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Nov 16, 2021 - 6:51:42 PM
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668 posts since 6/11/2019

quote:
Originally posted by Brian Wood


To that end I started transcribing tunes I wanted to learn several years ago. As I've mentioned before those tunes are all available online. I'm not selling anything.

fiddletunes.net


Upon which you do a top-notch job.  I have learned several tunes from your notation that I could not find elsewhere.

When it comes to folk music, I believe in learning the bare-bones melody of a tune, and then dressing it up with your own personal embellishment.  I think trying to learn something from a recording just makes you a wind-up toy reciting that person's style.

Nov 17, 2021 - 5:54:13 PM
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tboudre

Canada

72 posts since 9/26/2009

I have the book "Of Course You Can Learn To Read Music for the Fiddle" by Gordon Stobbe. It's for fiddle players of all levels it says. It's how I taught myself to sight-read at about 52-53. There are exercises on pg.'s 5 and 6. I made photocopies of them and using a pencil I did them during my lunch hour at work. When I completed the pg. I erased it and did it again (and again, etc) to get my speed up. I highly recommend it.

Nov 23, 2021 - 1:48:46 AM

Jimbeaux

Germany

418 posts since 5/24/2016

Thanks everyone. I'm still on the fence about it, which means I won't do it till I'm more determined, I guess.

The main reason is that, here in Germany, people frequently bring sheet music to jam sessions. My idea is that, if I were really good at sight reading, I could attend Irish and Bluegrass sessions and be able to look at the dots like the person next to me likely would be doing.

I really appreciate all the responses!

Nov 23, 2021 - 12:58:01 PM
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2127 posts since 12/11/2008

It takes more than a reasonable amount of time & practice to get to the point where you can open a page and just start playing one of the tunes you see without a hitch...or even a couple of hitches. Fluency ain't easy.

Nov 23, 2021 - 1:17:04 PM
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668 posts since 6/11/2019

quote:
Originally posted by Lonesome Fiddler

It takes more than a reasonable amount of time & practice to get to the point where you can open a page and just start playing one of the tunes you see without a hitch...or even a couple of hitches. Fluency ain't easy.


Yes--it's easy to learn notation, but difficult to process unfamiliar music using it while at tempo.  Conversely, we can speak written words as fast as we can read them because we kind of anticipate what the next phrase is, but I find my speed at playing while sight-reading has a limit.

Notation (and tab, too, really) shines in helping memorize or document the piece.

Nov 23, 2021 - 3:59:02 PM
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904 posts since 3/1/2020

If you want to learn to sightread, a violin teacher can give some great guidance and provide the feedback you need. If you want to get better, play in an orchestra, even if it’s a small community one. You’ll have to do a decent amount of sightreading there and you’ll advance much faster than you would on your own. Sometimes drinking from the firehose is the best way to accomplish the goal.

Nov 23, 2021 - 6:19:27 PM
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596 posts since 7/30/2021

quote:
Originally posted by Jimbeaux

The main reason is that, here in Germany, people frequently bring sheet music to jam sessions. My idea is that, if I were really good at sight reading, I could attend Irish and Bluegrass sessions and be able to look at the dots like the person next to me likely would be doing.



Jealous! I can sightread fast, especially if in first position. But at every jam/session I've been to here, the rule is no sheet music, everybody plays from memory. It's a good rule, I'm not complaining.  :-)

Sightreading just takes practice...just be sure to start with slow simple tunes (i.e. Twinkle Twinkle Little Star level) and maybe tunes you already know, and work your way up slowly...

Here's a start...the first thing I learned when reading music was "Every Good Boy Does Fine".
Because starting from the bottom line and going up, the lines of the treble clef are these notes: E, G, B, D, F 

Nov 24, 2021 - 8:59:54 AM

Snafu

USA

143 posts since 2/2/2014

I get the desire to start sight reading with simple, known tunes but after the first couple of plays you unconsciously move to playing from memory, especially if you have some playing experience. Once at that stage, learning to sight read all but stops. No wonder so many fiddlers attempt to learn to sight read but give up. It’s the mental equivalent of “no pain, no gain” for building muscle strength. That’s why I recommended learning sight reading by playing new simple tunes that are completely new to your ear.

So what about the Suzuki violin method series? Even the Suzuki violin book begins with twinkle and then moves on to some drills composed by Suzuki himself. But then he soon moves on to very familiar classical pieces. These were all intended to be memorized by kids and played from memory. The Suzuki method was not designed to teach sight reading, at least in the first couple of books.

Nov 29, 2021 - 10:44:02 PM
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2317 posts since 7/4/2007

Considering the fact that it takes very little time to learn the note names in standard notation, I can't see any reason other than laziness not to do it if one sees any benefit from being able to read a little. The hard part for me has always been the rhythms, the different rests that are used, etc. But most fiddle tunes are pretty straightforward, mainly using eighth and quarter notes. Simple fiddle tunes are actually a great way to learn to read notation.

Jan 24, 2022 - 9:48:46 AM

10516 posts since 3/19/2009

quote:
Originally posted by Jimbeaux

Anyone done this? Do you have any tips?

I would love to learn to sight read. I tried and gave up once. I really prefer to learn by ear and memory, but there have been occasions where sight reading would have been a welcome skill to have in my pocket.

I can work out a melody based on dots, but only if I convert it to tab. It's an arduous process, so I usually rely on my ear only.

Just curios what has worked for others. Anyone know of an app that makes it into a fun game?


I learned to site read as adult.... I recommend that you get a skilled person to break it down for you.. Simple things like 'repeats' slurs, and the difference between two barred notes and two flagged notes,   grace notes can be confusing.. Once you learn that language it is much less intimidating..A quick look at a music theory for dummies will be helpful.. Get a helper...please..

Feb 2, 2022 - 5:49:30 PM
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Peghead

USA

1656 posts since 1/21/2009

Sight reading single line melodies won't be difficult at all, especially if you already can play. I haven't looked into it but there's probably dozens of on-line methods to choose from. It's like typing!

May 21, 2022 - 9:11 AM
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4338 posts since 6/23/2007

First learn the chromatic scale, diatonic scale, and basic chord theory. That way, you will be aware of why you play certain notes.

Practice scales. I recommend getting a recording where an excellent fiddler/violinist, plays one and two octave scales for the keys that are most frequently played. Playing along with the recording will educate your ear and familiarize you with what each note sounds like. Be aware of which note you are playing. Play slowly. That make your intonation mistakes easier to detect and to correct. Some beginners have told me that playing along with the recording also helped their rhythm.

At first, play the simplest tunes you can find. The tune is not important. Your learning to see the notation and play the correct note(s) is the main thing. Play as little ornamentation as possible.
Note recognition and being able to play the note is your first goal. Deal with one new thing at a time. After you can play what you see, start learning bowing patterns and dynamics. And these things can vary depending on the type of music you play.

Playing some other stringed instrument will NOT help with bowing. Get Gordon Stobbe's DVD "12 Things Your Right Hand Should Know". Get started bowing correctly and being able to apply dynamics to your fiddling. It will also teach you some essential bowing patterns, and how to apply the proper bowings dynamics. That way, what you play will sound like music, not typing.

May 21, 2022 - 2:44:12 PM

Swing

USA

2195 posts since 6/26/2007

All have made very good very good suggestions on learning to read music... I totally agree with using Gordon Stobbe's 12 Things You Right Hand Should Know...in fact it is on YouTube in an abbreviated format but worth viewing and bookmarking, and most important, USING.

Play Happy

Swing

May 21, 2022 - 8:16:37 PM
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gapbob

USA

856 posts since 4/20/2008

Remember that two different parts of the brain are being used when you learn by ear and by sight. Unless you are really into sight reading, i would suggest learning it well enough to play tunes slowly, then record yourself, then listen to it, so you can learn by ear. Learning by ear is easier and allows for you to recall tunes more easily, which is a big impediment to playing.

May 23, 2022 - 11:05:43 AM

Creole

USA

38 posts since 4/19/2022

So what exactly IS Sight Reading? Yes I looked it up but still cornfused. Is it like watching a UTube Vid and mimicking?  I a trying to laern to read Music after playing tab and learning the fret notes etc.  Feel like this is a good way but would  Sight reading be helpful??

Edited by - Creole on 05/23/2022 11:07:14

May 23, 2022 - 12:50:50 PM
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2127 posts since 12/11/2008

Creole -- Sight reading is the art/practice/method of looking at a page of traditional music notation and actually, physically playing that music on your instrument. You see the notes in front of you. Your fingers follow what the notes tell you to do.

Edited by - Lonesome Fiddler on 05/23/2022 12:51:18

May 23, 2022 - 4:44:44 PM
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2389 posts since 8/23/2008

Play or sing from the notation at 'first sight'; not having seen it before.

May 24, 2022 - 4:54:53 AM

Creole

USA

38 posts since 4/19/2022

Sounds like I have a ways to go. :) I have the Learning Essentials book I am just starting out to read music. Feels like a necessary step with Violin even though I can mimic a few tunes by ear and finger position. Played Guitar now for several years so it is helping I suppose. At 60 I thought it would be a fun new thing. Once I got over the going back into slow motion feeling over with anyways haha. Thanks for the info from Ya'll.

May 24, 2022 - 3:10:27 PM

3161 posts since 9/13/2009
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quote:
Originally posted by Creole

So what exactly IS Sight Reading? Yes I looked it up but still cornfused. Is it like watching a UTube Vid and mimicking?  I a trying to laern to read Music after playing tab and learning the fret notes etc.  Feel like this is a good way but would  Sight reading be helpful??


Many folks idea of sight reading is being able to perfectly execute a performance of unfamiliar music unrehearsed, just from sight on the spot. How useful depends. Not many situations call for that skill.

That said, many folks use reading notation in various ways, some might seem like that sight reading, but it's not quite. Can be useful.

Some folks more about being quick readers. Helps to quickly get the basic gist... more of starting point. Don't need to sort out the notes... someone already has. Still need to rely on aspects of familiarity of sound, interpretation, still need to take that and work out aspects. Often involves rehearsing it.   Would it work in a live situation such as jam, of unfamiliar tune? Probably not to lead... but could use to follow.

As well, while might see using notation when performing, it's more of reminder of what they already worked out and practiced. Might not be literally be paying attention to each note... just overall glance, or that one bit. (kind of like having lyric sheet/chord chart in front of you)

There are some situations, might have some notation, or just lead sheet, using it for reading the structure (rhythmic and harmonic), may just chords, or bass line; or simple melodic line; as some structural guidance to improv over.

May 24, 2022 - 3:53:25 PM
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2287 posts since 8/27/2008

I don't sight read very fast, but I do read. I can keep a lot more tunes organized in a binder than I can keep in my head. As I learn tunes I need the sheet music less and less for ones I get to know well, although I might look them up in my tunebook to remind myself when I can't remember how they start. So the ones I know well, I look and am reminded and go on to play from memory. The ones I know half well I half read, etc. It's not all or nothing. While "sight reading" can be defined as reading unfamiliar material at "first sight", the term is often used loosely. Whatever you call it it's about finding the way that works for you.

May 27, 2022 - 12:59:50 PM

2127 posts since 12/11/2008

I know I've mentioned this previously, but when it comes to sight-reading the fiddle has got to be the easiest instrument of them all. Ninety-percent of the time you're only playing a single note at a time. If you are playing folk/bluegrass/old-time music, chances are much better than even that your noting hand will never need to get out of first position. For me, at least, the most difficult thing when it comes to playing fiddle music off the page is scrunching my middle finger backwards to properly intone a C Natural on the A string. To be sure, when you've got the fiddle tuned for cross or black mountain, things can get a bit tricky, but I don't think I've ever seen a cross or black mountain tune that was actually written down.

May 27, 2022 - 1:15:17 PM

10516 posts since 3/19/2009

There is sight reading and there is sight reading..Supposedly, a good sight reader can look at new music and play it right off.. Most of us aren't that talented, I suspect.. However, being able to take new sheet music and after a short time be able to get what I want out of sheet music is what I call sight reading..
It may take a few (several) times through to 'get' what the notes are saying.. Sight reading is Normally not a goal in itself but a means to an end..Once I've gone over sheet music enough, I don't need it anymore..I seldom play music as it is written but had I not been able to work with the sheet music would have made learning a lot harder..

I could be wrong but I THINK that some classical musicians  when in training are Challenged to read sheet music by sight... I'd find that Very stressful.

Learning to 'sight read' was one of the best things I've done musically.. I started teaching my self  to read music when I was 30.. struggling with sheet music..Now, 46 years later.. I still have to THINK before I play sheet music, but generally it is pretty easy to understand what the sheet music is trying  to tell me...Learning to read music was well worth the effort..

Edited by - TuneWeaver on 05/27/2022 13:26:54

May 27, 2022 - 4:25:33 PM
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2389 posts since 8/23/2008

quote:
Originally posted by TuneWeaver

There is sight reading and there is sight reading..Supposedly, a good sight reader can look at new music and play it right off.. Most of us aren't that talented,


That's correct Lee, this is the true definition of the term..."Sight Reading", if you're doing anything else it's just defined as ..."reading music".

And I'm not sure there is a 'talent' for sight reading music, it actually takes very much practice to develop and maintain the skill.

But, it will be needed in a situation like this.....

The main reason is that, here in Germany, people frequently bring sheet music to jam sessions. My idea is that, if I were really good at sight reading, I could attend Irish and Bluegrass sessions and be able to look at the dots like the person next to me likely would be doing.

May 27, 2022 - 5:09:55 PM
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DougD

USA

10865 posts since 12/2/2007

I agree that "sight reading" really means being able to see a piece of music and play it on your instrument (or sing it) adequately without further preparation. I also agree that its a skill that comes with practice, not raw talent, and is not really called for very often.
I took piano lessons for about nine years, from age 7 to 16, so I learned to read music about when I learned to read, and can still do it, although I'm out of practice.
Starting in high school and into early college years I played dances with small combos, usually alto sax, piano, bass and drums (same instrumentaion as the Dave Brubeck quartet, although the resemblance ended there). We played what is now called "the American songbook" from a book called "1000 Standard Tunes," which I think is available on ebay these days, but at that time was very much under the table. You gave the leader $35 and then met a guy in a trenchcoat on a specified street corner and he gave you the book in a brown paper bag. It had about three tunes to a page, with the lead line, chord names, and lyrics for a verse or two. The leader would call the number of the tune, count it off, and away we'd go, trading choruses. It was a lot of fun and a great learning experience (plus I didn't have to shovel driveways for spending money)!
The only other time actually being able to read "at sight" was useful was as a musical director in theater, if I was involved in casting auditions. A candidate might show up with a piece of music that I was expected to play - and sometimes would say "It's written in F but I sing it in Ab."
Many other times reading music has been essential, but not "at (first) sight" - there was always rehearsal involved.
As far as learning as an adult, I think I could show anybody who was serious about it enough to play fiddle tunes in an hour or two.

May 27, 2022 - 6:09:47 PM
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3161 posts since 9/13/2009
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I think in many cases with notation, it's not an either/or of sight reading vs by ear/listening, or vs memory... they likely all work together.

Good reading/interpretation, IMO involves good ear/listening, aural music understanding.

-----

One thing about learning to read, that IMO helps, is rather than note by note; learning to recognize bit of chunking and overall structure(s) in harmonic and rhythmic; phrases, arpeggios, rhythm. One of the benefits of reading this way also can go hand in hand to help build understanding of music theory.

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