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Thread: Hearing problems...

  1. #1
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    Hearing problems...

    Hi...

    I seem to have hearing problems. I am able to hear and sing according to individual notes, pick and sing along (yep, it's guitar), no issues. Well, I do have a few issues with various intervals but I am working on that too.

    The issue here is.. I can't seem to sing a chord at the same pitch. I can't hear or figure what is the root of the chord... (I'm singing to hear the pitch, note and stuffs. Ain't really working out to be a vocalist.)

    Can someone advise me on how I can work on to this issue..? I am really worried about this issue..

  2. #2
    Registered User JonR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ToneDeaf View Post
    Hi...

    I seem to have hearing problems. I am able to hear and sing according to individual notes, pick and sing along (yep, it's guitar), no issues. Well, I do have a few issues with various intervals but I am working on that too.

    The issue here is.. I can't seem to sing a chord at the same pitch. I can't hear or figure what is the root of the chord... (I'm singing to hear the pitch, note and stuffs. Ain't really working out to be a vocalist.)

    Can someone advise me on how I can work on to this issue..? I am really worried about this issue..
    You obviously can only sing one note of a chord at a time, so I would start by arpeggiating the chord (beginning with major triad).
    First of all, make sure the root of the chord is not too low for your voice. Play root, 3rd, 5th in turn, and sing each one.
    Then play the whole chord - you should then be able to sing the root, and hear how it sits in the chord. Likewise the other notes.
    If you're not sure which note you're tuning in to, pick individual notes in the chord to check.

  3. #3
    Registered User Malcolm's Avatar
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    Don't beat yourself up about it. Most can not either. It is something that you just have to work on.

    The more you play the more you hear.

    Good luck.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by ToneDeaf View Post
    Hi...
    I seem to have hearing problems.
    ...
    ...
    The issue here is.. I can't seem to sing a chord at the same pitch. I can't hear or figure what is the root of the chord... Can someone advise me on how I can work on to this issue..? I am really worried about this issue..
     
    Why are you worried about it? In fact why are you spending valuable time practicing this at all?

    It's true that guitar forums are often full of people who apparently think they should spend their practice time on various "ear training" courses, but what sort of musicians do you think the majority of those people are?

    For singers I can believe that pitch recognition is useful (also gives them something useful to do lol!). But if, as a guitarist, you are seriously practicing the right stuff as much as you need to, then imho (a)there is no time left for ear training courses, and (b)you will get more than enough ear training simply by listening to what you are playing when you practice.

    If you want to spend extra time on practice elements which particularly emphasise a need for careful listening and note recognition, then practice transcribing stuff by ear. Also, include 30-60 min a day sight reading exercises. But everything you practice, if you are doing it properly, depends on your hearing and listening. Just trying to learn favourite songs gives you masses of ear training practice.
     
     

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    Thanks JonR, Malcolm and CrossRoads for the feedbacks. :D

    Uhm, well, I am worried because I can't tell the key of the song by hearing. I read, heard and saw guitarists, after hearing first few bars of a new piece, were able to identify what key the piece is in, if the piece have key changes or not (I have not idea what is key changes but they mentioned about it), et cetera. But when I tried to figure one out, what I am hearing are sounds that seem so far apart from the 12 notes I know.

    In fact, I can't really capture the difference between major and minor chords, even if they are in the same key. Here's what I did. I did a recording for ear practices. I had a power dyad playing in the background while I record myself playing major and minor 3rds. After like an hour or so, I'll start hearing them over to identify them if they are majors or minors. The sad news is, I can't - Most of them are wrong. Then I tried them over with my guitar again. This time, much better, but I'm getting only 60% of it right.

    I was told to be slightly tone deaf too. So.. yea, I want to get myself out of this predicament. To be able to really hear the key of musical pieces, if there are key changes or not. I want to be "real buddies" with these keys just so I know "who" am I playing with.

  6. #6
    Registered User Malcolm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ToneDeaf View Post
    Thanks JonR, Malcolm and CrossRoads for the feedbacks.

    Uhm, well, I am worried because I can't tell the key of the song by hearing. I read, heard and saw guitarists, after hearing first few bars of a new piece, were able to identify what key the piece is in, if the piece have key changes or not (I have not idea what is key changes but they mentioned about it), et cetera. But when I tried to figure one out, what I am hearing are sounds that seem so far apart from the 12 notes I know.

    Try this - let the song play and walk your little E string up the neck. When the song and what you are doing on the E string come in sync (sound good together) you've found the tonal center, thus the key. Look down and see what note that happened on. That's your key. OK you will have a couple of choices that sound close, try them and see which one fits the best. After a month or so your ear will only recognize one as being right. Takes time.

    In fact, I can't really capture the difference between major and minor chords, even if they are in the same key. Here's what I did. I did a recording for ear practices. I had a power dyad playing in the background while I record myself playing major and minor 3rds. After like an hour or so, I'll start hearing them over to identify them if they are majors or minors. The sad news is, I can't - Most of them are wrong. Then I tried them over with my guitar again. This time, much better, but I'm getting only 60% of it right.

    I was told to be slightly tone deaf too. So.. yea, I want to get myself out of this predicament. To be able to really hear the key of musical pieces, if there are key changes or not. I want to be "real buddies" with these keys just so I know "who" am I playing with.
    Little theory on how a melody is harmonized would be time well spent. I'm Country and Rock. That means my chord progressions are going to be major chords, perhaps a minor 2 or minor 6 thrown in for color. Repeat color, not structure. So I miss the minor, OK I missed it, try and get it the next time I play this song.

    Relax and do the best you can. A year from now this will all be behind you.

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    Thanks Malcolm for the encouragement!

    I'll try to find the one that is the most consonant I guess? I'll try it out and see how it goes. I really hope I can get it though.. I'll try.

    Little theory on how a melody is harmonized would be time well spent. I'm Country and Rock. That means my chord progressions are going to be major chords, perhaps a minor 2 or minor 6 thrown in for color. Repeat color, not structure. So I miss the minor, OK I missed it, try and get it the next time I play this song.

    Relax and do the best you can. A year from now this will all be behind you.
    I will do my best. Let's see how far I will be at 1 year from now.

  8. #8
    Registered User Malcolm's Avatar
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    Last edited by Malcolm; 08-15-2012 at 05:39 PM.

  9. #9
    Registered User Color of Music's Avatar
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    You'll learn this later with a concept called Functional Harmony. This simply means how the chords relate to one another. (ie: The chord I'm on now vs. what came before and what will come after) However, melody, although just a single note works in the same manner.

    Often people will tell you that you can tell a key if the tonic (I) is the first and the last chord in a song.

    However, there are chords other than the tonic that can tell you what the key is because of their function and how they function. This allows for chord substitutions, but that isn't what is being discussed, atm although this technique will be used in the following examples:

    A very common progression with a sub: Em7-A7-Dm7-G7 what key am I in?

    iii-VI-(V7/ii)-ii-V, what's my I?

    Well, Em7 is Em7 or it could be G or CMaj9. Likewise, the other three chords in the progression could be something else. (Substitutions) The point is, if there are enough notes in whatever scale, you can grasp the key, so it's not just looking at the progression itself.

    Given the roots of each chord: I have an E, A, D and G; so, here are my most likely possibilites for keys:

    C, D, E, G and A (Major or minor)

    However, given the sonority and placement of these chords, more than likely, I am in the key of C. As for what kind of C ... it's major because C minor would have Eb and Ab - those chords are not present. They can be, but that's another discussion (borrowed chords)

    Here's a fragment of a famous example:

    Cm-Fm-G7#5-Cm (i-iv-V7-i)

    Without the tonic, but with embellishment and substitution: Eb7b9-Ab6-Db7b9#11-(Cm9-Cm) (III-VI-bII-(i))

    In progression one (with the tonic), C-D-Eb-F-G (1-2-b3-4-5)

    In progression two (without the tonic) Ab and Bb (b6-b7)

    Thus, together, you have the entire C natural minor scale: 1-2-b3-4-5-b6-b7; C-D-Eb-F-G-Ab-Bb-C)

    So, again, if you're listening to a song, listen for the scale. If condition #1 is met (Tonic is the first and last chord), then that is your key. Condition #2 deals with relationships (FH) IOW, if there are enough notes (or perhaps all of them), then your key can be determined by this as well.

    The I-IV-V tell you the key almost always, but I and V work as well as just V. IV is a bit ambiguous; however, since it more often than not, leads to V ...

    C-F-G7-C (All the notes of the C Major scale: CEG, FAC, GBD) This is another reason why this is the first progression taught - they just don't tell you that when starting out. This works for I-IV-V in every key. Db: DFA (all flats) GBD (all flats) ACE (The two outer notes are flats) D: DFA (Inner note sharp) GBD (no sharps) ACE (Inner note sharp)

    This is more or less about how the chords look on a piano, but this is what the I-IV-V progression ends up doing.

    This is a video explaining this, but from a guitar perspective:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sgvqfgjs8VQ

    You will see he reiterates what I wrote.

    The substitutes work, too. ii/IV/iv, I/iii/vi/VI, iii/V, V/vii (Notes: All the chords (and notes) in a scale - the major scale anyway (I-ii-iii-IV-V-vi-vii0) The qualities become different when a different scale is chosen. (i-ii0-III-iv-v-VI-VII-i - Natural Minor) Again, don't worry about this now, but you will see that this works and how it works.
    Last edited by Color of Music; 08-15-2012 at 09:21 PM.

  10. #10
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    Thanks for the links! I had just checked them out.

    It seems like my issue here is not knowing harmony and how it works? But I can't seem to figure what is the root of a chord yet. I guess I'll need to build up on my hearing first before harmony?


  11. #11
    Registered User JonR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ToneDeaf View Post
    Thanks for the links! I had just checked them out.

    It seems like my issue here is not knowing harmony and how it works? But I can't seem to figure what is the root of a chord yet. I guess I'll need to build up on my hearing first before harmony?

    You need to get used to the sound of different chord types, IMO.
    You're OK with single notes, and with some intervals - yes?
    Problem is, a chord is a combination of intervals, so you need to be confident of 3rds and 5ths at least (and 7ths are also important).
    A triad actually contains 3 intervals: R-3, R-5, 3-5. The latter is not important, but R-3 and R-5 give you the chord type and quality. Together they enable you to identify the triad type (maj, min, dim, aug).
    IMO, you don't need to break a chord down into its separate intervals - you should hear its character as a whole - but it's good to be aware of its constituent parts. Eg, the 3rds govern the sound of maj and min triads, and the 5ths govern the sound of dim and aug triads.

    As I said before, just playing some chords over to yourself should help you hear the sound of each type, and also how to hear (sing) which is the root. (It's not easy, and does take some experience.)

    Of course, some study of harmony (keys and chord progressions) would help with analysing and transcribing songs in general. You don't have to read a lot of books, IMO, just do a lot of playing and listening (books won't train your ear ). I mean really listening: every time you play a chord, try to hear (and sing) each note.
    Last edited by JonR; 08-16-2012 at 12:10 PM.

  12. #12
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    Ditto! I am only okay with single notes and some interval and chords are in a mess.

    I'll work on "listening" until I am really used to it.

    Thanks JonR!

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