Hearing the Changes
Hearing The Changes are knowing what the chords of a song or chord progressions are and when they change. This lesson gets you on the road to developing this ability.
This involves know the chords of the keys and scales that are used for common progressions and songs. And the ability to recognize the sound of intervals, the distance between intervals.
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Here Are The First Steps To Learning To "Hearing the Changes"
Hearing and figuring out the chords to a song takes the same skills as transcribing a song. It's limited to the chords of the song. You might even be doing it in real-time as the song you are playing or listening to the song.
This is a great book - I love this book by Jerry Coker . You can't go wrong with any of his books.
- Marking where the chord actually changes., what measure and beat the chord changes are happening or if learning using the lyrics as a reference, the word or syllable a chord change occurs.
- Identifying the intervals of the root movement. This is the bass/root movement of ... or low end of the chord. If there is a bass playing on the song that is a good place to start by figuring out the bass line. If it's a simple song there is a good chance that they're fulfilling their primary role as a bass player and playing the actual chord tones of the chords - just as single notes and not strumming each chord like a ukulele or guitar player would.
- Identify the starting key. This can give you a great clue as to the chords. Most pop, folk, rock and country songs don't change keys and all the chords will come from that key or be common substitutes. Jazz and songs popular before the Rock'n'Roll era typically modulated to different keys and didn't stay on one key or tonal area. They had a more sophisticated chord structure going on.
Without some of the skills mentioned above it's often a hit or miss, hunt and peck method of figuring out what the chord changes are to a song.
Learning a bit or a lot of the Principles of Music can go a long way in understand how chords and chord progressions move and interact together. There is actually a lot in common between songs.
Here are some tips for figuring out the chords:
After finding where the chord changes. Locate the bass or root of the first chord.
If the song is simple then start checking to see if the chord is a maj, minor, 7th or power 5 chord. Maybe a sus4, sus2 or add 2, add 9 chord.
If it a more sophisticated rich harmony, a.k.a. chords. Then try maj7, m7, 7, dim7, aug7, etc...
With each success - on to the next chord.
Note: Sometimes it is easier to figure this out on piano that the ukulele or guitar. And, you don't really need piano technique - just know how to make simple chords and know the names of the piano keys. Pretty easy.
If not quite right but seems like the right chord based on the root. It might be a bass boicing or slash chord. I C is the bass try C/D, C/E, Cm/F, C/G, Cm/G, C/Bb, C/B. If this fails and it could be any bass note with C as the name of the chord for C/?.
Cliche, Common Progressions with Distinct Bass Lines
Here are some examples of this type of progressions.
- Cm Cm/maj7 Cm7 Cm6 ( Cm Cm/B Cm/Bb Cm/A)
This progression is commonly notated wrong. You'll hear it after you become more familiar with the correct notation.
- C Cm7+5 Cm6 Cm7aug5
I call this the Secret Agent sound. Typically supports the melody. Witchcraft is a jazz standard that has the movement.
- Cmaj7 Caug C6 Cmaj7 or C Caug C6 Caug C
Check out Jim D'Ville's Play Ukulele by Ear • Three Chord Club for lots of examples of simple songs we already know that you can learn by ear.
Related Lessons for Hearing the Changes at this time.
Related Books for Hearing the Changes at this time.
Related Songs for Hearing the Changes at this time.
Related Lesson Series
Related Lessons Series for Hearing the Changes at this time.
Building Your Core Strums for Ukulele
Updated: Jan 1, 2003
Rhythm are in-separately linked to strums. Using the Modular Phonetic Rhythm System developed by Chuck Anderson this series of lessons start with the core four strums all ukulele players use and throughly digs in to the many variations possible.
Related Lesson Files, Resources and Assets
Related Assets for Hearing the Changes at this time.
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