Piano/Playing by Ear

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This book is part of a series on playing by ear:

Lesson 1
Lesson 2
Lesson 3

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Playing by Ear[edit]

Playing by ear is when you "pick" up notes from something you listen to. For example if you're listening to a catchy song and you want to play it but don't have the notes or score you have to play it by ear.

Hint: A good start when trying to play a song or a tune by ear, is to start humming it. This might not be a good choice when other people are around you if you want to keep a certain facade of sanity, but it certainly helps. The reason is that sometimes the hardest part is actually finding the main notes in the song, and when you hum a song, you are really humming the main notes! So just hum away, and start playing by ear.
Hint: Play slowly! If you're having trouble picking something up, you are not going to make it easier by playing with haste. Just think that there are only a limited amount of notes you use when you're a beginner, no more than 10-15, so finding the first note is not that hard if you are patient. Of course if you're going to guess every single note it would take a really long time playing a long and complicated song by ear- that's why you practice playing short, simple songs by ear.

= also note that there are a lot of different materials online that might help you train your ear. Earmaster for example, is a program that aids you identifying intervals, scales and chords. it also aids in the imitation of rhythms. Alternatively you can try to guess a key that is played on the piano at random.