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macaxx
08-30-2011, 04:03 AM
Guys do you have any idea/tips/techniques about playing ukulele by ears? well i know some of you know how.. please share it to us..and in that way we won't force the UU team to make a very hard tutorial 'cause we can make our own version of some songs and share this to the UU community :)



Thank you! We Love Ukulele! \m/

Dougf
08-30-2011, 04:30 AM
This is UU member Jim D'Ville's specialty.

http://playukulelebyear.blogspot.com/

Ukulele JJ
08-30-2011, 11:16 AM
Guys do you have any idea/tips/techniques about playing ukulele by ears?

The first tip to playing ukulele by ear is to strum only with the very tip of your earlobe. Otherwise you'll catch the whole ear in the strings and it can be painful!

Ah, but seriously...

Learning to figure out songs by ear is basically a two-pronged approach. The first things is that you just have to do it. You have to dive in and start tackling a song, even though it's hard and you're not good at it yet. Pick an easy melody like "Happy Birthday" or "Twinkle Twinkle" and work your way up from there. There's no substitute for experience.

The second "prong" is to learn a basic framework of music theory knowledge. This acts as a sort of roadmap for what the next note/chord is most likely to be. It narrows down the almost infinite possibilities to just a handful of candidates.

For example, if you pick out a few notes and you happen to know that the notes all come from the C major scale, then it's a pretty good chance that the song is in the key of C. That's going to really narrow down the most likely chords that you'll play.

Once you get good at picking out melody lines, you can start picking out other notes in a song. Especially the notes that the bass is playing. Bass notes will really help you narrow down what a chord is, because the note the bass is playing is frequently the same letter that the chord is.

Okay, that's a lot of gobblety-gook. But to sum up: You get better at picking out songs by doing it. And music theory knowledge will help too.

JJ

bazmaz
08-30-2011, 12:04 PM
I play this way a lot. Really don't want to sound snobby but there is no fast track, it comes with experience. Some lucky blighters (not me) do it naturally, most need to get playing time under their belts.

But as said above, sound music knowledge helps, particularlybhow chords work


Y

ksiegel
08-30-2011, 12:46 PM
This is UU member Jim D'Ville's specialty.

http://playukulelebyear.blogspot.com/

I have to agree. While I've been playing by ear for most of my life, I attended Jim D'Ville's Play By ear Seminar, and it was a wonderful experience. I may not have learned an incredible amount (it was only Part I I got to), I did learn WHAT I'd been doing all that time - and that, my friend, counts for a LOT!

. . . -Kurt

chindog
08-30-2011, 01:03 PM
Just be careful not to get your sideburns caught in the strings. That always happens to me when I play by ear.

Uncle Rod Higuchi
08-30-2011, 01:39 PM
Back in the 6th grade when I was learning how to play the uke we HAD to play by ear since there were no
song sheets for the rock n roll songs we wanted to play. this was back in the 60's!

I first learned to play as a 6th grader so I was 11 or 12 yrs old. I listened to the radio and tried to copy
the chording to the songs I enjoyed. Fortunately they were slower back then and pretty much had the
same chord progression, just in different keys! that taught me transposing by necessity, since i couldn't
sing as high as those recording the songs.

One kind of 'fakes' one's way through the songs. Today we have so many song sheets to choose from
that playing by ear may be becoming a 'lost' art except for those who do not have ready access to
the aforementioned sheet music.

To echo what's already been shared, just do it no matter how you sound. Working it out trains your
ears/hearing and helps you learn what chords go within each key. (personal ad - the Boot Camp
may assist in collecting chords that usually go together in a key)

Keep at it and in time you'll gain confidence and experience and one day find yourself navigating
a song by ear. What a great 'aha' moment!

keep uke'in',

Ukulele JJ
08-31-2011, 10:57 AM
Back in the 6th grade when I was learning how to play the uke we HAD to play by ear since there were no
song sheets for the rock n roll songs we wanted to play. this was back in the 60's!

[...]

Today we have so many song sheets to choose from
that playing by ear may be becoming a 'lost' art

That's a good point. Nowadays if you want to know the chords for a song, you just type it into Google and you stand a pretty good chance of finding them. Heck, you might even find a full-blown tutorial on YouTube!

When I was a kid, if you wanted to know how to play a song, you could either head down to the local music store and hope that they had the sheet music for you to buy (no Amazon.com then either), or you would have to figure it out yourself. I definitely remember sitting at the piano with a tape recorder, playing back and rewinding songs bar by bar, trying to sloooowly learn them.

A pain in the rear, but good for the ear!

JJ

siauke
08-31-2011, 02:03 PM
Uncle Rod -- Mahalo for your boot camp. I've been working with it -- it's really helped with learning chords and of course making chord changes.

Kem
08-31-2011, 06:45 PM
I play this way a lot. Really don't want to sound snobby but there is no fast track, it comes with experience. Some lucky blighters (not me) do it naturally, most need to get playing time under their belts.

But as said above, sound music knowledge helps, particularlybhow chords work


Y

I've got to agree with the above. I've learned most of my instruments (except for the flute, in which I am classically trained) by ear; piano and ukulele were the first two instruments I taught myself by ear and, in the case of the ukulele, from scratch. It helps to know some musical theory; one of the most important concepts to master is the idea of intervals (for instance, if you know what a major third is, you will be able to apply this knowledge to music in any key). You also need to be willing to fool around A LOT. Figure out for yourself what sounds good; gradually, you will realise WHY it sounds good. Listen to music and try to reproduce the melody in one key, then in multiple keys. Eventually (and by "eventually," I mean "years or decades later" unless you are a musical prodigy), you will be able to improvise melodies and harmonies simultaneously. It generally takes more practice than most people are willing to put into it. There's no magical method that will have you instantly improvising like mad.