The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
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  1. #1

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    Everyone knows that people can hear differently.
    I'm curious how hearing music affects the quality of playing?
    One thing is for sure - there are two things that are absolutely related to each other.
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    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

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    Seems slam dunk for me: train your ears by playing an instrument...?

  4. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by RJVB
    Seems slam dunk for me: train your ears by playing an instrument...?
    +1
    ...or such a nuance:
    Train your ears and play an instrument or play an instrument and train your ears.

  5. #4

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    If you want to improvise, your ear tells you what to play, not your teacher, not a piece of paper, not anybody else. Training your ears and having an informed knowledge of what you're hearing lets you make choices to become more articulate in what and how you chose to express yourself. A trained ear is the way to break free from the habits your hands keep you safe in.
    That's the way I see it. That's the way I hear it.

  6. #5

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    In a word, we need to practice our hearing to control what we play.

  7. #6

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    It depends on what the balance is between your ear and knowledge / ability on the instrument. For the many guitarists I know the ability on the instrument far outweighs their ear. I'm in that camp generally but my ear is catching up and the largest reason being is because I spend generally 3 times the amount of time singing, transcribing, hearing melodies in my mind and checking with a keyboard, etc... I generally only pick up the instrument to check if I have any trouble translating what I'm hearing on the guitar.

  8. #7

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    Learn music by ear and play it on the guitar

  9. #8

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    Learn music by ear and play it instantly on the guitar!

  10. #9

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    ... but then. It'd be only a circus trick. Still gotta practice. To get it good and groovy.

  11. #10

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    I don't really understand the question. You can't get a gig with a great ear and no instrument. And you can't be a decent jazz player without a decent ear.
    So more "important" for what purpose?

    I would say just this.

    I notice that a lot of teenagers have good chops. I'm going to guess that they don't all have as-good ears, because developing a great ear is harder for most people. At least, that's my impression.

    So, I think, on average, if you had to warn a beginner about a potential pitfall, you'd suggest being careful not to overlook ear training. OTOH, having great chops is an advantage and you probably are best off if you form good habits from the start.

  12. #11

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    Easy question:
    Do the more time you spend practicing your hearing, the better you play?

  13. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by rpjazzguitar
    I don't really understand the question. You can't get a gig with a great ear and no instrument.
    Well you can actually; transcribing music can be paid work. That was Vai’s first gig IIRC…..

  14. #13

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    And a certain Ludwig von contradicts anyone who claims you need a *working* good ear to be a world-class musician.

    For the rest, I'd say that "getting good chops" is something you need to do when you're young enough (I'm more painfully aware of that every day...) whereas developing your ear can a priori be done at any age. It might even get easier with age, and in fact can only be done after a certain (young) age if memory serves me well (in "normal" people that is).

  15. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by kris
    Easy question:
    Do the more time you spend practicing your hearing, the better you play?
    For me absolutely yes! For years my dream has been then when I play music it feels like I'm just having conversation… when others play I want to understand what they're saying and when I play I want to play what I am audiating. For almost two years I decided to remove the guitar from the equation because I already know where all the scale degrees are fluently (I've been working on that for 15 years). The bottle neck was having strong audiation recognition and strong enough relative pitch know what the melodies are in my mind with accuracy and at speed. So generally at this point my practice time is mostly spent practicing songs in my mind and checking my accuracy on keyboard. When I get something down mentally I can pick up a guitar and play that thing I'm mentally practicing in time and virtually flawlessly within the first or second try.

    Do I play better today than I did a year ago… In my opinion yes but the melodies that I am playing currently are much simpler than I used to play. I am not allowing myself to use the patterns and habits that are baked in to my hands to be played anymore. I had to slow down the tunes and go back to the easier tunes I know to make sure my ear can keep up but it is getting faster and faster. I am not gigging right now due to Covid so it has been a perfect time for me to go all in the playing only what I hear thing. I have been playing for 25 years in bands and I'm so excited to practice... I work on this shit more than I ever have (hours and hours a day) and I really like how its transforming what I can do as a musician.

    You may wonder if I have to play much simpler than before what is the payoff? Its the feeling that I am always in control of what is coming out and the musical coherence of the statements / lines you are playing. Hope that helps but I think I am coming from a very specific background and have a very specific goal.

  16. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by RJVB
    And a certain Ludwig von contradicts anyone who claims you need a *working* good ear to be a world-class musician.
    Well the deafness did set in later in life. Actually as much as this was a joke, the whole subject is really rather fascinating. I was listening to a thing about how Beethoven composed his late music



    the paper is very interesting.

  17. #16
    If there's one regret I have after 35-40 years of playing it's not devoting enough time to ear training. Just playing and transcribing helps obviously, but being able to hear those harmonies and know what's in them will help enormously in your playing, because you will be able to respond much more to what you hear around you. Of course, you might not want to hear is some cases . My mistake was going on an ear training course with more advanced musicians than myself, which was demoralizing. So I brushed it under the carpet. Mistake.

  18. #17

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    I'm pretty certain that nowadays one must be able to find ear-training MOOCs.

    But you can do quite a bit of "learning to hear what's in them [chords]" yourself while working on your "inner" fretboard mapping, i.e. placing notes and chords without looking (or rather, while looking at a score). I was taught long ago how practise scales as a way to learn to intonate reliably on my violin: hear each note with your inner ear, visualise with your inner eye where it is on the fingerboard, hit it, check, and repeat until you get it right. Same thing works with chords, building them up, leaving notes out etc.

    The funny thing is that I've transferred part of this to my cooking, literally composing the herbs & spices palette for what I'm preparing (without ever having needed LSD )

  19. #18

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    It's like asking: what's more important, eating or breathing? Both ear training and playing are crucial to your overall development, and you shouldn't abandon any of those activities. But if you feel busy, you can put one of them "on hold", i.e. you should do this anyway, but in a small amount thus not damaging the other process. But if your playing repertoire aligns with your ear training exercises, it should be fine to progress at both.

  20. #19

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    Hi, K,
    A good question that can be interpreted many ways. So, for me, I put the potatoes and the leeks in the soup and simmer until done. . . you can add some grated cheese and fresh chive before serving . . . which translates: music is visceral, intellectual, and physical. Unlike writing and painting, it is a performance Art and all three elements are needed for a complete musician. However, to perform at a high level of musicianship, technique is NOT enough. You must have good ears(visceral/intellectual) and this is the major impediment to most players moving beyond the level of technicians. And, this applies to both Jazz and Classical music since the ears/spirit dictates the interpretation of the black dots on a page and creates music. For example, if you are a complete musician and play a simple melody like "Billie's Bounce" for the first time without hearing the tune beforehand, it will sound much differently than after you've played it a few times and "hear/feel" the implied accents and nuances. But, if you don't have the "ears," you can play it technically perfect and, for me, the tune looses its verve much like a high school band playing Ellington. Big ears??? Essential for artistic performance.
    Marinero

    P.S. Great pix in your intro, Kris!
    M

  21. #20

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    Learning lots of tunes, transcribing, writing down and getting those groovy phrases into the bones... that covers most of what you need in jazz.

    But a little bit of ear-training makes all that slightly easier.