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Thread: Advice on how to learn sheet music?

  1. #1

    Question Advice on how to learn sheet music?

    I learned how to play the mandolin a few years back and the teacher I had only taught me tabs which was great for me to learn the basics of how to play a string instrument but I feel it has left me a little limited on choices. I have started trying to teach my self how to play sheet music but I am having a little trouble translating the notes to the placement on the neck. I have played other instruments (piano, clarinet) before so I can read music fairly well but I have been struggling to figure this out.
    I would greatly appreciate any advice.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Advice on how to learn sheet music?

    I would get yourself a method book, 40% off at Mel Bay today.
    Northfield F5M #268, AT02 #7

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  4. #3
    Unfamous String Buster Beanzy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Advice on how to learn sheet music?

    The exercises in Getting Into Jazz Mandolin will sort this out for you it's a MelBay book too
    Eoin



    "Forget that anyone is listening to you and always listen to yourself" - Fryderyk Chopin

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  6. #4

    Default Re: Advice on how to learn sheet music?

    ‘Music Notes’ on ipad or Tabledit program both are free (enough) to learn to read.
    Just set Tabledit on REAL slow and follow a random tune that you can find here: https://www.mandolincafe.com/tabledit.html
    Good luck!

  7. #5
    Dave Sheets
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    Default Re: Advice on how to learn sheet music?

    Try taking a basic fiddle tune and writing the fingerings down under the notes, just 1,2,3,4 so you remember which finger it is. After doing a few tunes this way, the note locations and sounds should start to stick in your head.
    -Dave
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    Default Re: Advice on how to learn sheet music?

    The way I learned, and the way I highly recommend is to get this book and devote 5 or 10 minutes a day to it as part of your regular practice routine:

    Standard Notation for the Tab Addicted Mandolinist : A Concise Course Targeted Examples and Exercises for the Trational Mondolinist Breaking Into Untabbled Territory, by Deborah Chen.

  9. #7
    Confused... or?
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    Default Re: Advice on how to learn sheet music?

    Even though I was several years into mandolin when it came out, I found Don Julin's "Mandolin For Dummies" to be a great refresher for what I did now and an eye-opener for what I didn't. (Had read notation on guitar since the '60s). In other words, it's VERY infornmative, easy to follow, and doesn't speak down to beginners while NOT boring the heck out of the more esperienced. You'll be glad you did.
    - Ed

    "What our group lacks in musicianship is offset by our willingness to humiliate ourselves." - David Hochman

  10. #8

    Default Re: Advice on how to learn sheet music?

    Quote Originally Posted by Gina Willis View Post
    The way I learned, and the way I highly recommend is to get this book and devote 5 or 10 minutes a day to it as part of your regular practice routine:

    Standard Notation for the Tab Addicted Mandolinist : A Concise Course Targeted Examples and Exercises for the Trational Mondolinist Breaking Into Untabbled Territory, by Deborah Chen.
    Sadly, this book is unavailable on Amazon.
    Play it like you mean it.

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  11. #9
    Registered User Craig the Mad's Avatar
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    Default Re: Advice on how to learn sheet music?

    This is something you learn by doing. The more you try to sight-read, the better you'll get at it. The goal, ultimately, is not to read notes one at a time and play them, but to see whole chords and common sequences at once and play them without thinking. This is just like how you read text aloud -- you don't think, "C, A, T, that's 'cat', and to say that word, I should make a clicking sound in the back of my mouth for the C, then open my mouth for the short-A sound, then click with the tip of my tongue against the roof of my mouth for the T", you just see "cat" or even "The cat meowed" as a single unit and you speak the words without having to think about how you're doing it. Once, when you were very young, you did read letter by letter, but with practice you got better and you don't do that anymore. Reading music is much the same.
    1923 Gibson A-Jr
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  13. #10

    Default Re: Advice on how to learn sheet music?

    A beginner violin book can be really useful. I see them often at Half Price Books.

  14. #11
    Registered User Brian560's Avatar
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    Default Re: Advice on how to learn sheet music?

    Mel Bay has a book called reading Standard Notation for Mandolin and Fiddle by Joe Carr. It has a good approach to the subject. The biggest problem I have found is all of my old sheet music with TAB . Reading and using Standard Notation improves with practicing only using standard notation.

  15. #12
    Registered User Cobalt's Avatar
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    Default Re: Advice on how to learn sheet music?

    Since you already know how to read sheet music, you're halfway there. The other half is to learn the names of each note on the mandolin fretboard. There are lots of diagrams, I learned from a book, but there is plenty of stuff online, such as this:
    Click image for larger version. 

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  17. #13
    Yarrr! Miss Lonelyhearts's Avatar
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    Default Re: Advice on how to learn sheet music?

    Yep, if you can already sight read, all you have to add is memorizing the chart supplied by Cobalt above. Bear in mind that mandolin is tuned in fifths, so you can start on an open string and play a whole octave scale from there to the 5th fret on the next string up using just open strings and your index, middle, and ring fingers. It works for each pair of strings.

    It also helps to see that standard music notation has a pattern that "overlaps" first position (the first 7 frets on mandolin), making it easier to sight read on mandolin and fiddle than many other instruments, at least for tunes in the common keys of G, C, D, and their relative modes (Em, Am, Bm, Ador, Ddor, Edor, etc.). The easiest way to see this pattern is to write out the notes of a one-octave D major scale. Then play them starting on the open D (3rd) string up to the 5th fret D on the 2nd string.

    You'll find that written notes that fall on spaces in the staff are either open strings or middle fingers, and notes that fall on lines in the staff are either index or ring fingers. You can hammer this idea home by playing simple arpeggios--DFAF is all spaces on the sheet music and open or middle fingers; GBdB is all lines on the sheet music and ring and index fingers. Many tunes (especially fiddle tunes) are built around such patterns.

    This pattern holds true for all the scales I've mentioned on all four strings in first position.

    Hope this helps.
    Oops! Did I say that out loud?
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  19. #14
    Registered User John Van Zandt's Avatar
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    Default Re: Advice on how to learn sheet music?

    Practice reading without spending alot of money. You can print free Mando sheet music from the web.

    You are learning to read it. Do not do all your reading with an instrument. Pick up the sheet music with two hands. Read a song slow through the entire song, then medium and then faster. You are practicing, learning, and building confidence. Do not always do this holding an instrument. Learn to STUDY parts of a piece first, if you have never played the song. Donít be a robot, or regimented machine in the beginning.
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  20. #15

    Default Re: Advice on how to learn sheet music?

    Quote Originally Posted by Miss Lonelyhearts View Post
    Yep, if you can already sight read, all you have to add is memorizing the chart supplied by Cobalt above. Bear in mind that mandolin is tuned in fifths, so you can start on an open string and play a whole octave scale from there to the 5th fret on the next string up using just open strings and your index, middle, and ring fingers. It works for each pair of strings.

    It also helps to see that standard music notation has a pattern that "overlaps" first position (the first 7 frets on mandolin), making it easier to sight read on mandolin and fiddle than many other instruments, at least for tunes in the common keys of G, C, D, and their relative modes (Em, Am, Bm, Ador, Ddor, Edor, etc.). The easiest way to see this pattern is to write out the notes of a one-octave D major scale. Then play them starting on the open D (3rd) string up to the 5th fret D on the 2nd string.

    You'll find that written notes that fall on spaces in the staff are either open strings or middle fingers, and notes that fall on lines in the staff are either index or ring fingers. You can hammer this idea home by playing simple arpeggios--DFAF is all spaces on the sheet music and open or middle fingers; GBdB is all lines on the sheet music and ring and index fingers. Many tunes (especially fiddle tunes) are built around such patterns.

    This pattern holds true for all the scales I've mentioned on all four strings in first position.

    Hope this helps.
    Great piece of information, many thanks.

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    Default Re: Advice on how to learn sheet music?

    Here is a link to the book Gina Willis recommended. I found it useful as well. R/ http://www.stringthingm.com/Standard...Tab_Mando.html
    I love hanging out with mandolin nerds . . . . . Thanks peeps ...

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