ear training

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by deathbunny, Jan 16, 2003.

  1. deathbunny


    Jun 2, 2002
    been playing bass for abt 2 yrs now, but my ears are still whacked out! can't tune properly, can't transcribe songs by hear and can't name notes from listening either! help me if u can i'm feeling down......
  2. Phil Smith

    Phil Smith Mr Sumisu 2 U

    May 30, 2000
    Peoples Republic of Brooklyn
    Creator of: iGigBook for Android/iOS
    Don't dispair deathbunny, training your ear is like any other training, it takes time and consistancy. You have to keep listening, and listening and listening, there's really no shortcut. What you can do though is begin to determine what things sound dissonant and what things sound consonant. Take intervals for an example, a major 3rd, perfect fourth, perfect fifth and octave are consonant, wereas a minor second, tritone, and major seventh are dissonant. The other intervals are kind of less dissonant the the dissonant ones or less consonant than the consonant ones. The advice I got from Todd Coolman is that you use your ear in conjuction with a process of elimination to arrive at what something is, by eliminating what it ain't.

    Keep listening...
  3. Lovebown


    Jan 6, 2001
    Not really looking to start an argument but what is generally considered consonant/disonant intervals are:
    1st category: Octave, P4, P5 (kind of empty)
    2nd category : M/m3 , M/m6 (more "character")

    and for dissonant you got:
    1st category: Tritone , m7, M2 (mild dissonance)
    2nd category: m2, M7 (dissonant)

    There are terms for these cateogories, unfortunately I don't know them in english.

    Anyhow, back to the question, deathbunny do you know any music theory?

    Can you play/sing a major scale?
    Sit down with your bass (or a piano if you got one) and slowly try to sing a tone in the scale while your playing the root note. Like hold down C (assuming your in the key of C) and sing the major 3rd which would be E etc.

    Generally speaking, if you can get a musical fragment into your EARS to the point where you can sing it, you can get it out of your bass (even if it takes woodshedding). Singing is GREAT for your ear.

    Try singing an easy bassline of a record transcribing each note for note.

    Good luck

  4. stephanie


    Nov 14, 2000
    Scranton, PA
    The key is to take it slow, and like Phil said - don't despair. It takes time.

    I am currently working heavy on transcribing a song by ear (some Mozart. It's been a big project for me and I'm quite proud of my accomplishment as I've been working on it since Thanksgiving and it's really starting to come into place...) and I can give you a few pointers:

    1) Figure out what key the song is in. If you don't know the notes in a key I would say practice your scales. From there it gets easier. If you know what key the song is in you will know practically all the notes of the whole song (excluding accidentals).

    2) Take it note by note, measure by measure. Work on one note at a time. Some advice would be to take a single measure and try to figure out the 1st and last note of the measure and then it would be easier to figure out what's in between.

    3) Harmony. Learn your chords. you will start to discover patterns within a song.

    Hope this helps :)
  5. Boplicity

    Boplicity Supporting Member

    Definitely check out "Ultimate Ear Training for Guitar and Bass" with CD, by Gary Willis. Hal Leonard Publishing. $12.95.

    The book starts with intervals, the basic building blocks to help you undertsand and identify what you are hearing. It progresses to more complex theory such as chords and their inversions and has you work with identifying rhythms also.

    You cannot go wrong with this book/CD set. Take lots of time with it. Don't rush through. Don't go to the next exercise or chapter until you are really sure of the first.
  6. PollyBass

    PollyBass ******

    Jun 25, 2001
    Shreveport, LA
    Go to www.musictheory.net

    Download the lessons. or the trainers, rather. there is an ear training program in them, to help you out. Ricci's whole site is pretty darn cool.
  7. DarkMazda


    Jun 3, 2000
    maybe im just lucky.. i can tune a bass pretty well with my ears.. several people on TB say I have perfect pitch or whatever but hmmm :p

  8. deathbunny:

    I'm gonna teach you how to tune your electric bass right here and now. What those other guys told you was too confusing!

    What I'm about to tell you is so simple, you'll wonder why no one on here has ever said it, or any teacher or player has either...because no one ever told me either! Not until I started taking lessons to what would be my THIRD and last private music (guitar/bass) teacher, did I learn this simple technique of tuning.

    Okay, first step...you already know how to tune, right? I start off on the G string and work my way down to the E. Some may argue that you should start off on the E, but I've always started with G.

    2nd step... Get that G string in tune by any means, use a tuner is what I do. From there, I don't need a tuner. You know to use the fifth fret for every string you tune I'm sure... but what NO ONE ever told you is this...LISTEN to the VIBRATIONS the notes (strings) make when they are out of tune from each other!

    My god, was that hard to tell someone?!? No! I know I sound ecstatic or something, but geezus, no one ever told me! You play the open G string note first...then the G on the open D string, right afterwards, so that they ring in harmony. Listen to the VIBRATION! If there is a VIBRATION, then it's out of tune.

    3rd step...To get that D string in tune, make it flat. It is easier to tune a string when it's flat, than when it's sharp. Now just keep hitting that G string and G note on D string (5th fret) so they keep ringing for you to tune it easier. Try it...if you can't do it...put your ear right up against the neck...and listen for the vibration to disappears as you tune the string. Once that vibration disappears entirely, then both strings are in tune with each other.

    Okay, that's it...just do the same for A and E strings. You don't realize how easy it is once you've learnd this. It took me years to learn how to do (on a guitar) because no one ever told me this. They just said to do it over and over until you can hear the notes correctly.

    I put this as SIMPLE as I could possibly lay it out to you. But sometimes simple is better. And tuning a bass is a lot EASIER than tuning a guitar.
  9. TravellinMan


    Jan 11, 2003
    NW Indiana
    Check out you're local music store for Lessons, I was lucky and found a good player/teacher to teach me this! Knew how to sight read and read tab, But I'm about 3 months in my ear training and it just starting to come to me now!
  10. whitenoise


    Jan 11, 2003
    i dont know if anyone said this already but when you do intervals try having a familiar tune to identify each one with it really, really helps.
  11. deathbunny


    Jun 2, 2002
    thx for all the help, folks. i'm gonna try and fit as much of that as i can into my daily regime

    anyway i can find out more about this consonant/ dissonant stuff?