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Discussion Starter #1
:) Hi,

Opinions...

Best 'Jazz' Ear training method/book (w/cd) of the market?
What are your opinions?

thanks :bluewink:
 

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what do you mean with that?
the book starts from basics and starts getting harder right?
The book starts off and gets harder fast. There exercises to sing a blues scale in chapter 1 and a I - V - I progression
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Do you have the Lego's book? I forgot what it's called. It's down in my studio. By Conrad Cork I believe his name is.
No i don't have any ear training book like this one's. I usually just do some more or less random exercises. I know there are a lot of books about this subject, i mean a lot lot! that's why i'm askin' for some opinions.

Thanks
 

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Hi,
i have written my degree dissertation about "eartraining in private study for the Jazz- and Popmusician" when i was studying Saxophone (Jazz) at university some years ago here in Berlin.
The most important question is, what you want to achieve with the eartraining? There's a difference in the trainingmethods for example if you want to recognise chords than maybe to improve your ability to improvise and build good melodies.

Personally i think most of the books (and i have many of the available ones and know some of the other books) are not worth the money. Some have good ideas but are missing a simple concept or structure that really will work in relation to what you need. Most are not covering all the topics or simply forget how learning, memorization and our brain are working. Very often they also completly forget to tell what you will achieve by doing these exercises or if it will bring you the results you are looking for as a musician.
It's back to the question: What is ist what you want to achieve by eartraining, where's your personal problem, what is it you want to get better in and why?
Without these questions you will be wasting time.

Eartraining is a lot of hard work and it takes time to improve but the effects are great, it changes your perception of music and improvisation a lot.
The way to get there is not that easy. You can nail every chord 100% in an eartrainingprogramm on computer without the garanty that you will be able to recognise a single chord in livemusic or from a redording.

To cut it short: being able to play some chords on the piano can help some for hearing chords but the important point is: sing, sing, sing and also train your inner ear and inner singing (sing in your head and know what you sing that also goes for chords, learn to imagine the sound of the voicing you've played on piano).
Control yourself with a pitchpipe, your instrument or a piano. Repeat it often, not to often but without some repetition your brain will not memorize it thoroughly.
You could use very different material for doing that, chords, intervalls, melodies, transcriptions, patterns, everythings helps.
For improvisation for example it is good to take a playback of a mode (e.g. Aebersold Major and Minor or his Dominantworkout) and try to improvise by singing to a track. I do this often with my students to improve their ability to build melodies but you got to keep it simple (maybe start with the first 3 notes or only the triad) in the beginning and try to know what you sing (in relation to the root/tonic).
If there is something specific please feel free to ask.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Hi,
It's back to the question: What is ist what you want to achieve by eartraining, where's your personal problem, what is it you want to get better in and why?
Identify in real time chords (by itself) and chord progression to improve improvising just by ear...

"The way to get there is not that easy. You can nail every chord 100% in an eartrainingprogramm on computer without the garanty that you will be able to recognise a single chord in livemusic or from a redording."

So what is your advice to help on this?
 

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First of all some questions, to know what you allready can hear or do.
Before you can hear progressions you've got to learn to differentiate between the chords.
Can you sing different chords (as an arpeggio)? up, down, inversions, permutations?
Can you sing different voicings for chords (e.g. Walt Weiskopf: Around the horn)?
Can you play chords on the Piano with different voicings?
Can you sing single notes out of the chord you are playing on the piano?
can you sing the arpeggios in your head?
Can you imagine the sound of the chord in your head?
Besides to know as much about music theory helps.
How good do you know theory about chords, chord-scale relationship, chordbuilding, voicings etc.?

Progressions:
there are a lot of ways to do that and it depends on where you are right now again?
If you are a beginner it is good to start to sing II-7, V7, Imaj7 progressions as arpeggios and learn them on the piano also. After playing and singing imagine them in the head.
If you already are advanced you should start transcribing progressions from recordings (that's tough if you never did it before). Take only a few measures, start with the bassline (although this can sometimes be deceiving if the Bassplayer simply is wrong or it is an inversion or something more complex like polytonality). It's helpful to use a keyboard and a pc with a software which can loop and slow down things for you. A Good start is to take Aebersold recordings because you can control wether you are right or wrong and the chance that the bassplayer ****ed up is lesser. Than after the Bassline start with the first attempts to find the chords (in the beginning this means a lot of try and error and practise but you will get faster after some time). It is good to first find the tonalities of the chords, is it minor, major or diminished etc, stay with the triads. After that start with the sevenths and then search the tensions and options.
This will take a lot of time and and much more time till you are fast enough for realtime (something only few really will achieve).
Knowing a lot about typical chordprogressions is helpful if not necessary. Even better is to being able to play them on your horn and the piano.

Don't forget Theory is really essential to eartraining, it can fill in blanks and let you understand things faster. There more you now, the easier it is explainable.

But don't think this will make you a good improvisor. Recognising chords don't mean you can build melodies on them or on progressions. That's a complete different thing.

Besides what music are we talking about? Jazz is more complicated to hear and analyse as e.g. Funkmusic.

Sorry my student is here, gotta stop now, if something is not clear tell me and i will give it another try or if you have another question, no problem.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
First of all some questions, to know what you allready can hear or do.
Before you can hear progressions you've got to learn to differentiate between the chords.
Can you sing different chords (as an arpeggio)? up, down, inversions, permutations?
Can you sing different voicings for chords (e.g. Walt Weiskopf: Around the horn)?
Can you play chords on the Piano with different voicings?
Can you sing single notes out of the chord you are playing on the piano?
can you sing the arpeggios in your head?
Can you imagine the sound of the chord in your head?
Besides to know as much about music theory helps.
How good do you know theory about chords, chord-scale relationship, chordbuilding, voicings etc.?

Progressions:
there are a lot of ways to do that and it depends on where you are right now again?
If you are a beginner it is good to start to sing II-7, V7, Imaj7 progressions as arpeggios and learn them on the piano also. After playing and singing imagine them in the head.
If you already are advanced you should start transcribing progressions from recordings (that's tough if you never did it before). Take only a few measures, start with the bassline (although this can sometimes be deceiving if the Bassplayer simply is wrong or it is an inversion or something more complex like polytonality). It's helpful to use a keyboard and a pc with a software which can loop and slow down things for you. A Good start is to take Aebersold recordings because you can control wether you are right or wrong and the chance that the bassplayer ****ed up is lesser. Than after the Bassline start with the first attempts to find the chords (in the beginning this means a lot of try and error and practise but you will get faster after some time). It is good to first find the tonalities of the chords, is it minor, major or diminished etc, stay with the triads. After that start with the sevenths and then search the tensions and options.
This will take a lot of time and and much more time till you are fast enough for realtime (something only few really will achieve).
Knowing a lot about typical chordprogressions is helpful if not necessary. Even better is to being able to play them on your horn and the piano.

Don't forget Theory is really essential to eartraining, it can fill in blanks and let you understand things faster. There more you now, the easier it is explainable.

But don't think this will make you a good improvisor. Recognising chords don't mean you can build melodies on them or on progressions. That's a complete different thing.

Besides what music are we talking about? Jazz is more complicated to hear and analyse as e.g. Funkmusic.

Sorry my student is here, gotta stop now, if something is not clear tell me and i will give it another try or if you have another question, no problem.
You've pointed out great stuff. I will check out some of them.
Thanks
 

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@ florian

All the things you mention above are in these 2 books. I highly recommend that everyone should check out the book by harry pickens. IT ONLY COST $1,50!
 

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@ florian

All the things you mention above are in these 2 books. I highly recommend that everyone should check out the book by harry pickens. IT ONLY COST $1,50!
I've studied and wrote a review of the first Donelian (among others) for my degree dissertation and think it is not bad for a beginner with some knowledge about music theory. It's better than having no clue what to do.
But regarding the structure, the missing of the mentioning of the inner hearing (which is fundamental for improvisors and not mentioned in the book as far as i can remember), the missing of "what for" and "why should i do this", the missing of some explanations why just this or/and that progression (the theoretical background) I can't recommend it as the only book to use.

To be honest, the part about progressions is not handled very good.
Especially the missing methodology in terms of how we learn in reference to studies about learning and memorization, makes it less effective than it could be.
Doing all permutations (called scrambled patterns by Donelian if i remember right ) of a chord possible, directly one after the other, will not work for a beginner. The reduction to one or two permutations with repeating each one several times and hear/sing it in your head would be more efficient.

But you are right, it is better than several others. At the time it was published there wasn't anything better out there. And in combination with the one of Mixon Donovan you get soemthing you really can start with.

Teaching Students to play saxophone, improvisation, eartraining and composition really got me to the point that i think we allways have to see to break up information in chunks (information units) that are small enough for the one you teach that he/she has the chance to understand it, use it and make progress (this is also very effective for private studies).

In my opinion there is no book out there at the moment wich deals with every aspect of eartraining and has a good methodology (whether it is one book or several volumes of an author).
Even if you have most of them you will not cover everything necessary in effective methodologies.
But you can find in different books a lot of different ideas how to practise some eartraining at all.
For my degree dissertation i've worked over a year studying books, concepts, doing statistical investigations with musicians and develop my own methods, i've really learned a lot out of it. But still i'm always working on my eartraining.

Maybe if i have the time i will do some reviews of some books i have.
 

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Would you be willing to share your degree dissertation?
 

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Would you be willing to share your degree dissertation?
Trust me it is not that interesting as one might think. More than the Half of it is about why eartraining, the statistical research and reviews of books and software, the whole thing is 120 pages long and is 7 years old.
But i never stopped being curious and very interested about eartraining and learning concepts and methods (it's like once i'm on the hook i can't stop).
The whole thing came out of the frustration of the disability of our teachers at university to teach us eartraining methods that would work and that you don't need a second person for.
While studying at university one of the theory/eartraining teachers was working together with me on a software concept. The teacher organized a lot of the financial amount necessary for the product but we failed in finding a reputable software company willing to programm it and to release it under their name (they simply were not interested or wanted more money than we could organize and we are talking about an amount of a number with 6 zeros he already organized).
Since then i'm planning on a book but teaching, gigging and my life kept me too busy since then.
Right now i am so much further in my knowledge regarding eartraining concepts and methods than i've been since i was writing my dissertation degree that it is not that up to date in some parts that i like to hand it out right now (gotta confess i'm a perfecionist in this regard). But you can always ask me if you are interested in a special topic, if i can help i do it willingly.
 

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Well, i have the most trouble with transcribing and hearing chords changes. I'm a decent piano player when it comes to chords(can play II-V-I progression in major and minor in 12 keys with multiple voicings(mostly rootless)), but it still almost impossible for me to figure out the chords. Could you please give me any advice on that? I would be very grateful. Thank you for your help by the way I think you greatly contributed to this thread.

Edit: I see you already gave some advice on this I'll check that out first

edit 2: Do you recommend the number system or the solfege system for naming notes?
 

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Well, i have the most trouble with transcribing and hearing chords changes. I'm a decent piano player when it comes to chords(can play II-V-I progression in major and minor in 12 keys with multiple voicings(mostly rootless)), but it still almost impossible for me to figure out the chords. Could you please give me any advice on that? I would be very grateful. Thank you for your help by the way I think you greatly contributed to this thread.

Edit: I see you already gave some advice on this I'll check that out first

edit 2: Do you recommend the number system or the solfege system for naming notes?
Chords and progressions:

The problems about figuring out chords and progressions are diverse.
Normaly there are 2 typical settings were one tries to find out what chords are being played:
1. Playing in a band live (it doesn't matter whether it's a rehearsel or on stage).
2. You want to transcribe something

The problems are similar but the task in the first case much tougher.

Therefore let's start with number 2:
A lot depends on what material you use to transcribe? Is it an old recording and is the sound good? Can you really hear the piano and the bass? Is the Instrumentation with only few instruments or is it a whole orchestra?
If you take a recording you should, if you are a "beginner", try to get one with not that many instruments and good sounquality. You gotta be able to hear the bass and the piano very clearly. That's the reason why i always suggest to start with an aebersold recording, there you also can verify whether you've been right or not.
Very often strings or Hornsections can lead you in the wrong direction or confuse you because of the instrumentation or the arrangement (but actually in some occasions it also can help).
A typical problem is that sometimes the pianist and the bass are doing different things, maybe one plays a substitute, an inversion or an upper structure, also a reharmonization is possible only played by one of them or a "superimposition". And don't forget one of them maybe simply plays wrong or is late. You can't imagine how often i heard this on recordings since I'm doing transcriptions.
It is always easier if the recording material is about functional harmony, here a lot can be explained with logic and theory if you are not sure. Taking a recording without functional harmony will make it quite difficult and should not be something to start with. The great plus, using a pc, is you can loop audiomaterial and maybe use slow down software that sometimes also is equipped with a good equalizer, so you can do something to hear the piano or bass better (e.g. transcribe).

I've already desribed my standard approach:
Take a short section of a recording and loop it, maybe slow it down, use the equalizer if necessary. Then start with the Bass, then the triads of the chords, then the sevenths (or on major chords sometimes the sixths), then options and tensions. Sometimes it helps if you try to figure out the scale that fits to the chord (loop only the chord).
Sometimes it helps to first find out in what key the song is on the recording (having a leadsheet of the melody in the correct key could help because the chords should fit the melody in the majority of cases in funtional harmony).

If it is about playing live:
it is in some points like before but now you have to react in realtime and you also have to play (maybe also improvise). That is a tough one. If you can play the changes on piano, very good. But you should also be able to play typical substitutions, so you can recognise them if they are played. You should also know them on your horn and the sound of them. This takes a lot of practise, and i mean really a lot of practise. You should know your theory behind functional harmony or you will have no chance. And sometimes your bandmates simply are playing wrong notes. It is sometimes difficult to know whether it is a hip substitution or superimposition or simply a wrong chord or bassnote that you hear because both sometimes sound super hip or very very bad.

to both: try to sing and to imagine as many Chords and progression with and without inversions and substitutions loud and in your head. Learn them on the piano and on your horn.

solfege or not solfege:
I hated solfege when i was studying on university and didn't get the idea behind it: relative pitch recognition, the tendency of certain notes to lead to other certain notes and the ability to learn how to create melodies.
The number system is good when you work on a single chord i think, but if you practise a 251 i don't think it is good to see the root of every chord as a number one. With solfege you will get the connection between the chords a little better but i have to confess, very often me personaly i'm not using numbers or solfege any longer. I always teach solfege to my students because i think it helps and there are some good books out there for beginners but it will take some time to learn it and i don't use solfege in my head while i'm improvising only to practise singing.
 
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