i also find it difficult to play by ear.is there any techniques to know which keys to play if i want to play any song on the piano?
determing the singers key
Posted 16 May 2013 - 07:15 PM
Posted 31 May 2013 - 01:13 PM
To know the key a singer is singing in,we must know the harmonic structure of the song[it's chords]and how they relate to the melody being sung. If I hear someone singing "Happy Birthday",for example,I know the first phrase ["Happy Birthday to You"] contains melody notes from the key we're in [5,5,6,5 up to ,7] that are supported by a chord [the 1 chord]. If I find [i.e.by plunking around on the keyboard] that the singer is singing on this phrase the notes G-G-A-G-C-B, then I know[through this melody to chord relationship] that the chord supporting that melodic phrase is C major.So,we are in the key of C,as it's the 1 chord in C major.Developing the ability to play a song by ear involves 1]being able to pick out the melody-which involves pitches,intervals and rhythms and 2]being able to find the chords that support the melody-again with pitches,intervals,rhythms and chord "qualities"[i.e. major,minor,etc]. The best way to do this is to take a simple melody that you already know[so that it's firmly established in your ear]and VERY SLOWLY pick out its notes.Singing the melody you're picking out helps too.It would also help to find a very simple sheet music version of this tune that supplies its chord structure.Get the key and starting note from this sheet music version and put it away-bringing it back to check your work,and the chord structure of the tune.This is just one idea for how to get going with playing by ear.The more you work at developing your ear for pitches,intervals,rhythms and chords the more skill you have at playing by ear.It's a building block process that takes a long time,and if you enjoy the PROCESS,challenging though it may be,you'll be more likely to continue with it.Hope this helps.Happy playing, Will
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