Reply to Thread Bookmark Thread
Posts 1 to 23 of 23
  1. #1

    User Info Menu

    Is it possible to learn to identify notes and intervals without singing them? If one were unable to sing, for medical or environmental reasons, could one learn to hear?

  2.  

    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

    User Info Menu

    Why not? When I began studying harmony, my foundation was that I had already spent years memorizing about a zillion pop tunes note-for-note without understanding any theory. For me, ear training was literally mapping the names for intervals and chord qualities to sounds I already recognized. I wasn't singing those tunes, I was playing them on my axe. This taught me pitch recognition and recognition of chord qualities.

    Whether voice, kazoo or guitar is your primary instrument doesn't make much difference when training your mind to understand the input coming from your ear. In fact, I'd go so far that if you play a chordal instrument such as guitar or piano you have an edge on people who don't play a chordal instrument. But all those people need to do for that polyphonic experience is join a choir or play in a horn section.

    Singing is in itself good training, too, as there is literally a physical feedback loop between what you feel in your throat in order to produce a certain pitch and the information that comes back to your brain via your ear. But if you can't sing for some reason, it doesn't mean that you can't learn to recognize pitches, intervals, and chords.
    Last edited by starjasmine; 08-14-2019 at 10:25 PM.

  4. #3

    User Info Menu

    Doesn’t Bruce Arnold advise you not to sing when practicing his ear exercises?

  5. #4

  6. #5

    User Info Menu

    I can sing. It's not about me. My question is hypothetical.

  7. #6

    User Info Menu

    When I was taking ear training at a community college, on the first day the instructor called each student one at a time up front, gave us a note, and asked us to sing a major scale. She said in 30 some odd years of teaching ear training she only 1 or 2 students who couldn't sing a major scale on the first day get thru even the 1st semester of the course. And those few students that got thru worked extremely hard at it. It was just a reality check and she was giving some students a heads up.

    If you can talk you are creating pitches. Unless one has a hearing impairment... can't everyone who can talk learn to sing (maybe horribly, but sing non the less).
    B+
    Frank (aka fep)

  8. #7

    User Info Menu

    In music schools you have to do music dictations. Melodic, harmonic, or melody/harmony. During those you're not even allowed to sing, so yea, it's part of ear training.

    I had two courses of that in two different colleges. The first one I was so new, i struggled. Our teacher had good sense of humor, she would play a dictation 3 times, and then ask, everyone wrote it down? Some of us, myself included, would say no! And she go, ok, now for 'specially' gifted ill play few more times haha.

  9. #8

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by Litterick View Post
    Is it possible to learn to identify notes and intervals without singing them? If one were unable to sing, for medical or environmental reasons, could one learn to hear?
    Yes it's possible. What singing the notes and intervals does is that it helps you internalize them quicker. But if you have a medical condition that prevents you from singing; what you can do is beef up your interval recognition. Master identifying 2 note intervals, get those suckers down by ear first. Then once you are fluent with 2 note intervals, then you can move on to 3 note intervals until you can do longer melodies.

    An app that I can recommend you is created by the founder of iwasdoingallright ear trainer. He has an app available at the apple store called 'Play by Ear'. I use this app and it works like a call and response. I use this app to master interval recognition.

    Another thing you can do is create mp3s of intervallic patterns on a DAW and keep them on Google Drive. This is another thing I do. I use this when I am on the go and travelling. When I am at home, this is part of my ear training practice.

    While recognizing intervals is important. We couldn't disregard scale degrees. A perfect app for that is called 'Functional Ear Trainer'.

    Last but not the least. If you're looking for a cool and fun melody dictation app that is like a game. You can use this app called 'Meludia Melody'

    Finally, the ones mentioned above are only supplemental ear training activities. The best way to train your ears without singing is still transcribing. Most of the melodies that I recognize on the radio were derived from the melodic patterns that I have transcribed. That's what transcribing does, it helps you build a vocabulary of melodic patterns.

  10. #9

    User Info Menu

    I was really conflicted about signing on to the forum one last time, but this thread...

    Litterick asked a really great question--as a teacher, I'm a sucker for great questions.

    The responses were... for the most part, erroneous to the E.


    A wise man once told me pearls before swine, but ear training is near and dear to my heart--and all you need is one inaccuracy to lead you astray.

    Okay, plain and simple: in order to thoroughly train your ear--YOU NEED TO SING!

    Hep, what you are talking about is dictation. That's a SMALL aspect of ear training. If you are talking about those courses at CCNY, for the record, you did right by staying in the classical track. The ear training in the Jazz Program was bull shite--as was much of the theory classes. The classical cats at CCNY, they knew where it was at.

    Chris'77, I have to address what you said as well. I respect your Barry Harris studies, and I think you've got a great wealth to share with the world of music education. However, your assessment of Bruce and Banacos is dead wrong. I've studied with Bruce personally, and we still keep in touch--he's my ear mentor, if there was such a thing. I've tried to weasel my way out of singing multiple times in the beginning because I HATE my singing voice--and my voice in general. I used to plead with him, please don't make me sing! James Chirillo, remember how I used to talk about studying with him? Guess what? He made me sing out of the George Wedge book every lesson--that was after I washed him windows, pulled weeds, and swept the leaves off the backyard of his house.

    Singing is key because you are training yourself to clearly hear sound in your aural memory and produce it--on your own. If you just listen and label, you are just labeling--you are not producing sound.


    Jason, holey schmoleys. I was hoping that you wouldn't bring up interval training like everyone else. You have to get the sound you hear in your inner ear out of your body--INDEPENDENT of your musical instrument (or any musical instrument). Whistle, groan, screech--any thing. But DON'T think that ear training is hearing a note in your head and finding it on your instrument. Ear training is hearing a note, knowing how it relates to everything else you are hearing, and being able to produce it without using your guitar as a crutch.

    Here's a couple of pathways here:

    1. You hear how notes relate to the key of the tune (that's how I approach it with Charlie Banaco's studies)

    2. You hear how notes relate to the key of the progression you are in (hearing the first 8 measures of ATTYA in Ab, for instance)

    3. You hear how notes relate to the chord you are playing (Jordan K does this to some extent, but his ear training is even more nuanced. I'll let him explain it, since he knows what's up. Long story short, he also believes that singing is important. Greg Fishman as well, he's David Baker on steriods--it'd behoove you all to check him up for once--he also advocates singing)

    4. You hear how the notes relate to another locus of sound.

    Transcribing is a huge part of developing vocabulary, and putting your ear training to the test. But transcribing alone won't get you to Graceland. Sing the damn solo everyday. Piss off your neighbors, loved ones, the mail man... Sing it until it is part of your aural memory. Singing will also cue you into articulation, dynamics, and phrasing... imagine that!

    Bottom line: you have to produce the sound with your body to truly own the sounds you hear in your mind. The same goes for rhythm. The guitar is an extension of that sound, it is not the dictum of your sound--hopefully that will make sense with someone here.

    Anyway, excellent question Litterick. I hope my last post on the forum gives you more clarity. There are experts in other realms here. Chris'77 has an extensive knowledge of Barry Harris--I wish I had that. Jordan K. is Mr. Triad--I'm still studying his material. Me, I can't say I'm an expert on ear training. But I can say I've devoted more time to training my ear, EVERY DANG DAY--no exaggeration there (45 minutes to an hour a day really isn't that horrible) than most people on this forum--13 years everyday, do the math. I've figured out what works for developing the ear: singing works.

    But then again, this is the internet unfortunately. I have to agree with that wise man--don't cast pearls before swine.

    Good bye, good luck, farewell--hopefully we meet in the real world instead flopping about like fish in that anonymous soup that is the internets.

    Whew, this is the reason I can't be on the forum anymore--I get too heated about this stuff. So yeah, this is my last post.

  11. #10
    If Wes Montgomery himself came on these boards being THAT condescending and sanctimonious I don't think I would take the time to read a post half that long.

  12. #11

    User Info Menu

    Well I get students to sing pretty much everything and sing stuff at them and expect them to play it.

    I’m pretty comfortable singing though. I’ve do it on gigs when required. Not everyone is and they need to learn that it’s ok not to be Pavarotti.

  13. #12

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by Irez87 View Post
    I was really conflicted about signing on to the forum one last time, but this thread...

    Litterick asked a really great question--as a teacher, I'm a sucker for great questions.

    The responses were... for the most part, erroneous to the E.


    A wise man once told me pearls before swine, but ear training is near and dear to my heart--and all you need is one inaccuracy to lead you astray.

    Okay, plain and simple: in order to thoroughly train your ear--YOU NEED TO SING!

    Hep, what you are talking about is dictation. That's a SMALL aspect of ear training. If you are talking about those courses at CCNY, for the record, you did right by staying in the classical track. The ear training in the Jazz Program was bull shite--as was much of the theory classes. The classical cats at CCNY, they knew where it was at.

    Chris'77, I have to address what you said as well. I respect your Barry Harris studies, and I think you've got a great wealth to share with the world of music education. However, your assessment of Bruce and Banacos is dead wrong. I've studied with Bruce personally, and we still keep in touch--he's my ear mentor, if there was such a thing. I've tried to weasel my way out of singing multiple times in the beginning because I HATE my singing voice--and my voice in general. I used to plead with him, please don't make me sing! James Chirillo, remember how I used to talk about studying with him? Guess what? He made me sing out of the George Wedge book every lesson--that was after I washed him windows, pulled weeds, and swept the leaves off the backyard of his house.

    Singing is key because you are training yourself to clearly hear sound in your aural memory and produce it--on your own. If you just listen and label, you are just labeling--you are not producing sound.


    Jason, holey schmoleys. I was hoping that you wouldn't bring up interval training like everyone else. You have to get the sound you hear in your inner ear out of your body--INDEPENDENT of your musical instrument (or any musical instrument). Whistle, groan, screech--any thing. But DON'T think that ear training is hearing a note in your head and finding it on your instrument. Ear training is hearing a note, knowing how it relates to everything else you are hearing, and being able to produce it without using your guitar as a crutch.

    Here's a couple of pathways here:

    1. You hear how notes relate to the key of the tune (that's how I approach it with Charlie Banaco's studies)

    2. You hear how notes relate to the key of the progression you are in (hearing the first 8 measures of ATTYA in Ab, for instance)

    3. You hear how notes relate to the chord you are playing (Jordan K does this to some extent, but his ear training is even more nuanced. I'll let him explain it, since he knows what's up. Long story short, he also believes that singing is important. Greg Fishman as well, he's David Baker on steriods--it'd behoove you all to check him up for once--he also advocates singing)

    4. You hear how the notes relate to another locus of sound.

    Transcribing is a huge part of developing vocabulary, and putting your ear training to the test. But transcribing alone won't get you to Graceland. Sing the damn solo everyday. Piss off your neighbors, loved ones, the mail man... Sing it until it is part of your aural memory. Singing will also cue you into articulation, dynamics, and phrasing... imagine that!

    Bottom line: you have to produce the sound with your body to truly own the sounds you hear in your mind. The same goes for rhythm. The guitar is an extension of that sound, it is not the dictum of your sound--hopefully that will make sense with someone here.

    Anyway, excellent question Litterick. I hope my last post on the forum gives you more clarity. There are experts in other realms here. Chris'77 has an extensive knowledge of Barry Harris--I wish I had that. Jordan K. is Mr. Triad--I'm still studying his material. Me, I can't say I'm an expert on ear training. But I can say I've devoted more time to training my ear, EVERY DANG DAY--no exaggeration there (45 minutes to an hour a day really isn't that horrible) than most people on this forum--13 years everyday, do the math. I've figured out what works for developing the ear: singing works.

    But then again, this is the internet unfortunately. I have to agree with that wise man--don't cast pearls before swine.

    Good bye, good luck, farewell--hopefully we meet in the real world instead flopping about like fish in that anonymous soup that is the internets.

    Whew, this is the reason I can't be on the forum anymore--I get too heated about this stuff. So yeah, this is my last post.
    Hi Irez87,

    To clarify stuff, if I were to create an ear training method or ear training course; I would advocate singing of course. Singing solfege has been an ear training method that has worked for hundreds of years since it was first invented. I just recommended intervallic ear training to LittleRick because he has a medical condition that prevents him from singing. So I have given him an alternative.

    I also said it is possible that you can develop ear training without singing because of my own hands on experience. I have built up the ability to recognize chord progressions by ear with real music. But I did not do any one single singing for this one. I can also recognize some melodic patterns and melodic shapes by ear, but it was not necessarily because of singing intervals. It was because of transcribing. Not only transcribing, but committing myself to internalizing the sounds of my transcriptions to memory. I do this by quizzing myself with what I transcribe and this is how I reinforce the sounds in my memory.

    What ends up happening is that I amass a vocabulary of melodic and harmonic patterns with my ear.

  14. #13

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by matt.guitarteacher View Post
    If Wes Montgomery himself came on these boards being THAT condescending and sanctimonious I don't think I would take the time to read a post half that long.
    Hi Matt! Let's remember we're each traveling on different roads, striving towards the same goal and destiny. Spreading joy, and making music. If we look deeper, however passionate his wording, the content has a lesson in it. Many of us could use more drive, more passion, and dedication toward our studies. Glass half full - Always.

    A wise man once said - Absorb what is useful, discard that which is not. Bruce Lee
    "You've got to be in the sun to feel the sun. It's that way with music too." - Sidney Bechet

  15. #14
    To directly answer to OP: Yes, absolutely.
    It's possible anyway (all kinds of exercises for that) but if wanting this intimate and focused training the singing would provide, you can also just imagine the tones in your mind. Tough at first but it gets easier, takes much more discipline than singing for sure. I used this method to get better solf grades in the school. 30 minute bus drive (no phones back then) was all it took to make the grade go up significantly. I know it did... cuz sometimes I was lazy and didn't bother, then those tests didn't go that well.

  16. #15

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by Litterick View Post
    Is it possible to learn to identify notes and intervals without singing them? If one were unable to sing, for medical or environmental reasons, could one learn to hear?
    I think the advantage of singing is that there’s a more direct connection between your ears and sound production. If you do ear training using a guitar, there are more mechanics and mental processes involved in navigating the fretboard than for singing. When doing ear training, those mechanics might become a barrier, especially if you’re not an advanced player. Also, I think use of a guitar allows you to bypass the ear—e.g., if someone asks you to play a third interval, you might do so based on fingerboard position instead of by sound.

    If someone were medically unable to sing but wanted that direct connection from ear to sound production, I might suggest whistling, penny whistle, theremin, etc.—something with continuous frequency capability and no visible reference points that would tempt the mind to “cheat”, bypassing the ear. I’m just speculating, but it’s an interesting question.
    Last edited by KirkP; 08-18-2019 at 07:28 PM.

  17. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by 2bornot2bop View Post
    Hi Matt! Let's remember we're each traveling on different roads, striving towards the same goal and destiny. Spreading joy, and making music. If we look deeper, however passionate his wording, the content has a lesson in it. Many of us could use more drive, more passion, and dedication toward our studies. Glass half full - Always.

    A wise man once said - Absorb what is useful, discard that which is not. Bruce Lee
    Maybe you missed round one of the Irez drama a year or so ago.

    It was actually much better this time around. Thought he'd grown up a little bit over that time. Eventually though, it devolved predictably into paranoid delusions of other people having done him wrong or something. I've been pretty patient with all of the subtle allusions he's made about other people somehow disrespecting him or something, but this last-ditch "screw Ev'rybody" departure post is just a little much for me.

    It's a little thick to call everyone out as being a**holes while being the biggest one YOURSELF - making vague allusions of wrongdoing and disrespect, talking about everyone in third person as if they're some character in your personal life drama, all while talking about up your extensive experience and credibility as as an "eartrainer" and name dropping all of the famous cats who you've studied with and who completely agree with you.

    If there's been a single post written, since we started round two of this a few months ago, in which someone legitimately disrespected him, I would love to see it. Please post it here with direct quotes. Maybe I missed it, but I don't think it's out there. I think it's all completely made up.

    I'm personally firmly in the camp of wishing to see his promise KEPT - to be DONE with the forum. It's been broken hundreds of times now I guess. Put up or shut up. Stay away, and stop being completely full of crap.

    In light of being called a pig and everything else, I honestly think that saying what I said about not taking the time to READ it was the most milquetoast, mamby pamby, weak thing I could've actually said.

    It doesn't matter anyway. He'll be back to preach more sermonettes even though he says he's gone forever. Same thing over and over. Ride other people down. Talk other people down. Generally being negative and nasty because of imagined paranoid imagined slights.

    Bruce Lee notwithstanding, there's a distinction to be made between seeking to start fights, looking for problems where they don't exist, looking for opportunities to be easily offended... versus simply calling BS on something. I'm calling BS on this. People can take it or leave it honestly. Irez doesn't need one more person to defend him. He has plenty of a mouth of his own, as everyone can see.

  18. #17

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by Jason Sioco View Post
    I just recommended intervallic ear training to LittleRick because he has a medical condition that prevents him from singing.
    No, I'm fine, really. But thank you. I asked the question because I curious about teaching. I think most people can sing but, as Christian notes, some are uncomfortable singing. Some have medical issues that make singing difficult. Others cannot sing because of their environment: children growing up in overcrowded households, for example, do not enjoy privacy; children who are bullied at school don't sing because it causes them trouble. I hope those here who say singing is not necessary for learning are right. But I do think singing is learning by doing: that a child who is encouraged to sing as part of kindergarten activity learns a lot about music without formal training or having to study theory.

    And thank you Irez87, for honouring my question with your last post.

  19. #18

    User Info Menu

    What are we talking about now? Of course singing is the biggest part of ear training. And what do you mean uncomforatble to sing? Thats bs, beacuse its not singing really. It's intonating. You can do it whispering if you want. If you can talk you can sing/intonate. Providing you not born pitch deaf of course, but its rare.

    But inner ear is also very important. Say you on a train, a melody came to your head, you wanna write it down. You dont need to sing it, just write it down! Or you got a score of music you never heard, on your way to rehearsal you play it in your head. Inner ear man, important stuff!

  20. #19

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77 View Post
    Well I get students to sing pretty much everything and sing stuff at them and expect them to play it.

    I’m pretty comfortable singing though. I’ve do it on gigs when required. Not everyone is and they need to learn that it’s ok not to be Pavarotti.
    You're lucky! I tried tp sing on gigs, but once I recorded myself singing a standard and listened back and heard that thick Russian accent... I cant do this to jazz, I really cant. Not in NYC anyway.

  21. #20

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by Hep To The Jive View Post
    What are we talking about now? Of course singing is the biggest part of ear training. And what do you mean uncomforatble to sing? Thats bs, beacuse its not singing really. It's intonating. You can do it whispering if you want. If you can talk you can sing/intonate. Providing you not born pitch deaf of course, but its rare.

    But inner ear is also very important. Say you on a train, a melody came to your head, you wanna write it down. You dont need to sing it, just write it down! Or you got a score of music you never heard, on your way to rehearsal you play it in your head. Inner ear man, important stuff!
    I don't doubt you are a capable musician, but I think there is a lot you could learn about people.

  22. #21

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by Hep To The Jive View Post
    You're lucky! I tried tp sing on gigs, but once I recorded myself singing a standard and listened back and heard that thick Russian accent... I cant do this to jazz, I really cant. Not in NYC anyway.
    I sound like a posh British crooner from the 1930s. Which given the gigs I sing on is far from the worst thing I could sound like, so yeah. But I won’t be singing anything ‘cool’ anytime soon haha.

    Accent’s a difficult one... many British singers end up at least a bit transatlantic which always sounds fake to me, esp as English people in particular are far worse at American accents than they think.....

  23. #22

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by Hep To The Jive View Post
    What are we talking about now? Of course singing is the biggest part of ear training. And what do you mean uncomforatble to sing? Thats bs, beacuse its not singing really. It's intonating. You can do it whispering if you want. If you can talk you can sing/intonate. Providing you not born pitch deaf of course, but its rare.

    But inner ear is also very important. Say you on a train, a melody came to your head, you wanna write it down. You dont need to sing it, just write it down! Or you got a score of music you never heard, on your way to rehearsal you play it in your head. Inner ear man, important stuff!
    I’ve only had one student point blank refuse to sing. He was a decent player and seemed to have a reasonable ear. Most are ok with it.

    It’s notable that players who can’t play jazz can’t sing accurately jazz lines. Most students are able to sing blues phrases etc. So that’s really it.

    All of my jazz students are adults. They will try to distract you by talking about scales - anything but make themselves vulnerable in that way, failing at first (but learning) to hear actual language well enough to try and put it on the guitar. I get it, it’s painful for an adult to put themselves in that position.

    I try to point out that that’s what learning feels like and I know how they feel because I went through this in adult life too (still am)... seems to help.

    In general they have far less patience than I do!

    And i can’t hear a lot of stuff. Probably if I spent time singing Schoenberg melodies I’d get a lot better at understanding his music lol...

    I have had trouble with students matching pitch, hearing sung pitches. Some students key into guitar notes much better than voice or other is instruments. Others I think just have trouble operating the voice, but there’s nothing fundamentally wrong with their ears. Mostly they get better with practice. The psychology here is important.... Teacher reactions, language, and so on.

    It’s a complex world...

    I would say this - in general ‘ear training’ talk tends to focus on the conversion procedure - working out how to play the notes, write them down etc.

    What is less discussed is the quality of musical imagination, and how important this is. How well the music is ‘heard’ in the imagination. Singing is the key for this imo. There’s a reason Tristano focussed so much on the singing before the playing.
    Last edited by christianm77; 08-19-2019 at 03:45 AM.

  24. #23

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by Litterick View Post
    I don't doubt you are a capable musician, but I think there is a lot you could learn about people.
    Well, you know me, kid gloves. But made from real kids