Inside hearing

Thoughts and responses regarding the research at
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Inside hearing

Post by tomy » Wed Jan 02, 2008 7:59 pm

Hi everybody,

I'm new on this forum, and excuse me by advance for my english...I'm a french guy and I've been using APB for a certain time.
So here is my question:
My music (jazz) teatcher used to tell me i've got to prehear what I'm going to play on my instrument inside my head...I think it's what I experience with APB, checking inside if the phrase I just heard correspond to my note...And then I readed this interview with Dizzy Gillespie where he was saying to is students that they were already hearing inside...But what they where experiencing was something like:"wap doo wap zip bam wizz" and for him was:"ZIP BAM BUM WAP DOO WAP".
In other term you have to increase the signal.

So does anybody knows how to amplify this "inside hear"?
I mean exercises but also books or other speaking about this subject.

Thanks by advance for your answers.


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Post by aruffo » Wed Jan 02, 2008 11:22 pm

Some longer while ago, I had wondered why I could only remember the melodic line of any composition-- that is, I could only imagine a sequence of single notes, even when the original composition was highly complex. I wondered how other people were able to imagine more than one note at a time.

Once I started using Chordhopper I began to discover the answer. People don't imagine more than one note at a time. They can't. What they-- and now, to a greater extent than before, I-- can imagine are larger but nonetheless unitary sound structures. I can't imagine C and E and G simultaneously, but I can imagine a C-major triad which happens to "contain" all three.

I've also found out that, as vivid as my mental visual imagery is for sight, there are other people whose imagery is more vivid still. If this is something that could be changed by practice I'm not aware of it. However, the reason I've learned this about mental imagery is that most people are completely unaware of how strong their own mental imagery is until I explicitly draw their attention to it.

All together, I'd suggest that perhaps it's possible the internal volume can be "turned up" both by becoming more familiar with larger structures and taking the time to mentally examine aural images more carefully.

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Post by cjhealey » Mon Jan 28, 2008 2:05 am

I think I know what tomy is talking about.

When experienced, professional musicians actually play an instrument, they are hearing the sound of their instrument in their head as well as from the instrument it self.

It is often called the 'inner ear' or an 'internal sound concept'

Basically, with time and practice people will learn to hear as vividly in their head as they can via their ears. This helps enormously because without it is the same as speaking to someone without any or much thought.

What tomy wants to know is, can this be developed?

Chris :-)

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Post by petew83 » Tue Jan 29, 2008 1:05 am

Yes, it can be developed, and in 2 different ways. Firstly you automatically generate more complex ideas. Secondly you open the pathway between music in your head and your instrument. You become more aware of what it is you are actually imagining in terms of concrete labels/shapes/patterns etc.

Just as learning to draw improves your inner eye, learning to produce music improves your inner ear. :idea:

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Post by balkoka » Thu Feb 14, 2008 4:33 pm

I think musicians have good inner ear which mean that they can imagine lines in their head, but they can't "decode" it to a musical language. They can't idenfity the intervals, scale degrees between the notes etc.

There are several ways to amplify your inside hear or "decoding" your musical ideas.

One is sight-reading without singing the note. Just mentally imagine the line in your head. If you keep at it you will experience that the tones become more and more vivid. Gradually increase, start with two notes only, and really concentrate to hear those two clearly inside.

Imagine musical phrases away from your instrument. Try to visualise the melody like a curvy line with the nuances. Does it have huge jumps in it, or going up in small steps, does it splits for a break etc.?
After that transcibe it.
Push toward the end, only check yourself on the instrument if you you're pretty sure that you're right (Just before that, you might want to sing out loud beacause a lot of mistake becomes obvious then.)

Imagine random notes seperated and try to hear how they would sound if they were a chord. After that check yourself on your instrument.

Transcribe as much music as you can, without singing it. Try to notate every nuance in it. If you can't finish in one day no problem, continue it the next days.

Three years ago i made 2 commitments.
The first one was that if like a tune i won't buy it's transcription, i have to use my ears to learn the whole song.
The second: if i must learn from a transcription i will only play it after i heard it inside my head, after that i can play it on the instrument.

Of course i dont't hear things perfectly for the first time. It is real hard because i'm constantly pushing my boundry to hear more and more.
These are tough exercises but if you keep at them they will increase your musicality better than anything else - i really belive in that.

Sorry for my english - but i hope you still get the idea

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Post by balkoka » Fri Feb 15, 2008 6:56 pm

I also highly suggest Ron Gorow's 'Hearing and Writing Music'.
It's a great book, there are all sort of exercises to improve you inner hearing ability.

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Post by tomy » Mon Mar 03, 2008 11:56 am

Thanks for your answers...
I think i already hear inside a little...I mean after playing for a while, when I stop, I can hear and manipulate the phrases inside myself...
But when i use a play along, or if i play during a concert, it seems like the accompaniement is too loud and my "inside hearing" is too small to be heard.
Maybe that's why jazzmen use to play with a metronom (on beat 2 and 4)...So there is all the quietness needed for inside hearing and his devellopment (and also the construction of a strong beat).
Like on this video (
Balkoka, i'm going to apply your recommendations for sight reading and transcription...and also reading the ron gorow's book.
I also think that APB could help this process because you have to keep an inside image of a note for a long time.

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