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  1. #1

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    Hi guys.

    Currently transcribing a lot and melodies and phrases are easier and easier to get down. What I do struggle with though is the process of linking the changes in a tune to the solo/melody line I'm transcribing. I'm not completely sure how the relationship between the chord and the scale the melody lies under fits together. For instance I've transcribed a G-7 chord and the melody could come from a G Dorian scale - but it could just as well come from a D# Ionian since the notes in the melody are also found in that scale? So how do I make sure I pick the right scale when I try to analyze my transcriptions? I'm still fairly new at transcribing.

    Best wishes,

    Daniel

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  3. #2

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    Daniel honestly if you want to analyze you should step away from the chord scale relationships and just focus on what the note is in relation to the chord whether it is a chord tone non-chord tone, passing tone etc.

  4. #3

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    Analyze based on function. I agree with maybe "putting the scales away."

    D#? Yikes.
    Jeff Matz, Jazz Guitar:
    http://www.youtube.com/user/jeffreymatz

    "Jazz is like life...it goes on longer than you think, and as soon as you're like 'oh, I get it,' it ends."

    --The Ghost of Duke Ellington

  5. #4

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    I've gotten better at transcribing melodies and single notes, but with chords , I try and leverage my intellectual knowledge progressions, cadences and cycles to help me. Usually that means, most of the time, the chords are going somewhere or return to somewhere or they will eventually get somewhere but are taking a long route ( I.e., they return to the one chord , move to the relative minor, moved to the four chord, et Cetera ). I make sure I know the sound of basic vanilla progressions like 1625, 3625, 251 in the relative minor, I7 or I° To IV, etc, As a secondary dominant to the four chord . That sort of thing. I play the melody against these various chords and see which one sounds the best or the most correct. Basically if I can generate The most vanilla pattern, that's fine for my purposes. Because it's hard. I just feel good that after a long period of work, I can hear the intervals and can make some times at transcribing the melody. Which is actually more important anyway .
    Navdeep Singh.

  6. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by Daller94 View Post
    For instance I've transcribed a G-7 chord and the melody could come from a G Dorian scale - but it could just as well come from a D# Ionian since the notes in the melody are also found in that scale?
    Well not really, G dorian would have one flat (Bb), and Eb major would have 3 flats (Bb, Eb, Ab). Now of course sometimes you have a line that has say the notes Bb, G, F, or whatever, and it doesn't even touch on either Eb or E natural, etc...and so it can be hard to be sure, but that's where knowing how to analyze the chord changes comes in. In fact, as far as determining the most basic scales being used you need to focus on analyzing the chord changes and spotting tonal centers. Despite what others have said above, knowing the key and the basic scale that is being used is useful, because when soloing you generally want to start with the easiest and most obvious choice, which is first and foremost the key of the chords you are playing over.

    Quote Originally Posted by Daller94 View Post
    So how do I make sure I pick the right scale when I try to analyze my transcriptions? I'm still fairly new at transcribing.
    Being new at transcribing isn't your problem, it's that you don't know how to do basic harmonic analysis, and you didn't even know there is no key of D#. Start there. Learn your keys & key signatures, learn what the chords are in all the keys, learn how to analyze them.

  7. #6
    Or to put it another way is the chord scale G Dorian or G Phrygian (mode 3 of Eflat). I would look at the chords before and after together with the associated melody and bass. In making my choice I would ask which mode offers the least change, is there a functional harmony in progress ( a II V perhaps). Sometimes playing along with the recording can help confirm the best choice.


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

  8. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Guitarzen View Post
    Being new at transcribing isn't your problem, it's that you don't know how to do basic harmonic analysis, and you didn't even know there is no key of D#. Start there. Learn your keys & key signatures, learn what the chords are in all the keys, learn how to analyze them.
    This...

    What are you transcribing btw?

  9. #8
    Thanks for all the replies! I'm currently transcribing time after time chet baker version. How do I get better at spotting tonal centres in a song? Especially tunes with many modulations?

    Thanks again

    Daniel

  10. #9

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    For stuff that happens on traditional style changes:

    - What chord or chord progression does the line happen on?

    Perhaps the most important thing. If you know what chord a line happens on, you understand what the harmonic context is. In the case of your line, what chord is it over?

    That'll tell you what scale it is (unless it's an outside line that doesn't agree with the underlying harmony)

    Other stuff:

    - What are the chord tones (usually there's some triad or seventh chords notes in there, albeit sometimes not the chord that's underneath :-))
    - What's the rhythm, where are the accents and which notes are important?
    - If some notes don't seem to make sense - is it the blues? (e.g. b5, b3, b7 on major - Quite often it is)
    - If it's obviously based on a scale - it goes up and down or some sort of pattern, analyse it that way.
    - For modern stuff you might see it leaping about all over the place - if so it might be intervallic chord scale stuff.

    And go from there.

    You will develop an ear and an eye for this stuff.
    Last edited by christianm77; 10-06-2016 at 06:54 AM.

  11. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Daller94 View Post
    Thanks for all the replies! I'm currently transcribing time after time chet baker version. How do I get better at spotting tonal centres in a song? Especially tunes with many modulations?

    Thanks again

    Daniel
    Check out some lessons on basic diatonic chord theory at the jazz .be "lessons" page and Matt Warnock's site. Know the chord types for any given scale degree of a scale and be able to spell them. Check out some lessons on the most common chord progressions/patterns there as well. ii-V, vi-ii-V-I, iii-vi-ii-V-I, and their minor counterparts are some basics to start.

    Check out Bert Ligon's "jazz theory resources". Not everything is about chord scale, and he covers more basic approaches and addresses how jazzers actually think about this stuff beyond "what scale?". It's mostly not that simple, or really more accurately...., that COMPLICATED....

  12. #11

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    Or - you could just not do any analysis at all.

  13. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77 View Post
    Or - you could just not do any analysis at all.
    How would that benefit me? Isn't the very reason why one transcribes to get ideas and understand why it works the way it works in a harmonic context?

  14. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by Daller94 View Post
    How would that benefit me? Isn't the very reason why one transcribes to get ideas and understand why it works the way it works in a harmonic context?
    Not necessarily.

  15. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by Daller94 View Post
    How would that benefit me? Isn't the very reason why one transcribes to get ideas and understand why it works the way it works in a harmonic context?

    Sometimes all the analysis needed is "this note set sounded cool over this chord/chords."

    Then you memorize, transpose, play around with the line and make it yours. No "theory" required.
    Jeff Matz, Jazz Guitar:
    http://www.youtube.com/user/jeffreymatz

    "Jazz is like life...it goes on longer than you think, and as soon as you're like 'oh, I get it,' it ends."

    --The Ghost of Duke Ellington

  16. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by mr. beaumont View Post
    Sometimes all the analysis needed is "this note set sounded cool over this chord/chords."

    Then you memorize, transpose, play around with the line and make it yours. No "theory" required.
    This sounds a bit more manageable for a start. Thanks.

  17. #16

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    Welcome.

    There's a 1001 reasons to transcribe...just think of it as accumulating sounds right now. You get the sounds in your head, they become yours, to the point of where they eventually come out naturally when you play.

    I hate the whole "jazz is a language" metaphor, but here's one place where it works for me. It's vocabulary.
    Jeff Matz, Jazz Guitar:
    http://www.youtube.com/user/jeffreymatz

    "Jazz is like life...it goes on longer than you think, and as soon as you're like 'oh, I get it,' it ends."

    --The Ghost of Duke Ellington

  18. #17

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    Also, there is an intuitive aspect to it as well. By 'transcribing' something you are listening to it really closely, presumably to the point where you can sing and play it. You internalise it.

    Some players are happy to leave it as that, not so many these days, but the important thing is to learn phrases and hear them in your mind's ear.

  19. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77 View Post
    Also, there is an intuitive aspect to it as well. By 'transcribing' something you are listening to it really closely, presumably to the point where you can sing and play it. You internalise it.

    Some players are happy to leave it as that, not so many these days, but the important thing is to learn phrases and hear them in your mind's ear.
    Exactly what I do. The only thing really holding me back is when I try to know 'The why' it sounds good.

  20. #19

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    Here is a sheet I give my students on transcription - it is intended to be general and not just apply to jazz.









    Processes for Transcription and Integration

    Benefits:

    • Learn the techniques of your favorite players (harmony, melody, rhythm, articulation, etc.)
    • Learn how they structure their phrases and solos
    • Learn tendencies not just of an individual players, but of different genres
    • Be able to incorporate elements of their playing into your own improvisation regardless of key, tonality, or area of the fretboard.


    Processes:

    1. Try to figure out solos you like, especially the parts that get you really excited. Using software like "Transcribe!" helps for this a lot. (Link here) it is $50 but the ability to loop, slow down in high fidelity, etc, is really worth it. To be able to loop small sections (rather than continuously rewinding and finding your place) is one of the best functions of this software; it is a HUGE time saver. Another program is Audacity, which is free but a little less user-friendly and with lower quality functions.

    2. Write down (or at least say out loud as you play) how each note relates to the key (whether it's root, b3, etc.)
    2a. if the solo is over a chord progression (as opposed to a one-chord vamp or riff) then also acknowledge how each note relates to the chord of the moment/measure. (For example, in the key of C major the note E is the third of C, but it is the seventh of the IV chord.)

    3. Try to match the rhythm of the line as well as you can. (if you are familiar with writing rhythmic notation then it is great to try write down the rhythm of the line.)
    3a. Try to match articulations - bends, slides, hammer/pull, vibrato, etc, as best as you can.
    3b. You want to be able to play the line with the original recording (even if at a slower tempo) and match rhythm, feel, and articulations. (Great to record yourself doing this.)

    4. Sing the phrase with Solfege (moveable-do)

    5. For every phrase you really like, try to play it on as many string sets and fingerings as possible (in the same key.) You don’t necessarily have to memorize all the alternative fingerings, but it’s important to see where they are. It’s great to note the fingerings that are easiest!

    6. Make sure you can play the phrase in different keys - and different positions. Practicing the phrase in all 12 keys isn’t completely necessary as many of the fingerings will be identical, but doing at least four keys is useful.




    With enough time spent doing this you will be able to make observations about the consequence of different sounds and phrases and you will also intuitively assimilate a lot of the player’s approach. The process will also make your ear and your knowledge of the fretboard much stronger.

    In the jazz world we say this is building "vocabulary." Rather than just studying how scales are put together, you're studying how phrases are put together.

    7. To do extra work on integrating the line or concepts into your own improvisation, here are some suggested activities:

    1. Play the same notes with a different rhythm

    2. Play the same rhythm with different notes

    3. Try to adjust the line for different tonalities (major vs minor, different modes, different chord progressions, etc.)

    4. Repeat the line many times and improvise variations

    5. Create alternative endings or beginnings to the line


    Another note - you can do a LOT of very valuable work with just a short phrase. However, doing a quicker process with more material can help with discovering tendencies of a particular player or genre, or being able to compare approaches between players.

    Similarly, if you figure out longer sections of a solo (or an entire solo) you can see more about how the player develops his or her solo from beginning to middle to end, rather than just considering individual licks.


  21. #20

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    Can I steal this?
    Jeff Matz, Jazz Guitar:
    http://www.youtube.com/user/jeffreymatz

    "Jazz is like life...it goes on longer than you think, and as soon as you're like 'oh, I get it,' it ends."

    --The Ghost of Duke Ellington

  22. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by mr. beaumont View Post
    Can I steal this?
    flattered that you ask - just put my name and website on the copy if you do?
    Jake Estner
    www.JakeEstner.com

  23. #22

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    Will do. Thanks, I think it's excellent.
    Jeff Matz, Jazz Guitar:
    http://www.youtube.com/user/jeffreymatz

    "Jazz is like life...it goes on longer than you think, and as soon as you're like 'oh, I get it,' it ends."

    --The Ghost of Duke Ellington

  24. #23

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    Thanks/you're welcome!

  25. #24

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    Quote Originally Posted by Daller94 View Post
    Exactly what I do. The only thing really holding me back is when I try to know 'The why' it sounds good.
    I'm kind of playing devils advocate here, but why is that important?

    You are a musician not a scientist.

  26. #25

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    I agree, but I do get the natural want to know the "why."

    But whenever I get myself thinking to much about that, I remind myself the "why" is BECAUSE IT DOES.

    Theory is just putting a name to "because it does."
    Jeff Matz, Jazz Guitar:
    http://www.youtube.com/user/jeffreymatz

    "Jazz is like life...it goes on longer than you think, and as soon as you're like 'oh, I get it,' it ends."

    --The Ghost of Duke Ellington

  27. #26

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    I think the level of intellectual depth required/necessarily depends a little on personality type. Some people need reasons and others don't. I think it's useful to balance approaches. With analysis, you can learn how to integrate and implement something in a variety of contexts, which is extremely useful when you're going for something specific. I really was never a big fan of the "just feel it" approach, but maybe that's part of why I never liked performing all that much...

  28. #27
    Balance is key . There's nothing wrong with theory or analysis, but it's something you do "after". Somewhat depends on how much playing and listening /transcribing you've already done.

    we tend to get a little heavy on the hyperbole with regard to theory or scales, out of a reaction to a common problem with beginning players' obsessing over them.

    As someone who waded through all of these conflicting statements, not too long ago, myself, I would say that it's certainly confusing to read all of these opposing ideas.

    If someone is obsessing over food, then food is not really the "problem". Obsession is. Balance is needed in either case , and the counsel of a good teacher is probably more helpful than anything.
    Last edited by matt.guitarteacher; 10-06-2016 at 12:08 PM.

  29. #28

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    Quote Originally Posted by mr. beaumont View Post
    I agree, but I do get the natural want to know the "why."

    But whenever I get myself thinking to much about that, I remind myself the "why" is BECAUSE IT DOES.

    Theory is just putting a name to "because it does."
    Ha, me too.

  30. #29
    Quote Originally Posted by matt.guitarteacher View Post
    Balance is key . There's nothing wrong with theory or analysis, but it's something you do "after". Somewhat depends on how much playing and listening /transcribing you've already done.

    we tend to get a little heavy on the hyperbole with regard to theory or scales, out of a reaction to a common problem with beginning players' obsessing over them.

    As someone who waded through all of these conflicting statements, not too long ago, myself, I would say that it's certainly confusing to read all of these opposing ideas.

    If someone is obsessing over food, then food is not really the "problem". Obsession is. Balance is needed in either case , and the counsel of a good teacher is probably more helpful than anything.
    Really resonates with me, thank you. I think I will start approaching transcribing in another manner - what I'm currently doing is way too overwhelming. My goal for the transcribing process is to acquire new musical ideas and sketches. I just found that to be able to do so, I HAD to now the why in order to play it in different contexts. However I guess for now the most productive and smart thing is to just listen and sing along a lot, get the chords and melodies down and remember the set of notes that sounded good with a particular harmony. Any objections - good to go?

  31. #30

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    A couple of thoughts sprung to mind when reading this thread,

    firstly, when you play transcribed lines on your guitar, you should always try and finger them within, or relate them to a mental/visual reference of a chord form or shape that you're familiar with. Generally,a) this will show you exactly what chord tones or extensions you're dealing with and b) it will make the line easier to memorize. It's also logical to do this as generally, guitar players have traditionally extracted/generated their single note lines using scalar embellishments of chord forms.

    Secondly, your general question about not "getting" an idea, or concept on the first pass is a lot like the transcription process itself, in that sometimes on the first 'A' section, or chorus or whatever, there may be some note(s) that elude you, due to fluffed execution on the recording/whatever, the idea is to move on, and very often the answer will be revealed with perfect clarity on the next chorus, or sometimes, that lick that you're trying to work out by a certain player, will be played in another solo on the same record.

    Just keep at it.

    By the way, do you have a link to the specific Chet Baker Time After Time recording you mentioned, or recording date/line up details. I'd like to check it out !

  32. #31

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    Yeah transcription. Hmm. I mean 'working shit out by ear' is such a basic part of music, and yet many seem to be more interested in books and theory, to the point where we even have a special fancy (and somewhat inaccurate) name for it.

    Anyway, I'm developing a more nuanced understanding of this area. A popular genre of youtube video (see Jam of the Week on facebook) of which I myself have indulged is the 'play your transcription on video.'

    This is fun (some of the JotW vids are highly entertaining as well as musically excellent - that vocal version of Giant Steps) but I do think this type of thing is a motivated by a combination of 1) Look Mum! and 2) nerdy jazz fandom. Not saying there's anything wrong with that .. it's just... that's what it is. We should admit it.

    From my own personal experience I learned a few things from doing this
    1) The exacting standards required to get something prepared for video (Which seems harder than audio)
    2) Made me think about fingering, technique and so on
    3) A good exercise for matching the phrasing on the record.

    The 1st point is certainly valuable... It's easy to play along with the record in our practice rooms and pretend we have it nailed, when in fact, we don't.

    But transcription itself - which I prefer to call 'learning shit by ear' can be done in many ways.

    For example, these are all different elements that can pursued through the transcription process:

    1) The preparation of a whole solo for performance like a classical piece (the youtube video thing)
    2) The appropriation of individual lines for inserting into one's playing
    3) Development of technique
    4) Analysis for development of improvisational concepts
    5) Matching of phrasing and rhythm
    6) Ear training
    7) Musical memory
    8) Intuitive understanding of the jazz language through intuitive means
    and so on

    Of these, I think 1) is perhaps the least relevant to learning to play jazz. But that's not to say 'don't do it' if you enjoy doing it. And it's kind of what Wes did in his early years as a player. Whose to say it didn't each him something?

    In all these cases, I can think of ways to change or modify the ear learning approach.

    If your aims are 5), 7) and 8), I would recommend the Tristano approach - learn to sing an entire solo from start to finish without your instrument. Only then, play it. For me my goals are:

    1) develop better short term musical memory
    2) instrument/ear link
    And do this FAST - develop a better real time understanding of music. For me transcription is what you do if your ears aren't good enough yet.

    Gary Burton says he never transcribed. How come? Well he has amazing ears. He doesn't need to.

    I know musicians who can transcribe almost at real time. There may be some lurking on the forum!

    I want to be able to listen to a solo and hear what's happening right away, not later on when I have it down on paper. Why? Well that's what you need to able to do to play jazz - you need to be able to listen to others, and have a strong sense of aural connection with your lines. I'm pleased to report that this area is getting better. So, how do I work on this?

    1) Take a random solo
    2) Sing a phrase
    3) check it's right - if not, back to 2)
    4) Play it on the guitar

    So that's one exercise, and it's a revealing one. Some things I hear a lot better than others. Usually things that are closest to what I play.

    Obviously some things - John Coltrane 'sheets of sound' are not things I expect to pick up on the fly, or super fast bop lines - but medium tempo stuff? Sure why not?
    Last edited by christianm77; 03-19-2017 at 08:46 AM.

  33. #32

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    Theorem:

    The bigger gap between what you can play and what you can sing - do more singing exercises....?

    or?

  34. #33

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77 View Post
    Yeah transcription. Hmm. I mean 'working shit out by ear' is such a basic part of music, and yet many seem to be more interested in books and theory, to the point where we even have a special fancy (and somewhat inaccurate) name for it.

    Anyway, I'm developing a more nuanced understanding of this area. A popular genre of youtube video (see Jam of the Week on facebook) of which I myself have indulged is the 'play your transcription on video.'

    This is fun (some of the JotW vids are highly entertaining as well as musically excellent - that vocal version of Giant Steps) but I do think this type of thing is a motivated by a combination of 1) Look Mum! and 2) nerdy jazz fandom. Not saying there's anything wrong with that .. it's just... that's what it is. We should admit it.

    From my own personal experience I learned a few things from doing this
    1) The exacting standards required to get something prepared for video (Which seems harder than audio)
    2) Made me think about fingering, technique and so on
    3) A good exercise for matching the phrasing on the record.

    The 1st point is certainly valuable... It's easy to play along with the record in our practice rooms and pretend we have it nailed, when in fact, we don't.

    But transcription itself - which I prefer to call 'learning shit by ear' can be done in many ways.

    For example, these are all different elements that can pursued through the transcription process:

    1) The preparation of a whole solo for performance like a classical piece (the youtube video thing)
    2) The appropriation of individual lines for inserting into one's playing
    3) Development of technique
    4) Analysis for development of improvisational concepts
    5) Matching of phrasing and rhythm
    6) Ear training
    7) Musical memory
    8) Intuitive understanding of the jazz language through intuitive means
    and so on

    Of these, I think 1) is perhaps the least relevant to learning to play jazz. But that's not to say 'don't do it' if you enjoy doing it. And it's kind of what Wes did in his early years as a player. Whose to say it didn't each him something?

    In all these cases, I can think of ways to change or modify the ear learning approach.

    If your aims are 5), 7) and 8), I would recommend the Tristano approach - learn to sing an entire solo from start to finish without your instrument. Only then, play it. For me my goals are:

    1) develop better musical memory
    2) instrument/ear link
    And do this FAST - develop a better real time understanding of music. For me transcription is what you do if your ears aren't good enough yet.

    Gary Burton says he never transcribed. How come? Well he has amazing ears. He doesn't need to.

    I know musicians who can transcribe almost at real time. There may be some lurking on the forum!

    I want to be able to listen to a solo and hear what's happening right away, not later on when I have it down on paper. Why? Well that's what you need to able to do to play jazz - you need to be able to listen to others, and have a strong sense of aural connection with your lines. I'm pleased to report that this area is getting better. So, how do I work on this?

    1) Take a random solo
    2) Sing a phrase
    3) check it's right - if not, back to 2)
    4) Play it on the guitar

    So that's one exercise, and it's a revealing one. Some things I hear a lot better than others. Usually things that are closest to what I play.

    Obviously some things - John Coltrane 'sheets of sound' are not things I expect to pick up on the fly, or super fast bop lines - but medium tempo stuff? Sure why not?
    Great post and nuanced distinctions between different 'goal-areas' so to speak. Agree with all points.

  35. #34

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tomcat View Post
    Theorem:

    The bigger gap between what you can play and what you can sing - do more singing exercises....?

    or?
    I think there's always a limit. Pretty much everyone can play stuff they wouldn't be able to sing - even a really accomplished singer like Aimee Nolte. In fact, she has a video on this very subject.

    You don't need to be able to sing WELL (unless you want to be a singer) - but singing connects most people more deeply to music than playing the guitar, and actually people's pitch is often a lot better than they think. And sometimes the singing is as much about phrasing and rhythm as pitch.

    The thing you need to be able to do - of course - is listen, then play.

    So, the biggest thing guitarists do that should be fixed (and I say this from experience) are:
    1) Noodling (i.e. distractedly playing without direction.)
    2) Trying to play something before they know how it goes.
    3) Consequently getting hung up on the theory stuff because they are rubbish at working stuff out by ear.

    I say this with love, and I acknowledge that this is a problem that also affects me.

    Most guitarists can be improved by not allowing them to touch their instruments for half the lesson/practice, meaning they have to focus on how the music goes.

    You then apply the same sensibility to improvisation.

  36. #35

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    I think also being loose with singing requirements - singing slower, changing octaves, etc, still works. It's just to make sure you actually 'know' on a deeper level what the sounds are. You can slow things down so you maintain accurate pitch and rhythm or speed things up and let yourself be looser with pitch (so you are moreso just singing contours) and also separately clap or tap the rhythms if they are giving trouble.
    Last edited by JakeAcci; 03-19-2017 at 10:23 AM.

  37. #36

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    This guy has done some good stuff.
    Ear training with recordings | IWasDoingAllRight
    And the app there is pretty flexible if interested.

  38. #37

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    Quote Originally Posted by emanresu View Post
    This guy has done some good stuff.
    Ear training with recordings | IWasDoingAllRight
    And the app there is pretty flexible if interested.
    That site and app are both excellent, and a lot of fun IMO. I have made tons of little exercises for myself with it. A nice tip to incorporate what Christian is talking about - for any little ear training quiz item you get wrong, try singing it in a bunch of different ways, different keys, places in a key, etc.

    For example, if I heard C G Db Gb and go it wrong I'd trty singing it over a C pedal - 1 5 b2 b5. But then I'd hold down taht C pedal and transpose the line up a half step so I'd sing Db Ab D G, or b2 b6 2 5. Then another half step and it's 2 6 b3 b6, etc. Because hearing intervals is great, but any set of intervals will have very different consequences depending on placement within the harmonic context

  39. #38

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77 View Post

    So, how do I work on this?

    1) Take a random solo
    2) Sing a phrase
    3) check it's right - if not, back to 2)
    4) Play it on the guitar

    So that's one exercise, and it's a revealing one. Some things I hear a lot better than others. Usually things that are closest to what I play.
    CHristian, do you mean singing a phrase along with the solo or first play & listen then sing "a capella"?

  40. #39

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tomcat View Post
    CHristian, do you mean singing a phrase along with the solo or first play & listen then sing "a capella"?
    In general I listen to a phrase, then sing acapella. Then check.

    Singing along means you can 'lean more' which is what I want to avoid.

    But singing along could be a good idea if you are working on, say, phrasing.

  41. #40

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    Quote Originally Posted by mr. beaumont View Post
    I agree, but I do get the natural want to know the "why."

    But whenever I get myself thinking to much about that, I remind myself the "why" is BECAUSE IT DOES.

    Theory is just putting a name to "because it does."
    In the district where I teach, the big push in math has been to get elementary-grade students to understand the "why" of what they're doing. My teaching partner and I tried to go with that, but very few kids ever got they "why," and even fewer got the "how" (because we spent so much time on the "why).

    She and I talked, and concluded that any kid with a working grasp of a basic set of flash cards should be able to do long division if they just followed the steps . . . so we went back to teaching the steps. Way more kids get it now, but every once in awhile, one of them asks, "Why do we do this part?"

    My answer: "Just do it -- it's good. Once you've done it a bunch of times, you'll figure out why it works. You don't know how the toaster works, but you know how to make toast, right? Follow the steps."

    At some point before we finish the chapter, the ones who needed to know "why" can usually explain it pretty well, and the ones who don't care about "why" know how to do long division.

    If you do something often enough, and look at it carefully enough, you eventually figure out a way to explain it to yourself in a way that makes sense to you, which -- unless you plan on writing or teaching -- is the only explanation that matters, in my opinion.
    "Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can." (Arthur Ashe)

  42. #41

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    Don't always expect that you can infer meaning or association to every note or phrase. Some players will confound you. Take George Benson in full flight for example. Good luck there with trying to force any association with some of his lines to any chord or sub of the moment.

    I used to try, but realised that if I couldn't take any "forced" analysis and use it as a guide to create my own lines, then I was wasting my time.....

  43. #42

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77 View Post
    I'm kind of playing devils advocate here, but why is that important?

    You are a musician not a scientist.
    Well, instead of repeating that one word you learned that sounded good, you kinda learn the language? Exactly how you understand it, or how you organize or name it is up to you.

    There was a discussion about a Wes solo, where he used notes outside the scale/chords, some weeks ago. It sounded sweet, but didn't fit basic theory. My understanding of what went on was that he went further down the COF and played over VII7-iii instead of V-I. Someone else might analyse differently, but it works for me, and I have access to that colour without using the same line