Ear V reading?
I see there are a number of posts about playing by ear, can anyone, either experienced player or moderator, comment on the advantages/disadvantages of playing by ear versus from music? I realise there will be different opinions but it would be good for me, and hopefully other players to see what the rest of the world thinks!
I have "played" on and off for many years, but only by ear, I can think of a tune I heard maybe 10 or 20 years ago whilst driving home in the car and then pretty much be able to play it when I get home. I can't play chords or read music, I bought a book called "rudiments of music" many years ago, but couldn't understand it, so threw it away and just played my own style. I think I would really like to learn to play properly, but reading music seems so boring and I don't have much time. Also I seem to have good days and bad days, sometimes I just can't play and then other days it just seems as fluent as talking. If it makes any sense I seem to play from my heart, not from my head, it's a bit like driving a car, you don't think when you are going to change gear or brake or turn, you just do it automatically, well I play the same, I don't often work out were the notes are or memorise them, I just seem to be able to play the tune. Just thinking about it, the negro guitarists in the deep south, amongst other people, presumably just played by ear, I assume they had a "musical gift"?
Does any of this make sense, or am I mad!
Both are valuable skills that a complete musician will develop.
Different people have different strengths and weaknesses, and some will find one easier than the other.
It's not a matter of trade-offs between exclussive options. Reading is important as is a well developed ear.
"The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There's also a negative side." -- HST
As kingpatzer said, both skills are valuable.
But, if I were given the choice of only developing one skill I would rather be able to play by ear.
Interestingly, some of the best complete musicans in the world are blind.....
I may grow old, but I'll never grow up.
most of my life Ive learned songs by ear. either cold alone or listening to an album or CD and playing along.
lately, Ive been delving into cowboy music; historical stuff. I bought a Cowboy song FakeBook.
I am relearning* how to read so I can 'get' the melody down with a song I never heard.
it would be a good thing to know how to interpret a chord chart.
* I was taught how to read a long time ago and have forgoten and relearned many times. now I want it to stick.
well, most classical music and a lot of stuff with multiple lines is written down, so you can learn that way. playing by ear is good because it helps you learn on a more instinctual level, and your music will be more natural. i guess with the car analogy, reading is like a map. you can get around your hometown without a map, but you wouldn't want to drive to alberquerque. or something. i'm mostly talking out of my arse.
I've never actually managed to work a classical piece by ear, I've always headed straight to the shop to buy the score.
Solos from classic metal anthems? No problemo. Who needs the sheet music.
I don't know why it's this way. I'm just a humble lawyer who'd like to give it all up and play guitar
"Be good at what you can do" - Fingerbanger"
I have always felt that it is better to do what is beautiful than what is 'right'" - Eliot Fisk
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