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Verticle hearing

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by jblake, Jan 17, 2002.

  1. jblake


    Aug 30, 2001
    Gray, ME
    I've been plagued by this since I can remember. I can transcribe bass lines and melodies pretty well given enough time. (my eartraining has atrophied a little) The thing I have a very hard time with is hearing the harmony. I used to easily pick out major and minor chords as long as they were in first inversion. Once you invert the chords or add tensions I get lost.

    So, for those who can do this well, how do you practice it?
  2. jazzbo


    Aug 25, 2000
    San Francisco, CA
    I think a lot of it is tonal center and exposure. First, the more and more exposed you are to this type of harmony, the more and more you can recognize patterns. I strongly believe jazz studies are critical for this. I've found a lot of Monk and Coltrane tunes to have very interesting harmonies, that I spend a decent amount of time analyzing. (Real Book). So, exposing yourself to it aurally and visually is extremely beneficial.

    Also, with tonal center, you can refer what you're hearing to the overall key of the song. While you're still going to have odd tensions that don't always make clear sense, but for the most part, you can understand how something is being resolved, better understanding the original tensions.

    Does that help at all, or am I smoking crack?
  3. geoffzilla


    Oct 30, 2001
    Nashville, TN
    Endorsing Artist: Aguilar Amplification
    If it makes you feel better, I think it makes perfect sense. Don't ask me to apply any of it though. I haven't done ANY type of chord analysis since I finished school. I find it much harder to keep up with when there aren't any tests.
  4. jblake


    Aug 30, 2001
    Gray, ME
    Thanks Jazzbo,

    Yup, makes sense definitely. Just getting back into transcribing tunes. I realized recently that its been a LONG time since I've sat down and picked out a bassline or melody. Then I figured I might as well right it down as well.
    There are a couple I've got my ears on:

    1. Gaslighting Abbey by SD with Tom Barney on bass. Killer groove. Wacked out harmonies on the chorus.

    2. Norwegian Wood from The New Standard by Herbie Hancock. Dave Holland on bass. Great stuff.

    Thanks again.


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