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silent-storm
01-15-2006, 05:36 AM
Well, I was trying to write this as formulaic and understandable as possible...but I've been going off on a lot of right brain tangents lately, so I might as well stick with my guns.

I've come to the conclusion that if I want to accomplish artistically what it is I want to do with the guitar this skill of hearing in my head is going to have to come to the forefront...no explanation needed, that's just the way it has to be...atleast for now.

Anyways, something strange happened the other day. I put on some ear plugs in order to really concentrate and played a single G and sat there for a while and really tried to think of the G in my head. There was a strange 'switch' that happened where I stopped thinking of the G and was actually physically listening to the G as if it was being played way off in the distance...the whole room seemed to kind of resonate a slight G. When I try and improvise and hear the notes before I play them I can do this pretty well, but even at the best of times it's different. Yes I'm hearing it in my head and the notes are very defined so I know exactly what is going on, but I'm not actually physically hearing it as if someone is playing it before I do and all I'm doing is transcribing it. The thing I heard with the G has now happened pretty much with every note on it's own and it seems exciting at the moment but I can't help but think that I'm grasping at a very far fetched ideal if I really try and persue this.

There seems to be this wealth of knowledge about ear training, but as far as I can find not very much information pretaining to the idea of hearing in your head. So I was just wondering how far any of you have taken the whole idea of playing what you hear in your head, what manner it takes within your head and how you have gone about developing this skill?

dusura
01-16-2006, 01:45 AM
The thing I heard with the G has now happened pretty much with every note on it's own and it seems exciting at the moment but I can't help but think that I'm grasping at a very far fetched ideal if I really try and persue this.

I don't know that it is a good approach to be trying to hear specific pitches like G, A, Bb whatever. If you think about it, specific pitches are just a means to an ends. Standard notation is based on specific pitches so that you can play with other musicians without having to decide what key you are going to play before hand. Also, music is notated with specific pitches for practical purposes of what fits on an instrument in terms of range, fingerings etc.

I think it is a mistake to think that just because music is notated with specific pitches and you need to know about specific pitches to play an instrument that they are what you should be hearing in your head.

If you think of a singer, that is the most natural way to make music. A good singer will pre-hear the notes/phrases they want otherwise how would they sing in tune so well? But I don't think they think of the notes they are pre-hearing as G, A etc. They are pre-hearing a note relative to the overall harmony/tonal center of the music.

I think any musician should strive to pre-hear like a singer. Then, they have the extra step to translate these into specific pitches so they can play them.

Maybe I'm not quite getting where you were coming from this post as it's a bit mystical. Anyway, just thought I'd add my two cents worth:)

Malcolm
01-16-2006, 03:06 PM
I've tried the ear training CD's and the software on the Internet that will play a pitch and ask you to identify it. Bomb out every time. I can hunt and pick out tunes within the scale pattern, but specific tunes take me forever.

I talk to old time lead guitar people that play pure melody lead breaks -- steel players for example -- asking them how did they train themselves and most say something like; "I've been doing this every since I pickup up a guitar, I just know where the next note is." Thanks, a lot! I talk to some of my other guitar buddies about how hard finding a specific melody is and they agree saying; "Yea I know, it's only seven notes you would think it would be easy."

Some have a knack and some do not, I do not hear new unpublished music in my head - sure old standards - but new creative things, nope.

I suspect you may be one of the lucky ones.

UKRuss
01-16-2006, 03:59 PM
I think it's cool.

I sat opposite a classically trained violinist for two years at work a little while back and she had perfect pitch. I would hum a note and she would look off to the distance and then go, "B" or whatever.

Strange thing was that I could then hum a B at will for quite a while and she would check I was right, I got pretty good at it...but I lost it after she left and I didnt play that game anymore.

So, reality is I don't have perfect pitch but I think i still get what you're saying in terms of the creativity coming forth from the head first.

Like some old footage of Miles doing his thing with his eyes closed, it's like you can see he is working it out in his head first then playing it, you almost sense that's what he's doing without him having to say it.

I guess my current position is that if I really sit down and think about hearing a lick or melody then try to copy it on guitar, I'm ok at getting it right after a bit of practice but two problems I still encounter:

First, I can't seem to think of anything really really original
Second, i can't think of them fast enough and then transpose them fast enough to the guitar to be able to use it freely in an improvisational context.

As a final word, I've definitely spent some time just twanging one note and then hearing it decay for the longest time in a quite place, thehn hearing it in my head and playing with it mentally.

If anything, it's a pretty cool meditational tool.

Zatz
01-16-2006, 04:10 PM
I wish I had an implanted musical dream recorder - I think I would be rich by now if I'd gotten myself one :D

Bizarro
01-16-2006, 05:49 PM
I try hear every melody in my head and how I would play it. Over 20 years of practice I got pretty good at this. My solos are typically what I hear in my head, not exactly, but close. I rarely noodle mindlessly or play "licks".
Same goes for figuring out songs, or writing songs. I can listen w/o a guitar, or create w/o a guitar, and it works out really well. Not perfect, but getting better all the time.

I think it takes lots of practice and focus to get better at this. I'm sure Vai or Satriani are masters at this, and it shows. I'm not a master, but maybe someday I will be :)

Gymper
01-18-2006, 09:24 PM
I struggled with melody at first forgetting the tune while i was looking for a note but kept at it playing kids jingles ... brother john. happy birthday etc i dont think i have a knack but like everything on the guitar hard work plays ( OR SHOULD I SAY PAYS) off also any tune i heard i would sing it in my head or out loud, who said if i can humm it i can play it....no tune now is a problem now, but when it comes to picking a chord i have trouble however i am and will get better yours gymper

Malcolm
01-21-2006, 09:37 PM
Hi Gymper, welcome to our World, and speaking of World in another post today we were talking about it being a small World. We have East Texas, UK, Ukraine, Washington and Ireland represented in this string.... Silent-Storm and dusura's profile do not list a location, but I'm sure they live in some exotic place ----- it is a small World after all.

Welcome Gymper.

dusura
01-21-2006, 10:27 PM
Hi Gymper, welcome to our World, and speaking of World in another post today we were talking about it being a small World. We have East Texas, UK, Ukraine, Washington and Ireland represented in this string.... Silent-Storm and dusura's profile do not list a location, but I'm sure they live in some exotic place ----- it is a small World after all.

Welcome Gymper.

Hi Malcolm and welcome Gymper. I'm from Australia so maybe we almost have every world timezone covered with people in this thread.:)

It's great to be able to share opinions/knowledge with people from all over!

silent-storm
01-21-2006, 11:45 PM
west coast of canada...real exotic

i should probably get on that profile

Gymper
01-23-2006, 03:45 PM
Hi all Malcolm, Silent Storm and others having read a good few threads its gr- eat to see that im not the only learner> There so much info in there, and from a worldwide source.keep practising, playing and POSTING most importantly enjoy your guitar c ya