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ear training question


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I just started an aural skills class at my college, and I am getting frustrated with the first assignment. The instructor is starting us off with recognizing rhythm patterns and meters. The example with this particular assignment seems to have a 'dynamic' tempo. Does anybody have any advice for discerning a rhythm pattern? The time signature is given to us. Thanks for any help in advance.

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I really can't give you any specific tips but it wouldn't hurt for you to do more than just your assignment. Take simple tunes from the radio or CDs and do record copies - take the information (melody, harmony, rhythm) and put it down on paper. When I was reading disco charts (back many years ago), I started 'seeing' and hearing rhythmic patterns. This didn't happen at first, it came only after I spent some time; I finally started to 'get it' and I could sight read the complex rhythms because I recognized them and could group them together. Subdividing to the smallest rhythmic unit is a must. If the smallest unit is an eight note, the eight note is now your smallest unit to deal with. Always subdivide and take it very slowly.


Get together with someone in your class who is slightly better than you and ask a lot of questions. (That's probably the best advice.)


Like everything, it takes ... time. They're really no shortcuts - you have to spend the time figuring things out on your own. A lot in music is simply recognition. You 'know' what something is because you have played it or transcribed it a hundred times.


This is a lifelong process, fasten your seat belts and subdivide slowly.

No guitarists were harmed during the making of this message.


In general, harmonic complexity is inversely proportional to the ratio between chording and non-chording instruments.


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A lot in music is simply recognition.
Bingo. And the more you listen, pay attention to, and analyze, the more you'll be able to recognize.


Years ago I had a housemate who played a little guitar and was interested in getting better so I coached him, and he did get a lot better. But he used to ask questions like "How do you tell a minor chord from a major chord, by listening?" The best answer I could give was by recognizing them.


But of course, the more you train yourself to understand different aspects that can be taken individually, the easier it is to learn to recognize new things. For example, I bet the police sketch artist has an uncanny ability to recall faces!

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Exactly. There's not really much I can add to this. What I've started doing is listening to songs I know and love and trying to "feel" the meter. I'd be riding in the car and tapping out the straight beats on my knee and subdividing in my head. (And someone would ask me a question and I'd be a zillion miles away!). It just takes time. Good luck to you.
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