Introduction to Ear Training | Guitargate

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Introduction to Ear Training

In this masterclass, Michael Palmisano delves into the essential skill of ear training for guitarists, emphasizing the importance of becoming an active listener. He introduces the concept of practical approaches to ear training, which goes beyond merely identifying intervals and chord qualities. Michael stresses the significance of understanding chord functions within a progression—identifying tonic, subdominant, and dominant chords—and how these relate to the narrative structure of music. By analyzing songs in terms of 'home', 'away', and 'going home', he encourages students to start thinking about music in a more structured and functional way.

Throughout the masterclass, Michael uses examples from the blues genre to illustrate his points, noting the blues' straightforward chord progressions as an ideal starting point for ear training. He explains how to listen for the resolution of musical tension (tonic), the creation of tension or movement away from resolution (subdominant), and the movement back towards resolution (dominant). Michael's approach encourages students to actively listen to music, categorizing chords and progressions by their function rather than their specific notes or qualities. This method aims to deepen the student's understanding of music's storytelling nature through its harmonic movement.

Michael provides practical exercises for the students, urging them to listen to music (specifically blues) and identify the functional roles of chords within songs. He emphasizes that this practice of active listening and functional analysis can enhance a musician's ability to anticipate chord changes and understand the underlying structure of music. The masterclass concludes with an open Q&A session, where Michael answers questions and offers further insights into applying these ear training techniques. This interactive session reinforces the masterclass's core message: developing a keen ear for chord functions is crucial for any musician looking to improve their playing and comprehension of music.

Transcript Summary

  • Introduction and Greetings (00:01:985 - 00:59:985)
    • Michael starts the stream and greets viewers by name, including Caleb Funk, and acknowledges their progress.
    • Expresses a desire to share viewers' progress and achievements on the channel.
    • Reiterates the importance of community and supporting each other's musical journey.
  • Ear Training Introduction (01:01:425 - 01:30:095)
    • Michael announces the topic of ear training, highlighting its request by many viewers.
    • Emphasizes the significance of becoming an active listener to distinguish between chord tonalities and functions.
    • Shares a personal insight on how ear training is a gradual process that transforms listening experiences.
  • Practical Approaches to Ear Training (01:34:585 - 01:53:775)
    • Details the method of starting with familiar songs to identify chord functions.
    • Encourages analyzing blues music due to its foundational chord progressions that embody tonic, subdominant, and dominant functions.
    • Explains how to apply theoretical knowledge to practical listening, using blues as a starting point for ear training.
  • Exploring Chord Functions (01:54:175 - 02:00:905)
    • Breaks down the concept of tonic (home base), subdominant (going away), and dominant (returning home) chords.
    • Uses the key of A as an example to demonstrate how chords move away and return to the tonic.
    • Highlights the emotional journey and resolution that music provides through these chord changes.
  • Interactive Listening Session (02:14:555 - 02:59:015)
    • Michael selects blues tracks to practice identifying chord functions without the guitar.
    • Encourages viewers to participate in active listening by identifying tonic, subdominant, and dominant chords in selected songs.
    • Reiterates the importance of recognizing chord functions by ear to enhance musical understanding and performance.
  • Concluding Thoughts and Homework Assignment (03:00:255 - 03:59:035)
    • Michael summarizes the lesson, emphasizing the importance of active listening and identifying chord functions.
    • Assigns homework to viewers, encouraging them to listen to music actively and identify chord functions in the blues genre.
    • Encourages viewers to keep practicing and assures them that ear training will enhance their musicality over time.
  • Q&A and Final Remarks (04:00:705 - 04:59:035)
    • Opens the floor for questions, offering to discuss any topics viewers are interested in.
    • Shares anecdotes and insights on famous blues musicians, highlighting the influence of Albert King.
    • Concludes the session by encouraging viewers to continue their musical journey through active listening and practice.

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