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Playing by ear not knowing note names/combinations ?


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Hornwiz
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 15, 2021 8:56 pm    Post subject: Playing by ear not knowing note names/combinations ? Reply with quote

Guys need from your expertise/knowledge...

What is the easiest way to play trumpet by ear... For example on piano even a new player can play a C and then hear a major 3rd E and almost with complete certainty play it just by looking and guessing the distance ... Since trumpet is not really visible , must you know the valve combinations or can you play an open C and then play the E just by "Distance or must you know all the note combinations/names???
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huntman10
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 15, 2021 9:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

No way to say. I know lots of players who are masters at playing by ear, then there are people like me......

I know a guy personally who became a very good jazz player who didn't really learn to read music until he started his freshman year as a trumpet major in college. He learned fast then, and did very well. I've known hundreds of trumpet players, but he is the only one like that. But he started band in elementary school, and learned to play watching his friends and following along for about 6 years before college.

I've heard that Chet Baker tried studying with a trumpet teacher, who became totally frustrated because Chet's fingerings seemed to have little to do with the notes coming from his bell......

I would think that you need to start by getting a chart of the basic major scales and fingerings, and play scales. Then expand to minor scales, and all the modes. If you insist on doing it by yourself, it will be harder. Even if you have a great ear, developing the chops will be necessary for accuracy and control.

And don't expect miracles. You are talking about a steep climb for everyone but a rare few talented people.
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Hornwiz
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 15, 2021 9:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

huntman10 wrote:
No way to say. I know lots of players who are masters at playing by ear, then there are people like me......

I know a guy personally who became a very good jazz player who didn't really learn to read music until he started his freshman year as a trumpet major in college. He learned fast then, and did very well. I've known hundreds of trumpet players, but he is the only one like that. But he started band in elementary school, and learned to play watching his friends and following along for about 6 years before college.

I've heard that Chet Baker tried studying with a trumpet teacher, who became totally frustrated because Chet's fingerings seemed to have little to do with the notes coming from his bell......

I would think that you need to start by getting a chart of the basic major scales and fingerings, and play scales. Then expand to minor scales, and all the modes. If you insist on doing it by yourself, it will be harder. Even if you have a great ear, developing the chops will be necessary for accuracy and control.

And don't expect miracles. You are talking about a steep climb for everyone but a rare few talented people.



But isn't there a way to do it though... Like i was reading the 1st valve lowers a note by whole tone and 2nd by half and 3rd by minor 3rd...for example If you have never played the piano in 10 seconds you can get a good visual/feeling of how far the notes are apart and what key to hit... And you can can play right away... With the trumpet there has to be a "trick" with the valves somehow... Like which valve will allow the next major tone to be played then a half note up from that ...i know air pressure will change etc ... What you mentioned about Chet's playing ... Is that to say that you can make your own fingerings according to your comfort/playing?
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hibidogrulez
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 15, 2021 11:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hornwiz wrote:
But isn't there a way to do it though... Like i was reading the 1st valve lowers a note by whole tone and 2nd by half and 3rd by minor 3rd...for example If you have never played the piano in 10 seconds you can get a good visual/feeling of how far the notes are apart and what key to hit... And you can can play right away... With the trumpet there has to be a "trick" with the valves somehow... Like which valve will allow the next major tone to be played then a half note up from that

The 'trick', insofar I understand what you're referring to, is exactly that: each valve lowers the tone by a fixed amount by lengthening the tube that the air goes through. There is no 'up' though, that's what the player does. You go 'up' by playing the next 'open' note and if you need something in between, you press a valve to lower it again. Each valve represents a specific interval and by combining them, you can combine the intervals to make even larger intervals. The 1st valve interval is a full tone, the 2nd a semitone and the 3rd a full tone + a semitone (i.e. the same as valve 1&2 combined).

For example, if you start at G going down to C, the valves are:
G - open
F# - 2
F - 1
E - 1,2 (or 3)
Eb - 2,3
D - 1,3
C# 1,2,3
C - open again, you're playing a different natural tone

If you want to up from that G, you do so by playing the C above it, and then press 23 to get back down to Ab. So going up from G, the valves would be:

G - open
Ab - 2,3
A - 1,2
Bb - 1
B - 2
C - open

and then for the C# you start at the E above and use valve 1/2, etc.

The is somewhat simplified as there are many other aspects of intonation (for example, the interval produced by the 3rd slide isn't exactly the same as that of valve 1&2 combined), but the above is basically how valves work.
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JonathanM
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 16, 2021 5:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I learned to play by ear by playing at church. I learned the scales to the most common keys the church musicians used, (C, Eb, F and Bb), the chromatic scale, then began playing along during the song/worship service (very softly). I’d practice songs at home (by ear of course) that I struggled with at church, and gradually I became somewhat proficient. I no doubt practiced by playing along with various recordings at home; it’s still great practice. In fact, I played along with the music at an airport yesterday (in a quiet corner with a practice mute, of course).

The main thing to me has always been ‘hearing’ or anticipating the intervals that are upcoming. It appears that some find it easy to play by ear, while others find it excessively challenging. Similarly, some excel at sight-reading while others struggle; we all have innate strengths and weaknesses. Some learn to play by ear quite easily while others never do. I’m not bad by ear, but I marvel at the ability of some players. So, like range and tone, there are many different levels of proficiency amongst those who play by ear.
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improver
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 16, 2021 5:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The easiest way to play by ear is pick up your trumpet and play songs or play along with jazz solos or tunes on YouTube. The idea is do it so much that whatever you hear you can play on the horn. Relate everything to major key centers. Even altered or blue notes always in your mind relate it. Eventually your ear will tell you the notes to play. Jazz isn't about reading music, unless your playing in a big band. I've never been a big transcriber, although I understand the reasons to do it, but If you can pick up things with your ear and retain them then you've got it.
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Hornwiz
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 16, 2021 5:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

hibidogrulez wrote:
Hornwiz wrote:
But isn't there a way to do it though... Like i was reading the 1st valve lowers a note by whole tone and 2nd by half and 3rd by minor 3rd...for example If you have never played the piano in 10 seconds you can get a good visual/feeling of how far the notes are apart and what key to hit... And you can can play right away... With the trumpet there has to be a "trick" with the valves somehow... Like which valve will allow the next major tone to be played then a half note up from that

The 'trick', insofar I understand what you're referring to, is exactly that: each valve lowers the tone by a fixed amount by lengthening the tube that the air goes through. There is no 'up' though, that's what the player does. You go 'up' by playing the next 'open' note and if you need something in between, you press a valve to lower it again. Each valve represents a specific interval and by combining them, you can combine the intervals to make even larger intervals. The 1st valve interval is a full tone, the 2nd a semitone and the 3rd a full tone + a semitone (i.e. the same as valve 1&2 combined).

For example, if you start at G going down to C, the valves are:
G - open
F# - 2
F - 1
E - 1,2 (or 3)
Eb - 2,3
D - 1,3
C# 1,2,3
C - open again, you're playing a different natural tone

If you want to up from that G, you do so by playing the C above it, and then press 23 to get back down to Ab. So going up from G, the valves would be:

G - open
Ab - 2,3
A - 1,2
Bb - 1
B - 2
C - open

and then for the C# you start at the E above and use valve 1/2, etc.

The is somewhat simplified as there are many other aspects of intonation (for example, the interval produced by the 3rd slide isn't exactly the same as that of valve 1&2 combined), but the above is basically how valves work.



(Hibidogrulez) This is exactly what I wanted to see! You are Brilliant!!!!!!! I will figure out the going up notes
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hibidogrulez
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 16, 2021 6:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You’re welcome.
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JayKosta
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 16, 2021 7:08 am    Post subject: Re: Playing by ear not knowing note names/combinations ? Reply with quote

Hornwiz wrote:
... must you know the valve combinations or can you play an open C and then play the E just by "Distance or must you know all the note combinations/names???

-----------------------------------------
A 'trumpet fingering chart' would be a big help to you. This is an example -
https://www.yamaha.com/en/musical_instrument_guide/trumpet/play/play002.html

A trumpet should not attempt to be viewed as a piano, harp, xylophone, etc that has specific keys or locations that 'produce' the desired note.

For trumpet, the player must produce the desired note/pitch INTO the mouthpiece AND use the valve combination that ALLOWS the trumpet to resonate that pitch. The 'fingering chart' shows the valve combination used to resonate, BUT the player MUST generate the pitch.
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Skanker
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 16, 2021 8:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I just downloaded a copy of the chart featured in this video - same idea as hibidogrulez's post.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dUlvbZy_4Aw
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cheiden
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 16, 2021 9:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It takes a lot of time on a horn playing scales, intervals and the harmonic series before you can expect to be able to play by ear.
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HERMOKIWI
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 16, 2021 10:44 am    Post subject: Re: Playing by ear not knowing note names/combinations ? Reply with quote

Hornwiz wrote:
Guys need from your expertise/knowledge...

What is the easiest way to play trumpet by ear... For example on piano even a new player can play a C and then hear a major 3rd E and almost with complete certainty play it just by looking and guessing the distance ... Since trumpet is not really visible , must you know the valve combinations or can you play an open C and then play the E just by "Distance or must you know all the note combinations/names???


You already learned to speak language by ear, so you have experience with the process of how learning to make sounds by ear is done. Specifically, you learn to match the sounds you want to make with the muscular movements necessary to make those sounds. It's a slow process of trial and error.

Learning to play trumpet by ear is done by the same process. Each pitch is a sound. It takes certain muscular movements to produce that sound on the horn. You don't need to know the name of the pitch in order to produce the sound corresponding to that pitch. It's a slow process of trial and error.

Learning scales and intervals helps speed up the process because it helps you to practice and develop a sequential muscle memory of ascending and descending pitches. Ultimately, however, being fluent in playing by ear is just a different version of being fluent in speaking. It has to be automatic and happen without thinking about it in order to be fluent.
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JayKosta
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 16, 2021 11:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

'Playing by ear' might be learnable with enough study and practice, but I think that 'natural ability' is also a large factor. Specifically the ability to envision the desired interval pitch, and to know what note corresponds to that pitch.

I think that many people can whistle or sing a simple melody and get the 'right notes' - but then attempting to play them on a piano takes a lot of 'hunt and peck'.

I have always done poorly when trying to 'play by ear', but I can usually do a decent job 'sight humming' a line of written music to get an idea of what it should sound like.
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JoseLindE4
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 16, 2021 1:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

On some level, most good playing is done by ear, even it begins with reading notes. Although it’s often related to improvising, playing by ear is a skill that all players should develop. Anyone who can’t play by ear well would grow significantly as an overall player and musician by working on it. The stronger the connection between the mind’s ear and the instrument, the better off we are no matter what kind of music.

As far as understanding how the system works las compared to a piano, the question is a matter of understanding the harmonic series. The trumpet is more or less seven different bugles by the magic of valves.
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JayKosta
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 16, 2021 1:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Skanker wrote:
I just downloaded a copy of the chart featured in this video - same idea as hibidogrulez's post.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dUlvbZy_4Aw

--------------------
The chart itself is fine, but some of the words used in the video to explain it are questionable ...
e.g. the C on the 3rd space of the staff is NOT called 'high C'. High C is 1 octave above 3rd space C.
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Skanker
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 16, 2021 2:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

JayKosta wrote:

The chart itself is fine, but some of the words used in the video to explain it are questionable ...
e.g. the C on the 3rd space of the staff is NOT called 'high C'. High C is 1 octave above 3rd space C.


Thanks Jay - I hadn't spotted that. It's one (of the many, I'm sure) things that I'm not clear on
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PMonteiro
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 18, 2021 9:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

FWIW, I played almost entirely by ear for my first few years on trumpet. I didn't know what valve combinations corresponded to what notes. I figured out the valve positions and how to play scales by trial and error, and it helped build serious muscle memory for when I later learned which notes matched the fingerings.

So my unscientific advice to learn playing by ear is to forget about the names of the notes. Hear what you want to play in your head, and as long as you understand how the valves operate the sound will come out.
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 18, 2021 10:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The valve combinations is just, to me, over-thinking. Do you know all your scales including the intervallic relation between notes within that scale?

Then know all the chords that those scales produce. Chords are a consequence of scales.
Then know your common progressions.

At the same time, learn how to embellish chord notes and scales.

Apply to very well-known and easy tunes and gradually get more complex.

Easy, see. It'll only take a couple of years.
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 18, 2021 11:08 am    Post subject: Re: Playing by ear not knowing note names/combinations ? Reply with quote

Hornwiz wrote:
Guys need from your expertise/knowledge...

What is the easiest way to play trumpet by ear... For example on piano even a new player can play a C and then hear a major 3rd E and almost with complete certainty play it just by looking and guessing the distance ... Since trumpet is not really visible , must you know the valve combinations or can you play an open C and then play the E just by "Distance or must you know all the note combinations/names???

IMO, the more you know the better off you'll be.

I don't know why anyone would even begin to attempt to learn how to play trumpet without first learning notes and fingerings. I can't really recall when it became second nature to me to the point where I'd see a note on the page and just know what it was - probably sometime in my 2nd to 3rd year of playing, but possibly in my 1st.

Aside from that though, in order to really "know" those intervals, a person would, again IMO, be much better off learning scales, chords/arpeggios, intervals, working on ear training, etc.

There's no magic pill or easy way - for most mortal people it's just a lot of hard work and study, and there's no getting around it.
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 18, 2021 11:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I once played in a community orchestra, a lady joined the trumpet section who was a talented musician. She could play, violin, piano, accordion and trumpet. However although she could look at the music and play the notes written, she had no idea what they were called or how long they were. She ignored rests completely and had no idea of volume markings, or key signatures. I had to tell her never to play louder than me. Once she’d heard a piece she was quite good at it. She had learned to play all her instruments just by ear. She’s still playing some 5 years later and now reads quite well and can do something that I can’t. She can play any tune she knows, without music. I can only play written music. If I can’t see it written down I’m stuffed. I know a guy who was a professional musician in the Royal Marines Band for 25 years and he’s like me, can’t play without sheet music.
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