Question from Joel:
I have many jazz tunes id like to learn and play by ear on piano by transcribing. I have musical challenges transcribing complex harmonies, melodies and bass lines essentially songs in general. My question is, how specifically should I listen to new material in order to transcribe it? 2, what should I be listening for? 3 how can I enhance the clarity of what am hearing (bass lines, complex harmonies & melodies) in order to hear exactly what to copy and play (transcribe) I can not hear and copy/transcribe in order to learn am frustrated how do I solve these musical challenges?
Answer from Martan:
Music theory must be “real”. You can’t just learn it intellectually. It is strongly suggested that you sing intervals. Learn specific chord progressions in all keys and all inversions. Learn to feel and identify all modes of every scale. This will prepare you to transcribe difficult music.
Start transcription by identifying the bass line. Then, transcribe the melody. Those are usually easier to hear. Finally, listen for the specific mode of each harmony. I think it is better, and easier, to identify the mode than the chord. Once you know the mode . . . then, label the chord.
This all comes down to your ability to hear pitches and recognize harmony.
Finally . . . be very specific transcribing rhythmic figures.
Start with easier transcriptions.