play by ear

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play by ear

  1. (transitive and intransitive, of music) To play guided by one's memory of the sound or in imitation of other performers, 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.
    If they ask for something we didn't prepare, we will have to play it by ear.