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    Hi, I play the piano and sort of play the violin and I hear the term playing by ear quite a lot, but I was wondering how it worked? How do you play by ear? I find it incredulous that someone can just listen to a song and work and the notes, I've been playing the piano for 10 years now and I makes me ashamed that I probably can't even play a nursery rhyme song "year"


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    I play piano, guitar and ukulele by ear. I've never had formal lessons and can't read music, but my Dad's a piano tuner (also by ear) so I don't know whether these things run in families or are just acquired from being constantly around music. Interestingly I can tune a guitar by ear but can't sing (you would have thought they'd have been linked.)
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    A friend of mine has been playing the keyboard and guitar since he was 5 (he's 16 now) with formal training for the first 5 years, and he's taught himself a few more instruments. He's played so much on those two instruments that he just recognises the notes and the chords because that's how much he's heard them. It comes to you after years of constantly hearing them, I guess...He heard Lazarus by Porcupine Tree just once and he played it on the keyboard perfectly for about 2 minutes before he forgot the next section.
    I've been teaching myself guitar for just 6 months so I can only recognise a few basic chords like Gs and Ds because they're easier to make out, but I can't do anything more than that.
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    I mean for him his life revolves around music, he plays the keyboard for three hours even on school days, so I also think that has a lot to do with it.
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    I can play by ear! If I hear a melody I can usually play it fairly easily. We sometimes play by ear in orchestra as a warm up exercise.
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    I play guitar by ear, I can't read music at all, I've sort of just taught myself by listening
 
 
 
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