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ear training/composing (Read 2395 times)

Offline pk_volt

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ear training/composing
« on: September 24, 2009, 07:50:10 AM »

Hi all, I'm new here.

Anyways, I've had my grade 9 piano RCM and stopped playing for quite a while, and I'm trying to get back at it.

I came across this music piece: 
  that I'm trying to re-construct.

I can probably play out the right hand by ear, but the left hand is a little hard to coordinate, and I always have trouble trying to mach chords/melodies on the left hand.

Do you guys know of any music theory or rules you follow to compose the left chords with the right hand melodies? or do you just listen by ear?

I never really took music theory.  Do you guys have any suggestions/steps to follow to re-construct a piece by ear?  such as finding out which major the song is in etc etc?

Offline ramseytheii

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Re: ear training/composing
«Reply #1 on: September 25, 2009, 03:25:09 AM »
The piece is in a minor key.  The way to work out the left hand is to find the lowest note.  You will find it repeats a lot so it should be easy.  Everytime the lowest note changes, try and follow it.

Then remember that every note is (to simplify) either the root, third, or fifth of a chord.  Therefore once you find the lowest note, start building chords from it, either as the root, or as the third, or as the fifth.

For instance: if the lowest note is an "a", start with that as root: a minor.  If that doesn't sound right try it as a third: f# minor.  If that doesn't sound right try it as the fifth: d minor.

That's an oversimplification but it's probably all you need.

Walter Ramsey



Offline pk_volt

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Re: ear training/composing
«Reply #2 on: September 27, 2009, 10:56:34 PM »
thanks for the reply.

this is, embarrassingly probably my first time trying to re-construct a song by ear, and I can't even get the right hand keys!  any tips?

I still can't even find out which major/minor key the piece is in.

Offline nanabush

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Re: ear training/composing
«Reply #3 on: September 30, 2009, 05:31:31 AM »
I'm hearing alot of a minor/d minor stuff based on skipping to random parts in it.

Get your chords mapped out:

for 'a minor' you should be prepared to play the a-, d-, E+, C+, F+

'd minor' is a closely related key, so you should know: d-, F+, Bb+, A+, G-,

If your chords are not in the correct inversion, it's safe to play the root chord.  Most of the time, people can't pick up which inversion on a chord you are doing, so as long as you have the melody right, you can in a sense 'wing it' with the left hand chords.

Use trial and error; listen to a 5 second segment over and over, get the notes down.  I find, if it's a tough passage, draw a squiggly line depicting the general motion of the melody.  Then find the first note, and the last note.  Then start filling in blanks.  It's much easier if you know the beginning key (which I believe is a minor in this case)
Interested in discussing:

-Prokofiev Toccata
-Scriabin Sonata 2

Offline leonbloy

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Re: ear training/composing
«Reply #4 on: October 01, 2009, 02:03:20 AM »
The harmonic patterns, specially in popular music, are quite limited, once you get familiar with the usual ones, (and know the basics of tonal music, of course), it's usually easy; even for those people (as myself) which has very little ear... Always speaking of popular simple standard music, as this one.
I usually first play the main notes of the melody (perhaps the bass if it's very audible), to make a first guess of the scale, then listen the phrases, the timing of the cadences, and quickly find the tonic/dominant. In this case, it's easy to find the dominant (the "tension" chord, which asks to fall into the stable -tonic), for example, in 1:50, or 2:27. It's a E major chord (we verify it's working as dominant by adding the 7th... yes, it fits). The tonic then must be A ... major or minor? Clearly, minor.
From then, its easy to identifiy the following chords: I hear this (very standard) progression
Am Dm G7 C (A7) Dm Am Am/G F E(7sus4)
(this spans, for example, 2:30 to 3:06)


Hernán
Buenos Aires, Argentina