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#460082 - 03/02/18 09:35 PM [Off-Topic] Reading Music
Registered: 12/05/07
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Keith from Oz Offline
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I can read music - sort of - I was taught as a child but lost it when I began playing in bands. I can read basic charts, but note durations throw me. As do notes way above or below the stave

I've downloaded BIAB songs from the internet and tried to play along, however, I have a fairly good ear for music and I tend to play what I think "should" be there, as opposed to what is really there. and once I've played it a couple of times I memorise it and I tend to ignore the dots and play what I think is right.

And when I do get a song that I don't know, I have no way of ascertaining if I'm playing it correctly.

Apart from going back to music lessons, can anyone suggest a (perhaps) a program that might assist me?
TIA
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Cheers,
Keith

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#460117 - 03/03/18 03:43 AM [Off-Topic] Re: Reading Music [Re: Keith from Oz]
Registered: 06/05/12
Posts: 8681
Loc: Melbourne, Australia
VideoTrack Online   content
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Loc: Melbourne, Australia
Originally Posted By: Keith from Oz
I can read music - sort of - I was taught as a child but lost it when I began playing in bands. I can read basic charts, but note durations throw me. As do notes way above or below the stave
Apart from going back to music lessons, can anyone suggest a (perhaps) a program that might assist me?
TIA

This is not meant to be funny. You can fix it yourself: Practice. Set yourself some targets that are a little out of your comfort zone, and just practice. Isn't that just exactly what the music lessons program is going to do?
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#460123 - 03/03/18 04:59 AM [Off-Topic] Re: Reading Music [Re: Keith from Oz]
Registered: 07/06/00
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Loc: Fort Pierce, Florida, U.S.A.
Notes Norton Offline
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Get either a beginners method book for your preferred instrument or a basic music theory book. This will refresh your memory.

After that it's just doing it, the method book should have some easy examples, and then you could go to an intermediate one, or just start finding music to read.

Sight-reading doesn't happen immediately but it comes in time with practice. Sometimes we forget when we were children and struggled with words like cat and hat and dog, but today we can read the majority of what is presented to us without opening a dictionary.

The same thing happens with music. But instead of a dictionary, you have to count it out and play it slowly until it's under your fingers.

Insights and incites by Notes
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#460126 - 03/03/18 05:23 AM [Off-Topic] Re: Reading Music [Re: Keith from Oz]
Registered: 07/12/00
Posts: 18054
Loc: Hudson Valley & Lake George NY
Matt Finley Offline
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BIAB is the program you need, and already have.

If you enter the melody of the song you don’t know, and play along, you have a good ear and will immediately know when what you play is different.
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#460132 - 03/03/18 06:07 AM [Off-Topic] Re: Reading Music [Re: Keith from Oz]
Registered: 11/19/17
Posts: 34
Loc: uk
duncanwhyte Offline
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Loc: uk
I had a lot of trouble with the dots since childhood. Just could not get over it for decades. But in the last 5 years sang in a choir and gradually got familiar with how they work.

Lately I have been going through some old songbooks in simple keys and melodies and playing along with a 25 keyboard. I get about 90% in the first pass, and if its got a tune I like I note it down and go back to rework it later on.

Eventually I hope that I can get sight reading up to an acceptable level, so that I can pick up unknown music and do a reasonable job from the start.
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#460156 - 03/03/18 08:07 AM [Off-Topic] Re: Reading Music [Re: Keith from Oz]
Registered: 07/12/00
Posts: 18054
Loc: Hudson Valley & Lake George NY
Matt Finley Offline
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Don’t forget one of BIAB’s greatest strengths: note entry by mouse. You don’t have to know the duration of notes! BIAB will figure that for you. Just put the note heads in the right place, and add a rest here and there if needed. No other software (and I’ve tried most of them) does this so easily.
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#460157 - 03/03/18 08:11 AM [Off-Topic] Re: Reading Music [Re: Keith from Oz]
Registered: 05/24/05
Posts: 2558
Loc: Sterling, Va
raymb1 Offline
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This will be of use to those don't know very much music theory: https://www.earmaster.com/music-theory-online/course-introduction.html


Edited by raymb1 (03/04/18 05:51 AM)
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#460162 - 03/03/18 08:22 AM [Off-Topic] Re: Reading Music [Re: Keith from Oz]
Registered: 05/12/12
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Loc: South Africa
JoanneCooper Offline
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Biab comes with hundreds of public domain folk songs in Midi format. Just open one in notation mode and press play and play along. You can also slow the tempo right down until you get the hang of it and then slowly increase the tempo to full speed.

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#460170 - 03/03/18 09:02 AM [Off-Topic] Re: Reading Music [Re: Keith from Oz]
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eddie1261 Offline
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Remember the old "Every Good Boy Does Fine" for the lines and "FACE" for the spaces thing from your early theory?

For the ledger lines above the staff, note that the top line (F as in Fine) is also the first letter of the spaces mnemonic, FACE. So just add it to the lines mnemonic.

EGBDFACE

Every Good Boy Does Fine At Composing Efforts

That takes you a whole octave off the staff.

And since you know the lines, you also know the spaces are "Line minus 1"
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#460211 - 03/03/18 12:32 PM [Off-Topic] Re: Reading Music [Re: Keith from Oz]
Registered: 06/08/05
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Loc: Redondo Beach, Ca.
jazzmammal Offline
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Asking the question "How can I learn to read music" is the EXACT same question "How to I learn to speak German (or whatever language).

The answers are fairly obvious and it takes about as long to become fluent in music as it does to become fluent in German.

Sight reading a single note melody line is the easiest, adding some harmony is harder, then reading treble clef chords is harder then reading two handed piano music with bass clef in the LH is the hardest.

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step...

20 odd years ago I was friends with a woman who's a graduate of the Warsaw Conservatory on piano. Talk about being able to read fly specks at 20 feet. I had a transcription of the intro to Be Bop. That tune flies along at a tempo of about 300 or something. I couldn't get the fingering on parts of it so I called her up and faxed it to her. We stayed on the phone until she got it and I told her it was insanely fast. She walks over to her piano, put the phone down and played it. It was perfect, not one clam and in tempo. She said "What's so difficult about that?" I just laughed and said can you give me some fingerings on bars such and such? She did and it helped but I still can't play that intro cleanly.

That's what a high level schooled sight reader can do and it just blew my mind. I thought maybe she would do it slower at least once but oh no it was BAM here it is perfect the first time and in your face.

Bob
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#460293 - 03/03/18 11:01 PM [Off-Topic] Re: Reading Music [Re: Keith from Oz]
Registered: 05/12/12
Posts: 2393
Loc: South Africa
JoanneCooper Offline
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If you need to translate the dots on the page to the keys on a keyboard and you can try the app “music theory pro” by Joel Cift. I use it on my iPhone, not sure if it is available for Android.

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#460304 - 03/04/18 02:14 AM [Off-Topic] Re: Reading Music [Re: Keith from Oz]
Registered: 11/19/17
Posts: 34
Loc: uk
duncanwhyte Offline
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Registered: 11/19/17
Posts: 34
Loc: uk
The book I used recently which made the most sense to me is called the National Song Book. A UK book used in schools. But the songs were selected with the emphasis on rhythmic quality. This helped because I like a beat and a rhythm and the melodies coincided at good rhythmic positions. All of a sudden I was wading through the book at a fine old pace and getting it mostly right.

But at some point you really just need to throw yourself into it and work with yourself the dots and a keyboard. Till you all get along together and it stops being a learning thing and starts to sound like a piece of music.
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#460347 - 03/04/18 05:25 AM [Off-Topic] Re: Reading Music [Re: Keith from Oz]
Registered: 07/06/00
Posts: 4506
Loc: Fort Pierce, Florida, U.S.A.
Notes Norton Offline
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When in school band, the band director taught us, "If you can say it, you can play it".

So we broke down eight notes as "1 & 2 & 3 & 4 &" sixteenths as "1 e & a 2 e & a ..." triplets a "1 a ly ..." and so forth.

Making sure that the 1, 2, 3, 4 were always on the beat (with the help of foot taps to start).

Used in combination when notes are mixed and you can 'say' any rhythm.

So a dotted eighth and sixteenth would be "1 (e & ) a" the (e &) are counted in the head but not said.

Once you can count the rhythms, the only challenge is the pitches and Eddie covered that quite well.

After a while, they both become as automatic as reading the words on a page in your native language.

Insights and incites by Notes
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#460495 - 03/04/18 07:11 PM [Off-Topic] Re: Reading Music [Re: raymb1]
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Jim Fogle Offline
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Originally Posted By: raymb1
This will be of use to those don't know very much music theory: https://www.earmaster.com/music-theory-online/course-introduction.html
Ray, thank you for sharing this site. That's a nice find. I should point out that the site has free interval training in addition to the free music theory link Ray posted.
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#460635 - 03/05/18 10:12 AM [Off-Topic] Re: Reading Music [Re: Jim Fogle]
Registered: 05/24/05
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Loc: Sterling, Va
raymb1 Offline
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Thanks Jim. I just hope those who need it will use this free information.
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#460730 - 03/05/18 06:46 PM [Off-Topic] Re: Reading Music [Re: Keith from Oz]
Registered: 12/05/07
Posts: 2209
Loc: NSW Australia
Keith from Oz Offline
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Loc: NSW Australia
Hi Everyone,
Thank you all for your very helpful suggestions and recommendations; I'll certainly take them all on board.

I guess the common message is practise, practise and practise some more.
I think I need to learn to recognise patterns over a full bar, rather that look at each note/duration separately.

I think I might also try getting BIAB to create a MIDI solo over a chord progression, then mute the solo instrument, and play the chart. I will then be able to see how I fared.

Lots of options, and lots of practice.
Thanks again to everyone.
_________________________
Cheers,
Keith

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#460769 - 03/06/18 05:03 AM [Off-Topic] Re: Reading Music [Re: Keith from Oz]
Registered: 07/06/00
Posts: 4506
Loc: Fort Pierce, Florida, U.S.A.
Notes Norton Offline
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Break down difficult music into small segments, a couple of measures at a time. Most brains learn things better in small chunks.

Here is a trick I use when learning something difficult. Practice it as fast as I can without making a mistake for 2 minutes. Then do something non-musical for 2 minutes. Repeat as needed.

This was suggested to me a long time ago, with some information about the resting phase allowing the brain to 'fortify' the new connections so to speak. I find I learn things quicker that way. Of course YMMV.

Insights and incites by Notes
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#460788 - 03/06/18 06:36 AM [Off-Topic] Re: Reading Music [Re: Keith from Oz]
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jford Offline
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Quote:
I think I need to learn to recognise patterns over a full bar, rather that look at each note/duration separately.


Everyone learns differently, but what you are talking about is the difference between understanding the alphabet versus being able to read words. And then learning to recognize note patterns in chords quickly (and especially when there are very small differences) are akin to understanding the difference between the words there, they're, and their.

Also understanding convention such as the key signature carries through the entire song, unless otherwise modified by accidentals (sharps, flats, naturals), and that all accidentals go away at the next measure (unless tied across from the previous measure), and that an accidental carries forward throughout the current measure so you don't have write it on every note in the measure, or knowing that some sheet music applies an accidental to the applied note and any octave of that note, but some sheet music requires an explicit accidental on each octave of the note.

Like learning the English language, there are the rules and then there are all the exceptions to the rules.

But practice, but also analyzing and cogitating what is happening on the score in front of you, will get you there. And then when you are not sure, just ask for help. As you already know, the folks here are very happy to oblige.
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#460793 - 03/06/18 06:52 AM [Off-Topic] Re: Reading Music [Re: Keith from Oz]
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MarioD Offline
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Originally Posted By: Keith from Oz
....................
Apart from going back to music lessons, can anyone suggest a (perhaps) a program that might assist me?
TIA


Although you stated this getting music lessons, either on-line or through a teacher, at least to get you going is the best path IMHO. I have taught guitar and bass for many years and I have found that correcting a bad habit takes a lot longer then starting fresh.
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