Piano By Ear

Improvising Songs on Piano By Ear

If you have ever listened to jazz music, chances are good that you heard the piano player improvise. Improvisation is playing music that you make up in the moment, without having any written sheet music for the notes that you play. You choose which notes to play, and the rhythm to play them in. Even though many times, improvised music is based on a theme (a short, important section) of the music, or on the melody itself, the improvised music that is created is completely original and made up as it is being played. You may have seen a musician improvising and realized he or she is not using any sheet music to play. Maybe you wondered how the musician knew which notes would sound the way they wanted them to. The answer is that a musician that can improvise must first know enough about the theory of music to understand how the notes interact, and which combinations and sequences of notes sound pleasing to our ears.

Learn How To Improvise on the Piano!

The first thing that a performer that is improvising by ear must know is what key the music is in. This will help the musician decide what notes should be played, and whether they should be sharp, flat, or natural. Musicians that know how to improvise well can switch quickly and easily between different key signatures, so that they can adapt quickly when the key of a piece of music changes, and keep up with the accompaniment (the music that is playing in the background). You can try some simple improvisation if you sit at the piano and play some spontaneous notes, without looking at any sheet music. As you experiment with the keys of the piano, you will begin to make some decisions about what notes sound pleasant together and which combinations should be avoided.

Improvisation by ear is not just a great skill to have when playing jazz music. If you are able to make up music as you go along that fits the situation, you can play easily with other musicians without much rehearsal. This is a great skill to use when playing piano for a local church, or sitting around the piano for a holiday get together with family. As you practice your improvisation, try turning on the radio and playing along to some of the songs that you are familiar with. This will help you to be able to pick out the notes of the melody line and give you practice improvising along with the music.

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