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Why You Should Read Music on Guitar

great-case.com

a.k.a. "Mitch"
Messages
5,733
Why do you need tab for fret position? Traditionally guitar notation has position/strings/fingering without tab. The notion that you can notate stuff in tabe you can't do in regular notation never made sense.
With much due respect, I should not have said say I needed tab for any reason. I simply prefer it.

To your point, I will admit that Tab is a poor presentation of tempo. but I read both languages. I prefer Tab because I am more familiar with it and I've adapted it to my particular style. I read well enough to learn a lot of pieces for which staff is the only source. After I voice such a piece, I register it on tab so that my more familiar language is available. The transcription is quite valuable as an exercise, yes? I think so.

Great points ^ and yes, improv to new and exciting parts of the neck is constrained by tab. Once I know (and/or recall) the piece, imrov flows kind of easily. When I find a lick worth writing, I write it down and get back to wandering and wondering.

On closing, nice to meet you new friends. I trust I do not offend? I certainly do not intend...
 
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Ed DeGenaro

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
24,653
With much due respect, I should not have said say I needed tab for any reason. I simply prefer it.

To your point, I will admit that Tab is a poor presentation of tempo. but I read both languages. I prefer Tab because I am more familiar with it and I've adapted it to my particular style. I read well enough to learn a lot of pieces for which staff is the only source. After I voice such a piece, I register it on tab so that my more familiar language is available. The transcription is quite valuable as an exercise, yes? I think so.



Great points ^ and yes, improv to new and exciting parts of the neck is constrained by tab. Once I know (and/or recall) the piece, imrov flows kind of easily. When I find a lick worth writing, I write it down and get back to wandering and wondering.

On closing, nice to meet you new friends. I trust I do not offend? I certainly do not intend...
I think you misinterpreted the "need"...
Point was not why do you need tab but rather one does not need tab in order to read fret/string/finger position...
 

The Captain

Senior Member
Messages
12,790
I think you misinterpreted the "need"...
Point was not why do you need tab but rather one does not need tab in order to read fret/string/finger position...
Alternatively, one could ask why there is so much vociferous criticism of tab, when it clearly serves a useful purpose for so many people ?
 

aiq

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
11,046
I was told by my first teacher,"In twenty years there will be 10,000,000 guitar players. If you read, you work."

Of course I ignored him. He wanted me to play Perfidia, I wanted to play Satisfaction.

Many years later I taught my self to half ass read. Not sight read, more like two week read.

I am doing another two five study and, as always, it is slow.

One problem, I always want to change the fingering.

If you are young and starting out just do it.
 

Ed DeGenaro

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
24,653
[QUOhe Captain, post: 21684600, member: 34781"]Alternatively, one could ask why there is so much vociferous criticism of tab, when it clearly serves a useful purpose for so many people ?[/QUOTE]
I can tell you why I have no use for it. Unless you're a guitarist You won't have any use. Conversely if I need to chart something for someone it's universal if I use standard notation.
 

guitarjazz

Member
Messages
23,124
[QUOhe Captain, post: 21684600, member: 34781"]Alternatively, one could ask why there is so much vociferous criticism of tab, when it clearly serves a useful purpose for so many people ?
I can tell you why I have no use for it. Unless you're a guitarist You won't have any use. Conversely if I need to chart something for someone it's universal if I use standard notation.[/QUOTE]
Shh...I like the work and don't need the competition. ;)
 

Tone Loco

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
4,349
Alternatively, one could ask why there is so much vociferous criticism of tab, when it clearly serves a useful purpose for so many people ?
I think it's really just trying to do people a favor who don't understand that reading music notation is a lot better solution to most problems to do with conveying musical intent than "guitar tab" is. As far as I can tell the only advantage to tab is you can write it with a computer/typewriter keyboard, and sort of get an idea of what to play if you already know how something sounds.

I get that some people prefer musical illiteracy and for that matter most people would probably prefer not to have to go to all the hassle of learning to read and write. If somebody didn't coerce them into it when they were too young to really stand up to the people forcing it on them I bet a lot of people would just take a pass. When/if push came to shove they could maybe learn to type some rudimentary representation of the language - "ur" for "your" and so on, or just hope that Siri is always around when you need it. (Thanks to people who do know how to read and write and are also probably pretty good with numbers :))

Anyhow all in all I think the idea that people learn to read and write a language makes a lot of sense but I don't feel too "vociferous" about it. Same thing for reading and writing music notation for people who want to deal with music on more than a strictly listening basis. But evidently tab is "good enough" for some limited applications.
 

202dy

Member
Messages
440
I think it's really just trying to do people a favor who don't understand that reading music notation is a lot better solution to most problems to do with conveying musical intent than "guitar tab" is. As far as I can tell the only advantage to tab is you can write it with a computer/typewriter keyboard, and sort of get an idea of what to play if you already know how something sounds.

I get that some people prefer musical illiteracy and for that matter most people would probably prefer not to have to go to all the hassle of learning to read and write. If somebody didn't coerce them into it when they were too young to really stand up to the people forcing it on them I bet a lot of people would just take a pass. When/if push came to shove they could maybe learn to type some rudimentary representation of the language - "ur" for "your" and so on, or just hope that Siri is always around when you need it. (Thanks to people who do know how to read and write and are also probably pretty good with numbers :))

Anyhow all in all I think the idea that people learn to read and write a language makes a lot of sense but I don't feel too "vociferous" about it. Same thing for reading and writing music notation for people who want to deal with music on more than a strictly listening basis. But evidently tab is "good enough" for some limited applications.
Fifty years ago it was assumed. You learned to read. Period. There was no other way that legitimate teachers taught.

Learning to read music improves math skills. We used to tell parents that when their kids learn to read they can expect to see their math grades go up at least a letter grade. The kids that already got A's in math report that they started doing a lot of more complex things in their heads, rather than on paper. If you poke around the NAMM web site and others that promote music education you see that the music-math link has been long assumed.

We cannot speak to improvement in other communication skills. Other than to say that those who read music tend to communicate in complete sentences utilizing both grammar and spelling skills.
 

great-case.com

a.k.a. "Mitch"
Messages
5,733
One of the advantages of jamming. It takes a lot less paperwork. You "song folks" are way too strict! :hide

This discussion has unnecessarily presumed an exclusivity of one format over another and put them in contest inappropriately. Again, ladies and gentlemen... I did not juxtapose any format of language against any other. If I misled you otherwise I apologize.

I use both formats for the purposes they serve best. I respect Ed's very powerful point that as a composer, tab is a silly distraction for one instrument. To prefer tab does not, however, infer that I was too lazy to learn how to "read and write" as might be inferred by Tone Loc's post. A lesser man would infer that incorrectly and be offended, not me.

MultiLinguistics: When I speak with artists of other instruments, I can either pay homage and write like a "real musician" or strum a few bars and let them catch up like the artist they are. When I work with guitarists however... tab is the easiest to produce, pass around and use. It gets us done quickly... and yet it is maligned all the time as a sign of illiteracy. That's silly...

My question: If you will not or can not write tab, how are you going to get that hot kid's awesome guitar licks on your album?
 

Flyin' Brian

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
30,270
I have 3 grandchildren who are musical.

A 10 year old who is in her 3rd year of piano
A 12 year old who plays trombone in the school band
A 13 year old who plays French Horn in school and Violin in the Nashville Youth Orchestra

They all started reading from the get go. It's not hard and it helps.
 

Tone Loco

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
4,349
To prefer tab does not, however, infer that I was too lazy to learn how to "read and write" as might be inferred by Tone Loc's post. A lesser man would infer that incorrectly and be offended, not me.
I hope not! I was answering someone else's post and it certainly wasn't aimed at anyone in particular. Like I said, tab seems to have it's uses. I've never had the need since I could already read, although I have used the little rubber stamp grids for chords a la Ted Greene. They have the nice property of being note agnostic ;)
 

The Captain

Senior Member
Messages
12,790
I think it's really just trying to do people a favor who don't understand that reading music notation is a lot better solution to most problems to do with conveying musical intent than "guitar tab" is. As far as I can tell the only advantage to tab is you can write it with a computer/typewriter keyboard, and sort of get an idea of what to play if you already know how something sounds.

I get that some people prefer musical illiteracy and for that matter most people would probably prefer not to have to go to all the hassle of learning to read and write. If somebody didn't coerce them into it when they were too young to really stand up to the people forcing it on them I bet a lot of people would just take a pass. When/if push came to shove they could maybe learn to type some rudimentary representation of the language - "ur" for "your" and so on, or just hope that Siri is always around when you need it. (Thanks to people who do know how to read and write and are also probably pretty good with numbers :))

Anyhow all in all I think the idea that people learn to read and write a language makes a lot of sense but I don't feel too "vociferous" about it. Same thing for reading and writing music notation for people who want to deal with music on more than a strictly listening basis. But evidently tab is "good enough" for some limited applications.
See, when I say "tab", I am referring to sheet music that has both standard notation and tablature printed together. That's what I'm talking about.
They are complementary to each other, not contradictory.
 

donfully

Member
Messages
29
Learning songs should be done by listening imo
Just saw an interview by Tim Pierce with a cat who plays guitar for the show "the Voice." He said that beginning of the each season, he has to learn 120 to 200 songs within the span of 2 weeks. And being able to read help elevates a lot of the stress from having to listen and memorizing everything. Not to mention that many studio gigs, you don't really get to listen to the songs or the guitar parts before hitting the studio.
 
Messages
15,738
Great points ^ and yes, improv to new and exciting parts of the neck is constrained by tab. Once I know (and/or recall) the piece, imrov flows kind of easily. When I find a lick worth writing, I write it down and get back to wandering and wondering.
If by "improv" (I was talking about reading classical music) you mean improvising a fingering every time I read the music, yes, I do that habitually on the guitar and the viola. My viola section leader got on my case for that, because we didn't look like we were playing together due to me making different fingering choices from the rest of the group, as well as bowing in different directions.

I'd settle on a specific fingering to use every time in practice, if I were preparing that Bach piece for live performance. I was treating it more as a reading and exploration exercise than performance, so I didn't write down fingerings. I started my practice from different passages of the piece too, not just the beginning every time.
 

Ed DeGenaro

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
24,653
Just saw an interview by Tim Pierce with a cat who plays guitar for the show "the Voice." He said that beginning of the each season, he has to learn 120 to 200 songs within the span of 2 weeks. And being able to read help elevates a lot of the stress from having to listen and memorizing everything. Not to mention that many studio gigs, you don't really get to listen to the songs or the guitar parts before hitting the studio.
I got into reading due to the mistaken notion that I was gonna be the next tommy tedesco. Lol OK that was almost 4 decades ago.
But yes back then reading and deviating from it as a studio player was the norm and that has changed.
The business went away due to composers/leaders having their own project studios. And then we had sessions over FTP.
The parts I've been sent were always standard notation, even though it would have made more sense for folks to send midi. Then I could either do it by ear, or standard or tab notation.
Now Nashville does it still old school, but the guys there seem to embrace the long distance session via file transfer and Skype if it needs attending.
In Asia they insist on "asses in seats". Zero reading required on those, it's all ear and come up with better parts on the fly. And rhythmically it's nuts with all the bars of 7/8 and 5/4 that are popular.
 
Messages
15,738
This has sort of always been the default excuse for not reading. But people playing all of the instruments in the violin family have the same issue and overcome it. I can't say for sure, but I don't think that there's any tab for violin.
I haven't seen it on music for the viola or the cello. The few bits of violin music I have doesn't have tab either.

Orchestral string players do mark their music with position and fingering numbers though. Since there's no frets to indicate position, position number is instead indicated by the location of diatonic scale degrees on each string (eg. "3rd position is where you put your first finger at the spot where the 3rd finger would have played in 1st position"). Some beginning students put tape on their fingerboard to facilitate location of the notes, but as you would expect, there's no universal agreement on this practice.
 

JonR

Member
Messages
15,542
See, when I say "tab", I am referring to sheet music that has both standard notation and tablature printed together.
Well now, that's just flat out confusing! :rolleyes:
They are complementary to each other, not contradictory.
True.

Unfortunately there is no term (AFAIK) which describes both systems together.
"Notation" is possible - tab is a form of "notation" - but most people would assume that means conventional "standard notation" (SN), i.e. "not tab".
You could use "double-stave", "dual-stave", "twin-stave", etc for SN plus tab, but then that's easily confused with piano treble and bass.

The word "tab" itself, however, clearly means only tablature, the numbers-and-lines system designed for fretted string instruments. That really shouldn't be confused with other forms of notation. It's asking for trouble!

Personally, I use both for my students. I fully support learning notation (it was invaluable to me as a self-taught beginner), but I don't pressure my students into it. They're mostly adult hobbyists, beginners doing it for recreation, and they're not aiming to work as session musicians (in this lifetime), or to perform advanced classical pieces.
 

great-case.com

a.k.a. "Mitch"
Messages
5,733
@JonR Dictionaries are quite helpful. Your post is one of the first to narrow down on the nouns. Is there a reference from academia we can cluster around? Thanks for respecting multiLingual thinking.

It is my hope that there is no fight, @Ed DeGenaro. Whatever provocation I may have inferred is unfortunately due to my uncultured presentation. You've pointed out that "standard notation" accommodates fingering... and no one has contradicted this point. My quibble with the term(s) is empty, I have no problem ceding to "normal", "standard" and/or "traditional" as an adjective.

The Captain and I have been echoing one slice of common ground on this discussion. The formats are complimentary and more often than not, hosted together quite nicely.

In closing, I will acknowledge that I must be the rare breed that carries respect for both formats... reading classical movements from dense dots on staff is quite rewarding to a self taught, under talented and over aspirational faker. As I pass 60 yrs of age, the aspirations have faded and so has my urge to engage deeply in any fights ... so I will exit with my thanks to some new mates who are clearly better hosted at the table of this topic.

I fear I wandered into the wrong room and bid you un milione grazie for the edumication ;).
 
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M

Member 995

Tablature does have different interpretations. To some it is numbers on six lines with no rhythmic information. For others, it includes rhythms, which is how it developed for the lute. For others, it refers to the double stave notation like you see in guitar magazines.

The best I've seen is the Stropes book of Michael Hedges tunes. It is so exact that it leaves almost no ambiguity to the player. If that is your goal with notation (and it might not be), then that is the gold standard for guitar. Not so useful for a sax player.
 






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