Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Reading Sheet Music By Ear

I love vintage sheet music and have been an avid collector for about 10 years.  The songs, eras, composers, lyricists, themes, shows and so much more draw me into that world of old paper.  I’ve amassed a large collection of over 5000 popular sheets from 1900 through the decades. I have a great deal of interest in the Public Domain.

What drives me musically is to grab about 100 pieces out of a big box and play them in an afternoon or two.  All the while I sight-read and play by ear at the same time.  “Hows that work?” you ask.

Most sheet music is moderately difficult from one song to another.  When a tough arrangement comes up, I might glaze over parts and simplify things around the given chords.  This is music.  You can do anything you want as long as you keep things going forward.

The play-by-ear factor of reading music lets you look at music, read the chords above the staff and play what you know is written.  It stands to reason if you know the chord, you don’t have to read what’s written. 

All the while I’m mining my collection for memorable gems that stand out from the rest.  When I find one, my heart sings -like a rush- with joy.  I’ve gathered together a very interesting collection of those exceptional songs and will make them available through downloads as things progress here. 

What kinds of music are you interested in?


Joseph Pingel is a pianist, teacher and musicologist.  Click here to get the free companion book to this blog.  See his other sites at www.KeyedUpPiano.com and www.PlayByEarCentral.com. 

© 2011 Keyed Up Inc

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