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Thread: Lead Sheets

  1. #1
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    Default Lead Sheets

    As a beginner I find it hard working with lead sheets and would prefer music, since now i know how to read it.

    The issue is, how manage the strum pattern. Not knowing where the bars are on a lead sheet, i can't see how much of the strum pattern to use between chords. If there are two chords in a bar, should i assume half the pattern to each chord though i am sure in more advanced songs this wouldn't work but as a beginner i am probably not going to be facing that.

    Also how do i know if its one bar or two? I find this business very difficult to guess at and it confuses me.

    Also you don't know if you should start singing at the beginning of a bar or a beat or two in.

    What's the solution here for beginners?

    I mean not every song i want to learn is in a tutorial and these chord sheets and books are very low on useful info of this kind. In my own little uke book, the author has given info on strumming patterns and I think he imagines we'll progress through the book following his tutorials though he doesn't have a tut for each song. But for songbooks, well there's nothing. I got two out of hte library, and all they have is chord charts so working with songs from these books isn't as easy as i think it should be.

    I guess if you know a few strumming patterns, you try them out until you find the right one and the right way but its still a lot of confusion and uncertainty so are there some tips.

    When i'm learning a song that doesn't have a tut, i find myself searching the net for the score to help me figure things out more comfortably.

    But as not everyone reads music i figure others must have found a way around this and maybe can help me figure it out too. I can tell you though that life is better when you can read music.

  2. #2
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    I'll be honest... I do it by feel. Strumming pattern, timing of the singing, time signature, number of bars, all of it... As long as I know the melody (whether the notation is included, or I just know it) then I can work out how the strumming fits in with it. Sorry, I know that's really unhelpful.

  3. #3

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    It seems like what is tripping you up is the lack of time signature info in the kind of lead sheets that are in a 'Fake Book', no?

    This is common in fake book sheets for jazz, since time signature can be fluid and/or change based upon who is playing and how they play it...

    as far as strumming patterns and timing of the strokes, etc, the links I gave you in the other thread with all the tutorial videos WILL GIVE YOU the strumming pattern and demo it for each song tutorial, maybe have a look at some of those?

    also, for whatever song you want to learn, if all you have is the lead sheet and not sure of the strumming pattern or it's timing in the measure, again YouTube is your friend, and go there. put whatever song title like 'House Of The Rising Sun' and the words:

    ukulele cover

    after that, and then you can see how tons of other uke players have done the song, and some of them have a separate additional video that is a tutorial...

    The above, and the other resources in your busking thread have been very useful to me for the weekly Seasons contests here on UU

    http://forum.ukuleleunderground.com/...of-the-Ukulele

    you may want to go into one, and in the first post click on the PLAYLIST link after you read the week's theme instructions and see what kinds of videos other folks have done, mostly covers but also some original tunes...
    Guinea proverb: "A cow that has no tail should not try to chase away flies."

  4. #4
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    Actually, that's not entirely true. I also use the technique for strumming patterns where if you have a 4/4 time signature, then you give yourself 8 strums (DUDUDUDU). Then subtract strums from that to create an interesting strumming pattern (e.g. D-DU-UDU). I hope that makes sense.

  5. #5
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    This is a bit of an oversimplification, but a lead sheet is really only useful if you already basically know the song, for example, from hearing it on CD/radio/tape/video. It's just a rough guide that you have to full in. If you're looking for exact timing and strumming info, you'll have to look elsewhere like tab. But the advantage to the lead sheet is that you can put your own take on it without worrying that you're playing it "wrong" according to a detailed score.
    Ukulele:
    Iriguchi Tenor "Weeble" - A, WoU Clarity
    Blue Star 19" baritone Konablaster - DGBE
    Cocobolo 16" SC#1-gCEA, SC SLMU
    Ono #42 19" baritone, Ab, LW
    Imua iET-Bb, M600
    Covered Bridge CLN pineapple - Eb cuatro, SC XLL
    Rogue bari
    Bonanza super tenor, cFAD SC LHU
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    Bonanza SLN GCEA
    Bonanzalele concert
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    !Flukutronic!

  6. #6
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    I think you are all on the mark.

    Jim you make sense. When i used to play the guitar as a kid, it never mattered if I only had the chords because in those days i wasn't trying to play the song properly, not knowing any better so i just played it according to how it felt ok to do and besides i was a shit strummer and this is all why i never progressed and gave it up eventually but there's another reason. Now with uke and later on guitar, I want to play the songs properly and your answer confirms my findings that as a beginner I need more than lead sheets.

    Hence what Booli says about using tutorials and so on is what i've been doing and why I have pretty much found myself doing it that way.

    And Robin clarifies for me that when I'm more advanced, I will be able to figure songs out more easily with just the lead sheets.

    So thanks all. This is good to understand.

  7. #7
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    I am a bit confused about the terminology here.
    When I google "lead sheet", i find a description of what I find in the books labeled "fake-books" that I have come across:
    A sheet with notation for the melody along with chords.
    The notation for the melody contains bars, and hence it tells you when to start singing.
    And the chords are arranged above the music line, with respect to the bars, so you know when to change. Of course there can be a "lift" sometimes, so the chords change is a bit sooner than the chord symbol, but often you can see that from the melody.

    Does the words "lead sheet" and "fake book" have a completely different meaning than the one I know?

    Other than that, I also struggle with the "chords and lyrics" you usually find when searching for a song online. With just chords placed above the lyrics without bars.
    If you know the song well, you will perhaps get it. Otherwise the only thing to do is to listen to the original and count the bars for each chord, based on the lyrics if you cant hear what chords they are playing. I often add bars the chord line or put the chords alone with bars on a seperate paper to remember.
    Ohana SK30M mahogany super-soprano, Cort UKEBWCOP Blackwood concert, Anuenue African Mahogany Tenor, Fluke Koa Tenor, Hora M1176 spruce Tenor

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndieZ View Post
    ...When i used to play the guitar as a kid, it never mattered if I only had the chords because in those days i wasn't trying to play the song properly, not knowing any better...
    I think this idea is what's tripping you up. Lead sheets do not explain the "proper" way to play a song because There is no "proper" way to play a song. You, the player, get to chose the strums, the rhythm, the tempo and the key.

    "With A Little Help From My Friends" is in 4/4. Unless Joe Cocker is singing.

    Copying someone else's version is a good way to learn (like the painters who copy museum pieces as part of their training). But a lead sheet won't help you there. Lead sheets are for people who already know how the song goes. If you can't figure out when to strum, go to YouTube and listen to as many versions as you can find and then try playing it your way.

    May I suggest starting with the songs you already know in your sleep, the songs you've been singing along with on the radio since childhood? It is very much easier to get the hang of strumming and rhythm and chords when you already have a deep visceral understanding of how you want the song to sound.

    It took me quite a while until I felt confident about playing my version of a song instead of trying to make it sound like the record. Which is really sad, considering how often I was covering male singers fronting a rock band, whereas I am a soprano woman playing a concert uke and there's no freaking way I could ever sound like the record. Don't make my mistake and get hung up on "proper" strums.

    I play "With a Little Help From My Friends" in 3/4 although I cannot sing like Joe Cocker. Not even remotely.

  9. #9
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    I just picked up the terminology for this post from a website i had just been looking at which referred to a chord and lyrics page as a lead sheet. Maybe its the wrong terminology. If it is, i am not sure what i should have called it. Thanks for bringing it to my attention.

    Quote Originally Posted by UkingViking View Post
    Otherwise the only thing to do is to listen to the original and count the bars for each chord, based on the lyrics if you cant hear what chords they are playing. I often add bars the chord line or put the chords alone with bars on a seperate paper to remember.
    Beginners like myself can't hear "bars". I suggest only expert musicians can here bars or at least people who've been at it for quite a while.

    Anyway, I think i'll close this thread because the question has been properly answered above.

  10. #10
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    UkingViking is correct that "lead sheet" includes melody and chords (and lyrics when applicable) and generally has the bars as well. A "chord chart" typically has just chords and lyrics. But I have seen the terms used almost interchangeably.
    Ukulele:
    Iriguchi Tenor "Weeble" - A, WoU Clarity
    Blue Star 19" baritone Konablaster - DGBE
    Cocobolo 16" SC#1-gCEA, SC SLMU
    Ono #42 19" baritone, Ab, LW
    Imua iET-Bb, M600
    Covered Bridge CLN pineapple - Eb cuatro, SC XLL
    Rogue bari
    Bonanza super tenor, cFAD SC LHU
    Kala KSLNG, Eb SC XLU
    Flea soprano, C LW
    Hanson 5-string tenor, dGCEA
    Bonanza SLN GCEA
    Bonanzalele concert
    Guitars:
    Jupiter #47, G, TI CF127

    !Flukutronic!

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