Posted by ESC on January 22, 2007
In Reply to: Playing it by ear posted by Mike on January 21, 2007
: playing it by ear refers to conversation by way of melody, not playing by memory, don't you agree?
play by ear -- to deal with something without previous planning or instructions. (Merriam-Webster)
Regarding music, if someone "plays by ear" he or she can't "read music" or hasn't received formal instruction.