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Tonic Sol-fa.
#1
Another question for those more knowledgable than me???


Since I started learning the mandolin, and having no real music reading skills,  I started to use tabulation as a way of learning of learning tunes. This has been really good for me, and I have now started  lo learn to read music.  The problem I have is I now realise that I know most tunes by playing by numbers rather than by anything else, I know the tune I'm my head but I also have  2, 4, 5 0,2, 3, 5, 5, 7, 5, etc in my head rather that the notes. I am now trying to read music but its slow, very slow. I noted in a lot of old sheet music, the tend to have the old Tonic sol-fa and I thought that might be useful, especially for changing key, but I am thinking I might just be substitution numbers for "Doh Ra Me" which might be the wrong way to go..  

So my question is what would you recommend as the way to move forward???


Alcluith
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#2
(08-01-2020, 04:32 PM)Alcluith Wrote: Another question for those more knowledgable than me???


Since I started learning the mandolin, and having no real music reading skills,  I started to use tabulation as a way of learning of learning tunes. This has been really good for me, and I have now started  lo learn to read music.  The problem I have is I now realise that I know most tunes by playing by numbers rather than by anything else, I know the tune I'm my head but I also have  2, 4, 5 0,2, 3, 5, 5, 7, 5, etc in my head rather that the notes. I am now trying to read music but its slow, very slow. I noted in a lot of old sheet music, the tend to have the old Tonic sol-fa and I thought that might be useful, especially for changing key, but I am thinking I might just be substitution numbers for "Doh Ra Me" which might be the wrong way to go..  

So my question is what would you recommend as the way to move forward???


Alcluith

I can't really help much with your problem but have experienced similar feelings.  A number of years ago I started playing the banjo learning using TAB.  The problem with banjo players is that they change the tuning of the banjo at the drop of a hat and, if they forget to specify the tuning,  the TAB does not work!   Since then I have started to play the harmonica where I again came across Tablature.  TAB in harmonica is next to useless unless already know the tune as it gives no indication of the timing.  Harmonicas also come in a variety of tunings  so I have given up on TAB and now use Notation.  

Drifter
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#3
As someone who has dabbled in TAB and used it with young beginners I would not dismiss it as a means of learning, Drew, but for me it has drawbacks. It is very instrument-specific (fine if you only play one instrument). It dictates to you where you put your fingers - as a learner this is a good feature, but as you progress on the instrument you will find that you might well want to fret a particular note or group of notes in a different position on different strings. One of the adavntages of our stringed instruments is that the notes can be found in differents places on the fretboard and often a tune is easier to play when you can find other finger patterns to use. As Drifter points out, TAB can give no indication of time values, though there are TAB formats which do include time value markings too; Musescore can offer this as an option in its TAB notation.
The big advantage of standard notation is that it is pretty universal. It covers most instruments, indicates key, time signature, even suggested tempo if metronome timings are present and can be used by any musician - we can sit with fiddlers, accordion players, piano players etc and all read from the same score. Bass players and users of the alto clef have to make adjustments but the score layout is pretty much standard. Bagpipe notation can be a wee problem too for the uninitiated as there tends to be no indication of key signature - remember the John MacLellan tunes from a while back.
I think that you probably have got the idea that I am steering you towards biting the bullet and working on your standard notation, but I would not abandon the TAB completely.
Hope this is of help to you and does not hamper your playing!
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#4
(11-01-2020, 11:49 AM)John Kelly Wrote: As someone who has dabbled in TAB and used it with young beginners I would not dismiss it as a means of learning, Drew, but for me it has drawbacks.  It is very instrument-specific (fine if you only play one instrument).  It dictates to you where you put your fingers - as a learner this is a good feature, but as you progress on the instrument you will find that you might well want to fret a particular note or group of notes in a different position on different strings.  One of the adavntages of our stringed instruments is that the notes can be found in differents places on the fretboard and often a tune is easier to play when you can find other finger patterns to use.  As Drifter points out, TAB can give no indication of time values, though there are TAB formats which do include time value markings too;  Musescore can offer this as an option in its TAB notation.
The big advantage of standard notation is that it is pretty universal.  It covers most instruments, indicates key, time signature, even suggested tempo if metronome timings are present and can be used by any musician - we can sit with fiddlers, accordion players, piano players etc and all read from the same score.  Bass players and users of the alto clef have to make adjustments but the score layout is pretty much standard. Bagpipe notation can be a wee problem too for the uninitiated as there tends to be no indication of key signature - remember the John MacLellan tunes from a while back.
I think that you probably have got the idea that I am steering you towards biting the bullet and working on your standard notation, but I would not abandon the TAB completely.  
Hope this is of help to you and does not hamper your playing!

Hi John
I have been coming to the same conclusion for a while now but I think, because Tab makes it so easy, I have been reluctant to "Bite the bullet" but I know what you say makes a lot of sense, so I think my 2020 goal is to stop using tabs altogether. 

As I side issue I have gathered a lot of music over the last few years and I end up using Musescore to Tab out any tune I like.
 I also use my iPad to store my music in PDF format but again Musescore has an ABC format import so I really only need to import and format the PDF instead of tabbing.   
As always you have been a great help

Thanks 

Drew (Alcluith)
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#5
I think you will be pleased with what you achieve by moving away from TAB, Drew. As you say, you are already in possession of lots of music and Musescore is such a big help as it can give you real support with reading and writing notation as it plays back what you enter, so you have an instant check on whether you are getting things right.
Keep up the good work!

John
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#6
(13-01-2020, 08:38 PM)John Kelly Wrote: I think you will be pleased with what you achieve by moving away from TAB, Drew.  As you say, you are already in possession of lots of music and Musescore is such a big help as it can give you real support with reading and writing notation as it plays back what you enter, so you have an instant check on whether you are getting things right.  
Keep up the good work!

John

From not knowing the basics of music a few years back, I feel I have learned a lot in my journey so far, mostly thanks to people like Nigel and yourself for the support and willingness to share knowledge. 
I have always enjoyed music but never knew how it was constructed (composed) but now I am beginning to understand.  
A big lesson learned was : don't fall into bad habits as they are hard to change.  Finally an old saying also comes to mind, "patience Rome wasn't built in a day"
Thanks for all your advise and encouragement it is always appreciated

Drew (Alcuith)
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#7
Hi Drew,

Long time no see. I agree with John re standard notation being better in the long run. However, one advantage of TAB is that it does give you the fingering and, of course, suggests when and where you might wish to play a note, chord, etc at a different position on your instrument.. e.g. on a open string or in a closed position.
You'll have realised this yourself by now, of course, and the more experienced you become you will be able just to try out different possibiities for yourself withou the need to refer to TAB.
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#8
(19-01-2020, 12:08 AM)JAJ Wrote: Hi Drew,

Long time no see. I agree with John re standard notation being better in the long run.  However, one advantage of TAB is that it does give you the fingering and, of course, suggests when and where you might wish to play a note, chord, etc at a different position on your instrument.. e.g. on a open string or in a closed position.
You'll have realised this yourself by now, of course, and the more experienced you become you will be able just to try out different possibilities for yourself without the need to refer to TAB.

JAJ

and you, hope you are well.

At this late stage I realised although I get familiar with the tune in my head, I am really playing by numbers. I was then asking myself is this a bad thing or should I really get out of that habit, it does help a lot with the fingering but I stops me reading the notes, and I think that's where I am suffering, as I am not really reading the music.  As you and John said it stops me using the fretboard so I have "Bit the Bullet" and removed all the tabs from my music (still kept a copy of the Tabs in archive) and now endeavouring to play without tabs, a backward move maybe,  but it might also help with sorting out some bad habits, like pick direction etc.

Drew
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