Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 25 of 31

Thread: Standard notation for the tab-addicted mandolinist

  1. #1
    Registered User Robert Moreau's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Tokyo, Japan
    Posts
    146

    Unhappy

    Hi All,

    I was just reading the standard notation vs tab topic thread and it got me excited about brushing up on my standard reading.

    I can read some of the basics (I can tell you where a 'B' is on the staff, how many flats or sharps go in a given key signature, and how to count, etc), but I don't know a lot about music theory or how it relates to the mandolin fretboard...

    I feel I need a good logical system to show me how it all fits together. I was wondering if the book "Standard Notation for the Tab-Addicted Mandolinist" by Debora Chen would be a good starting point.

    Any opinions or other ideas out there?

    Thanks,

    Rob M.
    Eastman 515
    Lafferty Octave Mandolin
    Epiphone Mandobird
    music is the poetry of the air

  2. #2
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Westchester, NY
    Posts
    28,586

    Default

    Standard notation is just that: notation, just like tab. If you want to learn theory, fine, but whether you learn it thru tab or std notation is basically irrelevant.

    But do go ahead and work on your reading. And study your theory as well. It sure can't hurt.
    Jim

    My Stream on Soundcloud
    Facebook
    19th Century Tunes
    Playing lately:
    2018 Campanella A-5 -- 2007 Brentrup A4C -- 1915 Frank Merwin Ashley violin -- Huss & Dalton DS -- 1923 Gibson A2 black snakehead -- '83 Flatiron A5-2 -- 1939 Gibson L-00 -- 1936 Epiphone Deluxe -- 1928 Gibson L-5 -- ca. 1890s Fairbanks Senator Banjo -- ca. 1923 Vega Style M tenor banjo -- ca. 1920 Weymann Style 25 Mandolin-Banjo -- National RM-1

  3. #3
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Tulsa
    Posts
    255

    Default

    Learning how to read music after you know how to play is like taking a step backwards. I would reccomend Muller Rusch violin book. You'll just have to be prepared to go slower so your reading skills can catch up with your playing skills. In the long run it is a good move. Music is far superior to tab in nearly every way. Music theory is highly beneficial. Understanding theory is the key so you can apply it to music that you play. Your on the right track to taking your playing to the next level.
    Good luck,
    Shelby

  4. #4
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Location
    Boston MA
    Posts
    2,036
    John McGann, Associate Professor, Berklee College of Music
    johnmcgann.com
    myspace page
    Youtube live mando

  5. #5
    Registered User El Greco's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Derwood, MD
    Posts
    196
    Blog Entries
    1

    Default

    I'm somewhere around the same level, knowing to read notes on the staff, understanding the circle or cycle of fifths and trying to add to that by studying Deborah Chen's and John McGann's materials. #I recommend both as a great way to refresh or add to standard notation knowledge and learn a little bit of music theory.



    "Nobody roots for Goliath." Wilt Chamberlain

  6. #6
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    sf
    Posts
    4

    Default

    My first "real" reading exercise on mandolin was one section of a Bach Cello Suite transcribed by Deborah Chen (teaches at Mandolin Symposium). The satisfaction I felt when I could play the four + minutes of this was enormous.

    Her new book "Standard Notation for the Tab Addicted Mandolinist" is excellent. www.stringthingm.com Lucky for you she has tabbed out the Bach along with the standard notation now. the selfish part of me is not happy about this because of how much time I spent learning it from standard notation...... but then I've benefited from all the things so many others have transcribed.

  7. #7
    AKA BBQ King Dan Eaton's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Meridian, CO
    Posts
    72

    Default

    This is a really fine book. #I first met Debora at the 2006 Mandolin Symposium. #Since then, I've been to a few workshops that she's given, and taken some private lessons. #Everything that I've worked on with her on is distilled in this book.

    All that I can say is that I'm now reading notation, and a bigger world has opened up for me. #I cannot imagine ever again using tab when notation is available. #Being new to it, I'm certainly not the best sight reader in the world, but it gets better every day.

    Cheers,

    Dan
    Dan

  8. #8
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Michigan, USA
    Posts
    47

    Default

    I have Debora Chen's book, "Standard Notation for the Tab Addicted Mandolinist". It's very good. Straight to the point with a couple of different styles of music, not just bluegrass, fast picking 16th notes. She takes a song and breaks it down into a simplified form from which you build your reading skills. The song is then made more complex as additional skills are learned. It also approaches memorizing positions from a perspective I've not seen before.

    This book is great. Highly recommended.

    Debora Chen's book, "Standard Notation for the Tab Addicted Mandolinist"

  9. #9
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    PA, USA
    Posts
    45

    Default

    Rob,

    I'll echo all the favorable comments regarding Deborah's book. #It's great!

    Best,
    Dan

    '14 A-1
    '04 Rigel A+
    Draleon Royale
    Glenn Student F
    Petersen OM
    RISA Travel Mando

  10. #10
    Registered User Tosh Marshall's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    North Kensington, London, UK
    Posts
    125

    Default

    I can only echo the above comments, as a beginner I have found the book invaluable and the exercises are easily understood and are beneficial to your playing. So easy to be confused when you are beginning with such a wealth of study materials available, but this book is informative and to the point.
    All the best
    Tosh Marshall
    Tosh Marshall
    Paul Shippey Cherry Oval
    Paul Shippey 10 String Mandolin
    Weber Gallatin Mandocello
    Eastman 815
    Eastman 515
    http://mandolins.yolasite.com/
    http://www.youtube.com/user/ToshMarshall
    https://www.facebook.com/tosh.marshall
    https://ello.co/toshmarshall

  11. #11
    Member
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Hampton NJ 08827
    Posts
    1,502

    Default

    "Learning how to read music after you know how to play is like taking a step backwards"

    How can learning a new skill be construed as a "step backwards".

    Curt

  12. #12
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Location
    Boston MA
    Posts
    2,036

    Default

    Curt, I don't think Shelby meant it in a negative way- although I happen to think that in the learning timeline, playing should come before reading/theory for some people and styles of music.
    John McGann, Associate Professor, Berklee College of Music
    johnmcgann.com
    myspace page
    Youtube live mando

  13. #13
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Hamburg, Pennsylvania
    Posts
    1,247

    Default

    Thanks, John, for the link to your PDF. Maybe I'll have to bite the bullet and use your method, copying the notes on the scale, writing a page of the notes randomly, then playing them while saying the notes.Boring. But it should work.

    Reminds me of teaching myself some Greek. I copied the alphabet over and over, saying the name of each letter--alpha, beta, gamma--until I had them memorized pretty well. Then I copied out the first chapter of John (from a version with the translation below it) several times, looking at the alphabet as necessary. By the time I'd done that, I didn't need to look anymore, and I was writing the letters pretty easily. Took about eight hours. Ten years later, I can still slowly read the Greek New Testament aloud. Now Hebrew was a LOT more difficult, as it looks so different from our alphabet, though it's actually similar. There was this song we used to sing, to the tune of "Come Thou Fount of Many Blessings": "Aleph, beit, gimmel, dalet, he, vav"




  14. #14
    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Upstate New York
    Posts
    23,797
    Blog Entries
    55

    Default

    It may feel sometimes like a step backwards, but its only a feeling. I get caught up in my own competence, and then sort of resist activities in which I need more practice or have to learn.

    I try (and sometimes succeed) to embrace the opportunity to be an embryo again, without any performance expectation.
    Life is short, play hard. Life is really really short, play really really hard.

    The entire staff
    funny....

  15. #15
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Orange County, CA
    Posts
    81

    Default

    I highly recommend Debora's book!!

    I was in the same position as you- knew SOME music stuff (music theory for dummies books) but still relied heavily on Tab. I started on tab because my music teacher thought it was better to get me playing than have me take forever to learn how to read music too. I honestly feel like that was a HUGE handicap! I tried to play with others and was very challenged by it. Unless you know some music theory and how to read music, it is virtually impossible to play with other musicians.

    I started trying to play some simple bluegrass songs by reading notation. That went okay but there was no way I was going to attempt reading music for more advanced pieces like classical stuff that I always played in tab.

    I met Debora at the Symposium and took some of her classes and got her book. The best thing it did was teach me how to read in patterns instead of note-by-note. Not only that, I had been so frustrated with not knowing exactly what fret each finger was technically designated for. Her book specifically points that out.

    Because of her book, I am now playing an Italian classical piece, Ferraci- which was played by Mike Marshall and Caterina Lichtenburg at this past Mando Symposium! I never dreamed I would be able to do that. It is so nice to be off my crutches.

  16. #16
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Albany, NY
    Posts
    2

    Default

    I started on the Debora Chen book a couple of months ago, and now I can sight read pretty well. Not up to speed, but I can look at a Kenny Baker transcription and work through it. The book is the most effective instruction material I've seen. The progression from simple to less simple is very well done. There are ideas that improved my playing overall, for example using the fingertips, not the pads. It's concise, and well written unlike most books about music.

    I've always thought playing from tab was a stunted approach to music. This book won't do the work for you, but it's a fun, efficient way out of the closed world of tab.

    JoeBob
    07 Phoenix Bluegrass

  17. #17
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    Boston West
    Posts
    572

    Default

    I have progessed through the first 5 sections of Debora Chen's book and have finally experienced a taste of simultaneously reading the music, playing the note(s), and counting. I have this sense that once I get a bit more practice with these 3 concurrent, yet independent, activities, I'm off to the races. Ms. Chen deserves a good deal of credit for explaining, not only their importance, but how a long-time, by-ear, and non-tab reader, player can have success with the real thing. I recommend this book and hope she produces volume II.

  18. #18
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    NJ
    Posts
    2

    Default

    I've been playing mando longer than I care to admit. I learned from tab and that's all I ever "read." Just too lazy I guess. I had just started on Rich Delgrosso's Mando Method (Hal Leonard)when I saw the announcement of Debora Chen's book. I bought it and think it's great. Delgrosso's book is very good, teaching you standard notation one string at a time and weening you off tab as soon as possible. But if I had to buy just one book, it would be Chen's. The main reason is she starts right out teaching patterns - no tab. line notes, space notes, individual strings, scales, intervals, mixed intervals, all the time mixing up the timing. Unlike Delgrosso's book, most of Chen's book doesn't have familiar melodies that a player can recognize and then fudge by ear (one exception is Ode to Joy). The Back Prelude and Allemande are also great pieces and well done (standard and tab). I just received the Two Part Inventions, and the publishing is very nice. I haven't started them yet, though.

    I guess I've moved from tab-addicted to Chen-addicted! Seriously, though, I always wanted to add classical music to my playing, and aside from figuring our the opening to Eine Kleine Nachtmusic and the like, I didn't get anywhere. (Lack of effort certainly played a part.) Now I'm excited to play classical and 80% of my playing time devoted to reading is standard notation. The only reason it's not 100% is that I've been playing Christmas stuff like Butch Baldasarre's Evergreen, etc, and didn't want to get slowed down reading standard notation chords. That's my last hurdle to being tab free entirely.

    -Walt
    Walt W

  19. #19
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Largo, FL
    Posts
    31

    Default

    i'm frustrated because the only mando teacher i can find in my area is teaching me tabs -
    i already know how to read music and don't want to learn the other way.

    he says that most mando music is in tabs and will allow me to play more stuff.
    i feel like i'm going backwards. plus i find tabs very hard to understand

  20. #20
    Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    Linköping, Sweden
    Posts
    1,595

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by (nolady @ Dec. 30 2007, 13:37)
    i'm frustrated because the only mando teacher i can find in my area is teaching me tabs -
    i already know how to read music and don't want to learn the other way.

    he says that most mando music is in tabs and will allow me to play more stuff.
    i feel like i'm going backwards. plus i find tabs very hard to understand
    To someone familar with standard (and the theoretical literacy that supposedly goes with it) that mode of notation is a MUCH faster way to acquaint yourself with the general structure of a piece - actually, if it's not too tricky, you can hear it faster than it takes to play it! Is it tonal or atonal, does it stay close to the tonality, spiral out from it , modulate, etc? Those are the things standard, not tab, will reveal at just a glance.

    What exactly does "most mando music" mean? Probably those areas that rely the least on ANY kind of written source.

    I would dump him.




  21. #21
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Largo, FL
    Posts
    31

    Default

    thanks, sweet pete. don't think i'll dump him just yet after just one lesson.
    he is the only teacher i can find. and he has been very helpful
    in showing me how to correctly hold the mando
    and other things that are hard for me to pick up from a book.
    i think i'm going to continue to use my hal
    leonard book as i study with him. that uses notes.

    i guess he means 'most bluegrass music' - i have lessons at a bluegrass shop - not sure thats' what i want to play , though. i just love the mando sound
    and think maybe i would want to create my own music for it.

  22. #22

    Default

    My music reading skills are rudimentary and all learned from listening to other musicians as we worked on new pieces over the years. This'll make a great New Years Resolution.....I'm on it!




  23. #23
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Largo, FL
    Posts
    31

    Default

    so, cayenne - is your resolution to learn notes or tabs?

  24. #24
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    20

    Default

    As has been pointed out, it's good to have the facility to read both standard notation and tab. Standard notation opens up a whole world of printed treble clef music; e.g., fiddle, flute, piano (right hand), etc. Besides being able to speak a language, you also want to be literate--able to read and write it as well. It's also valuable to develop your ear so that you can play new tunes with friends without the benefit of written music sitting on a music stand. One source of instruction for learning to graduate from tab to standard notation is in the appendices of my fiddle/mandolin books (shameless plug alert).
    Steve Parker
    www.ragtime-resource.com



    scparker

  25. #25
    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Upstate New York
    Posts
    23,797
    Blog Entries
    55

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by (nolady @ Dec. 30 2007, 13:37)
    he says that most mando music is in tabs and will allow me to play more stuff.
    Not true. Not true.
    Life is short, play hard. Life is really really short, play really really hard.

    The entire staff
    funny....

Similar Threads

  1. Standard notation ?
    By Ernie Campbell in forum Theory, Technique, Tips and Tricks
    Replies: 21
    Last: Mar-03-2008, 11:32am
  2. Standard notation vs tab
    By sinebar in forum Theory, Technique, Tips and Tricks
    Replies: 295
    Last: Oct-22-2007, 4:55pm
  3. Looking for tab or standard notation for
    By Steve_R in forum General Mandolin Discussions
    Replies: 1
    Last: Aug-22-2007, 11:57am
  4. Converting standard notation to tab 4 u
    By Narayan Kersak in forum General Mandolin Discussions
    Replies: 7
    Last: Aug-14-2007, 8:06pm
  5. Standard notation to tab
    By markd in forum Theory, Technique, Tips and Tricks
    Replies: 1
    Last: Jul-25-2007, 2:56pm

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •