by ear

by ear

1. Without referencing sheet music or a recording. Refers to the ability to play a piece of music. Wow, George is such a talented piano player! The way he can play pieces by ear after hearing them just once is so impressive!
2. By extension, in an improvised or flexible way. Typically used in the phrase "play it by ear." A: "Are we meeting at noon on Saturday?" B: "Around then. I have to run some errands in the morning, so let's play it by ear."
See also: by, ear
References in periodicals archive ?
This membrane is very susceptible to damage caused by ear infections, pressure changes or head trauma.
If you are bothered by ear wax, or feel that wax may be impacting on your hearing aids or hearing in general, contact us for your free assessment and wax removal appointment today.
Otitis externa has many different causes, including allergies, bacterial or yeast infections, or infestation by ear mites.
Ear canker (the condition caused by ear mites) can hit the very best and cleanest of herds if proper preventive measures aren't taken.