~ musical notation / symbolism of musical sound ~

~ in the olden days ~

~ mixing sharps and flats ... ? ~

~ key signature applies to the melody ~

~ begin reading melodies ~

~ learn to follow along with written music ~

~ learn to read and write your music ~

~ recognition of symbols ~

~ pattern recognition ~

~ dynamics ~

written out
hand clap the rhythms
ledger lines
keep the eye moving
repeat sign

' ... a way to record it in writing in the olden' days ...'

notes
rhythms
clefs
key signature
time signature
songs

In a nutshell. Decades ago now a mentor quipped to me 'it's all just pattern recognition mate and there just not that many patterns ... just keep your eye moving and concentrate.'

a mentor

Music notation. The written notation we use today comes to us after recording, in written form, about a millenia's worth of compositions. Well, those zillion compositions that got written down anyway. For us guitarists, the tab notation has been handy also, placing an exact note on an exact string and fret etc. Lute music, which preceded the guitar, has used this notation.

mensural notation

Notating swing.

. The written notation we use today comes to us after recording, in written form, about a millenia's worth of compositions. Well, those zillion compositions that got written down anyway. For us guitarists, the tab notation has been handy also, placing an exact note on an exact string and fret etc. Lute music, which preceded the guitar, has used this same tab notation.

big four
mensural notation

Combined with the rhythmic and melodic possibilities of 'mensural notation', used near universally by most instruments; woodwinds, strings, brass and percussion, we surely inherit a solid working system to learn about and build and record in writing our own ideas.

mensural notation
loops of pitches

Sharing. Writing music down and to a good degree how we write our music down, is really about having another way to share what we've got to say as artists. Of course this can be now, sometime in the future, over great physical distances whatever. The 'how' of how we write is simply about what is the easiest to read and who is doing the reading.

written form
chords
melody
loops of pitches

Learning to read standard notation. Even developing a rudimentary reading ability opens up a vast library of music to the evolving guitarist. In most cases, it's just about learning new ideas. In performance and professional situations, chances are there is no tab for the guitar part, which often is a doubling of another instrument in the group. Do good readers get more pro work? Unless we're a star and the feature, or a sideman with such an artist, good readers get more calls.

written form
chords
melody
loops of pitches

We can learn how to and strengthen our abilities to read music notation simply by reading. It's just another version of rote learning I guess. Through repetition we remember the wat's wah of it all. So depending on your own needs and pursuits, adding in reading to your practice routine is an easy way to start. There's 30 or so melody examples included here in this work, chord charts and rhythm patterns to begin with. There's a stack from 'here to the moon' of written music in our world today. Seek and ye shall find as they say ... Here's the basics of pitch letter names. Example 1.

written form
chords
melody
loops of pitches

Three basic categories. Even developing a rudimentary reading ability opens up a vast library of music to the evolving guitarist. In most cases, it's just about learning new ideas. In performance and professional situations, chances are there is no tab for the guitar part, which often is a doubling of another instrument in the group. Do good readers get more pro work? Unless we're a star and the feature, or a sideman with such an artist, good readers get more calls.

written form
chords
melody
loops of pitches
pitches
chords
rhythms
numerical scale degrees
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
two octave C major scale
C
D
E
F
G
A
B
C
D
E
F
G
A
B
C
arpeggio degrees
1
.
3
.
5
.
7
.
9
.
11
.
.
.
15
C major arpeggio
C
.
E
.
G
.
B
.
D
.
F
.
.
.
C
pitches
chords
rhythms

The pitch letter names. Our musical notes become letter names on a musical staff. Five lines delineate the various pitches.

half step
music notation

The pitches of C major. As nearly all of the musical examples in this work are in the relative keys of C major and A minor, we should probably locate these pitches / letter names first on the 'G' or treble cleff. Chosen for their simplicity of letter and ease of locating them on any piano or keyboard instrument, knowing this notation is a solid beginning for emerging readers.

written form
chords
melody
loops of pitches

Symbols: This half step above the tonic is often simply referred to by its numerical designation. Generally we'll use the sharp (#) when ascending away from the tonic and the flat (b) designation when descending towards our tonic pitch. I also call this pitch a blue note, but I'm probably the only one that does.

half step
music notation

The natural. This half step above the tonic is often simply referred to by its numerical designation. Generally we'll use the sharp (#) when ascending away from the tonic and the flat (b) designation when descending towards our tonic pitch. I also call this pitch a blue note, but I'm probably the only one that does.

half step
music notation

 

 

Theory names: This half step above the tonic is often simply referred to by its numerical designation. Generally we'll use the sharp (#) when ascending away from the tonic and the flat (b) designation when descending towards our tonic pitch. I also call this pitch a blue note, but I'm probably the only one that does.

half step
music notation

Lines and spaces This half step above the tonic is often simply referred to by its numerical designation. Generally we'll use the sharp (#) when ascending away from the tonic and the flat (b) designation when descending towards our tonic pitch. I also call this pitch a blue note, but I'm probably the only one that does.

half step
music notation

Time signatures This half step above the tonic is often simply referred to by its numerical designation. Generally we'll use the sharp (#) when ascending away from the tonic and the flat (b) designation when descending towards our tonic pitch. I also call this pitch a blue note, but I'm probably the only one that does.

half step
music notation

Chord symbols. Even developing a rudimentary reading ability opens up a vast library of music to the evolving guitarist. In most cases, it's just about learning new ideas. In performance and professional situations, chances are there is no tab for the guitar part, which often is a doubling of another instrument in the group. Do good readers get more pro work? Unless we're a star and the feature, or a sideman with such an artist, good readers get more calls.

written form
chords
melody
loops of pitches

Print music paper. Even developing a rudimentary reading ability opens up a vast library of music to the evolving guitarist. In most cases, it's just about learning new ideas. In performance and professional situations, chances are there is no tab for the guitar part, which often is a doubling of another instrument in the group. Do good readers get more pro work? Unless we're a star and the feature, or a sideman with such an artist, good readers get more calls.

written form
chords
melody
loops of pitches

Permutation / subdivision. Even developing a rudimentary reading ability opens up a vast library of music to the evolving guitarist. In most cases, it's just about learning new ideas. In performance and professional situations, chances are there is no tab for the guitar part, which often is a doubling of another instrument in the group. Do good readers get more pro work? Unless we're a star and the feature, or a sideman with such an artist, good readers get more calls.

melody
loops of pitches

Review. Reading music notation for guitar is challenging and fun. For there's often one or more ways to get to a pitch, the rhythm is often the determening factor in how a phrase gets read. Read a bit every day for a while and the symbols become rote memorized. Any strengthening in reading notation or clapping out rhythms first then pitches, opens a vast trove of music. Anything written in treble clef is readable for guitar. When learning new songs, play the root pitches of the chords as a bass line to get a sense of the 'storyline' of the song.

rhythm
rote memory
learning songs
bass line stories

Improv / 8th notes and swing. Eighth notes are the cashola of so much of the Americana magic for the improvising musicians. For classical players coming over to Americana, developing their eighth notes can become a essential component of their transition. The beginning of this could be based on playing 'even eighths', an unaccented stream of pitches and rhythms subdividing the big four into eight. These can be one pitch repeated, groups of pitches, intervals or arpeggios etc., easily shaped with the metronome.

Even eighths are super hip in today's musics and improv. With a notable big step into jazz in the 40's with percussionist Chano Pano with Dizzy Gillespie, the more 'even eighths' found a way into jazz and evolved the swing beautifully, and in some ways harder than the original dotted figure when employed in straight ahead settings. Of course, the musical environment we find even eighths today has evolved in its time and harmonies from back when accented eights were king.

Once comfortable, a first level advancement of even eights is to accent the off beat eight note. This approach can be viewed as a direct evolution from the traditional swing eights as based on the looping feel of the dotted 8th / 16th pattern. Compare the possibilities. Example 5.

Mix and match? Use all of the feels to shape the expressive contour of your idea? Unless it's the style you totally dig or the one for your gig, might want to be careful of practicing and getting too deep into the lope-ing eights, for when you want to even things up, it might be a challenge to shake it out of your chops. Muscle memory and all of that ya know :)