play by ear
  1. (transitive and intransitive, of music) To play guided by one's musical ear, rather than from a written score.
  2. (transitive and intransitive, idiomatic) To do by guessing, intuition, or trial and error; to react to events as they occur; improvise
    If they ask for something we didn't prepare, we will have to play it by ear.
Synonyms Translations
  • French: jouer à l'oreille
  • German: nach Gehör spielen
  • Portuguese: tocar de memória (from memory), tocar de ouvido (in imitation of a performance)
  • Spanish: tocar de memoria
  • French: improviser
  • German: improvisieren; spontan entscheiden; es auf sich zukommen lassen; es nehmen, wie es kommt; (colloquial) sehen; kucken
  • Russian: де́йствовать по обстоятельство

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