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FSUkulele
12-05-2009, 08:19 PM
So I've been playing both guitar and ukulele for a while now with just tabs and chords, but I'd like to get into reading music on staves. I'm sure I could figure it out pretty quickly if I work on it, and it would help as I then could work off of other music I find, not set up specifically in tabs for the instrument.

The only problem is that I don't have any music on staves to PLAY. Where can I find a wealth of sheet music, free or otherwise?

KenjiBeast
12-05-2009, 08:27 PM
Have you tried the local music shop? :)

Otherwise, there's a large number of websites offering free sheet music to download. Just google "Free Sheet Music".

I'd also recommend looking into some sort of instructional book or tutor.. One of the main concerns when considering sheet music for fretted instruments is the fact that a single note on a stave can be rendered on several strings, at several fret positions. You develop an eye after a while to identify what fingering to use, but it's an acquired taste and a bit of help never hurts.

It's great to see ukulists branching out of tabs and chords. Break a leg!!

itsme
12-05-2009, 08:55 PM
There's a lot of music that includes both standard notation and tab. Check out Wilfried Welti's free uke "solobuch" for some nice classical and traditional music.

http://ukulelehunt.com/2008/11/12/wilfried-weltis-ukulele-tabs/

As for guitar, anything tabbed in PowerTab Editor automatically includes standard notation. A lot of tabbers who use it will also create a PDF version, but the program itself is free and worth installing to print sheets available only in its native format.

KenjiBeast is right on about how notes can be played on various strings, even moreso on the guitar than the uke. It can be a challenge to decide which string/fret to play a note on. :)

Ken Middleton
12-05-2009, 09:02 PM
All of my free celtic and bluegrass music is notated in proper music and tab. It would help you to have the two together. You'll find them on my website.

GrumpyOldMan
12-06-2009, 12:50 AM
Try your local library. In the UK all libraries have a sheet music section and they're kept bang up to date too. At the moment I have The Best of Green Day, Buddy Holly 33 Classic songs, Songs of Leonard Cohen and KT Tunstall Eye to the Telescope. Okay, they're not good examples of up to date but they do have much later stuff too. I probably have £60 or more of books out at the moment and it hasn't cost me a penny!!

Ian.

Ukulele JJ
12-06-2009, 04:08 AM
There's also this:

IMSLP / Petrucci Music Library (http://imslp.org/wiki/Main_Page)

A metric crap ton of music, mostly classical. Probably not a lot of uke material, but you could still work on melody lines from any treble-clef instrument.

JJ

SweetWaterBlue
12-06-2009, 04:19 AM
All of my free celtic and bluegrass music is notated in proper music and tab. It would help you to have the two together. You'll find them on my website.

Those are quite beautiful arrangements Ken. Thanks.

I am a bit backwards from some, in that I can read music, but using tablature is somewhat new to me. Having the two together is quite useful. As long as you don't need to change instruments, the tablature seems to contain most of the information, except some of the timing. The whole notes aren't distinguished from the half notes for example, although most could be worked out by subtraction. The advantage of the tabs is you don't have to work out the fingering. The advantage of the standard notation is of course all the timing is there, and its quite easy to play it on any instrument as long as you know how to finger the notes.

Ken Middleton
12-06-2009, 04:42 AM
... The whole notes aren't distinguished from the half notes for example, although most could be worked out by subtraction. The advantage of the tabs is you don't have to work out the fingering. The advantage of the standard notation is of course all the timing is there, and its quite easy to play it on any instrument as long as you know how to finger the notes.

Thanks. However, the software I use definitely does distinguish between whole notes and half notes in tablature. Unfortunately though, you still have to work out the fingering. I find that this is easier to put into the conventional notation just as you would in classical guitar music.

SweetWaterBlue
12-06-2009, 05:33 AM
I should have probably been more precise, or perhaps its just my old eyes, but I am having a hard time seeing any difference in the quarter notes and half notes on the tabs in this little screen snippet from the last line of your Wildwood Flower , other than one is dotted and there are slides on some. If you take away the slide in measure 2, I don't see any timing difference between the half note and quarter note that follows it on the tabs.

http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2592/4163480696_80ee9eabb5_o.jpg

Where am I missing it? It sure looks like a handy tool to learn.

FSUkulele
12-06-2009, 07:03 AM
Ahh great stuff. Thanks guys, looks like I'll be busy.

DaveVisi
12-06-2009, 07:24 AM
I should have probably been more precise, or perhaps its just my old eyes, but I am having a hard time seeing any difference in the quarter notes and half notes on the tabs in this little screen snippet from the last line of your Wildwood Flower , other than one is dotted and there are slides on some. If you take away the slide in measure 2, I don't see any timing difference between the half note and quarter note that follows it on the tabs.

http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2592/4163480696_80ee9eabb5_o.jpg

Where am I missing it? It sure looks like a handy tool to learn.
A lot of it is in the positioning of the notes. The spacing between the half note and what follows is double that of the quarter note. Although not perfect, it implies that there is a half note's worth of timing between the two. This is especially evident in measure two, less apparent on measure one due to the dotted quarter and the slide, although that's covered fairly well by dotting the 4 and adding the flag to 2

I like the combined staff that has one of each. With the advent of digital notation it's easier than ever to create this, and for instrument specific fingerings, it leaves no doubt as to what fingering the writer intended. Tab is great especially for classical finger and scale exercises where the finger placement used is more important than the notes that are played.

SweetWaterBlue
12-06-2009, 07:28 AM
Ah ha! Now it makes sense. Thanks for clearing that up Dave. I originally learned to play music on the trumpet, so for the most part fingering was never in doubt - you either knew to to finger the notes, or you didn't. As you and Ken alluded to, with a fretted stringed instrument, there are a lot of ways you could finger a passage, so the ability of the tabs to indicate the arrangers original intention is a nice thing to have.

I have always wondered why people just didn't learn "proper" music notation, as Ken called it, instead of fooling with tabs. Now, I know.

Thanks.

Ken Middleton
12-06-2009, 07:35 AM
If you take away the slide in measure 2, I don't see any timing difference between the half note and quarter note that follows it on the tabs...

No, you're absolutely right on that. The only difference is in the spacing. I think it reads really well though, especially if the tab is accompanied by the conventional music. It's hard to see what they could do to make it more precise. If the software makes it any more complex, you might as well just use the normal musical notation and right it like a classical guitar piece.

However, I think it is much clear than the simpler forms of tablature that some people use. It works well for me in the music that I arrange.

Ken Middleton
12-06-2009, 07:38 AM
As Ken alluded to, with a fretted stringed instrument, there are a lot of ways you could finger a passage, so the ability of the tabs to indicate the arrangers original intention is a nice thing to have.


I am toying with the idea of including fingering in my next set of arrangements. Again, I'm a bit concerned that it will make them look even more complex.

Lori
12-06-2009, 08:09 AM
Sorry, you guys already covered this!
I should have probably been more precise, or perhaps its just my old eyes, but I am having a hard time seeing any difference in the quarter notes and half notes on the tabs in this little screen snippet from the last line of your Wildwood Flower , other than one is dotted and there are slides on some. If you take away the slide in measure 2, I don't see any timing difference between the half note and quarter note that follows it on the tabs.

http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2592/4163480696_80ee9eabb5_o.jpg

Where am I missing it? It sure looks like a handy tool to learn.

The half note looks the same as the quarter note except they added extra space after that note. A quick look at the musical notation above will clear up any confusion there.

I would welcome the option of fingering info ... probably like i, m, r, p for index, middle, ring and pinky. What do they use for fingering notes in the UK?

–Lori

SweetWaterBlue
12-06-2009, 08:16 AM
FSUkulele - if it is not already clear from this thread, I don't think there is that much difference between proper music notation and tablature, when it is properly scored, as Ken is doing it. If you already know how to read tabs, you simply have to learn what the whole notes, half notes, quarter notes, etc. look like on a regular staff and what they imply about timing and how to finger them on the instrument in question. An established tab player could probably learn the whole difference in a few hours. I think sometimes people have convinced themselves (or been convinced) learning standard music notation is harder than it really is.

Getting comfortable may be something else. My son plays the guitar and banjo.he took guitar lessons for about 6 months last year. As we were plucking ukuleles in the music store yesterday, he told me he was very comfortable with tabs, but never could really get comfortable with standard music notation. After this thread, I will have to talk with him some more about why.

SweetWaterBlue
12-06-2009, 08:27 AM
I will also say that one of the disadvantages of learning standard music notation and becoming fluent in sight reading was I almost never learned to play a song from memory. Put a piece of sheet music in front of me and a horn in my hand, and I could play it in those days. Ask me to play something without sheet music and I looked like a deer in the headlights. This was more the fault of my teacher, and myself of course, than any inherent failing in the notation. When playing in a band or orchestra setting, there was little need for memorization. He loved to grab a dozen fake books from the front of the store and while away the hour having us play duets.

On the other hand, most of the songs I ever learned to play on the guitar either by stumbling through chord charts or mostly by ear, I can still play today.

Lori
12-06-2009, 08:31 AM
I learned to read musical notation for classical guitar. But when you move to an instrument with different tuning, it makes it hard to transfer the notes to new locations. So, when I learned banjo, I studied tabs. Ukulele, although tuned in a similar manner to the guitar, is still very different in it's note locations. Middle C on a guitar is the second string first fret. On a ukulele it is the open third string. Add the high G tuning, and it gets even more complicated. It is just too much for my brain to be able to figure out the new locations for all the notes, and keep them straight between instruments. Tabs are great, and the main focus is to be able to learn songs. I see nothing wrong with them, and I think they are a great invention.

–Lori

itsme
12-06-2009, 10:12 AM
I would welcome the option of fingering info ... probably like i, m, r, p for index, middle, ring and pinky.
The standard for classical guitar fingering is derived from Spanish words:

p (pulgar = thumb)
i (indice = index)
m (medio = middle)
a (anular = ring finger)

The pinky is generally not used, but when it is, it's denoted as "e". The Spanish word for pinky is menique, so don't ask me how it came to be "e".


I learned to read musical notation for classical guitar. But when you move to an instrument with different tuning, it makes it hard to transfer the notes to new locations. So, when I learned banjo, I studied tabs. Ukulele, although tuned in a similar manner to the guitar, is still very different in it's note locations. Middle C on a guitar is the second string first fret. On a ukulele it is the open third string. Add the high G tuning, and it gets even more complicated. It is just too much for my brain to be able to figure out the new locations for all the notes, and keep them straight between instruments. Tabs are great, and the main focus is to be able to learn songs. I see nothing wrong with them, and I think they are a great invention.
I hear ya! I learned to read on flute and various other one-note treble clef instruments. When I took up guitar, the challenge was in learning to read more than one note at a time that were different durations.

Mandolin wasn't too hard because there's only one note on one string that's different from the top four strings on guitar.

But uke, like you said, with it's completely different and re-entrant tuning... well, I just couldn't wrap my little pea brain around that so I learned tab. I much prefer tabs that include regular notation which I can "read" in my brain, then use the tab to know where to finger the notes.

I have a lot of guitar music that's in both standard notation and tab, but had always pooh-pooh'd the tab. Scarey thing is I've been playing my uke so much more than my guitar these days that the last time I got it out, I found myself automatically trying to read from the tab line. :eek:

Lori
12-06-2009, 10:56 AM
The question is, which do you provide the fingering for, the right hand or the left? I find the left hand more significant to the ease of playing, and the right hand kind of falls into what's convenient. So, for left hand fingering, the thumb wouldn't be involved, but the pinky is. I used to mark my guitar music with occasional left or right hand fingering notations. It can get kind of busy, but in a few places, it can help the process of learning a new song, and getting a smooth fingering sequence.

–Lori

Ken Middleton
12-06-2009, 11:15 AM
The question is, which do you provide the fingering for, the right hand or the left? I find the left hand more significant to the ease of playing, and the right hand kind of falls into what's convenient. So, for left hand fingering, the thumb wouldn't be involved, but the pinky is. I used to mark my guitar music with occasional left or right hand fingering notations. It can get kind of busy, but in a few places, it can help the process of learning a new song, and getting a smooth fingering sequence.

–Lori

I would provide fingering for the LEFT HAND. The fingers are numbered 1, 2, 3 and 4. Thumb is never used. Using the best fingers in the left hand is what makes the music easy or hard to play. But the right hand is important too.

itsme
12-06-2009, 11:28 AM
The question is, which do you provide the fingering for, the right hand or the left? I find the left hand more significant to the ease of playing, and the right hand kind of falls into what's convenient. So, for left hand fingering, the thumb wouldn't be involved, but the pinky is. I used to mark my guitar music with occasional left or right hand fingering notations. It can get kind of busy, but in a few places, it can help the process of learning a new song, and getting a smooth fingering sequence.
Typically, a well-fingered classical guitar sheet indicates both. p-i-m-a refers to the RH, 1-2-3-4 refers to the LH fingers, and a number in a circle refers to the string on which a note is played. It can get quite busy looking indeed! :)

And, of course, you'll find the exact same sheet fingered in various ways, depending on the transcriber/arranger.

I like to photocopy the pieces I'm working on, and practice with a bottle of whiteout and a pencil handy, as often I decide to change what the sheet indicates. This way I'm not marking up my (often expensive) originals. And sometimes I decide my way isn't the best and want to mark it back.

Another advantage of working with photocopies is that you aren't dealing with bulky books that often don't want to lay flat on your music stand. Plus, I like to arrange pieces I'm working on into folders, such as warm-ups, work-outs, working on, performance, wish list, etc.