How to play piano by Ear

How To Play Piano By Ear

play piano by ear

Playing the piano by ear is one of the most amazing skills that you will want to pick up. Just by simply listening to a piece of music and start playing it can be a very cool skill to learn. Most people could do that easily with simpler melody or a well known song. But to be actually be good at playing by ear, you need to have to practice your hearing better.

For this course, we would teach you some of the basics of playing piano by ear. Of course to be able to play by ear skillfully, you would need to master at least some level of piano skill before you can play difficult pieces by ear. But lets just get started…

Trial And Error –

To start learning how to play piano by ear, you can firstly start this trial and error practice.

You may want to start with a simpler song like Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. I’m sure you know how does the song sounds if not otherwise, we would suggest that you listen to it again.

Now after you have listen to the song, start to put your fingers on the piano and trial and error with the keys. Try to find the first note.

Have you found it?

It is usually a C for most of the Twinkle Twinkle Little Stars song.

If you hum the tune out, it would be something like “Doe Doe So So La La So”.

If the first note is C, which represents the “Doe”, then the next melody is “So” which would be 5 notes away from the C which would represents the G.

Do you sort of understand this?

Do you know what would be the next note? It’s the A key which represents the La key.

piano by earNow once you have understand this, maybe you can try to figure out the whole song by yourself. It may be difficult at the start but after a while, you will find that you have played the whole songs.

From this exercise, you can see that humming out the sound can help you greatly in playing the piece by ear.

Finding the Doe, or Re or Mi can also help you find the other notes easily. This is using or finding the melody, if you can figure out how does the melody goes for a song, you can figure it out how to play the piece easily by ear.

Note: The same melody can be played on different places of the keyboard.

If you read the beginning, you will notice that I’ve mentioned that it is usually start on the C. You can actually play the same piece starting with different keys on the piano and it still sound the same.

For example, we could start with D instead of C. And it will be D, D, A, A, B, B A.

That’s because you have change the key of the piece. When you start at C just now, you are using the C major. If you start at D, you will be using the D major. (please note that the it doesn’t meant that if you start with any key, the major will be the same as the key).

You can actually tried to practice the Twinkle Twinkle Little Stars with all the keys. It will be challenging but if you can stay determined, you will eventually able to play the piano by ear easily.

Digital Pianos

Thinking About Buying A Digital Piano?

This article strives to provide you with helpful, informative and reliable information, from someone who has had experience with Digital Pianos and who has nothing to gain from passing on his knowledge.

There are a number of online merchants that sell digital pianos online & my job is to help
you make a better buying decision when it comes to obtaining a digital piano that suits your needs!.

I will review the brands I have used and show you some of the important product information that will assist you in your buying decision.

Casio Digital Piano

Casio are a fully established and recognized global brand. There corporate creed is “Creativity and Contribution” From Calculators to Camera’s… Watches to Musical Instruments, They have their creative side indulged in many areas where they can demonstrate their “Creativity & Contribution” at best. One of those areas is in the musical instrument sector and in particular with Digital Pianos!

Yamaha Digital Piano

Another excellent and well-admired brand in the music industry is Yamaha! They are a well respected manufacture for many different instruments such as Drums, Guitars, Live sound and of course… Digital Pianos! Yamaha’s finest digital pianos offer both form and function with cutting edge digital piano technologies. All from the world’s leading acoustic piano manufacturer.

Your Guide To Buying A Digital Piano

Did you know that digital pianos have become very popular as an alternative to the ever impressive acoustic piano? Over the years, more and more people have decided to purchase themselves a digital piano in order for them to learn how to play. Having piano lessons is also important and you can find more details at www.aboutpianolessons.com. For one thing, they are certainly a lot cheaper to buy then an acoustic piano. Digital pianos also come with many different features and functions and the different sounds it can produce is really cool!

However, buying a digital piano can also include its frustrations as there is an overwhelming variety of digital pianos available in the marketplace. Some are inexpensive to buy and others would burn a hole in your pocket! The important thing to understand here is knowing a few things about what you want in a digital piano, as this will help you make a satisfactory buying decision.

Below are a few things you will need to ask yourself which can help you get the digital piano that suits your needs!

Polyphony

What is Polyphony exactly? Polyphony refers to the distinct number of notes that your digital piano keyboard will be able to play simultaneously. As a rule of thumb, you want at least a 32-note polyphony. Why? Simply because the 12/16 note polyphony found in cheaper keyboards will cause problems as you start to play difficulty chords.

Sounds

Perhaps the greatest advantage a digital piano has is the fact that it pretty much has any type of sound you want with them. These devices typically have many dozens of different instrument sounds. There are probably many sounds you will never use or even know of. However, if you do intend to use them, you know its there! So when buying a digital piano, make sure that its got the sounds that you want.

Speakers

Speakers are also an important factor in choosing a digital piano. All the music you will be playing on this device has to come from somewhere… right? There are some digital pianos that do not include built-in speakers, and for the ones that do, you will want to ensure they sound good and are loud and clear!

Size

Another important consideration to take into account is the actual size of this device. You will want to make sure that the size of the digital piano is small enough to fit into the space you have for it. If you plan to tidy away the piano when not in use, make sure it fits under a bed or in your closet so it doesnt take up added space. You will also want to make sure that you include space for the stand, bench, case and any other accessories you have.

These are some of the digital keyboards I have used over the years

Casio CDP-100 Digital Piano

Casio CDP 100

Introducing the Casio CDP-100 Digital Piano. This piano is among the least expensive 88-key keyboard in the marketplace. However, while it lacks some of the added features of more expensive models, it is a great entry level piano for beginners if you do not want to spend more money.

Casio PX120 Privia Digital Piano

Casio Privia PX 120The next Casio model we’d like to introduce is The Casio PX120. This particular digital piano may well be the best choice for an intermediate piano player wanting real piano experience, portability and affordability. If you feel that you need to take your piano experience to a higher level without spending a lot of money, this digital piano is the best choice for you.

Casio PX800 Privia Digital Piano

Casio Privia PX-800Incorporating technical competence and fantastic quality piano sampling, the Casio PX-800 generates detailed and dynamic piano sounds that are closest to that of a real grand piano. You get the play of a full sized manual or acoustic piano in a body that’s quite compact and sleek. The casing of the piano is pretty cool and is pleasing to the eye!

Casio PX320 Privia Digital Piano

Casio PX320 PriviaIf you enjoy playing the piano together with other musical instruments, you will love the upgraded features that come with the Casio PX-320 digital piano. Now… For the price, this keyboard should exceed your expectations. For a start… The grand piano sounds are marvelous and the added accompaniment features will motivate you to play more on this instrument! However, if you are a beginner, this model just might be a bit to complex for you, so bare this in mind!

Casio PX-100 Privia Digital Piano

Casio PX-100The Casio PX-100 Digital Piano is another good choice for those at a beginner level. Its light weight and compact and its possible for you to take it with you anywhere that you want! The Auto Accompaniment feature provides exciting realistic and dynamic background arrangements for pop, rock, jazz and some more genres. When you are not using it, you can easily fold it away and store it in a convenient place!

Yamaha YPG 535 88 Key Portable Grand Piano Keyboard

Yamaha YPG 535 88The first Yamaha we have listed is the YPG 535 88 key portable keyboard! This amazing piano comes with great sounds, integrated composition and learning tools. It easily fits into a small corner of a house or apartment, as well as to anyone’s budget. The Yamaha YPG 535 is a good starting point since the keyboard also comes with a built-in sequencer that enables you to make your own compositions.

Yamaha YPG 635 88 Digital Piano

yamaha-YPG635-keyboard-standOur next featured Yamaha Digital Piano is the Yamaha YPG 635. This model is in fact an upgrade from the earlier model… the 635. The additional features on this digital piano are certainly worth while! The weighted keys are a great improvement to its sound quality over the soft-touch type. All in All, you will be blown away by all the improvements and added features, sounds and effects. However, we are still a little disappointed that Yamaha didn’t do anything about the on-board speakers.

Yamaha NP30 Portable Grand Piano

Yamaha NP 30 Portable Grand PianoIf you want to learn to playing the piano and get right to the music without the hassle of a complicated composer or workstation features, then perhaps you should take a look at the Yamaha NP30! The Yamaha NP30 Portable Piano just might be the best digital keyboard that can deliver to your needs. The NP-30 offers all the fantastic sounds, a great feel at an amazingly low price without your needless extras.

Yamaha P85 Digital Piano

Yamaha P85Introducing the Yamaha P85 Digital Piano. This is a fairly reasonably priced piano if you take into account the quality that Yamaha is recognized for. As a matter of fact, This model is actually one of the highest quality electric keyboards you can find at such an affordable price. The sound quality is great on the Yamaha P85. However, the speaker location on the device affects output, as you can not get the best results using a standard keyboard stand. All in all, it is a great choice for replicating sound from an acoustic piano.

Yamaha Arius YDP160

Yamaha YDP 160The Yamaha Arius YDP160 Digital piano is one of the most impressive digital pianos we have ever come across! If you ever get a chance to play this before you purchase… then do so with your eyes fully closed! You will feel like you are actually playing a grand piano. It also comes with great features such as the built-in recorder and metronome. However, even without these features, you’ll be amazed!

Muscial Instrument Insurance

Musical Instrument Insurance

Most people assume that their musical instrument will be covered under their household insurance or even their travel insurance and that they don’t have to worry about it too much.

broken violin

However this is not always the case and there are a number of issues to take into consideration.

 

  1. Do you play your instrument away from your home? Do you take it to school or play in an Orchestra? Some household policies do not cover possessions away from the home, so the moment you take your instrument out of the house, you are not covered if it is stolen, lost or damaged.
  2. Is the instrument valuable? Even if you do have cover outside the home, there are normally policy limits and conditions of cover. If you own a really valuable instrument (some violins for instance can be worth hundreds of thousands of pounds) see Stradivarius it may be too expensive for a standard household insurance.
  3. Do you play your instrument for a living? Are you part of an orchestra or band? Most household policies will exclude items if they are used as part of a profession, so again your musical instrument would not be insured.
  4. Can you get your instrument replaced if it breaks down? When you have had time to think about the answers to these question, it will become apparent that if you are a serious musician or DJ, then specialist musical instrument insurance is something that you will need to give serious consideration to.

There are several specialist companies offering instrument insurance. One particular company that speclialises in this area, has three policies available, musicguard, Insurance for musicians and their instruments, Orchestralguard, Insurance for Orchestral Musicians and their instruments and DJguard an insurance policy for DJ’s and their equipment.

Music Guard

MUSICGUARD

This policy covers accidental damage, theft (including from a vehicle) or loss and most importantly your instrument against failure due to a mechanical, constructional or electronic fault.

The cover is new for old and you can choose from cover at home, UK, Europe and or Worldwide.

The policy includes public liability insurance and the hiring of a replacement instrument whilst yours is repaired or replaced.

orchestral guard

ORCHESTRALGUARD

The cover is almost identical to that of musicguard, but of course caters for a whole orchestra. Although this can be as few as four people, it is much more cost effective to cover a whole band and the cost savings can be quite dramatic.

orchestra

DJGUARD

As a DJ you will be mixing with the general public in close quarters and so having adequate public liability insurance is important. This policy provides up to £2 million as standard with the option to increase to £5 million.

sound mixer
Your DJ equipment and records or CD’s are covered against accidental loss, damage or theft, including from a vehicle and the cover is new for old, with equipment hire, whilst yours is being repaired or replaced.

This is just one of several specialist Insurance companies who offer this type of policy, you can also find more information on this insurance website, so you can make a balanced decision on which insurance route to take.

Thistle Insurance Services, the company behind these policies have been providing specialist insurance since 1997. Over that time they have managed to insure over £60 million of musical instruments and equipment for thousands of musicians.

Baroque Music

A particular favourite period of mine from 1600 – about 1750 and saw the emergence of some of our greatest musicians and composers.

The 17th Century saw some great advances in technology and travel. Foreign trade and colonization brought us into direct contact with new parts of the world that were previously unknown. In turn artistic culture was fed by these new discoveries and breathed new life into an area long controlled by the church and nobility.

Many of the well known composers in the Baroque period came from Europe, Italy and Germany in particular. Monteverdi, Corelli and Vivaldi from Italy and the infamous Bach and Handel from Germany.

It is believed many of the types of baroque music of which we are familiar with today originated from Italy. Types like the cantata, concerto, sonata, oratorio and opera all started in Italy, although different countries added their own twists bringing the different styles we know today. Musicians were able to travel all over Europe for the first time with relative ease and listened to each others compositions

Today we think of musicians and composers as artists. They make a living by selling tickets for concerts or recordings of their songs (composers get paid every time their compositions are played) In the Baroque period it was very different. A composer only earned a living if they were lucky enough to have a patron. This was normally the nobility, political party or religious institution. Therefore to some extent the composer or musician was dictated to by their patron. It is probably safe to assume for example that Bach wrote the amount of cantatas he did, because that was what was demanded by the Church that employed him.

CANTATA

The encyclopaedia Britannica describes the cantata as:
cantata, (from Italian cantare, “to sing”), originally, a musical composition intended to be sung, as opposed to a sonata, a composition played instrumentally; now, loosely, any work for voices and instruments.
The word cantata first appeared in the Italian composer Alessandro Grandi’s Cantade et arie a voce sola (Cantatas and Arias for Solo Voice; published 1620–29). There were precursors of the cantata in earlier strophic arias (in which the melody for each strophe, or stanza, was varied over a constant bass) and such earlier vocal works of chamber proportion as the late madrigals of Claudio Monteverdi.

 

SONATA

The encyclopaedia Britannica describes the sonata as:

sonata, type of musical composition, usually for a solo instrument or a small instrumental ensemble, that typically consists of two to four movements, or sections, each in a related key but with a unique musical character.

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ORATORIO

The encyclopaedia Britannica describes the oratorio as:

oratorio, a large-scale musical composition on a sacred or semi sacred subject, for solo voices, chorus, and orchestra. An oratorio’s text is usually based on scripture, and the narration necessary to move from scene to scene is supplied by recitatives sung by various voices to prepare the way for airs and choruses. A basically dramatic method is used in all successful oratorios, though they may or may not be produced with theatrical action. The oratorio is not intended for liturgical use, and it may be performed in both churches and concert halls. The principal schools of oratorios are the Italian, essentially a form of religious opera; the German, developed from treatment of the Passion story; and the English, synthesized by the composer George Frideric Handel from several forms. The term oratorio derives from the oratory of the Roman church in which, in the mid-16th century, St. Philip Neri instituted moral musical entertainments, which were divided by a sermon, hence the two-act form common in early Italian oratorio.

http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/431021/oratorio

opera, a staged drama set to music in its entirety, made up of vocal pieces with instrumental accompaniment and usually with orchestral overtures and interludes. In some operas the music is continuous throughout an act; in others it is broken up into discrete pieces, or “numbers,” separated either by recitative (a dramatic type of singing that approaches speech) or by spoken dialogue. This article focuses on opera in the Western tradition. For an overview of opera and operalike traditions in Asia (particularly in China), see the appropriate sections of Chinese music, Japanese music, South Asian arts, and Southeast Asian arts; see also short entries on specific forms of Chinese opera, such as chuanqi, jingxi, kunqu, and nanxi.

Medieval Music

History of Medieval Music

A favourite historical period of mine is the Medieval approx 500 – 1440. It is no co-incidence that the music of this time is of particular interest.

There were surprisingly lots of different instruments used during this time. The instruments can be sorted into three distinct categories.

STRINGED MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS

The Harp – The medieval harp was the favourite instrument of the troubadour, being small enough to be held on the players lap and normally had between 7 and 25 strings made from gut, hair as well as wire.

The Fiddle – (or Fydell) Medieval fiddles came in all sorts of different shapes and sizes and was plucked and latterly bowed. The fiddle had 3- 5 strings. The fiddle was played on its own and also in combination with the harp and percussion instruments.

The Psaltery – This was a cross between a harp and guitar. Early versions were simply a wooden board with gut stretched between pegs. The strings were plucked either with fingers or a plectra. The instrument would have been played on the lap or a table.

The Dulcimer – very similar to the psaltery, but the strings are beaten with two small hammers.

The Hurdy-Gurdy – A four stringed fiddle. The bowing action of the fiddle is replaced by a wheel turned by a handle. Keys pressed against the strings produced different pitches.
The Viol – A fairly large bowed string instrument typically 30 – 35 inches in length. Early instruments were carved from a single block of wood and had three strings, probably the precursor to the modern cello.

Wind Musical Instruments

The Flute – Very similar to our modern flutes, the medieval instrument was a slender tube closed at one end and an opening at the other across which the breath is blown. Pitch changes are made by closing over holes along the pipe

The Trumpet – a long instrument made of metal tube ending in a bell shape. The medieval trumpet had no valves and therefore the sounds were limited to what the mouth could achieve on the mouthpiece. You often see these on television playing a fanfare or to announce a jousting tournament

The Shawn– made of wood a bit like a recorder, except played with a double reed. It had seven finger holes and one thumb hole and was likely to have been invented in Asia and introduced to Europe during the crusades.

The Recorder– Probably one of the world’s oldest instruments and one that survives today. Made of bored wood and having seven finger holes and a thumb hole. Blown through a hole at the top, it gave a much softer sound than the Shawn and came in a variety of sizes, the larger the recorder the deeper the sound.

The Gem shorn – This is a medieval flute made from animal horn. The shape and therefore the sound was determined naturally. It has a soft haunting sound, but fell out of use by the end of the medieval period

PERCUSSION INSTRUMENTS

The Drum – originally made of a hollow tree trunk and covered with stretched animal skins, the drum was beaten by hand, stick or small mallet. They existed in a variety of sizes .

The Tabor – This was a small drum and normally played at the same time as a pipe and by the same person

Cymbals – pretty much as we know them today, made of concave metal plates

The Tambourine or Timbrel – a wood instrument with metal discs attached

Generally there were two types of medieval musicians. Most people know the term minstrel. These were servants employed specifically as court musicians. They often created their own songs or ballads and sang about legends or myths, romance and love, with tales of heroic deeds.
Eventually they were replaced by Troubadours who were travelling musicians. They travelled from village to village singing about chivalrous deeds, romance and love. Because they travelled around and sang for kings and queens and the nobility as well as common people, they were able to deliver news and gossip that they picked up on the way.

A History of Music

In all of recorded history there has been references to music amongst all known cultures, from the oldest, probably tapping of different lengths of wood on stone, to the current complex computer generated sounds. It is conceivable that music in some form or other could be 50,000 years old.

The oldest instruments consisted of pipes (double pipes such as those used by the Greeks ), basic flutes, ancient bagpipes and simple stringed instruments, invented by Western India. The oldest known written song was recorded over 4000 years ago.pipes

Why was music invented? We will never really ever know the answer to that question, however there are various theories. For example Charles Darwin believed that music was a sexual lure or used in mating rituals. Other academics think that it was a social link, a way to bring early man into a closer knit community

chris loersch a senior research associate in psychology and neuroscience at the University of Colorado, likes that idea, and he’s done research to try and prove it. He and Nathan Arbuckle, from the Department of Social Sciences and Humanities at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology, UOIT designed a series of studies to bolster it.


“This hypothesis centres’ on music’s unique ability to influence the mood and behaviour of many people at once,” they write, “helping to mold individual beings into a coordinated group.” They cite the power of military music, music played at sports games, and “ritualized drumming” as examples.military band

Is music a sexual lure. Maybe in the early days this wasn’t the case, but you only have to look at successful bands over the years, playing to thousands of fans. This is power to control a large group of people and power is attractive to the opposite sex. Beatle mania was a classic example. There is plenty of television footage of screaming fans everywhere they went. Now tell me music isn’t a sexual lure.beatles

I think music was also created to heal. In the Chinese language the word medicine yao comes from the word for music yue. I believe beautiful music can change emotions and create pure happiness. Musical frequencies have been shown to affect people’s feelings as certain resonances relate to different movements of the body, a similar effect to that of acupuncture. Ancient Chinese music is very slow and calm and almost meditative, providing the listener a spiritual journey and a peaceful soul. I know I listen to different types of music depending on what mood I am in, I listen to relaxation tapes to relax. I often have jazz or lounge music on in the background when I am working as it seems to calm me and get my creative juices flowing.

chinese music

Music has also developed into a way to entertain. In medieval times, travelling groups (minstrels, troubadours) told stories about love, life and romance. Some funny and some heroic. These songs were written down as we have historical records, but many were taught and passed from generation to generation . The spread of Christianity in the early medieval period also let to a popularity of songs and hymns that just used the human voice. Later it was the renaissance and baroque periodsminstrels

The history of music really is a complex and emotional subject, but nonetheless a fascinating one. I hope you enjoy the information on this website, please keep checking back for more updates.