The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
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  1. #1

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    Hey!

    How would you describe it?
    What the term actually means(not biological) and how does it work and maybe.. "feel" for you?

    When I was at school, they often liked to mention it but I back then I kinda didn't care to think about - too much to do.

    Um.. nowadays, it seems if I keep my mouth shut, I can kinda "hear" notes in my head when really trying hard and focusing.
    This never really happens when playing.. anything. But that's the closest I could see the term itself making any practical sense

    What are your thoughts?

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    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2
    Oh, I remembered another instance. When improvising, occasionally I hear "with my eyes" when watching the notes on the fretboard that are about to be played.
    But also - this doesn't happen very often and can do without.. Like a robot.

  4. #3

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    Hi, E,
    If you mean that some people have the ability to hear things musically that others cannot, I agree. Is that what you mean?
    Marinero

  5. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Marinero View Post
    Hi, E,
    If you mean that some people have the ability to hear things musically that others cannot, I agree. Is that what you mean?
    Marinero
    Not really. What I meant was that the term is often used but in a loosey-goosey way. And was curious what people.. you people would mean if you'd use it.
    I honestly have never used it myself.

  6. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by emanresu View Post
    Not really. What I meant was that the term is often used but in a loosey-goosey way. And was curious what people.. you people would mean if you'd use it.
    I honestly have never used it myself.

    ??????????????? O.K.
    Marinero

  7. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Marinero View Post
    ??????????????? O.K.
    Marinero
    Eh.. was it the "you people"?
    If yes, then I'm back into "never gonna try joking in the internet". No problem and sorry if this was it.

  8. #7

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    I don’t think I’ve ever used this term.

    I must say it doesn’t look very nice.

    The mystical "inner ear"-9898d6f6-6b2a-4bbb-a9aa-e429c015d347-jpeg

  9. #8

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    I usually can't inner ear fully realized good lines in real time, but I can hear up rhythms and then execute them with a set of notes. I think that's the ticket to improving your inner ear. More and more you start to realize more of the whole line in your head as you progress.

  10. #9

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    I have music going in my head almost constantly. Usually it's the thing I'm working on, which is annoying if I am working on scales or other non-musical patterns.

  11. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by AllanAllen View Post
    I have music going in my head almost constantly. Usually it's the thing I'm working on, which is annoying if I am working on scales or other non-musical patterns.
    Intresting. I know about the earbug and of course have it happen often. Is it similar for you when busy working on something?

  12. #11

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    Often I'll have a tune or part of a tune going in my ear persistantly

    I've learned (for me) that it usually means
    I've got to sit down with the guitar and work it out ,
    manifest it ,play around with it till I 'get it' onto the guitar

    Then It'll leave me alone , till the next one comes along

  13. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by emanresu View Post
    Intresting. I know about the earbug and of course have it happen often. Is it similar for you when busy working on something?
    Working on a song, yeah, I hear where I want to go, but sometimes it's like the notes aren't on the fretboard. That's usually user error though, ,"it can't be the root, that's too obvious" then it turns out yeah, it's the root.

  14. #13

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    I am not 100% sure, what we are discussing about but,....

    The “inner ear” is with all of us all the time. It is when an hook gets stuck in our mind.

    I my most humble thoughts: it is necessary to develop that as a musician. I would think the highest level of development, would be when a person could read a sophisticated piece of music and hear mostly correctly in their mind. That is the goal. However along the way, there are many steps. A break through has happed when you can shift ear worms into personal compositions. If your theory and technique is good, you should be able to write down what you are hearing and check it for accuracy.

    I believe even at high levels, the inner ear/minds eye is not perfect. For example when I am soloing, I am hearing a number of bars ahead. When I make a mistake it can be whole run that did not sound good. Sometimes what I hear in my head is not quite right or functions in a way I did not expect.

    One way to understand this is to think about the differences between phenomena and the thing in its’ self. Basically we can only experience our senses and never know the true physical nature of anything. (I summed that up pretty roughly). Music always and basically, only takes place in our own mind. (I understand that there are physics involved). I know that is a little abstract.

  15. #14

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    A guy called Edwin Gordon wrote a book about this - Learning Sequences in Music (crap title) - that was quite influential in music education circles after his death (no one took it seriously when he was alive lol).

    His thesis was that hearing music in your head - audiation - is the key skill for a musician, something I tend to agree with. (I am less convinced by his ideas on child development but anyway.)

    I have met a few people who can read scores and hear the music. This is not unusual in composition and conducting circles.

    As for the rest of us - I think musical memory is an underrated muscle….and stress to much about getting the music onto the instrument, which is actually much easier than people think. Learning to play a song or solo in your head without listening to it. It’s something you can develop and strengthen… Tristano was famous for getting his students to sing solos all the way through before allowing them to play.

    So imo it’s the main reason to transcribe tunes and solos.

    Most beginner-intermediate guitarists imo don’t spend enough time getting the music in their ears before they try to play it. For me it can take a few listens and singing to get it in there sometimes. Guitarists tend to noodle too soon and put themselves off

    When you are starting it’s important to listen and listen again. But when you get it it’s amazing how much your technique and so on lines up to get the phrase out. The instrument is as much in your head as in your hands.

    I definitely pre audiate a bit when soloing; when I know the changes and so on. As st bede says it’s not infallible. Part of the reason I find it hard to know how my playing came across because I know what I heard and what I didn’t, but the audience is not a mind reader haha.
    Last edited by Christian Miller; 05-20-2022 at 02:22 PM.

  16. #15

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    Studying sight-singing and counterpoint are good for this. I would sing the first note of a phrase or line then imagine (audiate) the next one, then sing the next and so on, until gradually your capacity to internally hear music increases. Also playing one line and singing another is good. TBF I still find it quite difficult audiating contrapuntal music, not to mention more chromatic music! But that won't stop me persevering...

  17. #16

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    It's not mystical and it's not physical, it's just thought and memory. Most of us hear our minds repeating a certain tune to itself, like playing back a memory.

    If you do a lot of music you can hear things being played, or go through it yourself, repeatedly in your head. If you do a lot of music you can imagine out solo ideas and all the rest of it. If you read from music a lot you can hear what you see written down. It's not magic, it's just familiarity, memory, thought, repetition. I'm sure it also helps if you concentrate a lot.

    Mind you, apparently Mozart used to hear whole symphonies in his head before he wrote then down. Apparently, anyway. That's a bit extreme but a lot of people say they hear things first and then write them. Paul McCartney said he woke up one day and heard Hey Jude (or it might have been Yesterday) in his head and then wrote it down. It's not just music. Writers say they can more or less 'see' a whole novel in their minds before they start writing.

    I think there's a difference between your mind playing an 'earworm' tune, or repeating something you've been working on a lot, and getting inspiration from an unknown source. If only!

    There's also synaesthesia which is the senses getting mixed up with each other, like hearing colours and seeing sounds. There's an autistic savant who sees every number as a shape with meanings like friendly or threatening and so on. So when you say you hear with your eyes it may be that kind of thing, but only you know that.

    Our brains and consciousness are certainly a bit of a mystery.

  18. #17

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    I hear music in my head and have done so since childhood. I can alter it at will - pitch, tempo, etc. The hard part is getting it to the fingers and out into the air. My wildly disparate compositional (genre-defying) efforts can be experienced at the link below. UTONIA is 100% original material transferred from pure idea to recorded product. Enjoy, or not.

  19. #18

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    "I have met a few people who can read scores and hear the music. " C. Miller

    Hi, C,
    In my generation(Boomer), sight-reading was a prerequisite course for a BA degree in music. Strangely, everyone dreaded it but all were reasonably functional after 16 weeks(semester) of study. I doubt many self-described "musicians" today could finish a strict, traditional, Classical degree in Music . . . especially "Jazz" guitarists.
    Marinero

    P.S. And, according to several friends with children in Music, even schools like Julliard and Curtis have lowered their standards to allow for a more "representative" student body. M

  20. #19

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    I always was relatively good at his. I was interested in symphonic music since quite early age and also in classical composition... so eventually I learnt to read scores even without having conducting experience.

    But I think it is very special experience because hearing music is physical process, I mean when you hear it played you really hear it and many things in reality work.
    It is almost the same as imagine the painting you know, and then you really see.

    That is in my opinion for 'inner ear' the most important basis is understanding the semantics of musical languge because what you hear with 'inner ear' is generally pure meanings - not sounds.

    It can be technically developed of course through real pracitce - like knowing orchestra instruments, their acoustics, timbres and how they work in different combinations and so on.
    But all this only adds something to the basis which is still pure meaning.

    it is almost the same process as composing (I mean real composing - not compilation of patters from methods)... when you have some idea but until you ambody it in actual sounds it does not exist.
    So you have a musical image, musical meaning but you make a choice what it will be 'in particular body' and put is down.
    Even the greatest (most natural original and deepest and haveing perfect pitch and fantastic ear) composer I knew (and I was lucky to know one) used either counterpoital writing with limited quantity of voicecs, or making and outline of a piece adding the details later.
    I mean I almost sure that nobody hears and exactly puts down a sequense of 8-10 dissonant chords for example.

    The same thing concerns 'inner ear' - nobody (I believe) really hears inside the big symphonic score (or even piano sonata).
    But it is sort of opposit process to copositional.

    Composer has an image or semantical elements and makes particular embodiment of them.

    And score-reader on the contrary sees the whole thing in details put down but mentaly he reduces it to semantics and images.
    Of course with good experience he can imagine plenty of details an dmake even practical notes from the score.

    But lets not forget that even experienced performing conductors like Mahler did lots of correction in the score after actual perfomances of their opus.

    We also shoudl take in consideration taht we live in the time of non-conventional art. Everyone envents his one thing from zero.
    If we deal with conventional score (realted to particular style of genre) and we are experienced in it it is much easier to work with.

    Let's say so: the difference between reading Mozart's score and the score of Stockhausen or Boulez.


    I will also make a literature comparison: when you read a good novel mostly you remember vividly the scenes, feel the characters, their chamges of moods like real life but you cannot remember the actual text except for a few lines usually.
    This is exactly what it is: life created with the help of words. You do not need words when you forget the words because the are the tool.

    Music is more specific, much more specific - but the mechanics is the same.
    Of course if one understands the music - not just hearing the sounds. (I woudl the same as hearing someone read the book in a language you do not understand).

  21. #20

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    "That is in my opinion for 'inner ear' . . . It can be technically developed of course through real pracitce ." Jonah

    Hi, J,
    Musical intervals can be learned through diligent practice. However, the "inner ear"-- if we mean creative ideas expressed through music . . . cannot be purchased by any means. It's either there or absent. For example, a writer can create an interesting plot but fail to express it creatively because the creative element similar to the inner ear is a gift of nature. Some have it . . . most don't.
    Marinero

  22. #21

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    I've heard "mind's ear" which I assume means the ability to imagine (aurally) a note, chord or rhythm.

    The ability to hear a line in your mind and immediately play it is a fundamental skill.

  23. #22

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    audiation
    all sound as music
    hearing with the minds's ear
    hearing inside how it will sound outside
    recognizing sounds of intervals, scales, and chords
    phenomenological correspondence between imagined sound and actual sound
    accumulation, access, and manipulation of internal abstract representations of musical elements and relationships

    All those are describing the same thing, but only part of it; there are two other parts:
    -getting one's technique in the loop so that what you hear inside makes it out of your instrument
    -musical judgement; this is really the most important, basically developing an ear for musical truth and beauty (quality control)

  24. #23

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    Open your mouth and sing it. If you can't sing it, it's not you improvising but most probably your fingers.

    Doesn't need to be in real time and neither be as beautiful as Kurt Elling does it.

    Once you sang it (or couldn't) you don't find that "mystical" inner ear "mystical" anymore. It's just another expression for your musical imagination.

    It's a lot like talking. When you describe a house (or a situation or anything else), you must know how it looks, what has happened. And you must know the language good enough to find the right words describing it. Some do it better and become writers, others are less versed. It's a matter of practice like everything in life.

    Playing improvised music? Same same but different.

    Happy Weekend!


  25. #24

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    Yeah, I think for a jazz improvisor in particular, it's a 3 step process.

    First you play a solo entirely in your mind. It shouldn't be vague or blurry, try to hear it clearly and loudly in your mind's ear. Then you try to sing what you're hearing in your head. Doesn't matter if you can sing well; I have a singing voice that can be generously described as frog-like, but who cares. Then you try to translate that onto the instrument.

    Step 2 and 3 take some work, and you might never get a flawless 1:1 correspondence between your mind's ear and your fingers. Step 1 also takes some work, but -- and I think this is crucial -- it should also be fun, a kind of imaginative play. It should feel liberating.

  26. #25

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    [QUOTE] Open your mouth and sing it. If you can't sing it, it's not you improvising but most probably your fingers./QUOTE]

    Hm.. there are people who can hear but cannot control their vocal apparatus at all and cannot sing what they hear