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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 11-02-2003, 05:01 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2003
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Confusion with reading/writting music for guitar

Hi there.

Ive searched all over the net yet i havnt found somthing that clicked for me, so i thought id ask here.

Basically , i havnt been playing for a couple of months due to a nerve problem, which isnt getting better and puts me in so much pain i cant play so i thought id try and learn some stuff about reading music so that i can still keep musically active.

I understand how on the keyboard/piano you have the bass and treble clef's, so on each clef you only have a few octaves in which you work (i think yeah?)

But on the guitar the musics only written on the treble clef. I just worked out, on a 24fret guitar there are 14 differnt E's for example, now how the **** would you know where to put each octave on the stave. Thats what puzzles me, if theres a piece of music with the notes 'e g aa b' on how do you know what string/fret to play it on?

hopefully you guys get me, it would be great if you could give me some examples as well as explanations.

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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 11-02-2003, 05:46 PM
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I THINK... clarification.. I THINK!!!

it's based soley on interpretation...

when I started fubmling around reading music my teacher told me to pick a scale pattern and stick to it... when you've licked the piece, you can start messing around with positions etc...

and also, there are also several different E notes on the musical stave are'nt there? I think on the treble cleff there are three??? (correct if wrong) Therefore, if playing a 24 note neck, each octave is one of these...

but then you can say that you can play 3 octaves ACCROSS the neck as well.. i.e. E0, D2 and highE0...

so yeah, I'd take it as pretty much personal interpretation, besides, im guessing you would soon figure out where you're playing when the music either goes too high or too low for your fret board!

If I were you, I'd pick a nice, comfy pattern around the 5-7 frets... its a great area to play and you can easily move up and down in pitch...
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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 11-02-2003, 06:46 PM
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Location: Netherlands
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Well, I mainly read classical guitar music because most modern guitar music is already on tablature. I used to ask myself the same question sice the guitar is a very versatile instrument but when I started studying seriously I realised that the scores I read are hardly ever made of only the notes on the score. There are (almost) always indications for strings, left hand fingers, right hand fingers, frets and almost anything else you can think of.

It is quite annoying at first because you are already struggling to remember the notes and to keep the rythm steady and you would prefer the score to be as simple as possible instead of having to deal also with numbers, letters, and roman numbers. However, trust me you will get used to this if you keep dong it long enough. I don't know about the way it is for electric guitar scores, though. I always use tabs for that.

Hope it helps.
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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 11-02-2003, 06:57 PM
Join Date: May 2003
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That's one of the problems with standard notation and guitar (especially electric guitar). You can play the same note in a number of positions. Tho standard notation is primarily used with classical guitar, which usually have shorter fretboards ergo less places to play the same thing.
I used to question my classical friend about this and he said that there are usually little markings to show what position your in, or you just start to notice patterns and it all becomes second nature.

Note: If your notation source is reliable (e.g. published book of pieces rather than something downloaded from the net) it is important to play in the positions they suggest because of the different tonal qualities of the strings. E.g. if you have a double (inverted) pedal of 5th fret B string, and open high E string, in a pattern like


It is important to play that high E on both the strings, as they will sound slightly different (even when as in tune as possible) and sound much better than if it were




Becuase it just sounds different (and better :P)
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 11-02-2003, 10:05 PM
Join Date: Mar 2003
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Most staves (when arranged for guitar) will come with position markers(i.e. Roman Numerals indicating which position to play in). If they don't have one, it's left to your interpretation.

I personally think one should read all sorts of arrangements for every instrument, because reading and arranging for one becomes repetitive.
Buy the book "Rhythms Complete" by Dr. Charles Colin and Bugs Bower. It will greatly improve your sight reading abilities.


Edit: I realize now that someone already posted my first comment. Clearly my bad!
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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 11-19-2003, 08:39 PM
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: Portland, Or
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Bewtal*licks is correct

In classical guitar pieces/transcriptions roman numerals are used to identify position. For example a roman numeral 5 means that your fretting hand's index finger is over the 5th fret. A circle () indicates an open string, when placed over a note, while a circle with a number inside indicates a string. (ex. (1) means the high e string). Right hand fingering, or left for the southpaws, is indicated by the following p=thumb, i=index, m=middle, a=ring, and for the life of me right now, I can not remember the indication for the pinky (its very rarely employed-usually only in certain tremolo types) Usually left/right hand fingerings are only suggested in the work when the composer/arranger wanted a certain timbre, or to suggest the "easiest" way to perform a difficult passage. I can not recall ever seeing any such notation in "modern" electric works, except for those in which an electric guitar is used in conceto or such. They do exist, other than Yngvie's
I suppose this is mostly do to the fact that most modern pieces employee tab, which is not a modern invention by the way..lute players used it as well, as the earlier versions of the guitar, ie the vawala (sp?)-I'm having a brain fart. As far as sight-reading goes the more practice one has at it, the more experienced one gets at knowing where the best place to perform a certain passage upon the neck is. Sorry if thats kinda long a rambling, but hope it helps...somewhat...hope your nerve problem gets better soon...Tobe
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