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DWUke
05-01-2011, 02:43 AM
Trying to learn to read music. Any experts out there? To figure out a note, I first see where it is located (line or space) to get the note; c d e, etc. I then look at the key signature, and go through it mentally;Father Charles Goes, etc. or Battle Ends And etc. Complicated process to go through. Any suggestions on how to speed things up. This process certainly won't work for sight-reading. Thanks.

TheOnlyUkeThatMatters
05-01-2011, 08:09 AM
Definitely complicated. I recently started reading music (after a twenty-year break) too. Here are a few ideas:

* Have your instrument in your hand. As soon as you know which note you're looking at, play it.

* Work on one or two measures at a time.

* Play veeerrrryyyyy sllloooowwwwllllllyyyyyy.

* Don't be shy about saying the names of the notes aloud as you read. I'm still saying, "Every ... Good ... Boy ... aha, that's A".

* Key signatures are easier to deal with if you commit which notes are sharp or flat in a given key to memory. It can help to first play the scale a few times. On the uke, it's nice to play through the notes of scales starting with C (or C# depending the key).

Mainly, keep at it. Once those dots and lines on paper become music coming out of your ukulele, you'll be glad you did!

ConspiracyUkeist
05-01-2011, 09:26 AM
I bought the Hal Leonard Ukulele Method at Guitar Center (it's in my neighborhood so all I have to do is ride my bike over there) it turns out to be written by Lil' Rev, and it emphasizes learning to read notes and starts out with single note playing then gets into chords by families.

Personally, I've been working on just learning chords to accompany singing, but this book is Excellent and yep, knowing notes on the staff is an excellent thing. I highly recommend this book.

MiaRosie
05-01-2011, 09:45 AM
Spaces = F A C E
Lines = EGBDF ( Every Good Boy Deserves Fun )

Find the space letter nearest it ie below it and then go alphabetically.

To find the key signature it is really a matter of recognition - so if there are two sharps I would initially think Father Charles Goes Down And Ends Battle (as you do) to name them F and C and then take the last sharp shown (in this case the C, and then go up one letter of the alphabet to establish the key C - D = key signature of Dmaj with 2 sharps of F & C.

3 sharps ( FCG ) - 3rd one shown is G - next letter up is an A = Amaj

For flats - Battle Ends And Down Goes Charles Father - is the saying and you go BACK one letter to find the key signature name. ie if the key sig has three flats in it they would be Bb Eb Ab - the flat before the last one is Eb so the key sig is Ebmaj.

One other thing is to recognise the shape of the music, think of it as a dot to dot game we all did as children. Imagine the line that is drawn to link each note and look at the shape it is making.

Is the line going UP to the next note or going Down to the next note or staying the same ? Sight reading musicians don't look at every note individually and think of the name of it - they look at the pattern and follow it. If the line is going UP (literally as though you are drawing a peak) then you are playing the next note up in the scale.

Likewise if you look at a series of notes of a stave you will see that occasionally they go from line to line or space to space - what is happening there is that the music is missing out a note.

So if I am learning a new piece of music on an instrument I 'can' play ( ie not uke lol ) then I would firstly look at the key signature (how many sharps or flats), name those #'s or b's, then find them on the instrument I am playing as well as within the music. I would then either look out for the times that I came to one of them, or would hear it.

So, the only short cuts that I can suggest are to a) recognise the 'dot to dot' patterns - is the next note higher or lower or missing a note out ? b) recognise key signatures, you'll soon find that you don't need to go through the sayings.

I used postcards to learn them - with the key signature on one side and the sharps or flats associated with it on the other - which I'd take randomly from a plastic bag and read the side facing me, reciting from memory the opposite side.

Plainsong
05-02-2011, 09:40 AM
I congratulate everyone in this thread giving it a go. I've read music since I was.. what.. 8 or so. My sight-reading skills are, I suppose you'd say reliable if I'm wearing glasses.... and playing something other than uke. When I picked up the uke, I did what we all do, learned chords and tabs. I didn't want to be bothered about plucking through scales slowly. And now? There's some sheet music I really want to go through, and this measure-by-painstaking-measure is intolerable. I should have done it from the start.

Well at least it's not bass clef. I still have to mentally "This note on the 2nd space looks like an A but the actual name is it's third in treble, C." - this hardly ever matters unless finding the chords as I slowly go measure by measure and it's piano music. Yeah, I never really did piano.

To comment in general on sight-reading though, you generally never read the measure you're actually playing (more or less, depending... in a perfect world), and I certainly wasn't taught to follow the general shape of the music. I was taught to pay close attention to subdividing the tempo. To be aware of what should be happening on the downbeat, and the upbeat. This matters with complex syncopation and funky time signatures. If you're not careful, something that should be on the upbeat is happening on the downbeat because you forgot how to count. I was also taught that if you can't sing or hum it, you can never play it. I can hear my band director yelling at me about saying this is only sometimes important when it's all the time important. Then again one of his favorite things to shout was that there's no excuse for a wrong note. Nah, we know there are plenty! :D

It became easier when I took up singing, because my first choir director was just as much a stickler for sight-reading as the band directors were. How he taught it was to look at the key, and then pencil in the solfege. Using the solfege makes you aware of the intervals between the notes, and if you can get the tonic, then you've got the song. * Also learned to resent atonal stuff at this stage.

But sight-reading only comes after you can comfortably read music without having to put so much thought into what note is what and what key has which sharps or flats, and to what the meter means. If only I hadn't learned it with uke bass-ackwards.

If you're like me and you already know your key signatures and notation values, and note names and all that, there's just no short cut is there? You have to learn the scales. Ugh. That Lil'Rev book sounds like a really good idea.

wolfybau
05-28-2011, 07:41 AM
does anyone know of a downloadable tutorial on sight reading for ukulele? preferably in PDF? I've been hunting for this but everything I find is for playing chords and such.

also a 1 page legend/explanation on notation and tab for uke?

itsme
05-28-2011, 08:49 AM
I congratulate everyone in this thread giving it a go. I've read music since I was.. what.. 8 or so. My sight-reading skills are, I suppose you'd say reliable if I'm wearing glasses.... and playing something other than uke. When I picked up the uke, I did what we all do, learned chords and tabs.
Same here. I can read music (play classical guitar) but I didn't want to be bothered trying to learn notes that were in different places on the fretboard so I learned tab on uke. Maybe I should have taken up bari, as the notes are the same as the top four strings on a guitar. :p

I don't like plain text (ASCII) tabs, as they don't tell you enough so basically you have to know/hear the song to know how to play it. Some tab does give stems with note durations so you can tell when you're playing half/quarter/eighth notes, etc. I prefer tabs that have standard notation as well.

Wilfried Welti's "Solobuch" is a good example of the latter. You can read the tab to know where the notes are, and read the standard notation to see what they are and where they fall on the staff.

http://ukulelehunt.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/11/solobuch.pdf

Ukulele JJ
05-28-2011, 09:26 AM
Trying to learn to read music. Any experts out there? To figure out a note, I first see where it is located (line or space) to get the note; c d e, etc. I then look at the key signature, and go through it mentally;Father Charles Goes, etc. or Battle Ends And etc. Complicated process to go through. Any suggestions on how to speed things up. This process certainly won't work for sight-reading. Thanks.

Well, once you get used to keys, you won't have to worry about all that Father Charles stuff. Scale practice helps here. You'll just "know" that the F is really an F sharp because you'll know you're in the key of D and you'll simply be used to playing F sharps when you're in the key of D.

And, of course, the sharp in the key signature at the beginning of the piece is always on the same line/space as the note that you make sharp (although not always the same octave), so you can always fall back on that.

Beyond that, it's all about practice and time. I'm still pretty wonky with my sight-reading after a gazillion years of doing it. But I'm better now that I ever was, and that's just due to doing it over and over again.

JJ

ConspiracyUkeist
05-28-2011, 09:56 AM
You could also read off of stuff that's in the same range as your uke, such as violin, clarinet, etc., beginner stuff.

Learning involves lots of just grinding away at fundamentals. We used to do this in grade school, we'd do pages and pages of simple math, we'd learn physical skills by doing 'em over and over. Now as adults we need to get back into that mindset.

pekelo
05-28-2011, 08:19 PM
one way would be (but I've posted my site before up on UU...)
I've got books out that give the options
option 1 - learn to read tab since this is usually easier
option 2 - there is a way to learn reading notes with my exercises
by blanking out /or covering the tab
then the student/ player will be forced to learn the notes
& still listen & play along with the CD...

but there's probably other ways too (i've learned reading notes
years ago by studying classical guitar)

aloha!
pekelo
www.pekelosbooks.com

ItsAMeCasey
05-28-2011, 09:09 PM
I don't think there's a fast and easy way to learn to read notes. I think it's just a repetition thing--you do it enough and it'll get easier and easier.