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Learn Music Through the Ear with The Primacy of the Ear by Ran Blake


Ran Blake: The Primacy of the Ear




If you are a musician, an educator, or a listener who wants to learn more about music and develop your musical personality, you might be interested in reading The Primacy of the Ear by Ran Blake. This book is a collection of essays, exercises, anecdotes, and insights that reveal Blake's philosophy and methodology of music education. In this article, we will introduce you to Ran Blake and his book, explain some of the key concepts and ideas that he presents, show you how to apply them in your own musical journey, and review some of the benefits that you can gain from following his approach.




ran blake primacy of the ear pdf download



Who is Ran Blake?




Ran Blake (born April 20, 1935) is an American pianist, composer, and educator. He is known for his unique style that combines blues, gospel, classical, and film noir influences into an innovative and dark jazz sound. His career spans over 50+ years on every major label. He has recorded over 40 albums as a soloist or leader, collaborated with artists such as Jeanne Lee, Anthony Braxton, Jaki Byard, Steve Lacy, Houston Person, Ricky Ford, Christine Correa, Sara Serpa, Dominique Eade, among others. He has also composed music for films such as The Short Life of Barbara Monk, Martin Luther King, Il Bidone, The Pawnbroker, Les Stances à Sophie, etc.


As an educator, Blake is a pioneer in the field of Third Stream music, a term coined by Gunther Schuller in 1957 to describe a musical phenomenon that synthesizes characteristics of classical and jazz music. In 1973, he founded the Department of Third Stream Studies at the New England Conservatory of Music, where he still teaches today. He has also taught at Harvard University, Columbia University, Berklee College of Music, Longy School of Music, Macalester College, and many other institutions around the world. He has received numerous awards and honors for his contributions to music, such as the Guggenheim Fellowship, the MacArthur Fellowship, the NEA Jazz Masters Award, the ASCAP Jazz Wall of Fame Award, the Boston Jazz Hero Award, etc.


What is The Primacy of the Ear?




The Primacy of the Ear is a book that Blake wrote in 2010 to share his vision and experience of music education. The book is divided into four parts: Part I: The Philosophy of Third Stream; Part II: The Methodology of Third Stream; Part III: The Application of Third Stream; Part IV: The Benefits of Third Stream. In each part, Blake explains some of the main concepts and ideas that underlie his approach, such as Third Stream, Streaming, and the role of the ear in music. He also provides practical examples and exercises that illustrate how to apply these concepts and ideas in one's own musical practice. He also tells stories and anecdotes that reveal his personal journey and influences as a musician and educator. The book is written in a conversational style that invites the reader to engage with Blake's thoughts and questions.


What is Third Stream?




Third Stream is a term that was created by Gunther Schuller in 1957 to describe a cultural phenomenon that was then occurring in American music: performers who were adept in both jazz and classical styles, jazz composers who borrowed harmonic and formal ideas from Euro-American concert music, contemporary classical composers who used jazz and improvisation as resource material. The music that resulted from this phenomenon synthesized characteristics of the two main-streams, classical and jazz, into a third stream. Some examples of Third Stream music are Sketches of Spain by Miles Davis and Gil Evans, Epitaph by Charles Mingus, Concerto for Billy the Kid by George Russell, Focus by Stan Getz and Eddie Sauter, Black Saint and the Sinner Lady by Charles Mingus, etc.


However, as Blake points out, Third Stream is not just a musical style or genre. It is also a process of learning and creating music that involves a synthesis of different musical styles and influences. Blake expands the scope of Third Stream to include world musics of all kinds (not only African-American) as potential sources for this personal synthesis process. He calls this process Streaming.


What is Streaming?




Streaming is a term that Blake uses to describe the process of developing one's musical personality through a synthesis of different musical styles and influences. Streaming involves three steps: listening, transcribing, and transforming. Listening means exposing oneself to a wide variety of musical styles and genres from different cultures and periods. Transcribing means learning to play or sing what one hears by ear without using any visual aids such as scores or charts. Transforming means using one's imagination and creativity to modify, combine, or create new musical material based on what one has listened to and transcribed. Streaming allows one to absorb and integrate different musical elements and influences into one's own musical expression.


To illustrate Streaming, Blake gives an example of how he learned to play Laura, a song composed by David Raksin for the film noir Laura. He first listened to different versions of the song by Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole, Charlie Parker, Woody Herman, etc. He then transcribed them by ear and memorized them. He then transformed them by changing the tempo, rhythm, harmony, melody, or mood. He also added elements from other songs or styles that he liked or was influenced by. He then created his own version of Laura that reflected his personal taste and vision.


What is the role of the ear in music?




He suggests that one should learn music through the ear, by listening, transcribing, and transforming what one hears. He also emphasizes the importance of developing one's memory and repertoire, by memorizing and internalizing a large number of musical pieces from different styles and genres. He believes that this approach will not only improve one's musical skills and knowledge, but also enhance one's emotional and spiritual connection to music.


How to apply The Primacy of the Ear?




The Primacy of the Ear is not a textbook or a manual that prescribes a fixed curriculum or a set of rules. It is a resource that offers suggestions and exercises that can be adapted and customized to one's own needs and goals. Blake encourages the reader to experiment and explore different musical possibilities and challenges. He also invites the reader to share his or her own experiences and feedback with him and other readers. In this section, we will give you some examples of how to apply The Primacy of the Ear in your own musical practice.


How to develop one's memory and repertoire?




One of the exercises that Blake proposes is to listen to a musical piece that you like or are interested in, and try to transcribe it by ear without using any visual aids. You can start with simple pieces or sections, and gradually increase the difficulty and length. You can also use different methods of transcription, such as writing down the notes, singing or humming the melody, playing it on an instrument, etc. The goal is to be able to play or sing what you hear accurately and confidently.


Another exercise is to memorize a musical piece that you have transcribed or learned by ear. You can use different techniques to help you memorize, such as repetition, association, visualization, chunking, etc. You can also test your memory by recalling the piece in different ways, such as playing it backwards, starting from a random point, changing the key or tempo, etc. The goal is to be able to recall the piece without any hesitation or error.


A third exercise is to expand your repertoire by listening to and learning a large number of musical pieces from different styles and genres. You can choose pieces that you like or are curious about, or pieces that are recommended by others. You can also use different sources of listening, such as recordings, radio, concerts, etc. The goal is to expose yourself to a wide variety of musical expressions and influences.


How to assimilate styles in detail?




One of the exercises that Blake suggests is to imitate a musical piece or style that you have listened to and learned by ear. You can try to reproduce the piece or style as closely as possible, paying attention to every detail such as melody, harmony, rhythm, timbre, dynamics, articulation, etc. You can also compare your imitation with the original source and identify any differences or errors. The goal is to understand and appreciate the nuances and subtleties of the piece or style.


Another exercise is to vary a musical piece or style that you have imitated by ear. You can try to change some aspects of the piece or style while keeping others constant, such as adding or deleting notes, altering the harmony or rhythm, modifying the timbre or dynamics, etc. You can also experiment with different degrees of variation, from subtle to drastic. The goal is to explore and discover new musical possibilities and effects.


A third exercise is to transform a musical piece or style that you have varied by ear. You can try to create a new musical piece or style based on the original one, but with significant changes or additions that reflect your own taste and vision. You can also combine elements from different pieces or styles that you have learned by ear. The goal is to express your own musical personality and creativity.


How to express one's emotions and spirituality through music?




One of the exercises that Blake recommends is to improvise on a musical piece or style that you have learned by ear. You can try to play or sing freely without following any predetermined structure or pattern. You can also respond to your own feelings or moods at the moment of improvisation. The goal is to communicate your emotions and spirituality through music.


Another exercise is to compose a musical piece based on a theme or idea that inspires you. You can use any musical material or technique that you have learned by ear. You can also use any form or genre that suits your theme or idea. The goal is to convey your message and meaning through music.


A third exercise is to perform a musical piece that you have improvised or composed by ear. You can play or sing for yourself or for others. You can also choose a suitable setting and occasion for your performance. The goal is to share your music and connect with your audience.


What are the benefits of The Primacy of the Ear?




The Primacy of the Ear is not only a book that teaches you how to learn and create music, but also a book that enriches your musical experience and enjoyment. By following Blake's approach, you can gain many benefits that will help you grow as a musician, an educator, or a listener. Here are some of the benefits that you can expect from The Primacy of the Ear.


What are the benefits for musicians?




If you are a musician who wants to improve your musicality, creativity, and versatility, The Primacy of the Ear can help you achieve your goals. By applying The Primacy of the Ear, you can:


  • Develop your ear and memory skills, which are essential for any musician.



  • Expand your repertoire and knowledge of different musical styles and genres, which will broaden your musical horizons and perspectives.



  • Assimilate styles in detail, which will deepen your understanding and appreciation of different musical elements and influences.



  • Express your emotions and spirituality through music, which will enhance your musical expression and communication.



  • Create your own musical personality and style, which will distinguish you from other musicians.



What are the benefits for educators?




If you are an educator who wants to teach music more effectively, holistically, and authentically, The Primacy of the Ear can help you achieve your goals. By applying The Primacy of the Ear, you can:


  • Teach music through the ear, which is the most natural and direct way of learning music.



  • Teach music as an aural art, which will emphasize the importance and value of listening in music education.



  • Teach music as a personal synthesis process, which will encourage students to develop their own musical personality and style.



  • Teach music as an emotional and spiritual expression, which will inspire students to connect with their inner feelings and vision through music.



  • Teach music as a resource for life, which will show students how music can enrich their lives and experiences.



What are the benefits for listeners?




If you are a listener who wants to enjoy music more deeply, broadly, and critically, The Primacy of the Ear can help you achieve your goals. By applying The Primacy of the Ear, you can:


  • Listen to music with more attention and awareness, which will improve your listening skills and enjoyment.



  • Listen to music with more curiosity and openness, which will expose you to a wide variety of musical styles and genres.



  • Listen to music with more understanding and appreciation, which will help you recognize and appreciate the nuances and subtleties of different musical elements and influences.



  • Listen to music with more emotion and spirituality, which will help you connect with the feelings and vision of the musicians.



  • Listen to music with more personality and style, which will help you express your own taste and preference in music.



Conclusion




we hope that you will enjoy The Primacy of the Ear by Ran Blake as much as we did.


FAQs




Here are some frequently asked questions about The Primacy of the Ear by Ran Blake:


  • What is the main message of The Primacy of the Ear by Ran Blake?



The main message of The Primacy of the Ear by Ran Blake is that music is an aural art, and that the ear should be the main conduit for learning and creating music. He also advocates for a personal synthesis process of musical styles and influences, which he calls Streaming.


  • Who is the target audience of The Primacy of the Ear by Ran Blake?



The target audience of The Primacy of the Ear by Ran Blake is anyone who is interested in music and wants to develop their musical personality and skills. This includes musicians, educators, and listeners of any level, background, or genre.


  • How can I download The Primacy of the Ear by Ran Blake?



You can download The Primacy of the Ear by Ran Blake from his official website at https://www.ranblake.com/downloads, where you can find a PDF version of the book as well as other resources by Ran Blake.


  • How can I contact Ran Blake?



You can contact Ran Blake directly at ran@ranblake.com, where he welcomes any feedback or questions from his readers. You can also follow him on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/ran.blake.9, where he posts updates and news about his music and activities.


  • What are some other books or resources that are similar to The Primacy of the Ear by Ran Blake?



Some other books or resources that are similar to The Primacy of the Ear by Ran Blake are:


  • The Inner Game of Music by Barry Green and W. Timothy Gallwey, which is a book that explores the psychological aspects of music and how to overcome mental obstacles and achieve peak performance.



  • The Music Lesson by Victor Wooten, which is a book that tells a story of a young musician who learns about music and life from a mysterious teacher.



  • The Jazz Theory Book by Mark Levine, which is a book that explains the theory and practice of jazz music in a comprehensive and accessible way.



  • The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron, which is a book that provides a 12-week program for unlocking one's creativity and overcoming artistic blocks.



  • The Listening Book by W.A. Mathieu, which is a book that offers exercises and reflections on how to listen to music more deeply and attentively.



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