play by ear
Play a musical instrument without the aid of written music, as in By the time she was four, she could play a dozen songs by ear. [Late 1600s]
play it by ear. Proceed gradually, depending on the circumstances; improvise. For example, I'm not sure how much we should say about our plans, so let's play it by ear. [Mid-1900s]
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How to use play by ear in a sentence
Have there been discussions with FX regarding an Archer movie, and how do you think that would play out?‘Archer’ Creator Adam Reed Spills Season 6 Secrets, From Surreal Plotlines to Life Post-ISIS|Marlow Stern|January 8, 2015|DAILY BEAST
“Jeffrey wanted me to tell you that you looked so pretty,” the female voice said into my disbelieving ear.I Tried to Warn You About Sleazy Billionaire Jeffrey Epstein in 2003|Vicky Ward|January 7, 2015|DAILY BEAST
Father Joel Román Salazar died in a car crash in 2013; his death was ruled an accident, but the suspicion of foul play persists.
He plays an aging punk rocker and I play the drummer from his old band.Coffee Talk with Fred Armisen: On ‘Portlandia,’ Meeting Obama, and Taylor Swift’s Greatness|Marlow Stern|January 7, 2015|DAILY BEAST
When fathers hold and play with their children, oxytocin and prolactin kick in, priming them for bonding.
I assure you, no matter how beautifully we play any piece, the minute Liszt plays it, you would scarcely recognize it!
But I hope at least to play to him a few times, and what is more important, to hear him play repeatedly.
When we were mounted Mac leaned over and muttered an admonitory word for Piegan's ear alone.Raw Gold|Bertrand W. Sinclair
All along the highways and by-paths of our literature we encounter much that pertains to this "queen of plants."
What the ear hears is the fundamental pitch only; the overtones harmonize with the primary or fundamental tone, and enrich it.Expressive Voice Culture|Jessie Eldridge Southwick