Who reads music?

Discussion in 'Fred's Barcalounge' started by NowEarThis, Sep 11, 2021.

My music reading is

  1. Very proficient

    11 vote(s)
    13.9%
  2. I'm ok with it

    33 vote(s)
    41.8%
  3. Not good

    21 vote(s)
    26.6%
  4. Never bothered to learn

    14 vote(s)
    17.7%
  1. ImGoodThanks

    ImGoodThanks Electromatic

    50
    Apr 28, 2021
    Australia
    whoops. mods please delete.
     
  2. ImGoodThanks

    ImGoodThanks Electromatic

    50
    Apr 28, 2021
    Australia
    I have never understood why guitar players especially have had aversion to learning to read music? It's far better than Tab IMHO.

    I think it must look imposing, which it would I guess if you don't read.

    I taught myself at first then went for guitar lessons and learned more formally.

    Learn it like anything else, practice. It opens up another whole world.

    If I can do it, anyone can do it :)
     
  3. Synchro

    Synchro The artist formerly known as: Synchro Staff Member

    Jun 2, 2008
    Tucson
    Admin Post
    I’m with you on that. Pencil in some Roman Numerals to remind you of the positions, if there are tricky passages, and you are good to go.
     
    NowEarThis likes this.
  4. Henry

    Henry I Bleed Orange

    Apr 9, 2014
    Petaluma
    True, because tabs are only half of the characteristic of music - they don't really work unless already "know" the song and you are just trying to learn to play it, as they leave out all rhythm and time from the song.
     
    ImGoodThanks likes this.
  5. KaHOnas

    KaHOnas Electromatic

    Started playing violin when I was 5, piano when I was 8. Trombone at 10. Equated slide position on the trombone to valve position on a trumpet, baritone, and tuba. Somewhere around in here my mother taught me a Gmaj chord on a Fender F-25 acoustic.

    I have read music all my life but not well. I can do monophonic instruments pretty well but once chords get involved, I'm lost. I can eventually translate them but I certainly can't sight-read.

    I just don't have the time to dedicate to improving my abilities. And I kinda hate it.
     
    Henry likes this.
  6. Synchro

    Synchro The artist formerly known as: Synchro Staff Member

    Jun 2, 2008
    Tucson
    Admin Post
    Exactly. I’ve seen some homemade tabs that were terrible.

    Notation is really an amazing development. It preceded recorded music and was the music distribution system for many years. Someone in a remote town could buy the sheet for a song and learn how the song was supposed to sound.

    When I was a kid, I would learn songs strictly from sheet music. My father wanted me to read. I can’t tell you how many songs I learned that way. It was great experience.
    Being a great sight-reader is relatively rare. I’m certainly not the best at it, but if you keep at it steadily, it gets better.
     
    Runamok, Henry and ImGoodThanks like this.
  7. Shock

    Shock Gretschie

    249
    Sep 7, 2020
    Minnesota
    I don't read music. But I am profecent at music theory. The guitar is a good way to understand music theory. Moving upward (or downward in pitch) on the strings, the G has one sharp. The D has 2 sharps, The A has 3 sharps. See the pattern? The E is repeated at the top and bottom, and from the high E moving up (or down) is 5 sharps, the B string. Hence the guitar is a C instrument. The guitar neck is the way I learned the church modes. I learned this from a physics professor that is also a music teacher.

    He says this is why the guitar is used to teach classical music. He says it was invented as a teaching instrument. After a few lessons with him, I began to understand music (that I already knew) by the guitar neck, rather than printed. Knowing how to play Desperado by Alice Cooper was also knowing how to play in A phrigian on guitar. I don't think he knew what I was learning from him, but I credit him. So I would be proof that you do not have to read music to know music theory.
     
  8. Henry

    Henry I Bleed Orange

    Apr 9, 2014
    Petaluma
    Weird, I have a totally different experience, piano at 5, violin at 8 and baritone horn at 10. :rolleyes: I wish I had picked up the bone instead. I have one now but have hardly touched it.
     
    KaHOnas likes this.
  9. Synchro

    Synchro The artist formerly known as: Synchro Staff Member

    Jun 2, 2008
    Tucson
    Admin Post
    Some decades back, I made a breakthrough in my understanding of theory and chord to scale relationships. Once that happened, I began to see songs from a theoretical viewpoint, and found them much easier to learn, to play and to remember.

    Once I learned how chords and tone centers worked, I didn’t need so much as a chord chart for most songs. Songs are a clockwork logic of harmonic movement and the melody rides atop the harmonies.

    Perhaps the most interesting part of this is that it actually made sight reading easier, because the logic of the song all but jumps off the page. I still have hundreds of songbooks and a file cabinet full of sheet music. Sometimes an a accurate songbook can make life easier. I especially love the songbooks which have transcriptions of guitar solos. The added element of visually seeing the solo on the printed page can be useful.

    Truly, I have one foot planted in each other the worlds, reading and non-reading, but I strongly resist the notion that reading hinders creativity.
     
    Shock likes this.
  10. hogrider16

    hogrider16 Gretschie

    376
    Oct 18, 2017
    charles town wv
    It take time and effort. People are lazy.
     
    Henry likes this.
  11. Bob Perrone

    Bob Perrone Gretschie

    284
    Mar 7, 2017
    allentown, pa
    Agreed, and I know it sounds ridiculous but I can't figure out Tabs for the life of me...music notation - not a problem, but Tabs are Greek
     
  12. Mikeyzee

    Mikeyzee Newbie

    1
    May 6, 2020
    Baltimore
    I’ve slowly learned throughout the years but now I’m learning classical guitar and my sight reading has improved rather quickly. I think the reason so many guitar players don’t read (forgive me if this has been said) there are so many places on the neck where you can play the same note. Also, so many of the guitar heroes talk about not knowing what they’re doing and don’t read that I think it has poisoned the well of guitar knowledge. I feel like among guitar players, especially rock the less you know the better, it makes the music more real somehow? Reading music and know theory stifles the creativity somehow? I wanted to learn to read when I first started playing but my guitar teacher said “Why do you want to read music? You’re a guitar player you don’t need to read” He was a pretty terrible teacher and I quite shortly there after
     
    Henry likes this.
  13. calabouche

    calabouche Electromatic

    66
    Apr 27, 2009
    newmarket on canada
    Guitarists don’t bother learning to read because it’s written for piano. Personally, I have no interest trying to figure out what a stack of notes translates to on a fretboard. I am blessed with perfect relative pitch and have no trouble learning by ear and even identifying exact positionings on the fingerboard.
    I understand that less fortunate souls may have to read in order to play and that’s okay. Whatever works, right?
     
    Henry likes this.
  14. Henry

    Henry I Bleed Orange

    Apr 9, 2014
    Petaluma
    It's one of those things where if you can't read, it makes no sense; if you can't, it makes no sense. I have never had a problem figuring out where to play the notes on the guitar - just as with fingering on the piano, there is a logical progression in the music. I guess I am fortunate to not be one of those unfortunate souls who doesn't know his way around a fretboard. :D
     
  15. Shock

    Shock Gretschie

    249
    Sep 7, 2020
    Minnesota
    Brilliantly put. Those first two paragraphs are pretty deep, but sums it up.
     
  16. Synchro

    Synchro The artist formerly known as: Synchro Staff Member

    Jun 2, 2008
    Tucson
    Admin Post
    I can’t agree with you on this.

    First off, if you read both clefs, piano music works very well on the guitar. A guitar can’t do everything a piano csn do, but a guitar can come quite close, and some of the best voicing ideas I’ve ever seen came straight off of a piano arrangement.

    Beyond that, implying that having to read signifies a deficiency makes no sense whatsoever. I’ve read music since the days of the Beatles, but that doesn’t mean that I am unable to copy by ear.

    The major advantage to reading music is that it’s possible to learn a song without hearing it. If it’s an unfamiliar piece, this can be a lot quicker. At one point, I played a lot of casuals and never knew ahead of time what to expect. It wasn’t uncommon to find myself performing a song I had never heard before. Usually, this was possible by ear, but I always appreciated a chart, when playing something completely unfamiliar.

    Another advantage to charts is that you can convey not only a song, but also an arrangement. If you are filling in with an established band, this can be a lifesaver. As a general rule, I don’t chart most of what our band plays, but a chart can preserve an arrangement indefinitely. This comes in very handy for the songs you only play on special occasions.

    I’m with you, Henry. The logic of the fretboard is hardly a mystery for the ages. I have several scale forms I use for orientation, and if I stay true to these two-octave scales, fingering is usually pretty straight forward. In many cases, I play melodies out of triad inversions. Mapping the neck in Major and minor triads was one of the best things I learned Bout the instrument. A lot of the time, melodies come straight out of the triads, as they invert up and down, or across the neck.
     
    MrWookiee likes this.
  17. NowEarThis

    NowEarThis Gretschie

    Age:
    70
    200
    Jun 23, 2021
    Northern Rivers NSW Australia
    Nice theory Shock, but I don't see the pattern.

    G string: G, G#, A, A# <- 2 sharps. One sharp ??
    D string: D, D# E, F, F#
    A string: A, A#, B, C, C# <-- where's the 3rd sharp?
     
  18. Shock

    Shock Gretschie

    249
    Sep 7, 2020
    Minnesota
    The key of A has 3 sharps. It falls between the keys with 4 sharps (E) and the key with two sharps (D) as far as string assignment.
     
  19. GlenP

    GlenP Country Gent

    Jul 23, 2019
    WA
    I think I see now, if you play a major scale in A, from the open A to the 12-fret A on the A string, you will hit 3 notes that are sharps, C#, F#, G#

    major key signatures:
    Screen Shot 2021-09-18 at 10.09.27 PM.png

    it's all do-ray-me-fa-so-la-ti-do intervals in the major scale. To paraphrase Julie Andrews, or Maria Von Trapp, Once you know the notes to Twang, you can play most any Thang!
     
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2021
    Rusty Chops, Shock and NowEarThis like this.
  20. Shock

    Shock Gretschie

    249
    Sep 7, 2020
    Minnesota
    Yes, that is it. It goes even deeper. G mixolidian has one minor tone, the 7th. D dorian has two minor tones, the 7th and the 3rd. A aolian has three minor tones, the 7th, 3rd and 6th. E locrean has 4 minor tones, the 7th, 3rd, 6th and the 2nd. All being relative to the key of C. All moving from lighter to darker in tone. I didn't figure this out on my own. It was explained by a physics professor.
     
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