Play by Ear is a powerful ear training tool for jazz musicians and jazz students. It has been designed to improve your ability to improvise by ear over a given chord or chords sequence.
The app plays random chords or chord sequences to which you play along with your instrument, finding by ear the scale (or scales) that fits the chord playing at any given moment.
Once you become more experienced you’ll be able to feel almost immediately what the right scale is and you will be able to improvise musical phrases over the grooves.
If you can identify exactly what the chord is that’s great, but the most important thing is being able to improvise the right notes even if you are not aware of what chord is playing – remember that the ear is faster than the mind.
If you use Play by Ear every day your ear will drastically improve and so will your ability to play improvised music!!!
In the app you have the option to select the chord types you want to work on, the number of bars each chord is played for and the number of chords each sequence is made of.
All grooves are played by real musicians (drums, upright bass and guitar on the current version), so no midi tracks!!!
There are three types of groove: “Rock”, “Bossa” and “Swing”. Each groove has 12/13 types of chords, played in all keys.
The “Rock” grooves (they are “rockish”, actually) have a minimum length of two bars for each chord. Chords are arpeggiated (you can hear all the notes in the voicing) and the bass always plays the tonic. These are the easiest ones and are the best to begin with.
The “Bossa” grooves have a minimum length of two bars for each chord and feature static chord voicings, while the bass plays tonic and fifth.
The “Swing” grooves have a minimum length of four bars for each chord and feature different voicings for each chord.