My observations so far

Talk about what you've discovered by using ETC-- and post your high ranks!
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Kayd
Posts: 33
Joined: Tue Mar 17, 2009 6:04 pm

My observations so far

Post by Kayd » Wed Apr 08, 2009 6:49 pm

With 22 days using APA, I'm very impressed with the speed with which I'm progressing compared to the other methods I've tried.

I started on March 17th. In the first week I made it to level 14 easily. The first several levels were easy, but once I got into chords, I often couldn't actualy hear the C, but I had the impression that the chord had it in it.

In the second week I made it up to 19 and stalled there. I still often could not actually hear the C note in the chord, but I could more clearly hear a sound in the chord that told me it was a C. I recognized the the stumbling block I was having was the introduction of the octave. Since it was not in the melody word, I couldn't easily compare, but over time I began to hear something that was common between the chords and slowly the difference clarified and I made it to level 19.

Somewhere last week I made a breakthrough and in one session made it from 19 to 33. I've been between 33 and 35 for a few days now, but I recognize that something new is being thrown at me. Perhaps it is that the C is in the middle of the chord where it was not before, I can't really tell. Whatever the new thing is it's taking time to hear it, but just this morning I could begin to hear the actual C note in the new thing.

This is not the first time this has happened and it is what amazes me about APA. All I do is stumble around, backing up a few levels and letting the sound sink in and then trying to make forward progress, and things come. Well, it's not quite that simple, I manipulate the game a little, I'll select an egg just to see if this chord or that might be the one with the C in it, even knowing that wasting a guess on a test means I fail that level, but in the end I begin to recognize that "this set of chords here that sound like this" are a problem for me. I'll play chords where I can hear the C next to my "good guesses" and listen. At first I can't hear anything, but in a few days I begin to hear it.

That's what I mean when I say the progress is fast. I went from not hearing something to begining to hear it in just a few days and it has happened several times now. No effort, no straining, no spending weeks stuck at a road block, I just keep playing and trying to beat the level, like I was playing space invader, and in days I'm on to new levels.

For the last week I've also been playing interval loader as well, and I'm amazed how every day I'm able to beat the previous days score.

I know the tremendous effort went into developing these games, and I am amazed at how it has paid off. This stuff really works.
Last edited by Kayd on Mon Apr 13, 2009 7:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Kayd
Posts: 33
Joined: Tue Mar 17, 2009 6:04 pm

Post by Kayd » Thu Apr 09, 2009 6:14 pm

I realized after I posted my experiences that it would be wise to give an idea of my level of musicianmanship. I have been playing piano, and later keyboards since I was about eight. Since I began playing piano I struggled with reading music. While some musicians could sit in front of a complex score and just read it, I could not. Learning a song was a long difficult process for me, such pieces as Rhapsody in Blue took many weeks to learn, mostly because translating the notes to keys on the keyboard is difficult for me. I clearly do not look at the notes, know what they should sound like and my fingers go there. I am in the camp of going note by note, trying to recall what key signature I'm in every step of the way and crawling through the song.

I began writing music in my early teens and have done so most of my life, occasionally for a band I was in, but mostly for my own pleasure. Another problem I've always struggled with is that I can hear amazing songs in my head, but it is hit and miss when it comes to translating them into reality. When I began attempting to learn perfect pitch a few years ago it was largely to overcome that difficulty. Since them I have come to realize I have stuggled under a handycap for most of that time. My ear is horrible.

To give you an idea, I spent the better part of a summer trying to learn the difference between a perfect fourth and a perfect fifth (harmonically and melodically), and still to this day I dont have it. I had a tape with twelve minutes or so of random fourths and fifths. I played it every time I was in the car. Sadly, I memorize the tape before I could clearly hear the intervals. I am back to trying to learn them again, but at the same time I have picking up Interval Loader. If there is a challenge for ear training it is my ear, and if ETC can work for me it can work for anyone.

Kayd
Posts: 33
Joined: Tue Mar 17, 2009 6:04 pm

Post by Kayd » Mon Apr 13, 2009 7:29 pm

It's been 28 days since I started and this last week I had an interesting experience. I mentioned that I got stuck around level 33 to 35 and I think what was confusing me was the introduction of C in a new context that my ear was not familiar with. Well over the next few days I gradually began to hear C in that new context just a little and even made it to level 38. then all of a sudden it all fell appart, I got confused at everyting. I kept dropping back levels trying to get a handle on a level I could easily manage, and went all the way back to level 16. I tried many times, but I just could not get past level 16. Then over the next couple days I made forward progress back to where I was at before, level 38, but it made me wonder what happened.

What it felt like is there are two processes going on: heightened perception and differentiation. Heightened perception allows me to hear more aspects of what makes the C sound like a C, and that is what was heppening to some degree as a strove to hear the C in a new context. However, if the heightened perception outpaces my ability to differenciate then I get confused, because I begin to think I hear C like qualities in all kinds of places where there is no C. I misidentify all kinds of things and it falls appart. Then as I begin to build better differentiation I begin to be able to tell things appart more I rebuild the ability, only stronger. Once I got passed level 16 again the C sounds was much clearer.

That's just what it feels like as I'm working on it. The fact that what I hear is constantly changing, even if it isn't always improving is what's important because without change progress is not possible.

aruffo
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Post by aruffo » Mon Apr 13, 2009 9:43 pm

(My next step is figuring out how to "fix" the identity.)

Kayd
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Joined: Tue Mar 17, 2009 6:04 pm

Post by Kayd » Thu Apr 16, 2009 7:16 pm

31 days now, and what happens in APA continues to fascinate me as what I hear changes and evolves. It turns out that since the introduction of C in what I think may be the bottom note of some chords (I think around level 19) I have not really been hearing the C itself but come characteristic, or interaction, or sum frequency or artifact that was consistently present when C appeared in those chords. It sounded to me like a higher frequency, and I even thought the C was an octave higher. When C was introduced in the middle of some new chords around level 32-33 I couldn't really hear it at all and, as I adapted, my existing strategy for hearing C as the bottom note fell appart. Now in the last few days it has been rebuilding. Now, I hear the C as the same sound in all circumstances, not always clearly because the chords are pretty dense for my ear, but I hear the same sound I hear in the melody word. What's more, before these last few days, I would often find myself struggling because the C would sound higher in some chords and lower in others, as if the chord was pulling the C sound in one direction of another. Now it is always right where it should be. As a result I've managed to get to level 44.

The challenge now is that its just plain hard to hear with so much going on at once in some of these chords. I find I drift in and out. For several rounds I'll hear it clearly and I can just hammer through, but I'll loose it and have to lean on the melody word to get it back. This seems to happen more often when it only appears once in a set of eggs. I think I'm still fine tuning my ability to hear what is not C.

I've been playing interval loader every day too, but I'm still working on my hand/ear coordination. I mostly have the keyboard shortcuts worked out, but trying to remember them and the intervals at the same time sometimes trips me up. Anyway, in interval loader I still haven't made it through the first round of intervals. I get to the minor third and my lack of ability to coordinate gets the best of me. I get a little farther every day though.

Kayd
Posts: 33
Joined: Tue Mar 17, 2009 6:04 pm

Post by Kayd » Tue Apr 28, 2009 7:04 pm

It's been 42 days so far, and I'm still pretty excited by the progress I'm making. Not so much based on level as on how much change I notice in wmat I hear.

A little over a week ago I had another incedent where I was making progress, I had hit level 51, then the next day it "fell appart" and I dropped back to level 34, and I even had trouble there because the C sounded so different depending on the chord it was in. It took me a few days to build back up to level 52, where I've been for the better part of a week. The octaves introduced there are confounding me some, but I'm making progress. What I notice more is that I'm hearing individual notes in the chord better almost daily. And it's definitely leaked over into my ability to hear all music. I can hear details that I could never hear before in music I listen too. I was fortunate enough to see both Art Garfunkel and The Ahn Trio in the last couple weeks and it was fascinating how well I could hear every detail going on in the music.

I've always been able to hear a subtle difference between how notes sound, even more so with key signatures, since I often would try out compositions in different key signatures to see how they felt. A song might sound more sad in one key or more full in another. Since I started playing Absolute Pitch Avenue, there's been a growing awareness that chords with C in them sound different than chords without C in them. Two days ago the difference became so distinct that I decided to stop listning for the C note itself and just pay attention to which chords had the quality I associated with C. I couldn't actually tell you what the notes were, just that the chords were "colored" by the sound (it's a kind of fullness I don't hear when chords don't have a C in them). Oddly enough I made better progress, using that method than I had listening for the actual note. I made it to level 55 and got my highest score so far. I tried it again the next day and found it much harder to hear that quality. Since then I have fallen back to mostly listening for the notes, but also paying some attention to that C quality of both the notes and chords. I'm wondering if the secrret in the end is to clarify that quality I hear and bring it together with the note itself.

I think I may be working on getting past level 50-55 for a while. The octaves that start at level 51 are a bit of a challenge to my ear (as are minor second intervals), and until I can really hear them I may have to be content with hearing that I am getting better at recognizing the sounds rather than seeing the levels fly by.

I've also been playing interval loader a couple times a day starting from level 1 each time, to as far as I can make it. The major and minor seconds are a bit vexing, and when I have 12 intervals at a time the confusion factor makes it hard sometims to make snap judgements about what I am hearing (I never sit and think about it, I either recognize it or I don't). Overall though I keep getting high scores and I am pretty close to getting through level 12 amd recognizing all the harmonic intervals.

Kayd
Posts: 33
Joined: Tue Mar 17, 2009 6:04 pm

Post by Kayd » Wed May 13, 2009 1:45 am

It's been 56 days since I started playing APA and I'm up to the 79th Avenue. I spent a fair amount of time hanging around level 50, getting used to the octaves. I even went back to the mid 30 levels, but now I'm getting more used to them and can hear them a fair amount of the time. I find it's still possible to overhwelm my ear and loose the sound I'm listening for. When that happens I often have to drop back so I can pick up that sound again. Once I have it back in my ear I can work forward. Fortunately, that is happening less and less. If I do "loose the sound" I have to drop back so far it takes forever to get back to where I was, so I'm relying more on just dropping back a couple levels and focusing more to try to pick up the sound again.

I know some of the advice is to switch over to multiple instruments, and from time to time I've done that, though I have to drop back a few levels to hear the sound, but I'm sticking to mostly the piano because I'm just curious to see how it plays out. Once I get up in the 100s I'll probably switch to multiple instruments. I don't really seem to have much of a problem with hearing multiple instruments, I just loose a little progress.

I've also been playing interval loader some and I've made it up to level 15. However, I'm finding the switch from starting at level 1 to starting at level 12 is a bit of a jump for me. Starting with all 12 harmonic intervals can occasionally be a challengs and my ear can easily gety overwhelmed. It's not the new element, the scale degrees, that confuse me it's still the basic 12 harmonic intervals.

Space
Posts: 179
Joined: Mon Jan 16, 2006 5:54 am
Location: Cincinnati, OH

awesomeness

Post by Space » Sun May 17, 2009 11:02 pm

Man! I'm impressed with your dilligence! Good to see you're making progress, though, so it's worth it. By your descriptions it sounds like you're having experiences similar to mine and a lot of others but I had years of eartraining before using APA and was able to breeze through the first few notes. Now I'm at C, G, E, A and D and takin it a bit slower :p

Interesting how when working with thicker chords, if the C is in the chord, the whole chord takes on a 'C-ish' quality. You don't have to dissect the chord in your mind and find the C. Either the chord takes on that quality or not. It's more challenging with more notes but still the same basic experience.

Also interesting is how the C is more difficult to hear depending on the placement in a melody. If it's at the beginning or end it's easy but in the middle it depends on if it occurs on a strong or weak beat.

Keep at it, man and keep us posted!

Rob's Ears

Kayd
Posts: 33
Joined: Tue Mar 17, 2009 6:04 pm

Post by Kayd » Wed Jun 10, 2009 12:50 am

Thanks for the encouragement space.

It's been 84 days now. In the past month I went on vacation and did far less practicing than I had previously. When I came back I find I'm only spending about a half hour a day on it where previously I might spend an hour to an hour a half a day. In any event I made it beyond level 100 in C and am starting over with random instruments with a large number of instruments selected. In the past couple weeks I've noticed some refinement in what I hear associated with C and that was a large part of what allowed me to get beyond level 100. I originally just heard C as "duller" but I began to notice that other notes near C began to have the same "color" then my perception began to shift and I began to hear some other quality. I still don't hear it completely clearly, and it's hard to describe, but I've got a little bit of the sound in my ear and now I just have to work on solidifying that. I still find I have days where I hear the C sound better than others, so progress can change from day to day, but overall what I hear is more consistent and I'm having little trouble now hearing notes within the chords.

My progress on interval loader is slower, I still find my largest hurdle hearing the 12 harmonic intervals, but it is getting easier. I'm working a little on chord hopper too and have been through my second challenge so I'm starting with three chords now.

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