How to analyse structure & - hear music in your head

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Tonyyyyy
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Re: How to analyse structure & - hear music in your head

Postby Tonyyyyy » Sun May 05, 2013 2:26 am

Larry McDonald wrote:
Aucaman wrote:I am also very interested in hearing those experts who, like bacsidoan, maintain they can hear the melody and the harmonies in their head.


The skill is called audiation, and yes, it's a matter of training and experience. I can't confirm others path, but for me the experience is quite rich and varied. I can hear most scores in my head, and that includes SATB and most string orchestras. When it comes time to hear transpositions such as clarinet in A, horn in F at the same time, I get lost (I love C scores). I spent 9 years as a conductor, some at the university level.

This skill came from aural skills classes and composing, where you hear the music in your head and then copy it to the page/screen. But it also came from a love of analyses of many kinds of music, from Montiverdi to "Muse". Singing/listening to music with the score in hand is critical. I also practice conducting while actively listening.

As a guitarist listening to myself sight-reading, I felt that singing along was the most help. I usually sing the bass line first, if the melody is self evident. Then I sing the interior parts. This is where composers can really shine (see everything by Sor).

So, if you want to develop this skill, start singing as you play. Sing all the parts. Know your key signatures. If you can use solfeggio, all the better. If not, la-la works just fine, too. Start with level 1 Carulli studies. Don't concern yourself about the formal harmonic analysis (you can do this later). Listen to your favorite artists with the score in front of you and anticipate your favorite spots. Enjoy the process and don't concern yourself about how long this takes.

All the best,
Larry McDonald, D.M.A.
PS. Formal study with a composer doesn't hurt, either.


Sure, it isn't Rocket science, and it is teachable; It is best taught right from the beginning , in tiny steps, then it isn't scary. It is a wonderful skill and i wish I were rather better at it (lazy me!)
Didn't Mozart listen to a 20 minute and write it down later? Miserere by Allegri I think. Well taught !!!

venguitartist

Re: How to analyse structure & - hear music in your head

Postby venguitartist » Sun May 05, 2013 3:53 am

Being mostly self taught I sometimes come to the same conclusion, PAN, and imagine I'll never reach that in my lifetime but at the same time I really hope it is not true. There ought to be a good combination of software tools to create us the exercise, verififcation and reinforcement that some years ago would have required a dedicated instructor. And if this combination doesn't exist, maybe it's a business oportunity to create it!

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lucy
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Re: How to analyse structure & - hear music in your head

Postby lucy » Wed May 08, 2013 7:51 pm

I think that how difficult you find this to learn, depends a lot on how good your ear is in the first place. Some people find this kind of thing incredibly difficult, others pick it up fairly easily.

This is a useful site, (scroll down for the ear training tests):

http://www.musictheory.net/exercises
“Do what you can, with what you have, where you are”. Theodore Roosevelt

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amy3000
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Re: How to analyse structure & - hear music in your head

Postby amy3000 » Fri May 10, 2013 1:28 pm

My teacher suggest one way to practice a piece is to play a measure or phrase and then think the next one, play, think, play, think. Then reverse what you play and think. It's mostly as a way to internalize it and, as I'm apt to screw up, be able to pick up the piece again somewhere in the middle. I don't practice this way enough. After reading this thread it seems like a good way to begin to understand the structure of the music in small bits.

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Pat Ross
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Re: How to analyse structure & - hear music in your head

Postby Pat Ross » Fri May 10, 2013 10:05 pm

As Larry mentioned Solfeging is very helpful. This is one of the first things you start doing using the Aaron Shearer's method. It was difficult to absorb at first, and took several months to become natural and second nature. I had no prior music training and I am not a "natural" musician. Solfege helps with focus and concentration and a pleasant surprise is that it significantly aides in being able to play from memory by solfeging (singing) the song to myself as I play.

Shearer teaches to solfege a song, exercise or scale at least twice without the guitar before picking up the guitar to play. At first I saw this as slowing me down, now I realize it is an essential part of practice, this approach insures I know what I am going to do before holding the guitar. Of course this is done with a metronome. My point is this, initially solfeging seemed very foreign and difficult and now has become a natural part of what I do during practice and preparation before play. I realize it is extremely valuable to some one like myself. It would seem to me that as time goes along the solfeging could begin to become naturally generated and could be heard as "hearing the music" as you read it.

Pat
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JohnPierce

Re: How to analyse structure & - hear music in your head

Postby JohnPierce » Fri May 10, 2013 11:30 pm

Cajun Pat wrote:As Larry mentioned Solfeging is very helpful. This is one of the first things you start doing using the Aaron Shearer's method .... Shearer teaches to solfege a song, exercise or scale at least twice without the guitar .... At first I saw this as slowing me down, now I realize it is an essential part of practice .... It would seem to me that as time goes along the solfeging could begin to become naturally generated and could be heard as "hearing the music" as you read it.

:bravo: :bravo:
That's absolutely excellent, Pat. You've captured exactly what Mr. Shearer attempted to convey, and your last sentence is precisely what's supposed to happen, and will happen as you continue practicing it. I'm really glad to see someone else appreciates Mr. Shearer's approach to learning the guitar; for my money, no other method books come close, especially not to the last set he produced.

With regard to the benefit of singing the music, here's a brief quote from Peter Croton's Figured Bass on the Classical Guitar. It's a short workbook written for music students, and this comes at the end of his outline of the practice method he wants them to follow:
.... on fretted instruments there can be a tendency to "follow the fingers", i.e., playing memorized finger patterns without truly hearing the music that is being played. It is possible simply to put fingers in the correct frets, but this can lead to playing that is musically unsatisfying. A violinist, for example, must imagine the desired note in order to play with proper intonation.... [O]ur goal: to play what we see on the page because we hear it in our head, not because we have memorized where to put out fingers!

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Re: How to analyse structure & - hear music in your head

Postby Smith » Sun Sep 15, 2013 11:18 pm

Larry McDonald wrote:
Aucaman wrote:I am also very interested in hearing those experts who, like bacsidoan, maintain they can hear the melody and the harmonies in their head.


The skill is called audiation, and yes, it's a matter of training and experience. I can't confirm others path, but for me the experience is quite rich and varied. I can hear most scores in my head, and that includes SATB and most string orchestras. When it comes time to hear transpositions such as clarinet in A, horn in F at the same time, I get lost (I love C scores). I spent 9 years as a conductor, some at the university level.

This skill came from aural skills classes and composing, where you hear the music in your head and then copy it to the page/screen. But it also came from a love of analyses of many kinds of music, from Montiverdi to "Muse". Singing/listening to music with the score in hand is critical. I also practice conducting while actively listening.

As a guitarist listening to myself sight-reading, I felt that singing along was the most help. I usually sing the bass line first, if the melody is self evident. Then I sing the interior parts. This is where composers can really shine (see everything by Sor).

So, if you want to develop this skill, start singing as you play. Sing all the parts. Know your key signatures. If you can use solfeggio, all the better. If not, la-la works just fine, too. Start with level 1 Carulli studies. Don't concern yourself about the formal harmonic analysis (you can do this later). Listen to your favorite artists with the score in front of you and anticipate your favorite spots. Enjoy the process and don't concern yourself about how long this takes.

All the best,
Larry McDonald, D.M.A.
PS. Formal study with a composer doesn't hurt, either.


Thanks for this useful and well-explained information, Lare.

mcmurray

Re: How to analyse structure & - hear music in your head

Postby mcmurray » Mon Sep 16, 2013 2:23 am

Movable Do/La Minor Solfege.

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lagartija
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Re: How to analyse structure & - hear music in your head

Postby lagartija » Mon Sep 16, 2013 2:49 am

mcmurray wrote:Movable Do/La Minor Solfege.

I'm working on it..... :chaud:
I think I will need a voice teacher, or I may not live long enough to get to a point where I can come close enough to singing the correct pitch interval. I was trying to solfege this week's assignment from Noad's book (third position), and it did not sound at all like it should have. Singing a simple melody with a key signature having two flats was totally beyond me. :-(
After I played it, I did a bit better. But still, no one would have recognized the tune I sang. :cry:
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mcmurray

Re: How to analyse structure & - hear music in your head

Postby mcmurray » Mon Sep 16, 2013 3:13 am

I wish I could show you in person, because once the penny drops you've got it for life.

Everyone has the ability to sing or whistle in tune, learning solfege just makes the links in your brain between the score and the ear (and the fretboard with a little more work).

When a key signature changes, the tonic changes on the score and so the position of "do" or "la" changes with it. Everything becomes relative to the tonic.

Tip: Play a I IV V I cadence in the key you're trying to sing, this will get the tonic setup in your ear :)

BTW I would recommend to forget everything you know about interval recognition (at least until you're ready for atonal music, here fixed-do or interval recognition are the only options).

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Re: How to analyse structure & - hear music in your head

Postby Smith » Mon Sep 16, 2013 3:41 am

"Once the penny drops you've got it for life" is a nice (if optimistic) way to put it. Since I began to sing scales and melodies from my pieces (daily!) everything got easier, but I've been slacking off lately. I'm taking a singing course on line this fall.

Tiago

Re: How to analyse structure & - hear music in your head

Postby Tiago » Mon Sep 16, 2013 3:46 am

Larry McDonald wrote:As a guitarist listening to myself sight-reading, I felt that singing along was the most help. I usually sing the bass line first, if the melody is self evident. Then I sing the interior parts. This is where composers can really shine (see everything by Sor).


And speaking of Sor...

I suppose the reader to be a musician, otherwise he will find many things unintelligible in the following explanation. I make a great distinction between a musician and a note-player. The former is he who, considering music as the science of sounds, regards the notes only as conventional signs representing them, and which by the sight convey the result to the mind, as letters communicate words, and words ideas . The latter is he who considers it the science of notes, who attaches great importance to their names, the real acceptation of which is unknown to him, and who waits to be able to understand them for the period when he shall study harmony; meanwhile seeing them only as so many orders to play such or such a key of the pianoforte; to press such a string with such a finger, in such a place, on the violin, violoncello, guitar, etc.; or to open or shut such a key, or so many holes, of the clarinet, flute, etc.; and it is the instrument which first conveys to his head, through the ear, the result of all the combinations of notes. - Sor's Method, Knowledge of the Fingerboard.

Larry McDonald wrote:There are some new pitch recognition products out there for rehearsing (graded?), but teaching/coaching useful strategies to acquire the skill is another matter.

And speaking about pitch recognition...

What approach seems the best to you, interval recognition or functional ear training? I've done both - still do - and I found the later particularly effective, and theoretically speaking, it makes much more sense.

mcmurray

Re: How to analyse structure & - hear music in your head

Postby mcmurray » Mon Sep 16, 2013 3:55 am

Nice Sor quote. Where can I find the rest of that text?

Tiago wrote:
Larry McDonald wrote:What approach seems the best to you, interval recognition or functional ear training? I've done both - still do - and I found the later particularly effective, and theoretically speaking, it makes much more sense.


This wasn't directed at me, however I agree. I've found interval recognition to be pretty much useless for tonal music.

Why? Because they're impossible to keep track of in real time. It's easy enough to hear the interval between the first and second notes of a piece, but not between the 2nd and 3rd notes, 3rd and 4th notes, and so on. For this method to work you need to reset your ear after every note to hear the next interval. This is pretty much impossible, and our ears do not hear music this way.
Last edited by mcmurray on Mon Sep 16, 2013 4:05 am, edited 1 time in total.

JohnPierce

Re: How to analyse structure & - hear music in your head

Postby JohnPierce » Mon Sep 16, 2013 4:03 am

lagartija wrote:I think I will need a voice teacher, or I may not live long enough to get to a point where I can come close enough to singing the correct pitch interval.

My conclusion, also, along with deciding I was an idiot for not doing it long ago when I lived with people who would have happily taught me. I've found, wonder of wonders, a Kodaly method instructor who's also on the faculty of a local college and lives within reasonable driving distance (by central Texas standards). He actually specializes in teaching ADHD children, so a 68 year old who's always been excessively interested in everything shouldn't all that different.

mcmurray

Re: How to analyse structure & - hear music in your head

Postby mcmurray » Mon Sep 16, 2013 4:17 am

jwp wrote:
lagartija wrote:I think I will need a voice teacher, or I may not live long enough to get to a point where I can come close enough to singing the correct pitch interval.

My conclusion, also, along with deciding I was an idiot for not doing it long ago when I lived with people who would have happily taught me. I've found, wonder of wonders, a Kodaly method instructor who's also on the faculty of a local college and lives within reasonable driving distance (by central Texas standards). He actually specializes in teaching ADHD children, so a 68 year old who's always been excessively interested in everything shouldn't all that different.


A Kodaly method instructor is exactly what you want :)

Let us know how you go with it.


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