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#433577 - 10/15/17 09:47 AM [Off-Topic] October Blog - How I am using Band-in-a-box to help play by ear
JoanneCooper Offline
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Registered: 05/12/12
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Hi All

I recently joined up with Musical U which is a site that helps you become more musical using simple online training. They are focused on providing you with the tools that traditional music training lacks. Tools that help you freely express yourself in music by playing by ear, improvising and jamming with other musicians. I am only just starting out on my journey with them but already it has made a huge impact on my attitude towards playing by ear. I am doing things that I never thought I could do. I always thought I just "didn't have the ear".

One of the suggestions they offered up to help you start playing by ear is to simply start playing by ear. Start by picking out the chords and melodies to simple songs that you already know quite well. Nursery rhymes are a good place to start. They say that you should do this every day, not with the aim of perfecting the piece but to improve your ability to play by ear. They suggest picking a different song every day and to simply find a note on your instrument and start playing the melody. I started out by picking out the melody to Amazing Grace on my guitar. I quickly realised that I could used Band-in-a-Box to help me on this quest as playing the melody to Amazing Grace in isolation is very unsatisfying READ MORE....



Edited by Callie - PG Music (10/19/17 08:10 AM)
Edit Reason: Title edit - Bog to Blog

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#433592 - 10/15/17 01:37 PM [Off-Topic] Re: October Blog - How I am using Band-in-a-box to help play by ear [Re: JoanneCooper]
MarioD Offline
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Here is what I posted on Joanne's blog:

"To add to Joanne's excellent blog input a song into Band-in-a-Box. Have Band-in-a-Box play the melody for the 1st and 3rd choruses (note that a chorus in Band-in-a-Box means the entire song - it's a jazz thing). Now if you are trying to learn by ear try to copy what you heard in the 1st chorus. If you are trying to learn improvisation jam through the 2nd chorus (in other words do not play the melody play something else). I use this method every time I improvise and it really helps."
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#433596 - 10/15/17 01:50 PM [Off-Topic] Re: October Blog - How I am using Band-in-a-box to help play by ear [Re: JoanneCooper]
Charlie Fogle Offline
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Registered: 04/07/13
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Loc: South Carolina
Interesting information. I enjoy your blogs and video courses.

Charlie
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#433598 - 10/15/17 02:09 PM [Off-Topic] Re: October Blog - How I am using Band-in-a-box to help play by ear [Re: JoanneCooper]
musiclover Offline
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Registered: 08/13/09
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Loc: Ireland
Great stuff Joanne, isn't there an interval ear trainer somewhere in biab as well in the practice section?
My poor old ears could certainly do with a brush up on that.

On the subject of improvising a solo,would like opinions, if it's mainly the done thing when doing a solo in the middle of a song, to either use the chords of the verse or chorus to solo over, or can a person just go off in any direction if it sounds good and appropriate to do so.

Thanks
Musiclover
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My music https://www.youtube.com/user/donegalprideofall

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#433636 - 10/15/17 06:40 PM [Off-Topic] Re: October Blog - How I am using Band-in-a-box to help play by ear [Re: musiclover]
pghboemike Offline
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Registered: 07/13/02
Posts: 2483
Originally Posted By: musiclover
Great stuff Joanne, isn't there an interval ear trainer somewhere in biab as well in the practice section?


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#433638 - 10/15/17 06:43 PM [Off-Topic] Re: October Blog - How I am using Band-in-a-box to help play by ear [Re: JoanneCooper]
pghboemike Offline
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Registered: 07/13/02
Posts: 2483


i picked C major\Am and have found this technique useful

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#433670 - 10/16/17 04:22 AM [Off-Topic] Re: October Blog - How I am using Band-in-a-box to help play by ear [Re: MarioD]
JoanneCooper Offline
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Registered: 05/12/12
Posts: 2380
Loc: South Africa
Originally Posted By: MarioD
Here is what I posted on Joanne's blog:

"To add to Joanne's excellent blog input a song into Band-in-a-Box. Have Band-in-a-Box play the melody for the 1st and 3rd choruses (note that a chorus in Band-in-a-Box means the entire song - it's a jazz thing). Now if you are trying to learn by ear try to copy what you heard in the 1st chorus. If you are trying to learn improvisation jam through the 2nd chorus (in other words do not play the melody play something else). I use this method every time I improvise and it really helps."


Mario - Thanks that is a great tip. You could use a midi file to help generate a nice sounding back track with the melody included (as described here)

Create a backing track using realtracks and a midi file

Then you could delete the melody in the second "chorus" and see if you can play the melody from memory and by ear. This would really help if you didn't know the song particularly well. I am going to try it out with The Bee Gees "Massachusetts" . I am going to slow the play back right down for the first few time and slowly bring it up to full speed. Once I can play the melody by ear then I will improvise (using the melody as a basis for the improvisation). Thanks so much!

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#433672 - 10/16/17 04:44 AM [Off-Topic] Re: October Blog - How I am using Band-in-a-box to help play by ear [Re: JoanneCooper]
Charlie Fogle Offline
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Registered: 04/07/13
Posts: 4590
Loc: South Carolina
Wow. Great tips.

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#433673 - 10/16/17 04:49 AM [Off-Topic] Re: October Blog - How I am using Band-in-a-box to help play by ear [Re: musiclover]
JoanneCooper Offline
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Registered: 05/12/12
Posts: 2380
Loc: South Africa
Originally Posted By: musiclover
Great stuff Joanne, isn't there an interval ear trainer somewhere in biab as well in the practice section?
My poor old ears could certainly do with a brush up on that.

On the subject of improvising a solo,would like opinions, if it's mainly the done thing when doing a solo in the middle of a song, to either use the chords of the verse or chorus to solo over, or can a person just go off in any direction if it sounds good and appropriate to do so.

Thanks
Musiclover




Musiclover, yes there ear training in Band-in-a-Box but I am using a app that I can put on my phone and do my ear training while I am walking the dog in the afternoon laugh

Here is the app







As far as improvising over the verse or the chorus. I think you can improvise over either chorus or the verse but when I am jamming with other musicians I generally find that the other musicians revert more easily to the chorus chords (maybe because they are easier to remember and repeat?)

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#433674 - 10/16/17 04:50 AM [Off-Topic] Re: October Blog - How I am using Band-in-a-box to help play by ear [Re: pghboemike]
JoanneCooper Offline
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Registered: 05/12/12
Posts: 2380
Loc: South Africa
Originally Posted By: pghboemike
Originally Posted By: musiclover
Great stuff Joanne, isn't there an interval ear trainer somewhere in biab as well in the practice section?





Thank you Mike!

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#433675 - 10/16/17 04:51 AM [Off-Topic] Re: October Blog - How I am using Band-in-a-box to help play by ear [Re: Charlie Fogle]
JoanneCooper Offline
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Registered: 05/12/12
Posts: 2380
Loc: South Africa
Originally Posted By: Charlie Fogle
Interesting information. I enjoy your blogs and video courses.

Charlie


Thank you Charlie. Let me know how you get on!

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#433690 - 10/16/17 06:54 AM [Off-Topic] Re: October Blog - How I am using Band-in-a-box to help play by ear [Re: JoanneCooper]
Janice & Bud Offline
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Registered: 12/05/11
Posts: 6234
Loc: GA USA
Improvising solos was mentioned. I can hear chord changes readily and can play decent acoustic bass and acoustic rhythm guitar for a couple of genres. I cannot solo nor do I sing. And I don’t think I could’ve ever learned to solo or sing other than in a very rote manner, i.e., note for note. I sincerely believe that we are “hard wired” for this...or not. I can put together chord a progression give it to Janice and she can very quickly come up with multiple melodies for it. She’s a good rhythm guitar player and had she devoted time to learning to learning technique and practiced I’m convinced she could play the melodies she makes up to sing on an instrument. And since she can “scat sing” sing I’m sure she could play improvisational solos on whatever instrument she spent sufficient time with. She hears melodies everywhere, in nature, even machinery smile

FWIW, I base this not just on her but from having had the privilege over the last 45 years to play with immensely talented musicians. I guess it’s a pessimistic view but I think that there is an interplay of nature and nature necessary to improvise and w/o the nature element all the nature in the world will not create it.

Interestingly Bela Fleck, who does not read music, creates layered compositions by singing the part he wants different musicians to play.

Bud

PS I realize I may be completely full of it and overly influenced by my psychology background. smile

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#433693 - 10/16/17 07:16 AM [Off-Topic] Re: October Blog - How I am using Band-in-a-box to help play by ear [Re: JoanneCooper]
MarioD Offline
Veteran

Registered: 12/27/03
Posts: 11447
Loc: Hamlin NY
Originally Posted By: JoanneCooper
Originally Posted By: MarioD
Here is what I posted on Joanne's blog:

"To add to Joanne's excellent blog input a song into Band-in-a-Box. Have Band-in-a-Box play the melody for the 1st and 3rd choruses (note that a chorus in Band-in-a-Box means the entire song - it's a jazz thing). Now if you are trying to learn by ear try to copy what you heard in the 1st chorus. If you are trying to learn improvisation jam through the 2nd chorus (in other words do not play the melody play something else). I use this method every time I improvise and it really helps."


Mario - Thanks that is a great tip. You could use a midi file to help generate a nice sounding back track with the melody included (as described here)

Create a backing track using realtracks and a midi file

Then you could delete the melody in the second "chorus" and see if you can play the melody from memory and by ear. This would really help if you didn't know the song particularly well. I am going to try it out with The Bee Gees "Massachusetts" . I am going to slow the play back right down for the first few time and slowly bring it up to full speed. Once I can play the melody by ear then I will improvise (using the melody as a basis for the improvisation). Thanks so much!


One of the most important things when improvising is the saying "heaven is one semi-tone up or down". That is if you hit a wrong note a right note is one fret up or down! Easy peasy!

I tell my students if you end a run on a wrong note, say a Bb against an A chord, just slide up to a B, the 9th, or down to an A, the tonic. To fool someone just play that rift again, i.e. end on a Bb then slide. They will think it is part of the song.

Oh crap, I just gave away my playing style. Oh well, enjoy!

PS - I have played "Massachusetts" about a million times! Good luck.

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#433704 - 10/16/17 08:16 AM [Off-Topic] Re: October Blog - How I am using Band-in-a-box to help play by ear [Re: Janice & Bud]
JoanneCooper Offline
Veteran

Registered: 05/12/12
Posts: 2380
Loc: South Africa
Originally Posted By: Janice & Bud
Improvising solos was mentioned. I can hear chord changes readily and can play decent acoustic bass and acoustic rhythm guitar for a couple of genres. I cannot solo nor do I sing. And I don’t think I could’ve ever learned to solo or sing other than in a very rote manner, i.e., note for note. I sincerely believe that we are “hard wired” for this...or not. I can put together chord a progression give it to Janice and she can very quickly come up with multiple melodies for it. She’s a good rhythm guitar player and had she devoted time to learning to learning technique and practiced I’m convinced she could play the melodies she makes up to sing on an instrument. And since she can “scat sing” sing I’m sure she could play improvisational solos on whatever instrument she spent sufficient time with. She hears melodies everywhere, in nature, even machinery smile

FWIW, I base this not just on her but from having had the privilege over the last 45 years to play with immensely talented musicians. I guess it’s a pessimistic view but I think that there is an interplay of nature and nature necessary to improvise and w/o the nature element all the nature in the world will not create it.

Interestingly Bela Fleck, who does not read music, creates layered compositions by singing the part he wants different musicians to play.

Bud

PS I realize I may be completely full of it and overly influenced by my psychology background. smile


Hi Bud. Thanks for chipping in. At musical u they believe that everybody can learn to sing and play by ear and that it is not something you are born with (or not). Some may take longer and have to put in more effort than others but it is possible. The tools and techniques they introduce (step by step) help you do that. As I say it is very early in my journey with them but I have changed my attitude. After only a month I am doing things I never thought I would be able to do. I am actually playing melodies and chords by ear and on the way to recognizing the key by ear. Before, if I struggled I would always resort to looking up chords or asking the other musicians what key is this in and try and improvise by memorizing patterns on the fretboard. I must say though, is a lot of work learning to recognize all those intervals and chord types by ear.

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#433716 - 10/16/17 09:12 AM [Off-Topic] Re: October Blog - How I am using Band-in-a-box to help play by ear [Re: JoanneCooper]
sslechta Offline
Expert

Registered: 12/27/13
Posts: 1292
Loc: St. Louis, MO. USA
Thanks for the info on Musical U, Joanne!

Reading through their site now.

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#433720 - 10/16/17 10:00 AM [Off-Topic] Re: October Blog - How I am using Band-in-a-box to help play by ear [Re: JoanneCooper]
JoanneCooper Offline
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Registered: 05/12/12
Posts: 2380
Loc: South Africa
My pleasure Steve. Let me know if you join them. I have started playing live with a young guy who has the most incredible ear and plays the guitar in a beautiful free and natural style. He just had to listen to a song that he has never heard before, just once, and he plays it through beautifully using the melody woven around the chords. It is amazing to witness and I do so want to be able to play like that... oh well maybe in my next life. Sigh....

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#433739 - 10/16/17 11:38 AM [Off-Topic] Re: October Blog - How I am using Band-in-a-box to help play by ear [Re: JoanneCooper]
Janice & Bud Offline
Veteran

Registered: 12/05/11
Posts: 6234
Loc: GA USA
Originally Posted By: JoanneCooper
Originally Posted By: Janice & Bud
Improvising solos was mentioned. I can hear chord changes readily and can play decent acoustic bass and acoustic rhythm guitar for a couple of genres. I cannot solo nor do I sing. And I don’t think I could’ve ever learned to solo or sing other than in a very rote manner, i.e., note for note. I sincerely believe that we are “hard wired” for this...or not. I can put together chord a progression give it to Janice and she can very quickly come up with multiple melodies for it. She’s a good rhythm guitar player and had she devoted time to learning to learning technique and practiced I’m convinced she could play the melodies she makes up to sing on an instrument. And since she can “scat sing” sing I’m sure she could play improvisational solos on whatever instrument she spent sufficient time with. She hears melodies everywhere, in nature, even machinery smile

FWIW, I base this not just on her but from having had the privilege over the last 45 years to play with immensely talented musicians. I guess it’s a pessimistic view but I think that there is an interplay of nature and nature necessary to improvise and w/o the nature element all the nature in the world will not create it.

Interestingly Bela Fleck, who does not read music, creates layered compositions by singing the part he wants different musicians to play.

Bud

PS I realize I may be completely full of it and overly influenced by my psychology background. smile


Hi Bud. Thanks for chipping in. At musical u they believe that everybody can learn to sing and play by ear and that it is not something you are born with (or not). Some may take longer and have to put in more effort than others but it is possible. The tools and techniques they introduce (step by step) help you do that. As I say it is very early in my journey with them but I have changed my attitude. After only a month I am doing things I never thought I would be able to do. I am actually playing melodies and chords by ear and on the way to recognizing the key by ear. Before, if I struggled I would always resort to looking up chords or asking the other musicians what key is this in and try and improvise by memorizing patterns on the fretboard. I must say though, is a lot of work learning to recognize all those intervals and chord types by ear.


Hi Joanne,

Thanks for your original post and for your very informative responses. As I am prone to do I likely over generalized what I was trying to say. I don't mean that musical ability, or mathematical ability, or painting, etc., is either there or not (I don't think it is binary). From my perspective there are heritable degrees of it that can indeed be shaped by our environment. Not everybody can learn to be Einstein, or Rembrandt or Beethoven. But we can use learning to shape what we have. However I do believe we must have something to start with and some have much more than others. It's an argument that has been going on for many years in the behavioral sciences (nature v nurture). Pardon my ole man rambling. I'll definitely check out your reference. If it can help me it could teach a stone to sing!


Cheers,
Bud

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#433887 - 10/17/17 05:54 AM [Off-Topic] Re: October Blog - How I am using Band-in-a-box to help play by ear [Re: JoanneCooper]
pghboemike Offline
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Registered: 07/13/02
Posts: 2483
Quote:
[In the Cipher System, two separate topics, the elements of music theory and the mechanics of fretboard patterns, are both taught using counting numbers (half-step or semitone value numbers).

This new set of numbers, 0° through 12° for the first octave of tones, is used to translate and help explain music theory’s standard diatonic (7-tone oriented) numbers and number-formula. Formula normally rendered like this (R, 3, 5, b7) become this (0°, 4°, 7°, 10°). We’ll be using and integrating both sets of numbers and number formula (standard and Cipher) at all times, but/and we’ll avoid using staff notation entirely./quote]

[quote]
What the Cipher System is and how it works

i find this site useful when thinking in and finding intervals

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