April 14th, 2003, 09:21 AM
I need your help. I am quite apt at pick out solos from records.
But when it cames to chord progressions then it is another issue. I have difficulty.
Is there any way to better develop this skill ?
How did you guys get good at it ?
April 14th, 2003, 11:20 PM
April 23rd, 2003, 10:29 AM
I use a combination of approaches:
Find the bass note. It is usually easy to hear the bass note in a chord, and depending on the type of music, it may often be the root. If not the root, it is almost certainly the third or fifth. (There are, of course exceptions.) Then you have to be able to hear whether the chord is major, minor, or dominant 7 form, most musicians can easily hear the difference, I don't know how practiced your own ear is. If you can't tell by listening, just try all three and I'm sure you'll immediately recognize which one matches. For altered chords or chords with extensions, see later.
Predict with theory. For example, if you are in the key of C and a chord progression goes Dm7, ???, C, then the ??? is probably a G7 or substitute. Your ear will have to fill in the details from there. If you know the key you are in, and the tune is fairly modal (i.e., melody and chords are in that key), you can learn the most likely candidates for chords in given situations.
Brute force. Starting with the lowest note, try to pick out the individual notes you hear by playing along with the recording. This is the hardest way to do it and should be a last resort. After you do this a couple of times with a chord form, though, you will find yourself recognizing the whole chord by ear without having to pick out individual notes.
When I was learning to do this the hardest time I had was in chords with similar voicings, like trying to tell an Am7 from a Cmaj7.
This is not meant to be a tutorial, just kind of something to give you an idea and get you in the right direction.
April 23rd, 2003, 02:49 PM
I'd agree with everything Jeff said above, especially the "predict with theory" part. If you know what kinds of chords are likely to be there, it's easier to identify them, and to isolate and recognize the ones that aren't.
Upper tensions (9ths, 11ths, 13ths, etc.) and altered tones (b5, #5, etc.) can also throw your ear off, but again, figuring out the bass note and having a knowledge of functional harmony (how chords work within a progression) can help a lot.
There was a similar thread here a couple of weeks ago called "tips for transcribing." You can check it out here:
If all of this is new material, then you might want to look around for a good teacher in your area. Lots of times just being pointed in the right direction is all you need to make faster progress. Best of luck, CS :-)
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