Sbeet music request/how to learn a tune just by listening to it…

Sbeet music request/how to learn a tune just by listening to it…

I’m looking for the sheet music for 3 tunes, which i cant find anywhere, called Fenelle, Sir Archibald Dunbar and the Spinning Tree. They make up a wee set which i saw getting played on a youtube video by a girl called Rebecca Lomnicki, who is an amazing fiddler from the videos i’ve seen of her on there.
I really want to learn this set.
If no sheet music exists anywhere for it, whats the best way to try to teach myself the tunes? Ive only ever tried to do this once but never really got very far with it!
I only ever use the sheet music to initially learn the tune obviously, once its learned its stored in the computer brain hopefully forever!!
Appreciate any advice cos i really need to start being able to learn tunes by just hearing them at some point…

Re: Sbeet music request/how to learn a tune just by listening to it…

Maybe there are people in your community who play these tunes and, if so, you could learn the tunes from them. That’s what has worked really well for me anyway, sitting down with someone Nd learning tunes from them.

Re: Sbeet music request/how to learn a tune just by listening to it…

Sir Archibald Dunbar:
ABC file here: http://www.ibiblio.org/fiddlers/SIR.htm#SIR_ARCHIBALD_DUNBAR
midi file here: http://www.cbfiddle.com/rx/tune/t2025.html
sheet music sources here: http://www.justsheetmusic.com/sheet-music/paul-macdonald-sir-archibald-dunbar/

Apparently, these tunes were taught at the Boston Harbor Scottish Fiddle School in 2007
Catherine Fraser - Scottish Fiddle
Fenella - Slow March in D by Paul Cranford
Sir Archibald Dunbar - Strathspey on D
The Spinning Tree - Reel in D by Catherine Fraser
(http://bostonharborfiddleschool.files.wordpress.com/2009/12/bh07_tunes_pd.pdf)
You might try contacting them.

Re: Sbeet music request/how to learn a tune just by listening to it…

Try memorizing the tunes in your head. That’s the first step. You now how music gets stuck in your head? Try to do that with the tunes. When you find yourself clearly and fluently listening to the tunes in your head(without watching the video), then you’ll be ready to begin working on the tunes on your instrument.

When you get to your instrument, try the tunes over and over and over again while listening to them. It’ll seem hopeless at first, but keep trying it over and over again. It takes time, and you’ll make a million mistakes, as I often do still after years of training. Eventually you should feel your fingers falling into place. The key is to listen intently to the recording and comparing it to your playing. Correct yourself as you hear your mistakes. It takes focus and attention.

How fast you learn tunes this way is determined by how clear the recording is, how difficult the tunes are, and how difficult the fingering is on your instrument. I hope this helps.

Re: Sbeet music request/how to learn a tune just by listening to it…

lots of good advice, here. Listen to the tunes over and over until you can whistle or hum them, then you’re a little over half the way there :) I cheat and use ABC’s to find the notes, but, hey.

Re: Sbeet music request/how to learn a tune just by listening to it…

Like everything else in this passion, it takes practice. As TheBlindBard says, using ABC’s can take you a long way - you can listen and look at the music at the same time, but it’s only the basic tune. Ultimately, you’ll want to play the tunes in an authentic way, the attribute that gives the lift and reflects the tradition.

To do this one must listen carefully to good players and try to emulate them. Something that helps is to slow down a recording of the tune (without changing the pitch of course) and progressively loop through manageable portions of the tune until you can finally put it all together. This helps make the ornamentation integral to the tune.

You have to be patient. It takes a long time (in my case anyway) to get to the point that you can listen to a tune a few times and then be able to play it, and for some tunes you would have to be a genius - try Loftus Jones. For a lot of tunes I still have to go back to the ABC MIDI and score to get the basic framework. But I still try to find one or more good recording to try to get the most danceable sound and true feeling into the tune.

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Re: Sbeet music request/how to learn a tune just by listening to it…

Get this:
http://www.ronimusic.com/
There are other programs, and some are free, but this is the one I think most on this site use if they want to slow down a tune to learn it.

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Re: Sbeet music request/how to learn a tune just by listening to it…

‘If you know the tune why do you need the dots?’
In memory of the departed…

Re: Sbeet music request/how to learn a tune just by listening to it…

I am currently in the process of learning a very complex piece of singing which I want to play on the fiddle.
What I do is, first, get the soundtrack from YouTube. I either use YouTube Downloader to download the whole video before converting to mp3, or simply recording the sound straight into my pc — which may not be possible for everyone.
I then use something like Riffstation
http://www.riffstation.com/index.html
to loop a small (sometimes only one or two notes!) section, starting at the beginning, while finding the notes on my fiddle or a whistle. With Riffstation you can slow down, change pitch, and select notes to loop very easily; but there are other programs available (in a range of prices from free to eye-watering).
When I have the first couple of notes, I write them down as an ABC file, which I will start to play when I have the first few bars, in order to compare the two. As I progress through the tune, I modify the ABC until it more or less accurately represents what I am hearing. At some point I load the ABC file into an ABC program, so that I can see the dots. With this on screen, I play the whole mp3 in a loop in the background and read the notes on the screen, making alterations and amendments as I find bits that don’t match.
After all this time, the tune is becoming pretty familiar, and I can start to play along using the dots on the screen while listening to the audio playing in a loop. As I become more familiar with the fingering, I don’t need to look so much at the dots (I usually find myself playing with my eyes closed, in fact).
Now I have two versions of the tune (three if you count the saved video), one mp3 and one ABC. I use the ABC to practise the tune, as I can isolate bits, read the score, change the accompanying instrument etc., as I wish; while I refer to the mp3 to check my playing against the original. I use the ABC file as a reference and mnemonic, and the mp3 goes into one of several playlists that I use for practising and playing along with.

At first, you will think you might never get the hang of a tune. But start at the beginning, find the first note, and play it. Move on to the next and do the same. If you can recognise and recall a group of notes, so much the better. As has been said earlier — listen, repeat, listen, repeat. When you wake up in the morning unable to remember anything — a quick look at the ABC will bring it all back (or not, if you have left it too long — in which case, play the mp3 again). After scores or hundreds of hearings / playings, you will be wondering what was so difficult.

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Re: SHeet music request/how to learn a tune just by listening to it…

Think about how you learned Twinkle, or Happy Birthday, or Mairsie Dotes (Mares Eat Oats). You learned those by ear. That’s how any of us — who learn by ear — learn any new tune.

Re: Sbeet music request/how to learn a tune just by listening to it…

Ditto for Ailin’s suggestion of the Amazing Slow-Downer. You’ll not only learn the tune, but also a lot of other things, like bowings, ornamentation, and rhythmic nuances from master musicians. Learning to play polkas (just an example) from sheet music is nothing compared to learning them from Padraig O’Keeffe (after a certain fashion) or strathspeys from J. Scott Skinner (if you like his take on things). You’ll find yourself playing the tunes in a way that draws on and reflects a bit of the style of the musicians you learn them from.

Re: Sbeet music request/how to learn a tune just by listening to it…

I use Audacity (free download) to record and slow down tunes to help learn them (changes speed whilst keeping pitch, etc.).
Very handy.

Re: Sbeet music request/how to learn a tune just by listening to it…

Another opportunity to quote the great Shetland fiddler and teacher Tom Anderson,
"You should never learn a tune you don’t know!" - meaning learn to "sing" it (in your head if need be,) then transfer that to the instrument.

Re: Sbeet music request/how to learn a tune just by listening to it…

"Another opportunity to quote the great Shetland fiddler and teacher Tom Anderson,
"You should never learn a tune you don’t know!" - meaning learn to "sing" it (in your head if need be,) then transfer that to the instrument."

# Posted by TomB-R

Tom, I very much disagree with this quote. If I waited until I had a tune firmly in my head to try and play it, I’d wait a very long time, indeed. Being able to sing a tune in your head first may work for some, but I think not the vast majority. In fact, it is the process of learning to play a tune that imbeds it in my mind.

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Re: Sbeet music request/how to learn a tune just by listening to it…

Always worked for me. Each to their own.

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Re: Sbeet music request/how to learn a tune just by listening to it…

Fair enough Ailin, different approaches as Kenny said.
Couple of questions just for interest’s sake,
1 - Do you sing at all?
2 - Do you remember tunes by name, if someone says, "how does so and so go," can you play it?

Re: Sbeet music request/how to learn a tune just by listening to it…

I sing for my own amusement. When I was a boy, a was a fair soprano, but when my voice shifted to baritone, my range went away, although my pitch is good. Your second question brings up an interesting point. Sometimes when I hear a familiar tune, I have trouble placing it, but when I’m trying to remember how a tune goes, if I can recall the name, it comes back to me almost immediately. I think that’s strange because I often decide I want to learn a tune before I know what it is called.

Oh, and one other thing: In popular music, if I can think the tune, I can play it. However, I find ITM too complex and sometimes easy to confuse with other tunes to wait until it is firmly in my head before I start to learn it. And after all, what’s the point unless that is the way you most easily learn? What I object to in the quote you gave is the notion that having the tune in your head before you learn it is somehow necessary or virtuous.

Does any of that tell you anything?

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Re: Sbeet music request/how to learn a tune just by listening to it…

Thanks, yes, if you’d said "no, I don’t sing at all" that would have seemed unsurprising. The fact that you do shows just how much it’s a matter of how different minds work.
On the second point, I find the same. Someone will start a tune and I’ll be doing ok playing along, then I remember the name, and the whole thing comes into focus and I play it a lot better!

Re: Sbeet music request/how to learn a tune just by listening to it…

The first time I heard Tom Anderson quoted it was being interpreted as meaning "you should never learn a tune unless you know what it is supposed to sound like". There are many tunes that I cannot play or sing but where I would know if someone was playing a minor variation from what I was used to.

Re: Sbeet music request/how to learn a tune just by listening to it…

drives me nuts when i can’t put tunes together with their names, but often i can’t. i do know this: it is well worth learning to find the notes with your fingers just from how you know the tune in your head. it can be frustrating at first, and even at last, but it’s such a pleasure to have the tune in the mental database and not have to haul around a written-down copy of it. then you can play the tune any time and enjoy ornaments and variations at will.

i did learn to read staff music and abc, but can’t easily switch from the part of my brain that knows those forms to the part of my brain that just wants to play the music. i know i like the music-playing part best, but find the written-down music useful for reminding me how to put the name and the tune together sometimes. i commend you for embarking on the path.

Re: Sbeet music request/how to learn a tune just by listening to it…

… or if I was getting it wrong.

Re: Sbeet music request/how to learn a tune just by listening to it…

I would normally just slow down a tune and loop it, in preference to seeking out the dots (although the audio and dots together would be ideal). Sometimes the melody line is obscured by other instruments (or extraneous noise). I got the gist of this one, but there were quite a few sections where the melody was not very clear. You only need listen as far as 01’20 (I know it’s not Irish, but you get my drift) :)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a0MJk2md-9w

Re: Sbeet music request/how to learn a tune just by listening to it…

Ailin wrote:
"Being able to sing a tune in your head first may work for some, but I think not the vast majority. In fact, it is the process of learning to play a tune that imbeds it in my mind."

Same here. While I usually have the tune in my head before I try to play it, the actual playing is what makes it stick. Either method is better than none, but both are better than just one.

Re: Sbeet music request/how to learn a tune just by listening to it…

"In fact, it is the process of learning to play a tune that imbeds it in my mind"

I a lot of music is embedded in my head that I’ve never played on an instrument.

Re: Sbeet music request/how to learn a tune just by listening to it…

"A lot of music is embedded in my head that I’ve never played on an instrument.

# Posted by fiddlelearner

I think that’s true of everyone.

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Re: Sbeet music request/how to learn a tune just by listening to it…

Teachers talk about three different basic learning styles, and will tell you that some students learn best by hearing; others by seeing; still others by doing. Does this ever get brought into these dots vs. listening wars???

Re: Sbeet music request/how to learn a tune just by listening to it…

Then why contradict it if you believe it’s true Ailin?

Whoops… Re-reading your quote, it looks like I have made a mistake. You said "my mind" as in your mind, when I thought you were saying "your mind" as in generally everyone elses. My mistake.

Re: Sbeet music request/how to learn a tune just by listening to it…

Anybody here use The Think System, developed by Prof. Harold Hill, Gary Conservatory, Gold Medal Class of ‘05?

Re: Sbeet music request/how to learn a tune just by listening to it…

That’s trouble, my friend, with a capital T, and that rhymes with B and that stands for bodhran.

Re: Sbeet music request/how to learn a tune just by listening to it…

Seventy-six shak(e)y eggs led the big parade…

Re: Sbeet music request/how to learn a tune just by listening to it…

And I solemnly took my place as the one and only bodhran.

Re: Sbeet music request/how to learn a tune just by listening to it…

And I rolled and rolled up and down the skin.

Re: Sbeet music request/how to learn a tune just by listening to it…

It is sooo strange that you guys should be riffing on Trouble from The Music Man because (talking about learning by hearing) I love that show, and when I thought it would be fun to memorize Trouble, I found that I already knew it. For those who don’t know it, it’s not exactly a song.

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Re: Sbeet music request/how to learn a tune just by listening to it…

Got a link to it?

Re: Sheet music request/how to learn a tune just by listening to it…

"In fact, it is the process of learning to play a tune that imbeds it in my mind"

Good to know there are others who think this. I struggle to remember tunes my singing or humming them also. I have only recently started to learn tunes completely by ear, after having learned by dots for the last 3 years. It definitely does get easier the more you practice. I use VLC Media player to play all Video and Audio files and would highly recommend it. It is easy to adjust speed (without changing pitch) and loop through small sections. It is also free.

I also used to use Audacity to record audio from Youtube (and other sources) but now use one of the online youtube to mp3 converters:

http://www.youtube-mp3.org

This converts any youtube video to an mp3 file which can be downloaded.

I have also just came across some good Fiddle Videos on youtube from "Red Desert Fiddle" where the tunes are played at a slow and medium pace. Even I have been able to learn tunes from these without having to slow down or download. There are quite a view Irish "Standards" and the ornamentation is easy to follow.

http://www.youtube.com/user/RedDesertFiddle/videos

Re: Sbeet music request/how to learn a tune just by listening to it…

Ailin-I spent a lot of time playing in pit bands in my mis-spent youth, so an ungodly number of show tunes are buried in my subconscious-not that I’m proud of it.
BB-you asked for it:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mfoTmiWsfD0

Re: Sheet music request/how to learn a tune just by listening to it…

First, medicinal wine from a teaspoon,
Then beer from a bottle…

Re: Sbeet music request/how to learn a tune just by listening to it…

"Ailin-I spent a lot of time playing in pit bands in my mis-spent youth, so an ungodly number of show tunes are buried in my subconscious-not that I’m proud of it."

I forgot to mention that I found I knew Trouble word for word over 40 years ago and I can do it for you right now. Too bad I didn’t retain more things in my little gray cells with such ease.

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