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Topic: How can I learn AURAL  (Read 1859 times)

Offline Blessed-Wine

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How can I learn AURAL
on: December 08, 2004, 05:49:09 AM
I am in the early stage of piano learning and I cannot identify the note when being pressed by my teacher be it just an "C' "D" or "G".  My teacher told me that this is one important aspect in piano playing as you will know right away if you have play the wrong note during sight-reading.

However, I am in my late thirties and I read from Chang's book that it's easy to acquire the relative pitch before 20 and once after 20-30 will be hard.  In that case, how am I going to master this aural thing. 

Do you have specific methods to teach an adult how to identify the note ?  I know this is very very easy for most of you but to me it's like ????  If I do not learn now, I reckon I will have more problem during later stage.   

Your ideas/suggestions are most appreciated.

Offline jazzyprof

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Re: How can I learn AURAL
Reply #1 on: December 08, 2004, 06:31:04 AM
I am in the early stage of piano learning and I cannot identify the note when being pressed by my teacher be it just an "C' "D" or "G". My teacher told me that this is one important aspect in piano playing as you will know right away if you have play the wrong note during sight-reading.

The ability to identify a particular note when it is played all by itself is what is known as perfect pitch.  You do not need that in order to play the piano.  Relative pitch is the ability to tell the difference in pitch between two notes:  whether one is higher than the other, and by how much.  That is an important skill that can be developed at any age through ear training.  Unless they are absolutely tone deaf, everyone can tell the difference between a high pitched note and a low pitched note, so at least a rudimentary sense of relative pitch is quite universal.  I believe that is what your teacher was referring to as opposed to the ability to identify a particular note. 

There are many free ear training drills available on the internet that can help you improve your relative pitch perception.  Just google "free ear training software".  
"Playing the piano is my greatest joy, next to my wife; it is my most absorbing interest, next to my work." ...Charles Cooke

Offline faulty_damper

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Re: How can I learn AURAL
Reply #2 on: December 08, 2004, 10:01:58 AM
You really only have to remember 12 different tones.

Try this:
Day 1
Say "A" and then press all the A keys from the bass up.  But say "A" before pressing each A key and then again after you pressed them.
Do this every day.

Day two
Say "B" and then press all the B keys from the bass up as when you did A.  Say "B", then play B, then say "B" again.
Do this every day.

Now you have learned two different tones.  Now play one of them or better, ask someone else to play them, either A or B, and see if you can recognize the sound.  Then say what the sound was (A, B, or "I don't know".)  If you can identify them, which you should be able to do, then add C and repeat the process.  It is very important that you verbalize each note BEFORE and AFTER you play them.  This way you ingrain the sound with a verbal sound.

Try it and see if it works for you.  This is really just an exercise for verbal recognition and does not give you practice with knowing how a note sounds on a page.  For that you should try using flashcards with a pitch on it and then play the note.  Do this similarly to the verbal recognition exercises.

Offline mound

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Re: How can I learn AURAL
Reply #3 on: December 08, 2004, 04:52:05 PM
I responded to a similar question on another site just this morning.. This is what I wrote:

There are a few things you can try, but it involves some "homework", but it'll pay off.

When you first get a piece, analyse it harmonically.. It doesn't have to be to great depth, but go through it and figure out what each chord is and write it in. Each time you figure out one of the chords, play the chord on the piano.. You don't have to play them the way it's written, just play the chord, and here's the important part - when you play the chord, SING the name of the chord to yourself as it is sounding. Sing the pitch as close as you can get.. If somebody can hear you, too bad, enjoy that they might laugh  :-[

Then, as you are actually practicing the piece, be cogniscent of the chords, which won't be too hard, because you wrote them in, and while you are playing, again, SING the main melody..

Perhaps a more intuitive approach would be "flashcard style" where you play any note, try to hear what it is and say outloud and then check yourself.. But the problem with that is there is no context.. Sure, you may be able to ultimately develop good relative pitch by doing such a thing, but there isn't any real musical merit to it. If you are training your ear to recognize pitches in the context of a piece you are working on, a piece you have analyzed harmonically, a piece which you can also sing, you are essentially approaching the goal of recognizing tones pragmatically, from all different angles.. Over time, as you build your repertoir and experience pieces in different keys and such, you will find that you are naturally recognizing tones..

Does that make any sense I hope?


-Paul

Offline MaryS

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Re: How can I learn AURAL
Reply #4 on: December 08, 2004, 08:22:03 PM
I played violin when I was a child.  I was taught to read "do, rai, mi" instead of "A, B, C".  Now I'm learning piano with "A, B, C".  It just takes time and practice to get familiar with it.  No trick at all. 

Offline Blessed-Wine

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Re: How can I learn AURAL
Reply #5 on: December 09, 2004, 05:17:54 AM
 ::) Well I am trying this method to pick up the tones of the keys by asking my daughter to play these 3 notes (C,E & G) on the middle octave.  I am trying to recongise each white key slowly so tat means a total of 7 from A to G. 

However, I am not sure whether this is helpful or am I simply wasting time ??? I just wonder,  a middle C and another C in another octaves will sound differently.  So am I right to say that one got to recongise a total of 88 different tones since the piano contain 88 keys.   

Here again faulty damper u mentioned I need just to know 12 different tones,  but this is only for one octave and how about the rest since as above I say there are a total of 88 keys.   

Paul, sorie I dont really get what you mean and by the way,  I cant even differentiate a single note less say a chord, right ?

Offline jazzyprof

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Re: How can I learn AURAL
Reply #6 on: December 09, 2004, 05:59:34 AM
::) However, I am not sure whether this is helpful or am I simply wasting time ??? I just wonder,  a middle C and another C in another octaves will sound differently.  So am I right to say that one got to recongise a total of 88 different tones since the piano contain 88 keys.   

You really do not need to be able to recognise the actual tones on the piano in order to become a piano player.  There aren't that many pianists who can tell that you've played a C on the piano if they listened blindfolded.  Again, what you need to recognise is the relation between the notes.  Can you sing "doh-re-mi-fa-so-la-ti-doh"?  Now go to the piano, start at middle C and play C, D, E, F, G, A, B, C while singing "doh-re-mi-fa-so-la-ti-doh".  Now let your daughter play middle C, and you sing "doh".  Then let her play C and right after that, a D.  Can you sing what she just played, "doh-re"?  Then let her play C and right after that E, while you sing along "doh-mi".  There, you have relative pitch.  It is not the ability to recognise tha actual pitches but the relation between one note, say "doh" and another, say "mi". 

Indeed you would be wasting your time to try to recognise the actual pitches being played on the piano.  I think you are confusing perfect pitch with relative pitch.
Quote
However, I am in my late thirties and I read from Chang's book that it's easy to acquire the relative pitch before 20 and once after 20-30 will be hard.  In that case, how am I going to master this aural thing. 

I am pretty sure you misread Chang's statement there.  Chang talks about the acquisition of perfect pitch, a skill that is totally unnecessary for playing the piano.  Your time is better spent first learning to play the major scales, knowing the intervals between the successive notes of a major scale.  The relation between the notes in a major scale is measured in steps: whole steps and half steps.  From C to D is a whole step.  From E to F is a half-step.  So ultimately it is the relation between the notes that is important, not the actual pitches themselves.
"Playing the piano is my greatest joy, next to my wife; it is my most absorbing interest, next to my work." ...Charles Cooke

Offline mound

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Re: How can I learn AURAL
Reply #7 on: December 09, 2004, 04:17:32 PM
::) Well I am trying this method to pick up the tones of the keys by asking my daughter to play these 3 notes (C,E & G) on the middle octave.  I am trying to recongise each white key slowly so tat means a total of 7 from A to G. 

However, I am not sure whether this is helpful or am I simply wasting time ???
It's not a complete waste of time, but there are better ways to do it.. This is the "flashcard style" I mentioned in my last post.  There is no musical context, so it's going to be harder to gain anything from it.


I just wonder,  a middle C and another C in another octaves will sound differently.  So am I right to say that one got to recongise a total of 88 different tones since the piano contain 88 keys.   
No, a C is a C is a C. If you truly recognize C, it shouldn't matter what octave it is in.


Here again faulty damper u mentioned I need just to know 12 different tones,  but this is only for one octave and how about the rest since as above I say there are a total of 88 keys.   
Again, as I said above.. 

Paul, sorie I dont really get what you mean and by the way,  I cant even differentiate a single note less say a chord, right ?
Ok, what exactly don't you understand? What are some of the pieces your teacher has you learning? Do you have any understanding of basic music theory? You can strip away all the stuff I said about chords if you need to, and still apply this - for the music you are playing, while you are playing it, sing along with your playing, outloud, but rather than saying "ummmmm" (or "laaaaa" "deeeee" "daaaa" or whatever :) sing the note "Ceeeeeeeeee    B flaaaaaaat " etc.. The key being that you are "assaulting your senses" - your hearing it, your seeing it, your saying it.. 

Later when you understand more about chords, you apply it the same way " B flat minooooooor"   

sorry to confuse!

-Paul

Offline jazzyprof

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Re: How can I learn AURAL
Reply #8 on: December 09, 2004, 06:52:19 PM
Blessed-Wine:  As a rank beginner, trying to recognize the actual pitches being played is a waste of your time.  You should spend your time learning to play the major scales and burning the sound of the major scale into your brain.  Being able to recognize the sound of the note "C" or of any other note is not what you need at this time.  Once you have the sound of the major scale ingrained, you have the framework for refining your relative pitch perception.  But really, right now you should be learning your major scales! :)
"Playing the piano is my greatest joy, next to my wife; it is my most absorbing interest, next to my work." ...Charles Cooke

Offline mound

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Re: How can I learn AURAL
Reply #9 on: December 09, 2004, 07:01:22 PM
Blessed-Wine:  As a rank beginner, trying to recognize the actual pitches being played is a waste of your time.  You should spend your time learning to play the major scales and burning the sound of the major scale into your brain.  Being able to recognize the sound of the note "C" or of any other note is not what you need at this time.  Once you have the sound of the major scale ingrained, you have the framework for refining your relative pitch perception.  But really, right now you should be learning your major scales! :)

After I posted, I went back and looked at the original post where Blessed Wine said "the early stages of learning" - and I thought exactly the same thing as jazzyprof just said..  Out of context pitch recognition is largely useless at this point.. Hearing a complete scale and being able to tell if it's major or minor is much more useful.

-Paul

Offline timothy42b

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Re: How can I learn AURAL
Reply #10 on: December 10, 2004, 09:19:25 AM
I also am a rank beginner on piano.  (though I have other musical background)

I can't recognize any note that you play, or that I play, by pitch or tone alone. 

But I always know when I play a wrong note. 
Tim

Offline Daniel_piano

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Re: How can I learn AURAL
Reply #11 on: December 10, 2004, 01:36:59 PM
You don't need perfect pitch to play piano
You can however learn all the intervals and with time this could also result in a perfect pitch development
Recognizing intervals aurally is an important skill
It's aquired through time and lot of work
Basically you should spend 2 to 3 wewks on each interval until you learn them all

Do this experiment

play on the piano

C-D
D-E
E-F

After having heard the first C-D interval try to apply the same interval sound to D finding the E aurally
The to the same with E-F
If you have done this you have done it wrong (it was intentional)
Yes, because this way you recognized the difference between tone (C-D / D-E) and semitone (E-F)
This is the work to do with the tone and semitone recognition
Feel the difference between two "near each other" notes when they're tone and when they're semitone and memorize this sound

The best way to learn the Major 3rd, Minor 3rd and perfect 4th is to play the interval as scale and only after that singing it as interval

Example:  sing: C--D-E twice.....   now only C-E just imagining the D

                sing: C-D-Eb twice.....  now just C-Eb just imagining the D

do this with the 4th too

all the other intervals: perfect 5th, major 6th, minor 6th, minor 7th and major 7th are best aquired by using a little melody after the interval

Example: C crotchet  - A crotchet tied to dotted A quaver - G semiquaver - F crotchet

The C-A major sixth is better memorized thought the help of the following melody A-G-F that you use as an anchor to memorize the the interval

Each interval should be studies two to four weeks before proceesing to the next interval

Daniel
 
 
"Sometimes I lie awake at night and ask "Why me?" Then a voice answers "Nothing personal, your name just happened to come up.""

Offline Flavia

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Re: How can I learn AURAL
Reply #12 on: December 10, 2004, 06:11:35 PM




There are many free ear training drills available on the internet that can help you improve your relative pitch perception.  Just google "free ear training software".  


I went there and i find so many of them few just seem to b the collectionof sountracks thats not much help... Which one do u suggest???

Offline will

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Re: How can I learn AURAL
Reply #13 on: December 11, 2004, 03:37:16 AM
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