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Dec 8, 2023 - 2:17:32 PM
11374 posts since 3/19/2009

Simple question.. If you don't read sheet music how do you put on paper a way to remember how a tune goes.. ?
I have created my own simple tab that I mostly use for beginners who don't read dots (even though I'm pretty good at reading sheet music)  and I have other friends who have created their own tab systems..
What do you do? How do you put a tune on paper so you can recall its' structure later on?

Example.. I wanted to get tab for the tune Nine Days in Bethel.. A Hangout member sent me his tab for the tune.. It took me about a day to figure out what his tab was telling me and in the end I found it helpful.  Eventually I made my own tab for the tune so I could offer it to a student.  Again.. what do YOU do? 

Edited by - TuneWeaver on 12/08/2023 14:21:34

Dec 8, 2023 - 2:54:08 PM
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2399 posts since 12/11/2008
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Ya know, I don't use anything other than standard notation when I have a reason to write a tune down. David Bragger, essentially my one and only fiddle teacher, always ordered his students to memorize the melodies and bowing of the tunes he taught. And I gotta say one more time that the relationship between standard musical notation and fiddle playing is almost magical.

Edited by - Lonesome Fiddler on 12/08/2023 14:54:47

Dec 8, 2023 - 3:07:09 PM

11374 posts since 3/19/2009

quote:
Originally posted by Lonesome Fiddler

Ya know, I don't use anything other than standard notation when I have a reason to write a tune down. David Bragger, essentially my one and only fiddle teacher, always ordered his students to memorize the melodies and bowing of the tunes he taught. And I gotta say one more time that the relationship between standard musical notation and fiddle playing is almost magical.


 Thanks for that response and I agree but I'm asking people who have, for whatever reason, chosen to NOT learn to read standard notation.  Some fiddlers have their own clever systems.. I use standard notation for myself and my own tab system for people who are somehow allergic to the dot system..smiley

Dec 8, 2023 - 5:54:38 PM
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3261 posts since 10/22/2007

I read notation so slowly it almost like not reading at all. In fact I choose not to because of it. I may write down a list of titles, otherwise you didn't ask about the magic part.

Dec 8, 2023 - 6:36:20 PM
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14753 posts since 9/23/2009

I just try to remember...I don't have trouble remembering the actual tunes much, but I have a lot of trouble remembering the names of the tunes. Lots of times I'm washing dishes and humming something, thinking, "I wish I knew what that was." The hardest part for me is just remembering which title goes with which tune...but I don't forget how the music goes...except I remember it in my own way, which I'm happy about anyhow.

Dec 8, 2023 - 7:04:27 PM

doryman

USA

558 posts since 2/10/2020

Hi Lee, I guess I'm confused by your question. There IS a standard tabulature for the fiddle. The fiddle tab library on this site uses it. That's what I use when I look at tabulature.

Dec 8, 2023 - 9:08:07 PM
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Earworm

USA

522 posts since 1/30/2018

I started out writing a list of titles as soon as I started learning fiddle, and a little self-made notation to indicate the first few notes of the tune to get me started. I really only use 5 or 6 notes, or something like that. This takes the form of something like: "D2-A-A1-A-A". Other info on my tune list is the key, format, and the source recording I like to use, space for notes to myself, etc. My list has evolved to be more of a chart, not just a hand written list, but the basics are remarkably the same.

I'll mention that play piano with sheet music, and also for clarinet when that was a thing for me, when I was a teenager. I have never learned to read sheet music for fiddle, though I suppose I could rough out a tune that way, and tab make no sense to me at all.

Edited by - Earworm on 12/08/2023 21:15:34

Dec 9, 2023 - 12:57:21 AM
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11374 posts since 3/19/2009

quote:
Originally posted by doryman

Hi Lee, I guess I'm confused by your question. There IS a standard tabulature for the fiddle. The fiddle tab library on this site uses it. That's what I use when I look at tabulature.


You are right, there IS a standard tab for fiddle tunes.. and as I understand what is here on this site, it is just standard sheet music.. I'm referring to people who don't understand that form of tab. ...and who may have created their OWN tab to help them remember how a tune goes... Does that clear things up a little?   

I'll add to the OP here and say that I also use the ABC method of notation for tune lists.. I'll just put down the first couple of measures to help me get the tune in mind.  I have a totally different method of notation for teaching students who can't read regular sheet music.

Edited by - TuneWeaver on 12/09/2023 01:01:16

Dec 9, 2023 - 4:07:48 AM
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381 posts since 12/2/2013

My alternate method is to write down the actual Intervals of the scale in numbers that are the melody. For example, Mary had a little lamb 321233-222-355etc. that method kills two birds with one stone, showing them the theory behind the melodies, and serving is a quick way to jot down that melody, By the way, I would never just teach that way to my students because, they would be limited in the future when they came across other forms of notation. Finally, notice that this method also lets them play the melody in question in any key that they want to.

Dec 9, 2023 - 8:17:49 AM
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6431 posts since 8/7/2009

I learned some tunes on guitar and mandolin using tab, but... my fiddle is always cross-tuned. Tab would just be confusing. ABC notation would be just as confusing. Notation - not any better.

I depend on memory, friends, and a smart phone. If I can get one of those to work, I guess I just won't get to play that tune - at that time.

Dec 9, 2023 - 10:03:13 AM
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1111 posts since 7/30/2021

I only know about Irish players but a lot of them use the “ABC” system ( but that assumes you know the names of the notes).

These days, recording the tune on my phone seems just as easy!

Dec 9, 2023 - 11:26:43 AM
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6431 posts since 8/7/2009

quote:
Originally posted by NCnotes

I only know about Irish players but a lot of them use the “ABC” system ( but that assumes you know the names of the notes).

These days, recording the tune on my phone seems just as easy!


I may be wrong, but I think I could find a tune on my phone and listen to a very short snipet quicker than I could find a page in a song book and read the notation or _____. 

Most of the time - it ony takes the first second or 2 to remember the whole tune (if its the recording I learned from).

Dec 9, 2023 - 11:34:04 AM

11374 posts since 3/19/2009

quote:
Originally posted by tonyelder
quote:
Originally posted by NCnotes

I only know about Irish players but a lot of them use the “ABC” system ( but that assumes you know the names of the notes).

These days, recording the tune on my phone seems just as easy!


I may be wrong, but I think I could find a tune on my phone and listen to a very short snipet quicker than I could find a page in a song book and read the notation or _____. 

Most of the time - it ony takes the first second or 2 to remember the whole tune (if its the recording I learned from).


Yes, it is true that snippets of tunes on our phones seem to have taken over the tune search process.. I have scores of tunes on my voice recorder.....

Dec 9, 2023 - 12:08:57 PM
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2377 posts since 4/6/2014

Coolest dudes i have played along with, let other players remember the tune. Then just play along...But better than the one who remembered it in the first place.

Dec 9, 2023 - 12:30:42 PM
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14753 posts since 9/23/2009

Slightly off topic, but what happens to me sometimes is if I'm just in the zone on a tune, then the next thing I know it morphed into a similar tune without my realizing it. That's probably worse on guitar for me than fiddle...but it's annoying and if anybody else is around it's sorta embarrassing...lol..."Yeah, I meant for Freight Train to end with Bluebell...how'd ya like the way I snuck that one in there?"

Dec 9, 2023 - 1:17:30 PM

466 posts since 4/15/2019

ya'll are making this harder than it needs to be. Simple tabs like D-1 D-2 or A-0 work quite well for me.

Dec 9, 2023 - 1:19:53 PM
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1111 posts since 7/30/2021

Yea that happens to me…
even if I get part A right, every once in a while part B from a different but similar tune gets stuck onto it. Puzzled expressions of other players is the clue…or, when they stop playing…

(Maybe I could pretend that they all had memory glitches and my version was the right one LOL!!)

Dec 9, 2023 - 3:39:58 PM

3554 posts since 9/13/2009

quote:
Originally posted by Earworm

I started out writing a list of titles as soon as I started learning fiddle, and a little self-made notation to indicate the first few notes of the tune to get me started. I really only use 5 or 6 notes, or something like that. This takes the form of something like: "D2-A-A1-A-A". Other info on my tune list is the key, format, and the source recording I like to use, space for notes to myself, etc. My list has evolved to be more of a chart, not just a hand written list, but the basics are remarkably the same.


That looks like abc. Some folks learn to read abc just like any other notation. It isn't that complex to figure out and decipher, once know some of the rules. As small text file, it's very portable. Some had little 3x5 book with these. Of course they are small text files that fit on phone, no fancy software app needed, notepad; or can send as text.

There is a header section which has Title, Key, Meter, source; many are options you don't have to include.

T:St. Anne’s Reel
L:1/8
M:C|
S:Jay Ungar (Hudson Valley, New York)
Z:AK/Fiddler’s Companion
K:D

The tune

de|f2 (fg) fedB|A2 F2 F3 A|B2G2G2 (FG)|B2A2A2 a2|f2 (fg) fedB|A2 FA DFAd|
(BG)Bd (cA)cd|e d2 )e d2:||:ag|fdf(a fd)fg|ag2(a g2)(gf)|e(dcB) Ace^g|
ba2b a2 (ag)|fdf(a fd)fg|ag2(a g2) (gf)|e(dcB) Aceg|f d3 d2:||

As well, like can find files online like this from ibiblio.org; or from the session.org; and apps that convert it to standard notation.

-----------

I'll mention that play piano with sheet music, and also for clarinet when that was a thing for me, when I was a teenager. I have never learned to read sheet music for fiddle, though I suppose I could rough out a tune that way, and tab make no sense to me at all.

Standard notation (and abc) no special sheet music for fiddle; or any specific instrument.

This reminds me of comments on other thread... an aspect of how folks use written differently.
1. representing mechanical instructions what to play; vs
2. representing the the musical ideas... actual sound, pitch and time

The former is TAB idea; to which folks even apply to standard notation... informing them which string/fret, or button, key to press. Scordatura works this way; as well see in some wind instruments, fingering is same no matter the key of instrument. Follow instructions, and the right sound of tunes should come out.

The latter has many advantages; in that it is transferable to any instrument... but also in that it's paying attention to the sound first, useful for understanding how music works.

Edited by - alaskafiddler on 12/09/2023 15:42:44

Dec 9, 2023 - 4:01:37 PM
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6431 posts since 8/7/2009

quote:
Originally posted by NCnotes

Yea that happens to me…
even if I get part A right, every once in a while part B from a different but similar tune gets stuck onto it. Puzzled expressions of other players is the clue…or, when they stop playing…

(Maybe I could pretend that they all had memory glitches and my version was the right one LOL!!)


Or....  when you play a tune you know, then someone asks you - "What was that?"     

"Ah, I can't remember." 

Dec 9, 2023 - 6:10:51 PM
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3261 posts since 10/22/2007

quote:
Originally posted by tonyelder
quote:
Originally posted by NCnotes

Yea that happens to me…
even if I get part A right, every once in a while part B from a different but similar tune gets stuck onto it. Puzzled expressions of other players is the clue…or, when they stop playing…

(Maybe I could pretend that they all had memory glitches and my version was the right one LOL!!)


Or....  when you play a tune you know, then someone asks you - "What was that?"     

"Ah, I can't remember." 


There's only six tunes, and two of them are Salt Creek. 

Dec 11, 2023 - 6:02:49 AM
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191 posts since 11/26/2013

SHoot, I've forgotten more fiddle tunes then I currently know, and that's a lot. I used to keep a list but then forgot what the song sounded like. I'm sure they are all in there, tho, floating around to have bits and pieces come out in a break or solo.

Dec 11, 2023 - 8:29:06 AM
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6338 posts since 9/26/2008

For Donna Jo, that ABC notation uses lowercase / uppercase to distinguish low and high notes.

I might use ABC notation for a tune if I'm learning it or haven't committed it to memory. My list consists of tunes I can play. There are 3 tunes on it I cannot start because I don't remember how they go, they are listed in italics. I play through the list regularly enough to remember all but the 3 and I'll look them up when I'm ready to activate them on the list. Someday I imagine I'll not remember names, but melodies? I can't forget the catchy commercial jingles from my entire life, music sticks to my brain.

Dec 11, 2023 - 7:48:49 PM
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3554 posts since 9/13/2009

quote:
Originally posted by ChickenMan

For Donna Jo, that ABC notation uses lowercase / uppercase to distinguish low and high notes.
 


Yes they tell which octave, lower case is high; the "c" on the A string and above; uppercase is the octave from that "c" below. (they extend other octaves, using a apostrophe ' ). The numbers after letters represent duration, as the default is 1/8 notes, 2 would mean 1/4 note; 3 is dotted quarter length.

Though intent was to "hear" how tunes go; via midi player (which reads abc text); it's not that difficult to read as bit of shorthand; at least enough to serve as reminder, to help jog memory... which is what I see folks would use it for.

Of course phone apps now have midi player, so can just listen; as well can display actual notation; and of course with lots of memory for mp3 files, and/or acces to internet/cloud... many folks just pull up actual recording. Have found myself a jams, where we are trying to remember how a tunes starts.. and have not problem once jog that part...  noodling around, is it this?, another says I think it's this?, no wait that's another tune... ... then the younger folks looking puzzled says "okay boomers, that's so turn of century; you got a phone... access to the recording"  and pull it up in like 10 seconds. laugh

Edited by - alaskafiddler on 12/11/2023 19:51:19

Dec 12, 2023 - 7:44:45 PM

6338 posts since 9/26/2008

quote:
Originally posted by alaskafiddler
quote:
Originally posted by ChickenMan

For Donna Jo, that ABC notation uses lowercase / uppercase to distinguish low and high notes.
 


Yes they tell which octave, lower case is high; the "c" on the A string and above; uppercase is the octave from that "c" below. (they extend other octaves, using a apostrophe ' ). The numbers after letters represent duration, as the default is 1/8 notes, 2 would mean 1/4 note; 3 is dotted quarter length.

Though intent was to "hear" how tunes go; via midi player (which reads abc text); it's not that difficult to read as bit of shorthand; at least enough to serve as reminder, to help jog memory... which is what I see folks would use it for.

Of course phone apps now have midi player, so can just listen; as well can display actual notation; and of course with lots of memory for mp3 files, and/or acces to internet/cloud... many folks just pull up actual recording. Have found myself a jams, where we are trying to remember how a tunes starts.. and have not problem once jog that part...  noodling around, is it this?, another says I think it's this?, no wait that's another tune... ... then the younger folks looking puzzled says "okay boomers, that's so turn of century; you got a phone... access to the recording"  and pull it up in like 10 seconds. laugh

 


Yes. Thanks for filling in the ABC details, I didn't have time  I have a couple friends who use their "digital memory" to call up tune (one uses a tune dedicated mp3 player). That is probably the route I'll take when my ability to recall is less than desired.

Dec 13, 2023 - 12:22:02 PM
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14 posts since 3/28/2012

It's pretty rare for me to write out notes; mostly it's just the first measure or so to remind me how the tune starts. In that instance I use a simple ABC-type notation. At workshops I've attended in the Sliabh Luachra region of Ireland, it's common for teachers to provide notation both in the form of sheet music and using Padraig O'Keefe's fiddle notation. It uses the bar lines found in sheet music to represent the fiddle strings, and a number on the line to indicate which finger is used.

Dec 18, 2023 - 2:17:45 PM
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2377 posts since 4/6/2014

I know that folk (including myself), are looking for definitive rules as to how to remember tunes, But for me if i am truthful, i remember them through some sort of smokey haze of memories, mental images, And rhythms that sometimes form themselves into coherent tunes . I try to categorize and pigeon hole them, but it's like grabbing at smoke. They only exist in the moment.

i would like to say different but i can't.

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