i was just reading through forward motion, which i recently aquired.  in the practicing section, hal talks about "hearing speed" and how all technique, including speed, is based on what you inner ear can "hear" and process. he talks about listening to an early tatum album for 3 hours and then getting a temporary boost from it.  

does anyone have any suggestions for improving the "inner ear" in terms of technique and raising the ceiling for speed other than the ones glaper suggests?  

(other than practicing slowly. i already do that.)

There are 5 comments, leave a comment.

btw, i do realize that speed is not the be-all-end-all.  but when playing certain pieces and covers there is a minimum speed requirement for some of them not to sound weird.  i.e. minute waltz as a slow dirge.

note choices based on psycho-acoustic factors

some other comments on pre-hearing:

1. when one speaks, generally one has a pretty good idea of what words are going to be used before they roll off the tongue.

this is exactly the same thing as pre-hearing. you know what you're going to say and how you're going to say it just milliseconds before your phrase pops out of your mouth.

developing this same skill with regards to notes on your instrument takes time to develop. and mostly because you will pre-hear something and then attempt to play it and your fingers will play notes that your brain didn't intend.

iow, you haven't internalized the note-chord relationships well enough to know exactly which keys correspond to the melody in your head.

you will also get better at this over time. due in great part to trail-and-error positive/negative feedback.

vocalists rarely have this problem, because of the internal nature of the instrument and the direct brain-to-vocal-chords relationship. when they pre-hear a note, they can also immediately execute it.

2. related to the ease that vocalists have in translating pre-heard notes/phrases into real notes/phrases is my strong suggestion to you that the best way to develop pre-hearing is to begin by singing what you hear in your head.

if you were to say "but i don't hear anything in my head", try the "complete this phrase" concept.

play a couple or three notes over the chord or progression in question, and then let your voice bring that phrase to its logical conclusion.

any incomplete phrase can have an almost unlimited number of "logical conclusions" and the logical conclusions that you are drawn to will be different from the ones that i or anyone else is drawn to.

however, this "infinity" of logical conclusions will all have at least two things in common, and that is that they will all be "logical" and that they all will have "conclusions".

this is one of the beautiful things about music and this is why music is such a highly personal art form.

an example that i use with my students is the incomplete phrase "i saw a dog in the park, ..."

a hundred different people will complete that sentence a hundred different ways - but all of their phrases will conform to grammatical logic, and each sentence will come to a conclusion.

and then we take a breath.
once i've transcribed (either on paper or in my head), some particular riffs, it becomes easily recognizable. i think at some point, you develop enough of this library of riffs that you can actually remember the patterns. thus a stream of notes start, at least to me, to look like sets of a few patterns, instead of individual notes. i imagine shapes in my head as i hear the pattern.

i think this explains in a way why some people are able to appreciate the content of fast lines while others just perceive a stream of notes.
hell,i love this site!  it's like a treasure chest/jewel/trinket box: there are lots of beads (oh i never thought of it that way) and lots of jewels (oh i get it, or ahaa! moments) to be had in here.  thanks to all. kai
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