PDA

View Full Version : Reading standard notation music - it actually happened



SuzukHammer
04-27-2011, 04:18 PM
I have been self teaching myself how to read music. Its pretty much like any language. You have to really try and immerse yourself in it to learn how to speak the language.

Yesterday, I was learning blues from a book written for guitarists. I don't play guitar so the tabs are fairly useless to me (to date).

They had a page of riffs to try and I just started playing from reading the music. I hadn't realized I was reading music until about halfway through.

It was both the tone and the timing that I was working on.

I had a blast and it made it faster to learn those riffs.

I had noticed my music abilities had improved because I can learn things faster. I attribute it to learning how to read standard notation music.

mm stan
04-27-2011, 05:20 PM
Aloha Frank,
Congrats on your reading music...you are better than me...I know almost nothing...Happy Strummings..MM Stan

SuzukHammer
04-27-2011, 07:00 PM
Aloha Frank,
Congrats on your reading music...you are better than me...I know almost nothing...Happy Strummings..MM Stan

There are loads of people who don't read music and are very very good musicians; so, I don't think reading music is a prerequisite to being a musician.

There are lots of people who are happy to do rhythm (strumming) while they sing. And they sound great. Again, loads of people don't care about standard notation. I've never been to a group strum fest where they included melody notes.

I don't know why I decided I'd learn music but I knew without learning to read music, I'd likely become frustrated. Its taken years of constant (or half assed) trying to feel comfortable enough to say that I can read music.

And I know, without a doubt, it will allow me to do more things faster.

TheOnlyUkeThatMatters
04-27-2011, 08:43 PM
I began reading standard music notation this year after playing bass and guitar for over twenty years and ukulele for five or so. I wanted to play songs that I hadn't heard yet. I especially like old ukulele books filled with totally unfamiliar songs. Cliff Edwards and May Singhi Breen both wrote a few of these and they've both got good taste. Fun fun fun.

Of course, I'll never get tired of figuring out songs I like by playing along with a record/cassette/cd/mp3. That took me YEARS to learn to do, and it never gets old. Hmm, that Clash cd on the shelf appears to be giving me a flirtatious look ... gotta go.

ConspiracyUkeist
04-27-2011, 10:38 PM
Yes indeed some great musicians never learned to read music. I was learning to read music when I had my business but could see the economic clouds on the horizon, and was taking violin lessons and was going to ease into being a violin busker. I could play by ear like crazy, but my teacher had me reading the "bugs" through sheer hard work. He had to choose stuff I hadn't heard before, or I'd just play it off the recording in my head, "Here, you've never heard THIS one" lol.

I think reading conventional music is a an advantage, and no harder than reading TABs, but at the same time, some amazing musicians have never learned to read music. It's all good.

fitncrafty
04-28-2011, 02:01 AM
I am actually learning music notation, It is helping me that I have been tabbing out the melody's from the Daily Ukulele book to play while my daughter strums the chords, it's been fun and learning experience.
I find it more challenging to learn where the notes are on the fretboard then on the staff.. but that's me. Either way I think it is helping me and will continue to help me be a better player.

lozarkman
04-28-2011, 02:46 AM
It is certainly true that one doesn't need to "know" music notation to be an excellent musician, and I have always envied those that play by "ear", as I do not do that very well. I learned music notation early on in life from piano playing and of course it transfers well to other music endeavors. Tabs are great and I know fill a playing need for many many players, but in my opinion tabs will never replace the the full experience of seeing the melody notes and all its accompanying rhythm marks and other aids in understanding the music. And really the whole music world is open to you when you can read notation. Just some thoughts. Nice progress Suzukhammer!!! Nice feeling to suddenly realize it is happening. Like fingerpicking. you wake up one morning and say my fingers are actually doing it!! :) Lozark

Ukulele JJ
04-28-2011, 02:49 AM
I was always a slow notation learner. I'm still no great shakes at sight reading. When I was a kid, first taking piano lessons, I would often "fake" my way through a piece. That's good for the ear, rotten for my reading skills. Ideally, you'd want a good balance of the two.

In college, I had to take a notation class, which turned out to be really interesting. It wasn't about how to read standard notation--it was about how to write it. By hand. With a pencil, eraser, and straightedge on big sheets of staff paper. They probably teach that same class with Finale or Sibelius these days...

Anyway, it was cool to learn all the "rules" that properly-written notation goes by. How notes are stemmed, tied, positioned in the measure, etc. And, like any language, writing practice was a big help with my reading.

JJ

MiaRosie
04-28-2011, 03:16 AM
I find it more challenging to learn where the notes are on the fretboard then on the staff.. but that's me. .

Me too. I can sight read music easily - give me a clarinet or flute, cornet or piano and I can play the melody line with no issue whatsoever. Hand me my ukulele and I am like where the heck is that note. I've just 'learnt' the c maj scale on the uke - easy peasy - but I did it by ear and rather than say to myself this is an E this is a G etc I just played through and so am still no wiser ! It reminds me of my 9x tables - that was the only one where the teacher made us recite it 9, 18, 27, 36, 45, 54 etc rather than 1x9 is 9 blah blah - and so now I have to use my fingers to find what 6x9 is ( well not quite, I know the cheat but you get what I mean ).

So i think for me it is a matter of not only understanding how the treble clef works and seeing immediately which note is which, it is a matter or writing out and reading the treble clef with the tab until I see it at a glance. My other issue is that when reading chords written in tab rather than as the little square box, I don't recognise them as the chord until I have placed my fingers on the strings and think aaaaah that's Dm or G7 or E or whatever.

A long long road ahead of me still, can only hope that my elderly brain cells don't go on strike.

I can only think how beneficial it is to read the music for timing, rhythm, rests etc

SuzukHammer
04-28-2011, 06:25 AM
I do know I sometimes cannot hit the notation properly; but, making the mistakes opens up the options.

What is interesting its the rests, figuring out that timing. Its the secret I feel to expanding the riff/lick arsenal.

The use of the measure is interesting. Some songs it seems like it doesn't make sense how the notes are arranged in the measures; but, I find out it usually involves what the first note (the down beat is) because its a way to keep track of which measure you on. Is that right? It took forever to come up with that for a reason but it makes sense.

Lastly, I expect because I'm able to see it more clearly that certain passages will look familiar. Just like reading sentences, we usually don't read it all letter by letter because we see the pattern while reading it. I know that I'm starting to see riff patterns - I just then have to quickly identify the notes.

Transferring the notes onto the uke. Yes, its becoming much much less the mystery. Only because I keep trying to expand range above 2 positions. If I can find 4 voicings, its great practice and lends to easy transpositions.

I'm starting to sound like I went to band camp. I never did.

pekelo
04-29-2011, 08:10 AM
That's good news for learning to read music notation! I learned notation on the guitar a while back then over the years, I've learned a little more on the side of playing by ear. There's a large body of music out there for those who can read notation but not a lot for uke players.
I've got my books out that actually provide an option for the uke player to learn notation or
Tab - whichever suits the player. (I've posted up before on the uke talk -I think those postings might still be up?)
keep up the practicing!
pekelo
www.pekelosbooks.com

Kamaka
Martin tenor
Lehua
Mele -with pickup!

Uke Whisperer
04-29-2011, 08:58 AM
I purchased my first uke the 1st of this year, along with a beginners book which used musical notation. Since I had never played before I didn't know what TABS were until they were mentioned late in the book. I had force-fed myself musical notation before I knew of an alternative method. I remember reading later that TABS may have been used before musical notation! I have used TABS since but only when I've really known the song and its rhythm (not too often). In my particular case it's probably best that I was completely "dumb" when I started! However, as mentioned in some previous postings, I too have heard many people play beautifully that never learned musical notation. Oh, how I wish I could play "by ear"! (I can't sing by ear either)

SuzukHammer
04-29-2011, 03:54 PM
That's good news for learning to read music notation! I learned notation on the guitar a while back then over the years, I've learned a little more on the side of playing by ear. There's a large body of music out there for those who can read notation but not a lot for uke players.
I've got my books out that actually provide an option for the uke player to learn notation or
Tab - whichever suits the player. (I've posted up before on the uke talk -I think those postings might still be up?)
keep up the practicing!
pekelo
www.pekelosbooks.com

Kamaka
Martin tenor
Lehua
Mele -with pickup!

I reviewed your books on line and I think those books should have been one of my initial purchases. Very nicely made.

I have so many books I don't know if I should buy one or both because if I go through all my training material its all there.

THanks!! Hey!! You should coordinate to have that translated to Thai. That could sell well.

Plainsong
05-02-2011, 11:13 AM
That's how reading a language works. You're reading it and you don't realize you're reading it. My husband is a Finn, but is part of the 5-7% minority that has Swedish as their first language. He used to sit on his dad's lap watching tv, and his dad would translate the Finnish. Then one day, he said he understood it, and that was that. Of course he wasn't fluent until he became an adult, but still, he learned it without knowing he learned it. It's the best way if you can manage it. :)

I don't really remember learning music, so doing it now with uke is just maddening.

Speaking of my husband, I envy his ear skills too. In our early days dating, I was still slowly plucking away at some required music theory project, thinking of every note in every chord (simple major triads here). I was talking to him about it, and I realized as we talked, when I think D, I think the note D in whichever octave. He's thinking D, F#, A or D, F, A automatically, without giving it any extra thought.

He can turn on a music video channel, plug in a bass or a guitar, and within a few bars, be playing along with a song he doesn't even know. I don't have that kind ear. :(