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View Full Version : Help? How to read.. whatever these are.



Verstand
07-09-2009, 07:25 PM
Ok so I'm new to ukulele and plucked strings in general. Being a noob, I can hide under this title and not feel too bad about asking:

I often see lyrics with letters above them. IE:

[A Bm D Gsus4 E
[These are some lyrics. I'm writing to Still Alive.
C A F7sus4 G
Even though I don't understand how to use them,
Em F C D7
I'm writing random letters above.
Bm D E A ]
Let's just hope no one tries to play it.]

Do you like my song? I wrote it to the tune of still alive :3


Anyways, how I am supposed to use this? I imagine that these are chords, but still, that doesn't help much either. Then all I know is around that time I need to hold a G chord or whatever.

Thanks for any help you can offer.

sukie
07-09-2009, 07:50 PM
All I know is that those are the chords for the song. I feally dislike those kinds of "tabs" because you really need to know the song to play the chords properly. Check on You Tube for a version of the song so you'll know what it sounds like. Good luck

ukantor
07-09-2009, 08:53 PM
It simply tells you what chord to play, and when to play it. Strum with a steady rhythm holding down a chord until you get to the point where the next chord is indicated, then change and continue strumming that chord until it's time to change to the next one. Start with familiar songs which use only two or three chords, and sing or hum or whistle the melody. The uke provides an accompaniment. If you wish to play the melody on your uke, it requires a completely different approach.

Strumming and singing is a good place to start.

John Colter.

ps. The above is NOT tab. It is a chords & lyrics sheet. Tab. is short for tabulature, and is quite different.

Myala509
07-09-2009, 09:26 PM
Chord sheets are junk. They do not show you the timing at all. Just give you an approximate to when you change chords.


Tabs and sheet music are way better.

ahreeka
07-09-2009, 09:27 PM
Some songs have chords right above the words that show when to play them. Others like this one, just have the chords all bunched up. But what it does show is that those are the chords being played for that line, not exactly when to play it. That's why sukie said that you should know the song to know what it sounds like.

Ukulele JJ
07-10-2009, 02:02 AM
Some songs have chords right above the words that show when to play them. Others like this one, just have the chords all bunched up.

Those chords probably weren't intended to be bunched up. Here's the deal with that. Sorry in advance for being long-winded...

Problem number one is that HTML, which is the "language" web pages are created in, normally ignores "extra" whitespace between letters and words.

So you can type a whole bunch of tabs and spaces in between your chords, to get them to line up over the words, and in many cases they will still display on a web page all bunched-up. The web will just ignore all your careful spacing and will put one single space between everything.

Problem number two is that most fonts used to display text on computers these days are proportional--the individual letters take up differing amount of room (an "i" isn't as wide as an "M", for example). And this isn't the same from font to font. So unless the font I'm viewing your text in is the exact same as the font you're using, things aren't going to line up anyway, no matter what you do.

The solution is to tell the web page to A) pay attention to spaces, and B) use a monospaced font, where every letter has the exact same width.

On this forum, you can do both of those things by surrounding your text with "code" tags. That's the # button along the top of the message box. Most other forums have a similar feature. It triggers a special "code format style" in HTML that will let everything line up. (Of course, you have to be sure to do your lining up using a monospaced font too!)

JJ

Captain_Lovehandles
07-10-2009, 02:13 AM
Once you figure out a few songs, you'll get the hang of it. You should learn to read them, and tabs too. They'll be your very good friends from now on.

seeso
07-10-2009, 03:49 AM
And here are a bunch of chords:
http://www.sheep-entertainment.nl/ukulele/index.html

Make sure you choose the correct tuning to the right of the headstock.

ukantor
07-10-2009, 09:33 AM
Myala said:- "Chord sheets are junk. They do not show you the timing at all. Just give you an approximate to when you change chords."

I respectfully beg to differ. A good chord sheet is all you need, so long as you already know the tune, and all you want to do is play an accompaniment. The chord names should be placed over the words PRECISELY where the changes occur. They can - should - be over the very syllable. As far as timing goes, if you can sing the song, you know the timing, and most singers like to do their own thing anyway.

Having said that, I agree that SOME chord sheets, as presented on free sites, are junk, but that's just bad presentation.

John Colter (Ukantor)

Thumper
07-10-2009, 09:38 AM
I agree with Ukantor. I come up with my strumming patterns by listening to the song rather than following a prescribed pattern, and I enjoy experimenting with different chord voicings.

Tabs are great for learning to pick melodies, but a basic chord chart is something you can use to build your own unique arrangement, rather than replicate somebody else's.

Chords and tabs are both great tools - neither is "junk."

LazyRiver
07-10-2009, 10:11 AM
Problem number one is that HTML, which is the "language" web pages are created in, normally ignores "extra" whitespace between letters and words.

One way around the whitespace problem is to create the sheet using an HTML word processor such as Google Docs. It automatically puts in the &nbsp code for a white space. Then copy the text into your post. I use this in my blog. But I find there it's best to export the file, open it in my HTML editor, remove the unnecessary style sheet junk and get it down to only what I want. In the case of the blog, I have to remove <br> tags as well because they produce unnecessary returns. Still, it beats entering dozens of &nbsp tags on a trial and error basis.

-- Al

HaileISela
07-10-2009, 10:37 AM
Myala said:- "Chord sheets are junk. They do not show you the timing at all. Just give you an approximate to when you change chords."

I respectfully beg to differ. A good chord sheet is all you need, so long as you already know the tune, and all you want to do is play an accompaniment. The chord names should be placed over the words PRECISELY where the changes occur. They can - should - be over the very syllable. As far as timing goes, if you can sing the song, you know the timing, and most singers like to do their own thing anyway.

Having said that, I agree that SOME chord sheets, as presented on free sites, are junk, but that's just bad presentation.

John Colter (Ukantor)

Very well put!

I do use chord sheets way more often than tabs. it's just the easiest way for me to get the song down I want to play...

Dibblet
07-13-2009, 05:37 AM
Chord sheets are junk. They do not show you the timing at all. Just give you an approximate to when you change chords.


Tabs and sheet music are way better.

Yes, they are a pretty poor substitute for standard notations but they are fairly good for beginners to learn simple tunes from so junk is probably a bit strong.

The positioning of the chords above the syllables only works if the writer of the sheet and the reader know the same version of the song. In some styles of music, singers can pull the timing around quite a bit.

ukantor
07-13-2009, 07:21 AM
I would not disagree that standard musical notation is the most precise way to express how all apsects of a piece should be played - if it is your wish to play it that way.

The ukulele is MOSTLY used by singers for self accompaniment. MOST players/singers only need to know the chord sequence, and when the changes occur. Sheets with chords over the lyrics do the job.

John Colter (Ukantor).

Myala509
07-13-2009, 09:23 PM
The problem with chord sheets, especially begginers like me, is that ukulele music heavily favors different types of strumming patterns. I have not seen one chord sheet tells timing or strumming pattern. Its dang near impossible for a begginer to figure out the strum pattern and timing from a chord sheet.

Having practiced much more and have more patterns in my ability and memory chord sheets are now fine for me. I can usually match up a pattern to the song and tell when the chords are changed.

The main problem with chord sheets are that if you dont have the song memorized or playing while you are reading the sheet, it wont help you. Sheet music and tabs can be played without that. I count chord sheets are a cheat sheet to song I already know by heart but need to be reminded of the chords.

ukantor
07-13-2009, 09:54 PM
Dead right Myala, that's EXACTLY what they are. Very useful, too.

For beginners, it is best for them to strum the very simple, basic timing of the piece, not attempt a complex strumming pattern in an attempt to reproduce the sound of an original version of the song.

Whatever works for you.

JC (Ukantor)

built
07-13-2009, 09:56 PM
is someone kind enuf to tell me if 2/4, 3/4 and 4/4
are timing, beat or strum pattern?

LazyRiver
07-13-2009, 10:39 PM
They're the rhythm. Upper number is the number of beats to a measure and lower number is the length of the beat. So ... 2/4 means 2 quarter notes per measure; 6/8 means 6 eighth notes per measure, etc. You could strum one stroke per beat if you want. When getting started that's a good thing to do.

-- Al

LazyRiver
07-14-2009, 04:36 AM
They're the rhythm.

I have to correct myself. The notations 2/4, 3/4, etc. are properly called time signatures. The rest of my explanation is OK. Rhythm has more to do with patterns you can set up within the 2/4, 3/4, 4/4 etc. framework.

-- Al

built
07-14-2009, 01:32 PM
thanks, lazyriver...



The problem with chord sheets, especially begginers like me, is that ukulele music heavily favors different types of strumming patterns. I have not seen one chord sheet tells timing or strumming pattern. Its dang near impossible for a begginer to figure out the strum pattern and timing from a chord sheet.

i quoted myala because i am have no music training... :p
what is strumming pattern? does tabs and scores described
it (since chord sheet doesn't)? if they do, how can i identify
the strum pattern on tabs (don't know how to read scores)?

tia.

Myala509
07-14-2009, 02:19 PM
Strum patterns are mixing up how you strum. Instead of just strumming down you can add an upstrum, a chunk(muted strum slap thingy) a slap and ghost strums or a bunch of other stuff. A popular one is down, down, up, up, down. Or down chunk up up down.

Check out one of aldrines video tutorials.

built
07-14-2009, 03:28 PM
myala,
what about the second and third part of my question? thanks.

seeso
07-14-2009, 03:57 PM
does tabs and scores described it (since chord sheet doesn't)?

Sometimes yes, sometimes no. It all depends on the tab or score. Strum patterns are expressed in the direction of the strumming hand (up, down) and chunks. These are not usually in the tab or score.


if they do, how can i identify the strum pattern on tabs (don't know how to read scores)?

Like I wrote above, strum patterns are not usually found in tabs or scores. The rhythm is, however. The rhythm, or the lengths of notes and rests, are in scores, and sometimes in tabs. But if you can't read music, you can't identify the rhythm.

built
07-14-2009, 04:25 PM
thanks for the explaination, seeso... :)
1. strumming patterns = expression
2. can't read music = can't identify rhythm

may i know what is rhythm (in layman term :D)?
is it "speed"?

seeso
07-14-2009, 04:48 PM
thanks for the explaination, seeso... :)
1. strumming patterns = expression
2. can't read music = can't identify rhythm

may i know what is rhythm (in layman term :D)?
is it "speed"?

Strumming pattern is not expression. Strumming pattern is merely a series of directions that tell you when to strum up, when to strum down, when to "chunk," and when not to strum.

Expression is feeling. You can play a strumming pattern with zero expression like a robot, or you can put your heart into it and play the same strumming pattern with feeling.

Rhythm is not speed. Rhythm is length. How long you should hold a note is determined by the rhythm. How long you should not play a note is also determined by the rhythm. In layman's terms, the closest word I would use to define rhythm is "beat."

You know the old American Bandstand tv show? The people on that show used to say, "It's got a good beat, and I can dance to it." They're pretty much talking about the song's rhythm.

seeso
07-14-2009, 04:50 PM
2. can't read music = can't identify rhythm

This statement isn't entirely true, either.

You can hear a song and determine its rhythm, even if you can't read music.

built
07-14-2009, 05:29 PM
thanks, seeso...

Myala509
07-14-2009, 05:34 PM
myala,
what about the second and third part of my question? thanks.

Sorry I didnt answer all the questions. I was on my ipod and it took like 5 minutes for me to write the answer for the first question.

built
07-14-2009, 05:37 PM
Sorry I didnt answer all the questions. I was on my ipod and it took like 5 minutes for me to write the answer for the first question.
get a blackberry... :D

ichadwick
07-15-2009, 08:35 AM
A Bm D Gsus4 E
These are some lyrics. I'm writing to Still Alive.
C A F7sus4 G
Even though I don't understand how to use them,
Em F C D7
I'm writing random letters above.
Bm D E A
Let's just hope no one tries to play it.

Chords. get a basic chord dictionary and keep it by your side. Basic one-page chord charts are also available for free, online.

You'll learn to memorize them, but in this case:

A = 2100 (which means the fourth string is played at the 2nd fret, the second string at the 1st fret, and the second and first string played open). = A major
Bm = 4222 = B minor
Gsus4 = 0233 = G suspended + 4
E = 4442 = E major
C = 0003 = C major
etc.
See the uke chord finder online (http://www.sheep-entertainment.nl/ukulele/index.html) (make sure to select C tuning first!).

Play the chord over the word at the same time you sing that word. Unfortunately, most forums aren't great for aligning chords above words in the exact place where they should be, so you have to sometimes work it out yourself..