How to recognize notes by ear
How to listen to a random song and play it immediately without learning it from tthe tabs
I think this is really important thing to learn but I don't know how
In the beginning it's difficult (but it will obviously become easier the more you do it). Start with something simple, something that you have already memorized and can sing. Then try to match the pitches you sing on your guitar. At first it's just trial and error, though if you can recognize things like scale runs and arpeggios (and also repetition), it's a bit easier. It's important to know the sound of the note you are looking for before trying to find it on the fretboard.

Finding the key is also pretty important. Try to find the tonic - the note/chord that sounds like "home". Then figure out whether it's in major or minor. This way you limit the likely notes to 7. Obviously songs can also use notes outside of the key scale but most of the notes will be in the key scale. And many pop songs will mainly use the notes in the pentatonic scale, so in many cases you only have 5 notes to choose from.

And maybe this is obvious, but once you have found the first note, listen whether the melody goes up or down. And is there a leap (and is it a big or a small leap) or is it the next note in the scale? So don't just randomly try different notes. That may work in the beginning but you don't want it to be pure trial and error.

Well, finding the key is always trial and error, because that's a note that you just need to find, unless you have a perfect pitch. There's really no other method to it. But once you have found the key, the rest of the notes shouldn't be pure trial and error. At least put some thought into it.

Oh, and once you have found the key, always remember where the tonic is. Or better yet, remember where the tonic triad is (for example if we are in the key of C major, C major chord is our tonic triad, and in G minor the tonic triad is G minor chord, you get the idea). Every note in the key is either in the tonic triad or a step away from a note in the tonic triad. (By "step" I'm referring to notes in the scale, not necessarily to "whole steps".)

For example C major scale: C D E F G A B C

The underlined notes are the tonic triad. As you can see, all of the notes in the scale are either in the tonic triad or right next to a note in the tonic triad.
Quote by AlanHB
Just remember that there are no boring scales, just boring players.


Bach Stradivarius 37G
Charvel So Cal
Fender Dimension Bass
Hartke HyDrive 210c
Ibanez BL70
Laney VC30
Tokai TB48
Yamaha FG720S-12
Yamaha P115
Last edited by MaggaraMarine at May 1, 2016,
TS, can you sing happy birthday? I'm sure you can. Everyone can.

It doesn't matter what note you start on for this. But just sing one note at a time, then find it on the guitar.

Here is some inspiration... . Learn from the best mate.

Quote by fears.saqal
How to recognize notes by ear
How to listen to a random song and play it immediately without learning it from tthe tabs
I think this is really important thing to learn but I don't know how
"Immediately" will take some time!

I've been learning songs by ear for 50 years, I still can't do that. People with perfect pitch can - but it's waste of time to try to learn that (some say it can't be learned anyway).

What's more useful (and easier) to recognise is note relationships. E.g., I can't tell "immediately" what the notes are in a piece of music. But I can recognise chord progressions, such as I-IV-V, or I-vi-IV-V, etc. I then only need to pick up my guitar to check the key, and I will know what all the other chords are.

This is down to practising your relative pitch - which you can do simply by starting to try to learn music by ear, by playing along. To begin with, it will seem hopeless - but once in a while you will find a note on your guitar that matches a note in the song. That's the start! It can be a slow process, but the more you do it the better you will get.
And if you don't want to spend hours struggling with one particular song (at full speed), get yourself a slowdowner that will also let you loop short sections. I recommend Transcribe, but there are lots out there.
In terms of ear training, it's arguably cheating, but hey I just want to learn all the songs I can! (Even slowing it down, you're still using your ear of course.)
Quote by fears.saqal
How to recognize notes by ear
How to listen to a random song and play it immediately without learning it from tthe tabs
I think this is really important thing to learn but I don't know how

In my opinion, i guess it depends on the person. If you listen to a whole lot of music, or play along to your favorite music (assuming you know the right key/tuning), you'll eventually start to be able to figure out how to recognize them.
Last edited by Parac at May 2, 2016,
Theres two sets of skills--the first is being able to rapidly recognize musical grammar (chords, intervals, solfege tendencies etc), and the second is being able to rapidly absorb a specific piece (which is more about working memory then anything).
Teoria.com is a great resource, heres some good books:

all the best.
(insert self-aggrandizing quote here)
I'm like Jongtr. I start by listening to a song and picking out the types of chords just by listening. When I started figuring out songs myself I realized that I can hear the difference between a major chord or a minor chord. That simple exercise started my "ear" training. It was almost like a game. I would play a song and just write down what I thought the type of chord was; major chord to a minor chord back to a major then a 7th chord. Then I go looking for the bass notes which usually identifies the key and see if the chords I picked worked. As the years passed and I did it more and more I began to recognize maj7th chords, 9th chords, as well as augmented and diminished chords. My ears became better at picking up the sounds of the various chord types, my guesses became more accurate. Now if I am familiar with a song and it's structure I can figure it out fairly quickly.

People wonder how my band can play so many different songs and how do I remember all the chord changes on a 200+ song list that we have. The fact is that I don't memorize the songs. Each song on our list has the key listed next to it. If I know the key and am familiar with the song and arrangement I'm good to go and I can just relax and play. Some part of my sub-conscious brain takes over and it just happens. I don't know how to describe the process but all the previous experience and ear training just makes it happen. Maybe someone else can describe it better.

Start by just learning to recognize the sounds of the chords. Start with simpler songs that only have major and minor chords.
Yes I am guitarded also, nice to meet you.
Last edited by Rickholly74 at May 3, 2016,
The better you know your guitar, the fretboard, even theory, the more easier it is to bridge this gap.

You have to become skilled at hearing pitches and pitch collections. Without these and a fair amont of time invested, you have a long road ahead. I'd also start by transcribing songs, small tunes at first and build your skill sets and associations that way.



Quote by fears.saqal
How to recognize notes by ear
How to listen to a random song and play it immediately without learning it from tthe tabs
I think this is really important thing to learn but I don't know how
It really is a multiple learning process. The more you play, the more flexible your hands get and the more familiar you get with your fretboard. The more songs you learn (starting with tabs and songbooks, make it easy!), the more you get a feel for typical chord sounds and chord changes. Then you start to recognise things more when you first hear a song - it will remind you of that other song you know.

I really recommend just keep learning songs - songs you like - in any way you can. That feeds all those different strands of learning - physical technique, theoretical knowledge, ear training - and they all come together and support each other.