Matty.. may I ask how exactly you were able to do that? I've been figuring out stuff for a very long time and have gotten pretty good at picking up single note stuff out quickly and of course power chords. But full chords I just have a lot of trouble with.
Do you just hear the familiar sound of a 7/6/mi7/etc.. Or figure out the root note then try the variations? Or even hear the individual notes?
It's just something I really need to work on so any advice would be appreciated.
It's a mixture of music theory, aural skills, general music knowledge and using my eyes to look at the guitarist's fingers.
The first chord movement Em, EmM7, Em7, Em6 is a classic figure found in hundreds of jazz compositions. As soon as I heard it I knew what it was. It's quite hard to hear the guitar in places on my setup so I had to use my eyes a bit to see how he fingered certain chords, but to be completely honest I would have been able to work it out without visual aid.
Without trying to sound pompous, the rest of the piece is rather simple harmonically speaking. Basic chords, nicely extended with some 6th, 7ths and 9ths.
The music theory bit comes in when naming chords; the Em6 from that classic movement I just mentioned could well be a Dbm7b5 but this name would be theoretically wrong, even though they contain the same notes!
Naming the Am6/9 took a bit of figuring out too.
I think that the movement in the bass line on the guitar would throw some people trying to work out the chords. Most of the time the actual chord remains the same, and the bass moves in 5ths or 3rds.
Yes I do know the sound of a major chord, minor, diminished, augmented, m6, m9, dom7
etc and this comes in very handy when working out pieces like this. I don't necessarily hear all the individual notes but the way they combine makes a sound that I know (usually!).
If I don't know the chord I'll isolate the individual notes by repeatedly listening back over and over, noting down the notes I hear, and name the chord when I'm done.
Yes there is an element of taking the bottom note and working through the variations.
I think it's extremely important for all instrumentalists to recognise at least the four triads by ear.
It takes practice to develop the skills to quickly figure out chord changes by ear. Lots of years listening to music and playing music. When you listen ask yourself what you hear. Major? Minor? Learn as much theory as you can. Learn Cadences (perfect, plagal, imperfect etc) and learn some common changes such as ii V I.
Figure out simple stuff first and progress.
If you have a buddy who plays guitar or piano quiz each other on chord recognition, scale recognition, interval recognition, cadence recognition etc.
Learn as many chords as possible and get familiar with how they sound. If you want to figure out jazz, it makes sense that you are already familiar with the chords commonly used in jazz. Of course it is not just restricted to jazz but hopefully you get my point.