Tip: Ear Training Break

Dec11

Welcome back to exploring music.

We’ve been digging into the “One Finger Method,” but we’re going to take a break from that to do a bit of playing by ear. This new tip is a quick one.

The idea behind this tip is to use just one finger on one string to play a simple melody. The melody we’ll use is from “The First Noel,” the Christmas song.

We start like this: keeping your playing just on String 3 (the G string), press your finger on Fret 4.

Play that note. Then, move your finger to Fret 2. Play that note, then take your (left) finger off completely and play the open string. If you played that correctly and with a steady, even tempo, you hopefully heard the first three notes of this song.

Your task is to work out the remaining notes of the song, based on your memory of it and the starting notes just given. To help you do this, realize that nearly every note is either two frets up or down from the previous note. The exceptions? Leaps of five frets, and a move of just one fret. These happen in a few places.

Sing and listen carefully to find them. As you sing, make your hand rise or fall with your voice, so you get a visual aid to your singing. And stay to just String 3.

Good luck! And thanks for reading.

Copyright © 2009 Darrin Koltow

This first appeared in the Guitar Noise News – March 15, 2008 newsletter. Reprinted with permission.

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About Darrin Koltow

Darrin is the creator of Maximum Musician, a terrific site where you can learn about improvising, harmonizing melodies, playing by ear, good practice habits, motivation, and other topics.

Comments [3]

  1. Just saying thanks for all that you do in instruction. I have yet to make a donation. Things are pretty rough for me right now. So it will be a while before I can make one. But eventually I will. Take care!!

  2. Donations are totally voluntary. There’s no obligation. We’re happy to have you here no matter what. Have a great holiday season.

  3. easy guitar songs says:

    This is a great tip – I got nearly all the way through the concerto de aranchez (spelt something like that anyway?) like this. It’s a great way for beginners to get a feel for the guitar. You soon learn why there is more than one string when you hacksaw your finger on a single string moving over an octave or more! What a revelation that was :-)

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