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Thread: Could Bill Monroe Read Music??

  1. #101
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    Default Re: Could Bill Monroe Read Music??

    Quote Originally Posted by Bertram Henze View Post
    If you want to play a piece of music by heart, you must practise it that way, or else you'll never get off the sheet.

    It's not that part of your memory doesn't know the piece after 100 times (it does alright), but another part of your memory firmly disbelieves that this is possible, and so it suddenly isn't.

    Bill didn't need to read . He wore a hat . ( see accompanying thread )

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  3. #102
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    Default Re: Could Bill Monroe Read Music??

    Quote Originally Posted by DavidKOS View Post
    I bet Mozart would have liked Monroe's music, he liked a lot of interesting stuff.
    Maybe. Or he might have just said "Das ist kein Teil irgendetwas...."

    Mick
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    Default Re: Could Bill Monroe Read Music??

    Ha! But perhaps it should be: "Das ist nicht kein Teil von nichts." Or does German not support double or triple negatives?
    But that's just my opinion. I could be wrong. - Dennis Miller

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    Default Re: Could Bill Monroe Read Music??

    Quote Originally Posted by journeybear View Post
    Ha! But perhaps it should be: "Das ist nicht kein Teil von nichts." Or does German not support double or triple negatives?
    As an Austrian, he would have said that with the appropriate accent: dös is koa Stückerl von goarnix net...
    There you have you triple negative.
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    Default Re: Could Bill Monroe Read Music??

    Danke, mein freund!
    But that's just my opinion. I could be wrong. - Dennis Miller

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    Default Re: Could Bill Monroe Read Music??

    Vee've got vays to make you talck!

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    Default Re: Could Bill Monroe Read Music??

    Quote Originally Posted by journeybear View Post
    Ha! But perhaps it should be: "Das ist nicht kein Teil von nichts." Or does German not support double or triple negatives?
    Thanks, Gentleman. After all these years of 'practice', my German language skills have reached a level where ordinary Germans can no longer understand what I am saying.

    Mick
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    Default Re: Could Bill Monroe Read Music??

    Ordinary? Who's ordinary around here? Did someone ordinary sneak in? You know, if anyone ordinary showed up here, they'd really stick out.
    But that's just my opinion. I could be wrong. - Dennis Miller

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    Default Re: Could Bill Monroe Read Music??

    So, this begs the question, could Bill read German?(Austrian)
    Now that's an ordinary question, no?
    Timothy F. Lewis
    "If brains was lard, that boy couldn't grease a very big skillet" J.D. Clampett

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    Default Re: Could Bill Monroe Read Music??

    Quote Originally Posted by Timbofood View Post
    So, this begs the question, could Bill read German?(Austrian)
    Now that's an ordinary question, no?
    No, he couldn't!

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    Default Re: Could Bill Monroe Read Music??

    Quote Originally Posted by journeybear View Post
    Ordinary? Who's ordinary around here? Did someone ordinary sneak in? You know, if anyone ordinary showed up here, they'd really stick out.
    You're right about that, I'm beginning to think some of these people may even play the mandolin.

  16. #112
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    Default Re: Could Bill Monroe Read Music??

    Well, I guess I am in good company as I do not read German either
    Timothy F. Lewis
    "If brains was lard, that boy couldn't grease a very big skillet" J.D. Clampett

  17. #113

    Default Re: Could Bill Monroe Read Music??

    Quote Originally Posted by Ivan Kelsall View Post
    Regarding his own music,i think it was a matter of repetition until the song/tune was second nature to him. I suspect that most other country performers (& maybe most 'non-country' performers as well) travelled the same path,
    Ivan
    Irving Berlin couldn't read music, either,nor could Harpo Marx. Paul McCartney can't. Here's an interesting article about Irving Berlin, whom you may know composed countless hits including White Christmas, God Bless America, and my favorites of his, Blue Skies and Puttin' On the Ritz.

    http://www.straightdope.com/columns/...did-he-compose

    A letter I once read in the Christian Science Monitor was from the daughter of the harpist who taught Harpo Marx to play. The daughter quoted her mother -- Harpo came up to her after a concert one time and said, "Learn me that." The mother said that Harpo was "allergic to reading music." I say he was fortunate that the classical harpist would teach him by ear. Many classical players will NOT do that! They insist that their students must read the music. In my day (1950s learning piano) listening to records of what I wanted to play was considered "cheating." My teachers NEVER played for me. If my mother had not played the pieces for me, so I could learn them by ear, I never would have become a pianist and piano teacher later on. I taught my students by ear and by note. All my students -- whether experienced or beginners -- started lessons with me, by ear. The myth in some classical circles is that learning by ear impedes learning to read. I say the opposite -- it's like learning one's native language as a child -- you listen, listen, listen and gradually learn the language (including the language of your musical form). We know that children are not ready to learn to read until they know how to listen and speak well. Same is true for learning music. Reading music is a skill that can be useful, for sure, but it's not necessary. The thousands of hours spent learning fluent reading could be better spent learning to play better. That's my opinion anyway. The saddest thing to me is the many times I've heard fine musicians apologize for themselves -- "I'm not really a musician....I can't read music."

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  19. #114

    Default Re: Could Bill Monroe Read Music??

    How do I start a new thread? Could someone let me know please?

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    Default Re: Could Bill Monroe Read Music??

    Quote Originally Posted by stringalong View Post
    How do I start a new thread? Could someone let me know please?
    Do you not have this button at the top of each forum main page? See pic below.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version. 

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    Default Re: Could Bill Monroe Read Music??

    Reading music is a skill that can be useful, for sure, but it's not necessary.

    True enough as asserted by the many examples of accomplished musicians who can not (or assert they can not) read music. However, illiteracy is a constraining factor. Imagine a time, long ago, before we all carried digital audio recorders in our pockets. The advancement of Western European music would have been impossible if (insert your favorite composer here) had to sing/play every part of that composition to each member of the ensemble.

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    Default Re: Could Bill Monroe Read Music??

    In 1681 Andreas Werckmeister (Orgelprobe) described the process of casting/testing a new organist for a church: The candidate was given a chorale melody, over which he had to be able to improvise. Playing by heart or of written tablatures or notes was considered cheating. Reading music was a means not the goal. Of course, Bach could read music, but is there a quote about him playing his own music from written scores? His son, Carl Philipp Emanuel, called the players, who would emotionlessly play from written notes "Treffer" ("hits") or "dressierte Vögel" ("trained birds"), that is people who read and hit the note correctly without much emotion.

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    Default Re: Could Bill Monroe Read Music??

    Quote Originally Posted by Tobin View Post
    Do you not have this button at the top of each forum main page? See pic below.
    Thanks -- I found it at the bottom of each subforum page, finally!!!!

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    Default Re: Could Bill Monroe Read Music??

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Hanson View Post
    When asked if he could read music Pete Seeger replied, ' yes, but not enough to damage my playing '

    Dave H
    I always liked that quote by Pete. I suspect the same could be said of Bill Monroe!
    If you can read this, thank a teacher. If you can read this in English, thank a vet.

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    Default Re: Could Bill Monroe Read Music??

    Can anyone here read music without moving your lips?
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  28. #121

    Default Re: Could Bill Monroe Read Music??

    Quote Originally Posted by JeffD View Post
    I can read, but I certainly cannot play like Bill. And forgetting how to read is not going to help that a bit.
    I normally ignore the threads about notation vs. tab vs. ear: I'm tired of them. But JeffD says it all.
    Ha, ha! keep time: how sour sweet music is,
    When time is broke and no proportion kept!
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  30. #122
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    Default Re: Could Bill Monroe Read Music??

    one thing we do know is there were no bluegrass style mandolin teachers out there when Monroe started up with the Monroe Bros. His first mandolin piece, Tenn. Blues is just as complex in timing and note changes and later ones to come. He had a natural talent with an ear for music.

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  32. #123
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    Default Re: Could Bill Monroe Read Music??

    Quote Originally Posted by stringalong View Post
    Irving Berlin couldn't read music, either,nor could Harpo Marx. Paul McCartney can't. Here's an interesting article about Irving Berlin, whom you may know composed countless hits including White Christmas, God Bless America, and my favorites of his, Blue Skies and Puttin' On the Ritz.

    http://www.straightdope.com/columns/...did-he-compose

    A letter I once read in the Christian Science Monitor was from the daughter of the harpist who taught Harpo Marx to play. The daughter quoted her mother -- Harpo came up to her after a concert one time and said, "Learn me that." The mother said that Harpo was "allergic to reading music." [ ... ] The saddest thing to me is the many times I've heard fine musicians apologize for themselves -- "I'm not really a musician....I can't read music."
    I really appreciate your post here. When I was a young boy in grade school we had a music program and I wanted to learn to play violin like my oldest brother. We rented a violin and I played through the 2nd and 3rd grade, ending up first chair violin in the little grade school orchestra. Then the teacher discovered I was playing completely by ear and by memory, and gave me the ultimatum that I either learn to read music or I could not be in the orchestra. I gave up violin.

    Of course today I realize that I could never have played in any serious orchestra without being able to read music, but back then, it seemed like loosing a friend. Fortunately the next year our regular class teacher introduced recorders (flute family) and fully supported playing by ear, and before long I was playing recorders all evening long after school, so once again music was my friend. And it has been ever since then.

    Our band's fiddler, in her mid-30s now, took her BA in piano and violin performance and can both play music by ear and sight read music amazingly well. Once about 5 years ago we were playing at a barn party / jamboree and it was announced that they needed someone to read a fiddle tune because they didn't have it in tablature. She stepped up and reading the music for the first time, transposed it into a different key for everyone else as she played the full tune through flawlessly. It was fun to watch, everyone else was in awe. After playing banjo and some mandolin and some Dobro by ear for 45+ years, I could never have done that from written music.

    In contrast, my oldest brother, who by now has played violin for around 60 years and plays for numerous local orchestras, could never play any serious song by ear.

    So what is the difference? In my brother's early training, it was cheating to play by ear. In our fiddler's early training (some 30 years later), both reading music and ear training were emphasized. Times, they are a changing. Fortunately.

    Back on our specific topic though, BM and ES and most of the foundation bluegrass players either didn't read music at all, or didn't use that skill. Most of the earlier pre-bluegrass players also didn't. Today, for much of jazz, swing and rock, country and bluegrass music and many other of the more casual music forms, reading music isn't a requirement. But, reading music doesn't hurt, and judging by how well our fiddler does, I'd say it can be a big help.

    I might add, most of us, including myself, can sit down and slowly figure out what a few lines of simple music are doing. But sight reading is a completely different skill that takes years to acquire. For many people, I'm sure like BM and ES and others of our bluegrass heroes, learning to play music by ear came naturally.
    Last edited by dhergert; Sep-23-2017 at 11:36am.
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  33. #124
    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
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    Default Re: Could Bill Monroe Read Music??

    this comes up so often it is worth repeating:

    Not being able to play by ear comes from not working on or learning to playing by ear.

    Not being able to read music comes from not working on or learning to read music.

    Neither one hinders the other except to the extent that once you make progress and get good at something (reading music say) it is a kick in the ego to work on something that new that doesn't yet come easy.

    This is an old thread and an even older topic. One thing that is interesting I hadn't really focused on until recently: is we pick the musical prodigies that support our arguments. So you pick the musical aspect you don't want to work on, and then site the musicians who became great despite not doing it either.

    Our musical heroes' musicality that makes them special – not their inability to read!!! Or that they plant their pinky, or that they hold the pick some weird way.

    What about picking and getting inspiration from the prodigies that can do it all - that can and do read, and can and do play by ear. Dizzy Gillespie, John Coltrane, for example. (Not to mention Beethoven or Segovia). Or Chris Thile, for example. And so many others.
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