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Benefit of using the Ear

Posted by Andah1andah2 on Sunday, June 12, 2011

Thought I'd post on some recent satisfaction I had yesterday.  With all the hurdles that come with the little wooden box with four strings, I was actually pleased with myself.

I decided to learn Faded Love, figured it was a right of passage.  After listening to several versions, I took off on figuring out the notes.  I learn everything by ear.  I don't even know how to read music.  Well, it came to me pretty quick that it was in the key of D.  Also, as I went from phrase to phrase, the right notes just found themselves pretty easily.  My left hand just knew where to find the notes and I worked out the tune in about 10-15 minutes.  

Please note that I'm just talking about the notes.  The tune is still very rough.  I haven't put it to memory or figured the best bowing or the timing, etc.  but I was just happy with my developing skill to listen and then work out a tune by ear.

I was also "fiddling around" (sorry) with Uncle Pen.  I really like the breaks or fills in Monroe's 1950 version.  Of course, I know if I eventually get it down just like the recording then I would be professional grade since it was probably done by Baker or Hicks.  Having been working on Jenny Lynn in AEAE, I realized the tune is in the same key.  The last break in the tune actually has the fiddler playing the B part to Jenny Lynn.

 I have really started noticing how so many of these AEAE tunes use the same patterns with only slight variations to the notes or the groove.  In fact, sometimes it's hard to get started on a tune because you start out playing it and keep messing up because you left hand wants to keep playing the A or B part from another similar AEAE tune.  Like with the B part to this tune, I need to focus because my left hand wants to play the B part to Sugar in the Gourd or Cotton Eyed Joe.

 



6 comments on “Benefit of using the Ear”

Watergal82 Says:
Sunday, June 12, 2011 @8:34:51 AM

It's such a great feeling when tunes just come out of your fingers, without a huge struggle. Congratulations on the progress.

FiddleJammer Says:
Sunday, June 12, 2011 @10:51:30 AM

Congrats, Stew!

mudbug Says:
Sunday, June 12, 2011 @12:45:08 PM

It's great to get those small subtle things that let you know you're getting better. Nice, Stew!

dwoolsey Says:
Sunday, June 12, 2011 @8:35:20 PM

wow~~Stew you've put it all together and sounds like you're really enjoying this playing by ear style. I also play by ear and it just is so uncomplicated and fun. Sometimes the B part is the only thing that saves me when I don't have a tune down solid. Seems as though they usually have a little different twist it them.

KCFiddles Says:
Monday, June 13, 2011 @9:41:39 AM

I think that was Merle Taylor on "Uncle Pen".

Progress is fun! It's always happening, but sometimes it's more apparent than others.

bj Says:
Friday, June 17, 2011 @5:07:51 AM

Next step-- having it go in your ears and come out your fingers! It'll happen. Keep at it.

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