On Mon, 31 Aug 1998, [iso-8859-1] Tomas Embréus wrote:
> Regarding these points of view I think that the one who prefers learn a new
> tune only/mainly by listening to it belongs to the abstract cathegory and
> the one who also wants to lean on sheet music prefers a more concret method.
I'm not sure this is really the best description. In one sense, both
the sounds that you hear and the dots on a page are concrete, they are
physical representations of the tune, which is an abstraction. But if
one of them is more abstract, it's the written notes, which are one step
farther removed from the actual music. I think there are people who
learn more easily in terms of abstractions, but to me this is a matter
of learning/remembering a tune in terms of some abstract outline of its
structure, and can be done equally well (depending on your tastes) by
ear or by eye.
> I think also that it is easier for the one who has been playing Irish music
> for many years to pick up a tune by listening to it than it is for the one
> just have started playing this music (like me ;-)).
Yes, and I think what I just said is why. There are little bits, note
sequences, which are repeated in many tunes, and there are patterns as
to how these kinds of bits are put together into tunes. The more tunes
you know, the easier it is to hear/see a tune as a larger pattern of
these little familier patterns, and remember it that way.
> We should rather say that *the way you learn a tune is the best way for you*
I don't think this is necessarily true. People often limit themselves
unnecessarily. I know people who are convinced they can't learn to
read music, and therefor won't try. But anyone can learn to read music,
so they're wrong about not being able to; who's to say that if they were
to try they might not like it? But more to the point for traditional
music, I've met lots of people who are convinced that they can't learn
by ear, and therefor won't try. Again, they're wrong--anyone who
can play a tune can learn to learn by ear. And, again, if they won't
try, how do they know it might not turn out to be the best way for
them? As has been said often before on this list, and will no doubt be
said again, you're missing something essential to traditional music if
you won't learn to learn it by ear. Show me two people (well, you don't
have to, I can find them myself) who have both learned to learn by ear
and to play from dots, and let one of them tell me he likes the dots
better, and the other one swear by learning by ear, and we can talk
about different people with different learning styles. But when we're
talking about folks who refuse to try to learn by ear, I'm not willing
to admit that they have any business insisting that it's not the right
way for them.