Recreating Melody by Ear

Discussion in 'Working with Sound' started by Roject, Jul 30, 2019.

  1. orbitbooster

    orbitbooster Producer

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    Yep, I hope you noted that my guess was basically correct, I just added the possibility to make a perfect cadence stronger with a B dominant 7, that of course is not in the original composition.:wink:

    Well, I just found the root key, and then immediately chords, without caring much about scale mode.
    Seeing the D discrepancy, I checked which scale could fit, and found the mixolydian was perfect candidate.
    I would add that the structure of the song is pretty simple, and doesn't take much to transcribe, no need to consult a lot of theory.
    We still have the Roject request to fulfill, I'm sure will be a little harder...:mates:
     
  2. Ad Heesive

    Ad Heesive Producer

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    Absolutely, in fact playing the B major chord as a dominant 7 really does reinforce that hearing the song shift to E Ionian is correct.

    I fully agree with that. In a band context, we would have just spent a couple of minutes identifying the chords then moved on to jamming with them. Analysis wouldn't even get a mention. I'll admit to being well over the top here with all my woffle explanations. But that was just because it seemed like a thread where people new to this game might appreciate these ideas being explained in a lot more detail.

    What request is that? Is it the the Radiohead example? If so, then I already made a few quick observations.
    Very roughly, it's toggling between C Mixolydian mode and C Phrygian mode; (previously thought Ionian and Phrygian but I changed my mind), and I confess I've only listened to the first few bars of the song.

    I'm not sure whether I will find any time to look more into that. But hey, with the techniques we've revealed here so far, how about @Roject providing a few tries at using those techniques on the Radiohead song.

    If I'm not contributing much more to the thread it won't be because I lost interest.
    This thread has been very enjoyable. A nice topic and one that seems to have attracted sane comments only. Good stuff. :like:

    Cheers
     
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2019
  3. orbitbooster

    orbitbooster Producer

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    Yes, of course, and even if it seems a bit cryptic, I'll do my best to transcribe it, I like challenges (only up to my limits+1, just to raise them up!), and now that I widened my "ear sight" thanks to the the scale modes you introducted in this thread, it'll be easier.:thanks:

    You're right, but seeing the last user posts I got the impression that this thread has become just for the two of us...:hahaha:

    Yet, I'll provide more examples, hoping that this thing will grow.
     
  4. Ad Heesive

    Ad Heesive Producer

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    i.e., the Radiohead song. And when I thought about it there is some more theory discussion with regard to modes that I should have described, so I'm sucked back in just to round it off a bit. :)
    ==========

    Getting to know a Diatonic landscape

    This is a 'theory only' post. After this post, the ideas here will be shown applied to analysing the Radiohead song.

    One point to note is that when you read about all this theory stuff presented as words and pictures, it inevitably feels a bit daunting to wade through it. But if you already familiar with (or better still, know how to play) some scales and arpeggios then translating these theory ideas to what you already know is actually very easy.
    It really is just looking at what you already know from a slightly different perspective.

    Step [1] The scales / modes view of the Diatonic landscape (already looked at this in an earlier post above)
    [​IMG]
    What does it mean to say that you know this diatonic landscape?
    Is it ok to say "I understand the key of C Major because I can play and hear the C Major scale?"
    I think not! That would be like saying "I know this town, but I have only ever taken a stroll down the main high street".
    At the very least, you would explore the chords built on each note of the major scale, and that would give you a lot more familiarity with this diatonic landscape.
    And by exploring the modes shown above, you can also hear how the exact same diatonic landscape can now sound like (feel like) seven different landscapes. So, to say that you know this diatonic landscape must surely imply that you have explored and are familiar with these modes. But that's still not enough.
    You know that building chords on every note in the landscape is a good idea, so now let's extend that idea - a lot!
    Let's build the most extensive chords we can find within this landscape.
    Let's not stop at a 1,3,5 triad. Let's build a full 1,3,5,7,9,11,13 chord, and let's do that for every mode.
    This is like saying "I will only know this town when I've walked down every side street"

    Step [2] The tertiary (chords) view of the Diatonic landscape
    For each mode, re-arrange the notes into one long extended chord. (1,3,5,7,9,11,13,)
    i.e., 1st note of mode, 3rd note of mode, 5th note, 7th note, etc, build the extended chord using 3rd intervals.
    [​IMG]
    You see that column on the right. I put that there just to show you how horrible it is. I could write an entire essay on the pros and cons of using those traditional labels. For this post, I suggest you completely ignore them.
    Instead, I suggest you get used to the idea of naming each extended chord using just the mode name.
    So, for example, the D Dorian extended chord (1,3,5,7,9,11,13) is D,F,A,C,E,G,B, and it is simply called 'the D Dorian chord'.

    I recommend you find some way of actually hearing these extended chords, e.g., as chords or arpeggios on a piano, or in a DAW, etc. Make them available to practically explore.

    Step [3] For song analysis (and for improvisation) start using these mode chord names instead of the simple Major / minor names.
    For example, instead of thinking of a C Major chord, always specify whether you mean a C Ionian chord or a C Lydian chord or a C Mixolydian chord; they are all major chords.
    Recognise that the word 'Major' is just too ambiguous, Words like 'Ionian', 'Lydian', 'Mixolydian' are precise.
    They tell you not just the flavour of the chord but the tonal context for the chord.
    Similarly, instead of saying F# minor (that's too ambiguous), specify whether you mean F# Aeolian, or F# Dorian, or F# Phrygian;
    they are all minor chords.
    It seems like I just made your life more complicated rather than less complicated, but the payback soon follows.


    Step [4] Think of each extended chord as a palette of tones
    For example, when you think of the C Ionian chord, you now know that this means the entire 1,3,5,7,9,11,13 chord (C,E,G,B,D,F,A) and you can think of this extended chord as a sound palette from which to choose particular voicings or as a basis for improvising.

    So, imagine all these circumstances, a) you're analysing a song, b) you're embellishing some chords in a song that you're writing, or c) you're improvising over some chords. In all cases, if you just happen to be currently focussed on a C Ionian chord, then the entire extended C Ionian chord (C,E,G,B,D,F,A) is your current chord palette.

    You might find or choose the simplest possible voicing of the C Ionian chord, i.e., a C power chord C,G
    or you might find or choose a simple triad voicing of the C Ionian chord, C,E,G, or E,G,C, or G,C,E
    or you might find or include the 7th degree of the C Ionian mode in your C Ionian chord, C,E,G,B
    and now as you find or choose to include more notes, the possibilities for chord voicings are expanding,
    e.g., all of these random examples would qualify… C,G,B, G,B,C,E, C,C,G,E,B,E, etc
    e.g., Maybe you find or want to include the 11th degree of the Ionian mode in your C Ionian chord. and that might be with or without various lower degrees, e.g., with or without 5th, 7th, 9th, etc. So, you might find this set of notes sounds ok in some context… E,C,B,F,G, C.

    Notice, how you really don't care about the complicated labelling that any voicing might have.
    For example, if you're focussed on A Aeolian chord, you first make sure that you can see the A Aeolian mode as an extended chord (A,C,E,G,B,D,F) and then you identify or use whatever notes you like from that extended chord.
    If you find that the song included an F in that chord, or you choose yourself to use an F in that chord, do you really care that this might have a horrible label like Am7b13. It's simpler to ignore the labelling, just find the notes and know what context they are in - which extended chord are they part of.

    ===

    That's enough theory. I wrote this, then discovered I'd written four pages, so I've now crushed it into a much shorter post.
    The next post will apply these ideas to analysing a pop song.

    But, worth noting, all this exploring the diatonic landscape, definitely won't solve all the analysis issues. The simple diatonic landscape discussed in this post, (in effect, just the white notes on a piano) is still a bedrock foundation for lots of music but it is just the shallow end of the pool. Imagine if the basic landscape is more complex, or even just different. Then you have to start again and build a new set of modes, and chords, etc. To take a peek at deeper waters, you could follow the extract below. The ideas hinted at below are entirely relevant for deeper analysis. Don't be put off by the word Jazz if Jazz is not your thing (Jazz is not my favourite genre either)

    Quote from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jazz_scale
    "Many jazz scales are common scales drawn from Western European classical music, including the diatonic, whole-tone, octatonic (or diminished), and the modes of the ascending melodic minor. All of these scales were commonly used by late nineteenth and early twentieth-century composers such as Rimsky-Korsakov, Debussy, Ravel and Stravinsky, often in ways that directly anticipate jazz practice."

    We've only discussed the basic diatonic examples.
    Whole-tone, octatonic, and modes of the ascending melodic minor are a very different exploration.
    :)
     
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2019
  5. Ad Heesive

    Ad Heesive Producer

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    Analysing the Radiohead song - "Everything in its right place"

    I'm not trying to provide a full transcription of this Radiohead song.
    I'm just using the song to illustrate the ideas from the previous theory post.

    Analysing the main three-chord sequence

    Firstly, it has an odd time signature or just an odd bar structure, not an issue for this harmonic analysis but notice it anyway.
    You could say it's a strange 10/4 time if you want, or you could say it's traditional 4/4 but uses a two and a half bar repeating sequence.
    I'll just refer to the first 4 beats, then the next 6 beats, then repeat.

    What's the key?
    The song is using a fairly traditional device of toggling back and forth between a major key and its parallel minor key.
    The first 4 beats are in the Major key and the next 6 beats are in the parallel minor key. Then repeat.

    But let's revisit some stuff from the above posts and clarify a few things.
    Are we actually changing key?
    That depends on whether we mean 'strictly changing' the diatonic landscape or whether we mean changing the tonal center for the song. (see earlier post above)
    Answer: We don't change the tonal center. We can say that the song stays in the key of C.

    Are we changing the diatonic landscape? Answer: Yes. We are toggling between C Major and C minor. But, from the previous post, using terms like Major and minor is just not accurate enough, and would definitely be misleading for this song.

    The diatonic landscape for the first 4 beats is C Mixolydian. (saying C Major is too vague)
    The diatonic landscape for the next 6 beats is C Phrygian. (saying C minor is too vague)

    That is still toggling between Major and minor, with the same relationship that you would have if you were toggling between Ionian and Aeolian, but the landscape is definitely not Ionian and Aeolian (i.e., definitely not traditional Major and natural minor)
    You just have to recognise it as toggling between C Mixolydian mode and C Phrygian mode.

    So, that's the 'what key are we in' discussion dealt with. Now we need to look at specific chords.

    --

    Now I urge you to think about the modal extended chords discussed in the previous theory post.

    Thinking about the chord(s) used in the 1st 4 beats - when in C Mixolydian mode
    [​IMG]
    So, the chord palette available to choose notes from is C,E,G,Bb,D,F,A
    Radiohead chose to use a simple C,E,G triad
    Conceptually it's just the C,E,G triad. For this analysis, I don't know or care what actual inversions they used.

    Thinking about the chord(s) used in the next 6 beats - when in C Phrygian mode
    [​IMG]
    There are two chords used. The bass plays Db then Eb. In the previous theory post, I recommended focussing on each chord and identifying precisely which chord it is in modal terms. So, it is not enough to say the Db sounds like a major chord, and the Eb sounds like a major chord, I want to know exactly which major chords they are.
    Let's reveal a few more of the modes and chords found in this diatonic landscape.
    [​IMG]
    From this I can specify more accurately that when the bass plays a Db I have a Db Lydian chord, and when the bass plays the Eb,
    I have an Eb Mixolydian chord.

    Now look at the bottom two rows.
    These are the chord palettes that I can use over the Db Lydian chord and the Eb Mixolydian chord.
    What did Radiohead actually use from these palettes?
    Well they were very sparse and they also avoided using some of the more obvious choices.
    They included a G, C in both chords. That helps a lot to retain the feel of being in key of C throughout.
    and if those C and G notes make the Db and Eb chords seem complicated, so what? they were just nice choices from the palettes for each chord.

    Over the Db chord they played Db, F, G, C (1,3,11,7)
    Over the Eb chord they played Eb, G, C (1,3,13)

    Again, I don't care about the inversions used, I just want to know the notes chosen from the palette.
    And then there's a short phrase in the 1/2 bar bit C,Ab,G,C, that fits in the landscape perfectly.

    For me, that's good enough, I know which modal chord palettes were used, and I know which notes they selected from those palettes.
    I don't care about all the arguments people can now get into about labelling or spelling those chords, especially the very sparse (1,3,13) used over the Eb.
    I'm guessing people might try to use various labels for the three chords, like, CMaj, DbMaj7b5, Cm/Eb, but even if people were not arguing over those labels, I doubt that any labels would ever tell me more than I already know from the mode palette approach.

    For me the three chords just are C Mixolydian, Db Lydian, Eb Mixolydian.
    I can now jam along using the palettes for those three chords without contradicting anything Radiohead did.
    I can hear and feel that when I'm using the Db Lydian and the Eb Mixolydian that I'm still in the same diatonic space as C Phrygian, and all of those facts can inform an improvisation.

    Somewhere later in the song, they throw in an F Major chord over the C Mixolydian section.
    Well no surprises there, it's a brief use of the F Ionian chord from the same diatonic space as the C Mixolydian.

    All done :wink:

     
  6. orbitbooster

    orbitbooster Producer

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    Well, I can say that this Radiohead analysis is not really for the faint of heart!
    But that's normal if the tune is somewhat unconventional, I'm going to test the theory explained and see IF it's possible to squeeze it into essential drops.
     
  7. Ad Heesive

    Ad Heesive Producer

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    Another extension to the previous theory posts. Still just exploring a basic diatonic landscape.

    Previous posts…
    • Chose the simplest diatonic landscape - the 7 white notes on a piano.
    • Mentioned how that diatonic landscape is traditionally viewed as a C Major scale and/or as an A natural minor scale.
    • Preferred to view that diatonic landscape as seven related modes. One mode for each note in the landscape, instead of just the two traditional Major and natural minor modes.
    • Rearranged the notes (in each of the seven modes) as an extended chord (1,3,5,7,9,11,13)
    • Showed how all of the above can be useful for analysing songs

    This post… (just more ways of looking at the same diatonic landscape)
    Exploring the diatonic landscape by carving up the extended chords into smaller chunks.
    This stage goes on forever, you can invent countless useful ways of subdividing the extended chords.
    So, below are just a few examples of how to carve up the extended chords. None of them are anything special.
    They are shown just to encourage people to see how carving up the tonal landscape can be done and hopefully encourage people to explore and invent their own approaches.

    First example

    [​IMG]
    There is so much that could be said about the above way of looking at it, but I won't write that essay.
    I think it's much better to just let your imagination explore all the possibilities.
    e.g., A pianist that already knows 7th chords (as simple 1,3,5,7 voicings) could just rest their hands on a pair of adjacent 7th chords and have an instant way of seeing any mode.
    (I'll do a separate post below to show just one way that guitarists can exploit the same idea)

    Once you start breaking the extended 1,3,5,7,9,11,13 chord up into smaller chunks, (like the pair of adjacent 7th chords shown above) you should quickly realise that there are countless options available to explore.

    Second example
    This really is the simplest standard example. But if this idea is new to you then it should still be a real eye opener (ear opener!).
    Imagine a bass player and a guitarist playing together, and imagine that you're the guitarist.
    Assume the current chord in a song is C Major 7.
    Maybe your first inclination is to look for ways of playing a C Major 7 chord on your guitar.
    But maybe that is you 'being too busy' and forgetting you have a bass player to work with.
    You can assume the bass player will play the C root note, so you don't need to play it.
    You can ignore the root of the chord and explore the triad that's above the root note.
    i.e., C Major 7 chord is just the same thing as a C root note plus an E minor triad (see the table below)
    Now you can ignore ways of playing C Major 7 chords and instead explore playing various inversions of the simpler E minor triads.
    Would you have thought of exploring E minor triads when the song said C Major 7 ?
    Of course the same idea applies to every 7th chord (in every mode) as shown below.

    [​IMG]

    Third example
    This really is just one from dozens of possibilities, chosen almost randomly just to emphasise that so many possibilities exist, all worth exploring. So this arbitrary example is here just to encourage you to invent your own examples. Invent your own ways of carving up these extended chords into smaller chunks to explore.

    [​IMG]


    Imagine combining example 2 and example 3.
    Imagine a song that had an A minor chord which you knew was A Aeolian (A natural minor).
    The bass could be playing the A root, while you could be exploring playing combinations of G Major and D minor triads.
    Who knows what you might find in there.

    Hopefully, by now, you're convinced, there are countless ways of carving up the diatonic landscape, and because the whole thing is a simple diatonic landscape, almost every way of carving it up has the potential to sound interesting.
    It is diatonically safe; so, it's harder to be discordant in this space.

    Is any of this new?
    Occasionally some nutter may try to convince you that they have discovered a ground breaking new theory about how all this works - it will probably be nonsense! Ways of carving up this diatonic landscape have been extensively explored for hundreds of years. (see 'a joke question' below) The best advice is just wade into it yourself, see how many ways you can find for yourself, and see if any of them help with your own music making.
    None of this theory stuff is special. The only special stuff that emerges from this is called 'music or songs'.

    ---

    What about exploring outside of a simple diatonic space? That's a big topic! But the idea of exploring more complex spaces by seeing them as combinations of triads can be one very fruitful way of exploring.
    This now encroaches on a topic discussed a lot in Jazz, i.e., triad pairs. In the examples above, all triads are strictly from the same diatonic landscape. But that can be extended to work in tonal landscapes other than traditional diatonic, e.g., whole-tone, octatonic, modes of the ascending melodic minor, etc.
    Here's a couple of books that head off in that direction. http://www.mediafire.com/file/0f1kdvgjy9ju16b/Triad_Pairs.rar/file
    and here's just one video on Triad Pairs www.youtube.com/watch?v=4CKZtOhsJUs
    Search for 'triad pairs' in youtube and you'll find dozens of interesting videos.

    ---

    A joke question: Should I sue Jean-Philippe Rameau for stealing my original ideas :):) about exploring diatonic spaces,
    for stealing my secret insights ? :):) (yeah, right :rofl:)

    Answer: maybe not, Rameau published his version in 1722. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Treatise_on_Harmony
    Traité de l'harmonie réduite à ses principes naturels (Treatise on Harmony reduced to its natural principles)
    is a music treatise written by Jean-Philippe Rameau, first published in Paris in 1722.

    Here are two tiny extracts. The language translated from 1722 French is tricky! and quaint, but the music theory is lovely!
    This 1722 book goes well beyond the diatonic exploration shown in this post!
    So, none of us are ever in new territory here! :wink:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2019
  8. Ad Heesive

    Ad Heesive Producer

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    This post is just for guitarists.
    It is based entirely on the theory from the above post, so I recommend maybe reading that first.

    Here are fretboard patterns for the four standard 7th chords.

    [​IMG]

    I now fully expect every experienced guitarist to start laughing or swearing and saying something like "those are ridiculous patterns, you would never use those to play 7th chords". Well of course I know that.

    As chord patterns they're practically impossible to reach, and as arpeggios, they might be useful to someone doing sweep picking exercises, but otherwise not much use. And of course there are far more interesting and realistic ways of playing 7th chords and arpeggios on a guitar.

    So why show these patterns at all? Because I'm trying to illustrate the idea from the above theory post where you can see any mode as being made from two adjacent 7th chords. So consider this diagram where two 7th chords have been shown side by side using the above patterns.

    [​IMG]

    This is actually a usable pattern (even if still not a preferred pattern) for playing a mode. You can play this mode as a two-notes-per-string pattern, and it has some interesting possibilities. For example, while playing it as a C Ionian mode you can treat it as a modally decorated C Maj7 arpeggio just by emphasising the 1,3,5,7. (using hammer-ons or whatever)

    I find these patterns useful - just as a way of seeing any mode as two adjacent 7th chords.

    I doubt if guitarists need any more description than that, so, here's the same idea for each mode.

    [​IMG]
     
  9. orbitbooster

    orbitbooster Producer

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    Wow, I'll have to take a day off to study all this stuff, though I don't play guitar.:winker:
    Coming back asap.
     
  10. jakori.tahar

    jakori.tahar Newbie

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    You start with a comparison Onlinesbi sudoku incometaxindiaefiling of two really distinct intervals, i.e. major and minor thirds, then work your way up to all the intervals in a scale and so on
     
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2019
  11. khamarionelyon

    khamarionelyon Newbie

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    Personally I used to do this all the time with my sax and I could pretty quickly be able to identify melodies and simple chords.
     
  12. Esteros

    Esteros Member

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    There are different types of people...

    Producer 1 - Can hear melody, can hear chords, can transcribe all by ear without need to know what scale he is in. This is usually someone who can play piano well with both hands. Mike Verta for example.

    Producer 2 - Can hear melody, can transcribe it, but needs help in DAW to check what scale fits to transcribed melody, and pick chords for melody. This also works very well, but such producer can pick different chords than in original, but it will be still ok. Usually someone who played piano only by right hand. This is category I be long to.

    Producer 3 - Has no idea to transcribe melody, instead he find it easier to find bass notes in DAW, form chords to fit original, and than get some help to find similar or same melody. Probably the worst of 3 and someone who never played piano.

    Producer 4 - Someone who knows notation, plays piano, music wizard, or musically completed person.

    As you can see piano knowledge plays big role in music producing.
    You don't need to know to play melody by esr, you can still produce, but harder, and your melodies won't make much sense, you will end up being like losers on subreddit "We are the (one note) music makers".
    If you go on their discord and listen tracks in feedback, you will find that it is just random noise instead of any music.
    People buy different hardware, software, and produce noise. This is genocide on music.

    1. So your best bet is to practice at least right hand on piano, in year or two you will develop sense fir particular music, you will develop sense for what note comes after particular note, this can't be explained, Just developed sense.

    2. Study theory, play by notation, and again this method will develop your ears so you will sooner or later play by ear again.

    3. Make noises like WATMM.
     
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  13. Esteros

    Esteros Member

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    Knowing to form every single scale in the world won't help you at all with transcribing or creating own melodies.

    Knowing every single book of theory will give you zero help to create melodies.

    There are so many types of music, theory in books can explain in details Mozart or similar composers, but it will never explain music, because in music there is no mistake, its own taste.

    While I support you for scales, it is better to simply know them, or at least ones that particular person wants to use, its still good and rather better than go confusing yourself with circle of fifths, for which, after one realized it and how it works, he or she will find it useless for midi producing.
    So yeah, knowing formula for scale helps with playing piano, but develop ing and transcribing melodies it does not, and third, knowing deep theory to circle of fifths is good to know, but useless, we would never have formula for building scales if theory can actually explain anything.
     
  14. orbitbooster

    orbitbooster Producer

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    Actually, after I studied scales and harmony theory (the last not very deeply, can be quite complicated) I can almost immediately get root key, melody and chords.
    Before it was a pain in the ass.
     
  15. demberto

    demberto Kapellmeister

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    Noob here...
    I just can identify when a note is UP or DOWN from the previous note.
     
  16. Lois Lane

    Lois Lane Audiosexual

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    Really? If that is the case then you are probably tone deaf, and so then the music creating thing is not likely to get off the ground in any way, shape or form. You could learn to play drums if you have a good sense of rhythm though.
     
  17. demberto

    demberto Kapellmeister

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    Ohh? I thought it just was a noob problem which would go away with practice and listening and learning music theory. I did not understand the tone deaf thing, I can differentiate between, for example, C and D but i cannot tell whether it C and D or D and E (if it is something else than a piano, i guess)
     
  18. Lois Lane

    Lois Lane Audiosexual

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    Location:
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    Oh, that's sooo different. The very far and away uber majority of people don't have perfect pitch and know instinctually what note is being played. You are normal. Relative pitch is more important when recreating melodies, or the space between any two notes being played. Some people have musical computer brains and can play and remember every song that they ever heard.

     
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