To name is to know." -Socrates.

I personally find that guitar and other instruments tend be taught either all the way left, which is completely by ear, with very little naming, maybe chords and that's it. And then all the way right, which is diagrams and algorithms and all sorts of stuff, lots of book training and exercises, and all that.

But, for me anyway, what I find is best is a hybrid approach. Definitely I think if your aim is guitar, you want to spend most of your time learning with a guitar in your hands.

But you know what? If all you want to do is play sheet music in an orchestra, then you don't really need such a well tuned ear. I mean, you basically need to be able to hear if you are on key, and your vibrato or whatever, and other than that, just follow directions.

And if all you want to do is learn to play cowboy chords of your favourite songs around the campfire, then you need to learn very little also, but not reading sheet music either.

If you want to play more odd music, or jazz fusion style stuff, and improvise, that's something different. If you want to compose scores for movies, that's something different again. So, it depends on what you want.

It also depends on your skill sets also. Some people really benefit counting, learning to count in their minds, and practicing syncopation and stuff like that. Really training it, others aren't interested in any of that at all. So, it's hard to have a one size fits all strategy.

But I think for most people, playing by ear is a good thing, and certainly learning with your guitar in your hands is a good thing, rather than games on the computer or what have you.
Last edited by fingrpikingood at Jan 14, 2016,
#27
Quote by J23L
Im having a problem with this. So far I have learned a few intervals through my class, but i can't understand how to use them while improvising. When I improvise I usually just play a lot of licks and create random melodies around those licks. The last thing Im thinking about when improvising are intervals. Since you think heavily on intervals when soloing, what is your mindset when improvising? Do certain intervals sound good when played before/after other intervals?
reverb66 has really spelled it, but to sum up - it's all about chord tones.
There's two angles to it.

Firstly, when soloing, you should know what all the chords are you're soloing on - and you should know their arpeggios all over the neck. So you can start and end phrases on chord tones, to pin them to the sequence and make your solo sound logical and connected - like it's about the song, and not about all the scales and licks you've learned. (Of course you can still play licks, but you should be connecting them to the chords.) Your audience will be hearing how all your notes relate to the chords - whether they're in or out, and maybe how far out they are - so you should know it too.
You don't have to identify all the intervals. The audience has no clue about that, but they know an off note when they hear one. Obviously you should too.
So the first thing is knowing how to be inside and outside the chords (each chord in turn).

Secondly - and this is what reverb66 was talking about - every note, at any time, has a particular character against the chord. The chord tones (root-3rd-5th) are all "inside" - so all sound "right" - but they still have different characters.
7ths, 9ths, 11ths and 13ths get progressively more "tense" - which means more expressive (in different ways), but also risking being too "out" sometimes. (Like strong flavours which are easily overdone.)
Beyond those diatonic notes (notes from the local key), there are chromatics: the real dramatic "spicy" notes - all technically "wrong" (outside), but often just the right sound you want.
The recipe is a good analogy. Root-3rd-5th of each chord is the main ingredients (plus the 7th if you're playing jazz). 9-11-13, that's the salt and pepper. The chromatics (alterations) are the chilli, the curry - careful with those!
Now - if you're a real chef, you don't just throw everything in the pot (a few of your favourite "licks") and hope for the best. You know the flavours of everything in front of you, and how they blend. You know that cool lick #3 will work on this chord, but not on that chord.

This is really what ear training is all about. Music is nothing but sound after all; that's the material you're working with. The question is only: what's the best way to improve your ear?

I'm with those who say the typical kind of training exercises are not the best way. Working with real music is the best way. (It's like the difference between an exercise bike in a gym, and riding a real bike on the road. What you're aiming to be good at is riding a bike on roads - all kinds of roads, up and down hills, round corners, etc. You've got a real bike, so why not just go out on the road? Sorry I'm mixing my metaphors here.... )
If you learn how a D sounds over an Am7 chord, do you really need to know it's called an "11th"? Do you really need to identify an A-D interval on its own - when in a real musical situation you'll be hearing a load of other intervals at the same time?
IOW, I know what a 4th (A-D) sounds like in isolation. But the 11th on a min7 chord is a whole other thing.
Likewise a 9th - a real sweet note, but only in the full context of a major or minor chord; and it has a different character if the chord also has a 7th.

Of course it can hard to make sense out of the "soup" of intervals constantly entering your ears in a piece of actual music. But you can still exercise with single chords - reverb66 has laid out an excellent exercise. No need to know the names of all those intervals (unless of course you want to talk or write about them...) - it's the sounds of notes in context (single notes against keys and chords) you need to get to know.

Of course, there's melodic intervals (one note after another, rather than simultaneously). Best way to practice these is sing them while you play them. Again you can name them if it helps, but it's the shapes and patterns on the fretboard (especially relative to chord shapes in the same position) that you really need to link with the sounds.
"OK I want a 9th at this point... now where is that 9th...." Much better to think "I want THAT note there, whatever it's called...." - to see the chord shape, and at the same time see all the extensions (and know how each of them will sound).
#28
Quote by J23L
Im having a problem with this. So far I have learned a few intervals through my class, but i can't understand how to use them while improvising. When I improvise I usually just play a lot of licks and create random melodies around those licks. The last thing Im thinking about when improvising are intervals. Since you think heavily on intervals when soloing, what is your mindset when improvising? Do certain intervals sound good when played before/after other intervals?

When improvising, you want to think in sound. But to be able to do that and play what you hear, it helps if you know how the different intervals sound like. And that becomes automatic after a while - you don't need to think about the names any more because you know all the interval patterns and how they sound like.

When learning about theoretic stuff, you want to "forget" about it when playing. Theory is there to support your ear. It is there to give explanations to sounds that you hear. When you know theory well enough, you don't need to think about it any more and you can just "forget" about it and play.


So the main goal is being able to think in pitch and knowing how to play a melody that you hear in your head. Naming things helps - they are not just abstract sounds, they have an explanation.

Some people use chords and others use the tonic as the reference point.
Quote by AlanHB
Just remember that there are no boring scales, just boring players.

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#29
"When learning about theoretic stuff, you want to "forget" about it when playing. Theory is there to support your ear. It is there to give explanations to sounds that you hear. When you know theory well enough, you don't need to think about it any more and you can just "forget" about it and play."

I agree with this. Once you have learned as much theory as you need to reach the level you want to reach as a player just get out and play. I believe people who get scared off learning any theory often do so because they believe you must have to think in those terms when you play. To me music theory is like an instructional manual. Once we have read the manual and learned to use something we tuck it away in a drawer just incase we need it later. Learn a little theory, get comfortable with it, then just play.
Yes I am guitarded also, nice to meet you.
#30
Lol Terence.

Quote by J23L
Ok, I see your point. I have had instances where i was noodling around with my guitar and i stumbled upon something interesting, but i couldn't flesh the idea out completely because I didn't know what notes to hit next. I would hear it in my head, but i couldn't find it on the fretboard. Despite this, I still never felt at a disadvantage because I would still turn the idea into something cool regardless if it was what i heard in my head or not. If i kept hammering at the idea i would eventually find other cool stuff to go along with it. Your point has made me think a bit differently about ear training though.


More context never hurt.
Glad to cross paths with you on this adventure called life
Quote by Jet Penguin
lots of flirting with the other key without confirming. JUST LIKE THEIR LOVE IN THE MOVIE OH DAMN.
Quote by Hail
you're acting like you have perfect pitch or something
#31
If you want to go straight up Music School on your ears, there are some web sites that do intervals, chords, and melodic and harmonic dictations. Nothing gets your ears going like having to write down a melody without an instrument in 5 listens.

And when you're doing stuff by ear, it's important that you're not just guessing and checking every note. You should strive to get as much as you can before taking another listen. Most of ear training is really about developing a musical memory, just like you have a memory for speech. If you know your intervals and can remember a musical phrase accurately, you can figure it out without the help of an instrument. Learning solfege helps with this, too.

But you have do real music, too. Using your ears, your knowledge, and your instrument all at once is how you get genuine fluency with music.