How to read music and apply it to the fret board? (beginner)

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Zesty feline
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How to read music and apply it to the fret board? (beginner)

Post by Zesty feline » Thu Apr 13, 2017 9:23 am

Hello everyone, I play electric blues guitar and I would like some advice on how to get started with reading music and playing it on the guitar using the classical method, thank you.

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Re: How to read music and apply it to the fret board? (beginner)

Post by Luuttuaja » Thu Apr 13, 2017 9:57 pm

I guess most CG method books start with introducing open strings (EADGBE) on staff notation. When you learn them (and it might take some time!) you start doing open string excercises. They will give you some hints to learn the notes on the staff, such as "the notes between lines from bottom to top make FACE" and "the notes on the lines make EGBDF = Every Good Boy Does Fine" etc. Then you need to know that usually, there are two half-steps (half step meaning one fret) between the notes (such as C and D or A and B) but that E and F only have one half-step between them, and so do B and C. So, first fret on E string will be F, but the second fret on A string will be B and C is the third fret on A string. Then you will eventually learn the sharps and flats "between the letters" and the basic note values. I really would suggest getting a method book for all this. There are internet resources that I personally like, such as "Online Guitar Fretboard Trainer" and musictheory.net excercices. Good luck with learning the notes, it's not easy at first, but very rewarding eventually!

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Re: How to read music and apply it to the fret board? (beginner)

Post by Erik Zurcher » Thu Apr 13, 2017 10:04 pm

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Re: How to read music and apply it to the fret board? (beginner)

Post by Zesty feline » Mon Apr 17, 2017 3:56 pm

Luuttuaja wrote:I guess most CG method books start with introducing open strings (EADGBE) on staff notation. When you learn them (and it might take some time!) you start doing open string excercises. They will give you some hints to learn the notes on the staff, such as "the notes between lines from bottom to top make FACE" and "the notes on the lines make EGBDF = Every Good Boy Does Fine" etc. Then you need to know that usually, there are two half-steps (half step meaning one fret) between the notes (such as C and D or A and B) but that E and F only have one half-step between them, and so do B and C. So, first fret on E string will be F, but the second fret on A string will be B and C is the third fret on A string. Then you will eventually learn the sharps and flats "between the letters" and the basic note values. I really would suggest getting a method book for all this. There are internet resources that I personally like, such as "Online Guitar Fretboard Trainer" and musictheory.net excercices. Good luck with learning the notes, it's not easy at first, but very rewarding eventually!
Hello, thanks for the info, being a guitar player it didn't take long to work out the basic method as to where these notes are played on the fingerboard in the open position, my aim isn't to sight read, but merely use the plethora of music available as a "material to learn" I dabbled in time signatures but they aren't that important just right now since it isn't my intention to sight read anyway, perhaps later on.

I guess the ultimate question I have now is.. is that it? I know what the notes are on the staff and I also know where those notes are on my guitar, I can hear the tune in my head so is that it? do I go ahead and work it out from here or is there something else I'm missing, just want to be sure.

I did up this rough diagram of the notes in the guitar spectrum.. any advice is welcome guys, it is most appreciated.

Phil

Image

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Re: How to read music and apply it to the fret board? (beginner)

Post by Luuttuaja » Mon Apr 17, 2017 11:42 pm

I don't think you need to worry about the bass clef yet. Guitar is actually notated an octave higher than what it sounds, which means there's normally only need for the treble clef. When you now know the notes on the staff and also know how to find them on fingerboard, I would suggest studying the note values and different basic rhythms. Perhaps playing some simple tunes in C major? I believe the next step then would be gradually learning the different keys, and by then then a picture having a "Circle of Fifths" hanging on your wall (or having it as a computer/smartphone background picture) could help to memorize the key signatures. But I guess you can start your sight reading by just playing simple tunes in C major / A minor. I also think any tutor book would help. There's a lot of material on this website, including the Julio Sagreras method book, which I've heard some people use as sight-reading excercises. Progressive Studies, op. 60 by Fernando Sor might also suit you, they also have some great musical value.

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Re: How to read music and apply it to the fret board? (beginner)

Post by Zesty feline » Fri Apr 21, 2017 9:11 am

Luuttuaja wrote:I don't think you need to worry about the bass clef yet. Guitar is actually notated an octave higher than what it sounds, which means there's normally only need for the treble clef. When you now know the notes on the staff and also know how to find them on fingerboard, I would suggest studying the note values and different basic rhythms. Perhaps playing some simple tunes in C major? I believe the next step then would be gradually learning the different keys, and by then then a picture having a "Circle of Fifths" hanging on your wall (or having it as a computer/smartphone background picture) could help to memorize the key signatures. But I guess you can start your sight reading by just playing simple tunes in C major / A minor. I also think any tutor book would help. There's a lot of material on this website, including the Julio Sagreras method book, which I've heard some people use as sight-reading excercises. Progressive Studies, op. 60 by Fernando Sor might also suit you, they also have some great musical value.
Ah yes I can see that the bass clef isn't used and I have crossed it out.


I have ran into the next hurdle, I am seeing musical notation that only has singular parts such as bass lines and vocal lines individually, anyone know where I can find full "musical" arrangements of the songs and also a good general place to source notation, I play lots of modern songs like 80's hits.

Thank you

Edit: Looks like a website called "Jellynote" has a fair collection of quality musical "scores?" which can be printed for a few dollars each.

I have also found some piano sheet music but the high notes are way high, how could I transpose the notation to move it down to the open position, any set rules I should follow other than just moving the notes down a few rows?

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Re: How to read music and apply it to the fret board? (beginner)

Post by robert e » Fri Apr 21, 2017 3:38 pm

You want to transpose music that's sounding too high. OK. The easiest transposition is an octave. When you see a "G", play the "G" an octave lower. That way, you don't have to mess with different key signatures. Any transposition less than an octave involves changing keys, so you'll have to learn key signatures. You can't just move a note down a few rows on the staff without dealing with that. If you know the entire fingerboard, it's easier, as you can just move everything up or down the same number of frets to change the key. Folk guitarists traditionally use a capo to do that.

You can find piano arrangements for just about any 80's pop tune. You'll want to learn bass clef to read them, or learn how to rewrite them for guitar clef (also known as tenor clef, which, as luuttuaja said, is written an octave higher that it sounds (i.e. played an octave lower than written)). The other option is lead sheets in "fake" books and "real" books, where you get only the melody and important riffs written out, with chords indicated by name (e.g. A7) but not written out. You'll then have to figure out how to finger and play the chords under the melody/riff.

There are many web sites that purport to teach you how to read music.

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Re: How to read music and apply it to the fret board? (beginner)

Post by SunnyDee » Sun Apr 23, 2017 12:03 am

I use 8notes for finding traditional music in simple versions for reading scores. I also use Musescore. Musescore is notation software that can transpose and play your compositions, but it can also translate a score into tab which is quite nice for figuring things out both ways. It's open source and has a great collection of scores and a very helpful community.
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Re: How to read music and apply it to the fret board? (beginner)

Post by KevinCollins » Thu Apr 27, 2017 9:45 pm

Learning the left hand (reading) while learning classical sound (right hand) is really, really hard. I teach reading using a pick first, and once the left hand is set and notes are learned, I add the right hand.

If you are determined to do both, then play i-m rest stroke for the first three months until your default (alternation of i & m) is ingrained.

Keep in mind that "classical", the nylon-string guitar, is a different instrument completely from the steel or electric. It has 12 frets clear of the body and rests on the left leg, so that the right hand falls at the back of the soundhole. The steel/electric is played off the right hip and has 14 frets clear of the body so that, you guessed it, the right hand falls at the back of the soundhole.

Playing the classical off the right hip like a steel forces the right hand thumb inside, under the fingers, called "thumb-under". Classical, on the left leg, puts the thumb out front, so the fingers can follow through without hitting the thumb. I guess you would call this "thumb over". That's the difference.

But, for reading, play single note melodies (any guitar method will do), and learn your right hand default, i-m-i-m rest strokes, strict alternation. Practice 2x slow, 1x fast. Good luck.

Cheers,

Kevin
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Re: How to read music and apply it to the fret board? (beginner)

Post by zupfgeiger » Fri Apr 28, 2017 10:47 am

From time to time I do some exercises from "Progressive Reading for Guitarists" by Stephen Dodgson & Hector Quine (Ricordi). This book is excellent, but not so useful for absolute beginners.
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Re: How to read music and apply it to the fret board? (beginner)

Post by SunnyDee » Mon May 01, 2017 11:35 pm

KevinCollins wrote:
Thu Apr 27, 2017 9:45 pm
Learning the left hand (reading) while learning classical sound (right hand) is really, really hard. I teach reading using a pick first, and once the left hand is set and notes are learned, I add the right hand.
...
Keep in mind that "classical", the nylon-string guitar, is a different instrument completely from the steel or electric. It has 12 frets clear of the body and rests on the left leg, so that the right hand falls at the back of the soundhole. The steel/electric is played off the right hip and has 14 frets clear of the body so that, you guessed it, the right hand falls at the back of the soundhole.

Playing the classical off the right hip like a steel forces the right hand thumb inside, under the fingers, called "thumb-under". Classical, on the left leg, puts the thumb out front, so the fingers can follow through without hitting the thumb. I guess you would call this "thumb over". That's the difference.

But, for reading, play single note melodies (any guitar method will do), and learn your right hand default, i-m-i-m rest strokes, strict alternation. Practice 2x slow, 1x fast. Good luck.

Cheers,

Kevin
---
This is a bit hard to follow for a left-handed player. If you'd like to translate, that would be great, because I am interested in what you are saying, but I just thought I'd mention it since you teach. It's not hard for everyone to understand fretting hand, picking hand or some variation of that.
Last edited by SunnyDee on Tue May 02, 2017 1:55 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: How to read music and apply it to the fret board? (beginner)

Post by rogarc » Tue May 02, 2017 12:39 am

Others can disagree if they like, but the basic way to learn to read music is like learning to read words. First you are taught what the letters are and sound like. That is learning the note length and value on the staff. Then you learn the exceptions or weird punctuation; like learning ornamentation with slurs and bends.

The early process is very slow. It is probably harder if you already can play music, because something you might be able to just figure out or already play may take 10x as long to read and play. The more you read and write music, the more fluent you become though. There is no shortcut I am aware of.

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Re: How to read music and apply it to the fret board? (beginner)

Post by BellyDoc » Tue May 02, 2017 12:43 am

I highly recommend getting a copy of Sor's studies. I believe you can download them from here. I just bought the Mel Bay book. Sor's studies are incrementally challenging, and musically beautiful.

Reading music for classical guitar involves not just learning the dance of the fretboard, but also articulating multiple musical voices - melodies and harmonies - with thumb and fingers. All of this is notated on one staff, unlike piano music. Sometimes the reading is a little tricky because the voices overlap and may appear to vanish. Also, it's not necessarily just about finding a note on the fretboard and playing it, because the same notes can be fretted in multiple locations and with different fingers, depending on what other notes you might want to reach for with other fingers.

Sor's studies are works of simple genius because they are beautiful and POSSIBLE at all levels of study when taken incrementally. Each study seems to feature one or several central teaching points, which are echoed and built on in later pieces.

There is literally never a dull moment.
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Re: How to read music and apply it to the fret board? (beginner)

Post by Yisrael van Handel » Tue May 02, 2017 8:30 am

rogarc wrote:
Tue May 02, 2017 12:39 am
… the basic way to learn to read music is like learning to read words. First you are taught what the letters are and sound like. That is learning the note length and value on the staff. Then you learn the exceptions or weird punctuation; like learning ornamentation with slurs and bends. …There is no shortcut I am aware of.
BellyDoc wrote:
Tue May 02, 2017 12:43 am
I highly recommend getting a copy of Sor's studies. … Sor's studies are incrementally challenging, and musically beautiful. … Sor's studies are works of simple genius because they are beautiful and POSSIBLE at all levels of study when taken incrementally. Each study seems to feature one or several central teaching points, which are echoed and built on in later pieces.

There is literally never a dull moment.
The above advice is superb. I will just add the the correct order of learning the Sor studies is Op 44, Op 60 (beginners), Op 35, 31 (early intermediate), Op 6 (advanced intermediate), Op 29 (very advanced). There is a group on this forum now learning Op 60 together, and helping each other.
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Re: How to read music and apply it to the fret board? (beginner)

Post by KevinCollins » Sun Nov 12, 2017 8:54 pm

SunnyDee wrote:
Mon May 01, 2017 11:35 pm
KevinCollins wrote:
Thu Apr 27, 2017 9:45 pm
Learning the left hand (reading) while learning classical sound (right hand) is really, really hard. I teach reading using a pick first, and once the left hand is set and notes are learned, I add...
This is a bit hard to follow for a left-handed player. If you'd like to translate, that would be great, because I am interested in what you are saying, but I just thought I'd mention it since you teach. It's not hard for everyone to understand fretting hand, picking hand or some variation of that.
Multiple issues, okay.
FOR LEFTIES --
Learning the right hand (reading) while learning classical sound (left hand) is really, really hard. I teach reading using a pick first, and once the right hand is set and notes are learned, I add the left hand.

Keep in mind that "classical", the nylon-string guitar, is a different instrument completely from the steel or electric. It has 12 frets clear of the body and rests on the right leg, so that the left hand falls at the back of the soundhole. The steel/electric is played off the left hip and has 14 frets clear of the body so that, you guessed it, the left hand falls at the back of the soundhole.

But, when you play the classical off the hip, the hand falls over the sound hole. This forces the left hand thumb inside the hand, called "thumb-under". Placing the classical on the right leg puts the thumb out front, so the fingers can follow through without hitting the thumb. I guess you would call this "thumb over". That's the difference.

But, for reading, play single note melodies (any guitar method will do), and learn your left hand default, namely i-m-i-m rest strokes, strict alternation. Practice 2x slow, 1x fast. Good luck.

If you are fully involved with the left hand (where the sound comes from), you will be barely able to keep it together in the right (fingerboard) hand.

Twinkle Variations by Mozart
--------------------------------
Twinkle Variations i-m.jpg
---
Violin students have to play this, why not guitar?

Questions welcome.

Cheers,

Kevin
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