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  1. #1

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    I've been reviewing some of the learning material that some locals (JG Online) suggested in response to a question I posted. There arises the idea of learning to read standard notation. I'm not against that idea and can read basic notation but was wondering what value added arises from developing the skill.

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    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

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    Access to hundreds of years of written music, thousand upon thousands of pieces across multiple instruments, genres and composers. How could anyone question the value of “learning to read”? It’s really not particularly difficult. I would be willing to bet large sums of money that those who think it will take too much time are pissing away hours and hours watching tv reruns, other people playing a sport, video games etc. etc.

  4. #3

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    IMHO much more useful than TAB which is about the only other option. I've been trying to learn some tunes in DADGAD and TAB is about the only route with an altered tuning. It's driving me nuts because none of the notes are where they're supposed to be. Wish the open tuning licks were available in standard tuning but they're just not.

  5. #4

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    There are opportunities to play which require reading standard notation. Big band, smaller horn bands, playing with musicians who write and/or arrange, all require it. And, then, there are all kinds of things that reading does to facilitate learning.

    BTW, I'm not against tab. It has its place. But, it's basically for notating guitar licks that don't sound right if you play them some other way. It can be done in standard notation too, but tab can make it easier. But it is not a substitute for standard notation.

  6. #5

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    In addition to the above, there is the entire visual component of learning as an added benefit.

  7. #6

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    Well, good enough. Thanks. Since the books I'm looking at require it I don't have much of a choice anyway. The only part of reading notation that intimidates me a little is reading chords but I guess that would come. Funny, I've had a handful of teachers over time and none of them had reading notation as a part of their curriculum.

    @vintagelove, not sure what you mean by the visual component

  8. #7

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    I know it seems like there is a lot written in tab for guitar but there is so much more written in standard notation for guitar that has not been notated in tab yet and may never be.

    Also, standard notation is so much more descriptive and precise than tab as far as indicating note values and composer / arranger intentions.

    And it just makes you that much more of a musician. Players of other instruments have to know how to read (since there is no tab for piano, flute, trumpet, saxophone, trombone, violin, cello, etc.) - why not join the club!

  9. #8

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    Very important get good at reading rhythms. Do a page or two of Bellson’s modern reading text a day at whatever speed you can manage, no stopping.

  10. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    Very important get good at reading rhythms. Do a page or two of Bellson’s modern reading text a day at whatever speed you can manage, no stopping.

    What about the Leavitt Modern Method books?

  11. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by vashondan
    I've been reviewing some of the learning material that some locals (JG Online) suggested in response to a question I posted. There arises the idea of learning to read standard notation. I'm not against that idea and can read basic notation but was wondering what value added arises from developing the skill.
    The answer lies in what prompted you to ask the question.

  12. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    Very important get good at reading rhythms. Do a page or two of Bellson’s modern reading text a day at whatever speed you can manage, no stopping.
    I didn't see the reading rhythms part. Yes, big weakness here.

  13. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by ragman1
    The answer lies in what prompted you to ask the question.

    Well dang, that's spot on!

  14. #13

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    Isn't it just :-)

  15. #14

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    Beginner exercise for increasing speed of reading notation faster: put the instrument down. Try this for 10-20 mins. per session: Sit, and with several different song sheets, or a songbook (no instrument}.

    First read a song start to finish at a pace that you're comfortable with- no stopping. Then, run through 2-3 more times forcing yourself to move faster each time. It's about getting a comfort level with reading faster than upbeat songs are written. This works if you'll get away from distractions, and focus, rinse, repeat.
    Last edited by Namelyguitar; 03-31-2019 at 06:21 PM.

  16. #15

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    If you dig deeper with the standard notation and also the music theory in general, you'll start to see the brilliance of the system.

  17. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by ragman1
    Isn't it just :-)

    Indeed it is!

  18. #17

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    Once you gain some facility with standard notation you can read it faster than you could read tab, at least I can.

    If I have folks that I'm going to play with and I'm going to call some tunes I will give them the music in standard notation.

    I have a friend who plays multiple instruments piano, bass, sax, vocals, and guitar. We record original music and we'll send standard notation back and forth between California and North Carolina.

    It would be such a hassle to write all that out in tab, I just wouldn't do it

  19. #18

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    Reading chords in standard notation is challenging on guitar. Harder than piano.

    On piano, there's only one way to play each note. So, there's not that much to think about.

    On guitar, things can be playable, or not, in multiple places on the neck. Often enough, there is a weird fingering way up the neck, but with an open string. Or ways to grab two notes with one finger, or something with your thumb.

    And, then, often enough, you can't play what's written and you have to decide what to omit.

    While you're contemplating your options, the rest of the band continues playing. Tab, if it's realistic, might actually be an advantage in that situation. But, I've never seen a band arrangement where the guitar chart was written in tab.

    But, most of the time, you won't have to deal with that sort of thing. If somebody sticks you with a piano chart with no chord symbols it can be difficult, but you just explain to the band that you're a guitar player and if you wanted to read standard notation you'd have picked a different instrument. Or, suppress the urge to say that and see if you can pick off two or three notes on each staff.

    By the way, don't mention to the pianist that guitar is harder. He'll wave his left hand in your face.

  20. #19

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    The best reason for learning to read is so you can get shamed by purists for reading songs from the real book.

  21. #20

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    So, are the Levitt Modern Method books helpful for learning to read and other theory topics?

  22. #21

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    There's a school of thinking that contends that soloing and organized composition are two sides of the same coin. Yes I really believe that's the case. Being able to read and write sound in a visual medium brings you to a level of awareness that informs the real time playing process.
    A lot of players struggle with seeing the trees from the forest; being able to visualize larger forms and compositional arc and perspective. Being fluent in knowing music in the visual, seeing time in space, reading phrasing, direction, range on a page and being able to see the visual aural link...that can be a big part in creating meaningful solos that have a sense of unity. That comes from being able to read standard notation.

    David

  23. #22

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    Quote Originally Posted by vashondan
    So, are the Levitt Modern Method books helpful for learning to read and other theory topics?

    For reading? - The best.

    Some theory too, but they aren't theory books per se, they are instrumental study books. Berklee Press has two basic theory books, plus a jazz one. No book or few books are the "be all, end all", but for reading and theory these theory books plus Leavitt's will set you up pretty darned well.


    Berklee Music Theory Book 1: Paul Schmeling: 9780876391105: Amazon.com: Books

    Berklee Music Theory Book 2: Paul Schmeling: 9780876391112: Amazon.com: Books

    The Berklee Book of Jazz Harmony: Joe Mulholland, Tom Hojnacki: 0884088919887: Amazon.com: Books

  24. #23

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jazzstdnt
    For reading? - The best.

    Some theory too, but they aren't theory books per se, they are instrumental study books. Berklee Press has two basic theory books, plus a jazz one. No book or few books are the "be all, end all", but for reading and theory these theory books plus Leavitt's will set you up pretty darned well.


    Berklee Music Theory Book 1: Paul Schmeling: 9780876391105: Amazon.com: Books

    Berklee Music Theory Book 2: Paul Schmeling: 9780876391112: Amazon.com: Books

    The Berklee Book of Jazz Harmony: Joe Mulholland, Tom Hojnacki: 0884088919887: Amazon.com: Books
    Cool thanks for the distinction and the references. I’ve never worked through books before but I think I need a break from teachers.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  25. #24

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    Understood, both have their place. There is a time for receiving mentoring and counseling, and there is a time for being a self starter.

    In the end, we all have to do it (any endeavor) ourselves, so go for it!

  26. #25

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    Quote Originally Posted by cosmic gumbo
    The best reason for learning to read is so you can get shamed by purists for reading songs from the real book.
    Another great thing about reading is that you get to be voiced as a horn in a horn band and then you find out how bad your reading actually is, and that's good for you, in case your self-esteem was too high.

    Don't ask how I know this.

    Another great thing is the difference between reading and reading at the insane tempo the tune gets counted off at. Not unusual to see a new chart and think, that's not too bad. Then, they count it off more than twice the tempo you can play it at. The horn players don't change the bored expression on their faces. You have to pretend to get a phone call.