Anglo-Irishman Posted June 12, 2008 Share Posted June 12, 2008 This is off subject, but why do you think it true about learning faster with respect to playing by ear? Well, that statement is just part of the running jokes that sight-readers and by-ear players make about each other. There are exceptions to the clichee in both camps. Actually, by-ear players only SEEM to be quicker at getting a tune off by heart than sight readers. This is because, by definitoin, the by-ear player always knows the tune BEFORE he plays it for the first time. He's heard it often enough, and can hum or whistle it. To do this, he has to instinctively know the intervals between the successive notes. Being familiar with his instrument, he can translate the feeling of a third, a fifth, and octave or whatever to the instrument - as he does to his vocal cords or lips when humming or whistling. The first attempt may not be perfect, but with each iteration, the uncertainties are eradicated one by one, and there is less and less "educated guesswork" involved. At some point, he is no longer playing by ear, but from memory, which is the goal that sight readers must also pursue if they are to "get the tune down". Sight readers also learn by iteration, but they have the disadvantage that they have to first get the notes, then recognise what the tune is supposed to sound like, and then put in the phrasing. The by-ear player has an acoustic model against which he can check his progress. If a by-ear player's memory fails him, he can recourse to playing the "lost" passage by ear again - the sight-reader in this situation has to dig out his sheet music - or have it on his music stand, just in case ... which makes it appear that he hasn't learned the piece yet. This description is rather folk-oriented, I admit. Traditional music is, by definitoin, music you've heard, not music you've read. Unlike "classical" music, it does not come to you as an unadorned sequence of dots representing a sequence of notes, but as a complete tune, plus the usual decorations, tempo, rhythm, etc. that the sight-reader has to work up himself - and pencil into his score. Basically, I think that sight-reading is the better approach to classical-type music, and by-ear playing the better approach to traditional-type music. Cheers, John Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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