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Thread: Picking Songs Out By Ear (Keyboard)

  1. #1
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    Picking Songs Out By Ear (Keyboard)

    Hello I would like some help with picking songs out by ear. I am able to pick out some song easily, but get into difficulty when playing songs that change key mid song. Any help appreciated.

  2. #2
    Registered User Malcolm's Avatar
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    Most songs do not change key in mid stream. Yes, some do. But, if you are just starting off stay away from those songs.

    Most songs will gather their notes from just one octave, two perhaps. Which means you only have 7 or 14 notes to worry with - for the melody. Harmony (left hand) is another matter.

    Most melodies will follow a four note sequences. Three notes close together then a leap of at least a 3rd. Then a pause, then three notes close together.....

    There are only 7 notes to the octave. But, don't try to memorize them - write them down. Once you've picked out the melody write it down as you go, then put the notes into muscle memory.

    This video was helpful. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r0iZ1j00wSU

    Good luck - to play by ear you have to play a lot by ear. It does not come easy for us mortals, but, it will come.

    I play from fake chord sheet music - lyrics and chord name. Then play chord pattern with both the left and right hand and let my voice add the melody. Google can find you something on this should you care to go that route.
    Last edited by Malcolm; 02-18-2012 at 02:16 PM.

  3. #3
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    Re: Picking a song out by ear.

    Quote Originally Posted by Malcolm View Post
    Most songs do not change key in mid stream. Yes, some do. But, if you are just starting off stay away from those songs.

    Most songs will gather their notes from just one octave, two perhaps. Which means you only have 7 or 14 notes to worry with - for the melody. Harmony (left hand) is another matter.

    Most melodies will follow a four note sequences. Three notes close together then a leap of at least a 3rd. Then a pause, then three notes close together.....

    There are only 7 notes to the octave. But, don't try to memorize them - write them down. Once you've picked out the melody write it down as you go, then put the notes into muscle memory.

    This video was helpful. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r0iZ1j00wSU

    Good luck - to play by ear you have to play a lot by ear. It does not come easy for us mortals, but, it will come.
    I do tend to try and memorize them. For example playing a song like Phantom Of The Opera it changes key Im fine with the chords for the beginning of the song playing it in say C Major. But then it changes key. And I get lost. Alot of pop songs seem to change key mid song then go back to the origional key. I am a working musician the carries loads of music but would like to get away from books and play songs by ear.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Malcolm View Post
    Most songs do not change key in mid stream. Yes, some do. But, if you are just starting off stay away from those songs.

    Most songs will gather their notes from just one octave, two perhaps. Which means you only have 7 or 14 notes to worry with - for the melody. Harmony (left hand) is another matter.

    Most melodies will follow a four note sequences. Three notes close together then a leap of at least a 3rd. Then a pause, then three notes close together.....

    There are only 7 notes to the octave. But, don't try to memorize them - write them down. Once you've picked out the melody write it down as you go, then put the notes into muscle memory.

    This video was helpful. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r0iZ1j00wSU

    Good luck - to play by ear you have to play a lot by ear. It does not come easy for us mortals, but, it will come.

    I play from fake chord sheet music - lyrics and chord name. Then play chord pattern with both the left and right hand and let my voice add the melody. Google can find you something on this should you care to go that route.
    Have you ever been in a situation when your out playing somewhere and you get to play a song that you know in your head. But trying to busk it on the fly its like picking up peas with chopsticks.

  5. #5
    Registered User Malcolm's Avatar
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    Well, piano or keys I do at home and would not even try jamming a tune in public. But, I know what you mean, I do jam on the bass and sometime it's good and other times -- well not so much.

    Back to fake chord and pattern chord work. One I like to use is:
    Left hand pinky-thumb or root-five and right hand, chord thumb or chord - root.
    Pinky thumb -- chord root.

    There are hundreds of patterns that can be used.

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