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Thread: Sight read tab?

  1. #26
    Registered User DavidKOS's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sight read tab?

    Quote Originally Posted by Simon DS View Post
    Do you know of any sites, David, where they have tab of simple tunes in this music, especially with mp3’s for each tune, in order to get an idea of how they are played?
    One of the things I like about thesession.org is that you can go through lots of tunes looking for something that interests you.
    I imagine a lot of it is bouzouki.
    I have seen some Greek bouzouki music in TAB on Youtube.

    As for Arabic, Turkish, etc. music, I cannot recall seeing any in TAB, only staff notation. There may be some out there, but I am unaware of it.

    example:


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  3. #27

    Default Re: Sight read tab?

    Quote Originally Posted by sblock View Post

    Sight-reading (whether tab or dots) is an exceedingly useful musical skill, particularly if you can do it with some ease, and fairly rapidly. But it is no substitute for memorization, and knowing how to play each genre with its unique, associated "feel." Just saying...
    Reading and/or memorizing have nothing to do with knowing how to play each genre with its unique, associated "feel".

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  5. #28

    Default Re: Sight read tab?

    "Reading" and "sight reading" are two different things. "Sight reading" means reading and playing something (which you have never seen) for the very first time. Good sight reading includes playing dynamics, phrasing, etc. "Reading" means playing music while looking at some kind of notation. Reading can mean stumbling through music that you don't know yet, or it can mean playing something you know well, but using notation to remind you how it goes.

    I play in groups which never read, I play in groups that sometimes read, and I play in groups that always read. The fact that you are reading or not reading has nothing to do with your musicianship or interpretation skills.

    The only real trouble with using sheet music is playing outside on a windy day.

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  7. #29
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    Default Re: Sight read tab?

    I think there's a core difference between notation and tab that some have danced around but nobody (that my quickish scan has noticed) has hit on the head:

    - Notation describes THE MUSIC, period, regardless of the instrument it's played on.
    An experienced player, even without "sight-reading" talent, can scan a page and get a fair idea of what the music sounds like. With experience, the page "looks like" the music. As opposed to:

    - Tablature describes THE MECHANICS of playing one specific type of instrument. And often even just one specific arrangement on that instrument, meaning that the same music/melody might assume a variety of "looks" on the printed page.

    As one who's read tablature for several decades, and notation for even longer (most intensively for the past 5-6 years), I have yet to "see" a melody on a page of tablature, a task that notation comfortably allows, given adequate experience.

    Long before I was experienced enough to make such a statement with confidence, my personal feeling was that notation was good for -slowly- learning a tune that I didn't know, while tablature was a quick way of learning a tune that I DID know. YMMV!
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  8. #30
    Registered User sblock's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sight read tab?

    DavidKOS,

    Thanks much for your comments. As you noted, Arabic, Turkish, and Persian musical traditions developed their own independent systems of notation (Gee, as a point of personal historical interest, I wonder if they ever developed some tab systems for their instruments, too?). And yes, these can be -- and have been! -- rendered into Western staff notation, but only by introducing new symbols for microtonal possibilities and suchlike, which otherwise are outside the 12TET/Western tradition. Special symbols would probably have to be introduced into tab for this, too, unless the instruments had frets in microtonal places (some do). Indian/Carnatic musical notation uses sargam, which is sort of like Western solfegio, but allows for tiny pitch variations (shruti), and different types of constructed scales. So it is neither like staff notation nor tablature.

    I have, framed on the wall in my house, a beautiful example of some early vocal music (sung in Latin, of course), from an illuminated manuscript, hand-scribed on vellum (parchment). This example predates the grand staff of the organ, as you noted. Note time-values are indicated by the shapes of the 'dots.' During this same pre-Baroque period, music for the lute and cittern was pretty much all notated in tablature, as you also wrote. My point here, which was perhaps inartfully conveyed, is that these systems co-evolved in Europe, so they were not entirely independent. In fact, they share a number of features. Fast-forwarding to modern times, we find that nearly all the timing and ancillary information in staff notation and tablature are exactly the same (in the case of modern tab, this is borrowed wholesale from staff notation): things like time signatures, key signatures, tempo indications, rests, flags and dotted notes, triplets, ligatures, repeats, sections headings, can be found in both systems. Anyone familiar with these things from one system will instantly recognize them in the other.

    As for the mandolin not being a violin with frets, we both agree that there are some obvious commonalities, as well as salient differences, between these instruments. Yes indeed, the left hand fingering is just about the same, although the hand positioning is a little different. But the mandolin is 12TET and the violin is not. Some things, like glissandos and tremolos, are performed, or approximated, differently on the two instruments. Certain violin things, like pizzicato, ponticello, al legno, and even common vibrato have essentially no equivalents on the mandolin.

    Anyway, what triggered my earlier responses was the sense that some people were unfairly dismissing tablature for all the wrong reasons, for example, because they came from a classical tradition (often, with a violin background), or because they'd found no personal use for tab, since the music they cared about was mainly in staff notation already. They had also formed the a personal impression that staff notation was equally easy to learn as tablature, but these folks had already learned to read staff notation earlier in life, in most cases, and only needed to assimilate fretboard assignments for the mandolin.

    Tab is significantly easier for beginners (ask teachers). Tab is ubiquitous in American folk/oldtime/bluegrass music for the guitar and banjo, as well as for the mandolin -- but not so much for other types of Western music, like Celtic and many other European forms, and of course, classical music. The biggest single problem with tab, IMO, is that it is specific to the instrument. Staff notation is, in a practical sense, "universal," and (mostly) independent of the instrument. So, if you're experienced enough with it, you can manage to hear the melody in your head, or sing it aloud from the printed page. That's just not possible with tab, and it is the core reason why staff notation is preferred today for so many genres of music.

    Learning both is great, I say. But snobbery is never helpful. My point is that dismissing tab as some kind of beginner's "crutch," or suggesting that learning to read tablature in some way impedes musical progress is nonsense, just as suggesting that learning how to read staff notation might somehow impede musical progress.

    The more you learn, the better off you are, I say. That holds for lots of things, and not just music!

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  10. #31
    Registered User DavidKOS's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sight read tab?

    Quote Originally Posted by sblock View Post
    DavidKOS,

    Thanks much for your comments. ... (edit great post!):
    I truly appreciate the well thought out and musically uplifting post.

    I only want to discuss this:

    " But the mandolin is 12TET and the violin is not. Some things, like glissandos and tremolos, are performed, or approximated, differently on the two instruments. Certain violin things, like pizzicato, ponticello, al legno, and even common vibrato have essentially no equivalents on the mandolin."

    So true.

    I cannot play certain music on a 12TET mandolin. That's why I have a baglama saz, a turkish lavta, an oud, and moveable frets on Afghan instruments, and so on.

    So yes, we cannot play all the shades of pitch that a fretless instrument can on our mandolins.

    But we can play sul ponticello, sul tasto, types of vibrato, more slides and slurs than is often given credit for, and unless you count bouncing the side of your pick on the strings, no col legno!

    "Tab is ubiquitous in American folk/oldtime/bluegrass music for the guitar and banjo, as well as for the mandolin "

    It's now the common way to notate rock music - another aural tradition that does not use sheet music live. Lots of guitar mags have tab'd out all sorts of tunes.

    TAB works well for what it does - as it has done for centuries - it shows you where to put your fingers on an instrument, thus facilitating making music.

    Take care, David

  11. #32

    Default Re: Sight read tab?

    Quote Originally Posted by bratsche View Post
    Good point, Louise. That's likely why when I play any fretted instrument, I'm barely conscious of the location of a given note in terms of what numbered fret it happens to be on. Because I started with violin and viola, finding the notes and intervals is always more of a "tactile - spatial" thing than a "how many half-steps" thing.

    bratsche
    Thanks for the quote at the bottom of your post.
    Tim

  12. #33

    Default Re: Sight read tab?

    Quote Originally Posted by bratsche View Post
    Good point, Louise. That's likely why when I play any fretted instrument, I'm barely conscious of the location of a given note in terms of what numbered fret it happens to be on. Because I started with violin and viola, finding the notes and intervals is always more of a "tactile - spatial" thing than a "how many half-steps" thing.

    bratsche
    Thanks for the quote at the bottom of your post.
    Tim

  13. #34
    mando-evangelist August Watters's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sight read tab?

    Since John McGann's advice is still generally revered on this forum, and since he spoke extensively and eloquently on this topic, and since his views have not yet been represented in this discussion: Perhaps this might be a good time to go back and look at what he had to say. I will not try to encapsulate his argument, but those who seek it out will find perspectives and advice quite a bit different from what has been recently heard here.

    John was a veteran teacher of private lessons in Boston. In his time he helped many advanced-level players, who were struggling with roadblocks, to figure out how to get to the next level. In some of his Cafe posts, he described thought processes used by advanced-level players, and the (sometimes unhelpful) habits that can persist from earlier stages. John had the empathy to see the student's perspective, the skills to demonstrate musical possibilities in the student's own musical language, and the understanding as a master player himself, to direct students to approaches helpful in working toward their own goals.

    When the topic of this thread arises, I miss John's contributions, and his way of challenging the conventional wisdom.
    Exploring Classical Mandolin (Berklee Press, 2015)
    Progressive Melodies for Mandocello (Amazon, 2019)
    New Solos for Classical Mandolin (Hal Leonard Press, 2020)

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  15. #35
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    Default Re: Sight read tab?

    Quote Originally Posted by August Watters View Post
    Since John McGann's advice is still generally revered on this forum, and since he spoke extensively and eloquently on this topic, and since his views have not yet been represented in this discussion: Perhaps this might be a good time to go back and look at what he had to say. I will not try to encapsulate his argument, but those who seek it out will find perspectives and advice quite a bit different from what has been recently heard here.

    John was a veteran teacher of private lessons in Boston. In his time he helped many advanced-level players, who were struggling with roadblocks, to figure out how to get to the next level. In some of his Cafe posts, he described thought processes used by advanced-level players, and the (sometimes unhelpful) habits that can persist from earlier stages. John had the empathy to see the student's perspective, the skills to demonstrate musical possibilities in the student's own musical language, and the understanding as a master player himself, to direct students to approaches helpful in working toward their own goals.

    When the topic of this thread arises, I miss John's contributions, and his way of challenging the conventional wisdom.

    Here is a good resume of what John McGann had to say on this topic: https://bb.steelguitarforum.com/view...b1ed1149dd509b


    (maybe this belongs in the other TAB thread, which in turn, really belongs in the TTT subforum.)
    Last edited by ralph johansson; Oct-05-2020 at 7:53am.

  16. #36
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    Default Re: Sight read tab?

    Quote Originally Posted by David L View Post
    Reading and/or memorizing have nothing to do with knowing how to play each genre with its unique, associated "feel".
    Note the ”and” between the two expressions.

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