Monday, August 6, 2007

Playing By Ear

Playing by ear is not my forte, but I am currently intent on learning to learn by ear. The way that I have been learning unfamiliar tunes is to figure out the notes, sometimes by actually asking a fiddler what notes s/he is playing, sometimes with the help of sheet music that I have bought or found on the Internet, then writing down the tune in Coda Finale, printing it out, and memorizing it. This isn't efficient, and works against allowing yourself to learn by ear, especially in a session.

Learning by ear involves listening, initially learning a few notes or a phrase at a time from another musician. Eventually, you can just pick up the tune in a session, without specifically learning or memorizing it. Or so they say!

For others who may be interested, here's a link to an interesting article on learning by ear.
And related links on Irish traditional music.

A fiddle friend and I spent a few hours practicing together today. Not learning by ear, though. We are still using those old-fashioned methods: sheet music and memorization, but we worked out a few tunes one or the other or both of us were having trouble with. I'm doing accompaniment on some, melody on some, and some combination of melody and accompaniment on others. It is nice that fiddling allows all this freedom of expression!

This week, I am also working on pieces from Abby Newton's Crossing to Scotland book, as she will be my teacher at Scottish fiddle camp next week. (And always, though I don't usually talk about it, working on memorizing those Suzuki pieces!)

Oh, and I added a little poll on memorization, just because it (the ability to add polls) was there. Vote if you will.

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