Playing by ear

For my record

The Piano Chronicles

Here is an interesting recent PW thread on playing by ear. The response that really caught my eye was from Gyro. Below I quote in full what he wrote. Something simple to start with and to build on. No music theory needed! 🙂

Practical by-ear playing is not that difficult. Starting on the C one octave below middle C, and going up the white keys, play the 7 four-note chords using every other white key:

CEGB, DFAC, EGBD, FACE, GBDF, ACEG, BDFA.

This is the foundation upon which all chords for by-ear playing are built. (In some songs, particularly older songs and rock and country oldies, sometimes only 3-note chords are used: CEG, DFA, EGB, etc.)

Note that each of the 4-note chords above can easily slip into a second chord without changing the first two notes: for example, CEGB can slip easily into CEFA, or CEGA, etc. This is…

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How Teresa Carreño gets practice time

This is funny.

The Piano Chronicles

One of the books that I dip into from time to time is Arrau on Music and Performance, written by Joseph Horowitz. Just today I picked up something that I missed when reading it the first time around, and that is Arrau’s reporting of a comment made by the great Venezuelan pianist Teresa Carreño. She had five children with three husbands and a common-law partner. Arrau met her after one of her concerts, and she said, “Oh, with all the children we have it’s so difficult to practice. I have a loaded gun on my piano. And I have threatened all my children—if they open the door, I shoot.”

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