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Do I Need Chords


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Your responses interested me but I don't think they answered my question.

 

Do you need to hear yourself to be able to play properly. This may sound a little insensitive, but can you be a deaf musician - plenty of blind ones - but do you need to hear what you are playing.

 

As I said, I can play the tune without thinking about it but when I couldn't hear myself I just didn't know where my fingers should have been.

 

I play a little jazz, sax and clarinet, and often don't have any idea of what I am going to play when I stand up to play an improvised solo. Yet, by listening to the rhythm section and having the melody line in my head, I can play, at least, to my own satisfaction. But last night I knew exactly what notes followed the other, I just lost the thread.

 

Am I alone?

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Am I alone?

 

Nope. I've heard numerous musicians say that they can play without hearing themselves, and it is normal for some. But it is beyond me.

 

Perhaps the skill could be developed with practice, but why? When playing for fun, is it still fun when you can't hear yourself in the mix?

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Be aware that there are several ways of "chording" the same tune, but only one will work at a time. If surrounded by melodeons, don't play anything fancy because they can't and you will sound like the one who is wrong.

 

This is not usually a problem. Often the chord choices complement each other. If we're playing in D and I play a G chord while you play an E minor chord, together we're playing E minor 7th, which will work fine in any context where either of the individual chords would work.

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Be aware that there are several ways of "chording" the same tune, but only one will work at a time. If surrounded by melodeons, don't play anything fancy because they can't and you will sound like the one who is wrong.

 

This is not usually a problem. Often the chord choices complement each other. If we're playing in D and I play a G chord while you play an E minor chord, together we're playing E minor 7th, which will work fine in any context where either of the individual chords would work.

 

Or it's some inversion of a G6, which could "jazz" it up a bit?

 

Chords don't always complement each other, though, so you should listen (where possible) and eventually learn to adjust to fit with (though not necessarily duplicate) what others are doing.

 

E.g., if the tune is basically in G, a held E could be backed by either a C chord or an E-minor. The two give distinctly different feelings, and while the combination might be called either C-major 7 or E-minor 6, in the context of the tune it's more likely to be called "ugly". But if on your instrument you play only a G and/or an E -- with neither a B nor a C, -- you should fit with whatever the others are doing. (Unlike melodeons, you can omit any particular note from a chord, if you wish.)

 

Meanwhile, passing through a brief E as part of a "run" or "riff", you -- and everyone else -- normally will (and usually should) just continue the chord that goes with its surroundings... or even not play any chord (or bass) at all for that brief moment. Space between notes -- and especially between chords -- can be very refreshing.

 

But don't back off from learning for fear of offending someone. If you're frequently with the same folks, they most likely will (and definitely should) be pleased if you ask them what chords they are playing in any place where you have a doubt.

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Have you heard someone who tries to sing whilst listening to the song through headphones? The singer thinks they are in tune but normally it's hideously out of tune.

If they could hear themselves then I think they would adjust - may not be perfect, but better than the catterwaulling.

 

I think this is the answer. I think you need to hear yourself sing or play and adjust as necessary.

 

Folk singers used to put one hand behind their ear, I assume so they could hear themselves.

 

PS

Still struggling with practising chords.

I hope it will get easier

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So if you can't hear yourself, you must be playing the right notes. At least, that's what I always tell myself.

It might be reasonable advice to look in the faces of your fellow musicians from time to time, if they seem to be chewing pieces of lemon you might want to lift your instrument close to one ear in order to double-check what you're doing... :)

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Also

I play by ear, so if I can't hear myself, how do I know if t's right?

That's the crux of the matter! If you're playing from memory - meaning muscle memory, whereby your fingers know where to go and when, you probably don't need to hear yourself.

I play mostly by ear, so I need to hear THIS note to know what THE NEXT note should be. But when I've been playing a particular piece for years, I do get the finger movements off by heart, and only need my ear for the phrasing and dynamics. But phrasing and dynamics are pointless in a session, aren't they? :P

 

I would imagine that people who sight-read fluently would have little trouble in a noisy environment, too - is that so?

 

Cheers,

John

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Also

I play by ear, so if I can't hear myself, how do I know if t's right?

I would imagine that people who sight-read fluently would have little trouble in a noisy environment, too - is that so?

 

Au contraire, AFAIK! With much attention to the dots (and without a chance of hearing my own playing) I'm always wondering whether I'm missing the row or line, or even side... :huh:

 

That's when I lift the instrument to one ear...

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I wonder if a little pocket recorder like a Zoom H1 or an H2N that has a monitor jack for headphones or an earpiece could be set up to give you a little personal monitor?

 

Alternatively, I don't think it would be difficult to write a mobile phone is app to do this.

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I wonder if a little pocket recorder like a Zoom H1 or an H2N that has a monitor jack for headphones or an earpiece could be set up to give you a little personal monitor?

 

Alternatively, I don't think it would be difficult to write a mobile phone is app to do this.

 

That's a good idea, worth inquiring...

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