each individual perceives music in a different way.

linear perception:
when one perceives a melody in a first plane and the rest of elements as a background... most of people works in that way...
some people hear superior line in first  plane (violinists, flutists, singers....)
other people hear in first plane intermediate lines, as trombonists, violists, hornists, cellists....
a few people hear in first plane the bass line as bassists, contrabassoons, cellists, sax baritone, tuba...
all these people perceive musical lines in a horizontal way.
linear perception is the most natural and common perception of music and is good for singers and for melodic and contrapuntal instruments.

rhythmic perception:
when one hear rhythm section in first plane and the rest of orchestra as a background. all drummers, and percussionists, and many guitar and piano players have this kind of musical perception.
you may develop a rhythmic perception hearing recordings and following rhythm beats touching with left over a table, closed eyes, as if you were the drum player and marking pulses with foot.
remember than rhythm is the primary element of musicÖ you must to develop a sense of rhythm to be a good musician.
you must feel rhythmÖ no thinking in it. rhythm is a function of subconscious.
a good pianist must have rhythmic perception of music.

harmonic perception:
when one hear chord progressions in first plane, as many guitarists, bassists and pianists.
you may develop a harmonic perception hearing recordings and writing chord progressions. itís not easyÖ  take only a phrase or a theme of a song until you find correct harmony.
a good pianist must have harmonic perception.

structural perception:
when one perceives music in a vertical way...
so do pianists, organists, arrangers, orchestral conductors....
this people have an open mind to catch everything simultaneously as a complete structure.
you may develop structural perception hearing orchestra or big band recordings and following everything, closed eyes, as if you were the conductor.  pay attention to singer, contrapuntal instruments, melodies, brakes, fill-ins, harmonic background, bass, guitar, piano, drums, effects and everything, as if you were the conductor.
a few persons have this structural perception of music in a natural way. may be you must do an effort to develop it.
the best pianists have a structural perception  of music.

this point of view of musical perception is interesting to understand why a guy likes to play bassoon or viola or timbal or maracas or tuba or a pipe organ or piano or the baton of a symphonic orchestra.
sometimes i tried to teach  piano to a good melodic musician (violin, flute, trumpet, sax...) and i didnít have success. why? now you have a response.
iím speaking about spontaneous and natural ways of musical perception.
a guy with linear perception may educate himself to get a structural, or harmonic, or rhythmic perception, but doing a great effort.

all that thoughts are of my own observation and experience over a lot of years playing with musicians and teaching music.
enjoy music and develop  your musical perception in order to be a great pianist.

alberto betancourt
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