Sight Reading

Discussion in 'Music Theory, Lessons & Techniques' started by Shooter, Nov 6, 2007.

  1. Shooter

    Shooter Drinkin' a Pizza

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    Hey. I'm not sure how many people here read music, but I'm having a bitch of a time improving my sight reading. I can read music, of course, but just doing it quickly is really difficult. I have to sit and figure it out, then play it... I can't just do it as I play. Any advice? Thanks.
     
  2. ShawnFjellstad

    ShawnFjellstad hates womanizers.

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    just sight read a lot. you'll slowly get better at it as you start to recognize rhythmic patterns. also, it helps to familiarize yourself with how certain intervals look. if you see a note that is a full line (staff? i had a brain fart and forgot what this is called...) away from another note, you can recognize it as a third, and jump to that note without having to think so quickly about finding the note on your guitar.

    do you know all of the notes on the fretboard? that's really important as well.
     
  3. The Dark Wolf

    The Dark Wolf Contributor

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    Advice I received while studying classical guitar at college.

    1. Write down note names on the score. It helps for faster identification. You'll quickly begin to associate note names with the marks on the staff.
    2. Write down chord names above chords/arpeggios. It helps for finger positioning. You'll be thinking, "Ah, ok! An inversion of A minor here!" instead of, "Hmm, ok... C... E...A..."
    3. Make little diagrams above the notes and patterns in the score. Again, like above, helps with finger positioning. You can write a triangle, for a triangle shaped chord (like D major), or little tab-like notes.


    Basically, mark the fuck out of your score. Write all over it, and then just keep at it. It's a helluva a way to pick up sight reading relatively fast.


    Hope this helps you. ;)
     
  4. The Dark Wolf

    The Dark Wolf Contributor

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    Gonna sticky this one too, on a trial basis, see if it helps. ;)

    Sight reading is an important element of traditional theory education. Sadly, many of us lack in this area (myself included. I'm rusty as hell.) Mastery isn't necessary, but a modicum of proficiency is useful. Like the old joke goes, "Wanna confuse a guitar player? Put some sheet music in front of him." :lol:
     
  5. Michael

    Michael Forum MVP

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    I spent a lot of time sight reading when I was having theory lessons a while back. It helped me to start out with some really basic stuff. Like, acending straight up scales, little melodies in beginer books and also using the correct fingering types. If you memerise the fingering types in a range of positions it will take the focus away from the technical side of things and allow you to focus more on what you're reading.

    Also, this is probably a bit obvious but try not to read/play over the same thing(s) too many times. Or at least allow some time to pass before you play/read the same thing again.

    :lol:
     
  6. Durero

    Durero prototyping... Contributor

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  7. distressed_romeo

    distressed_romeo F'king ............ Forum MVP

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    I've been working a lot at reading recently, with all the classical pieces I've been practicing. Bob, I'm going to experiment with your method of marking the score and see if it speeds things up.:yesway:
     
  8. The Dark Wolf

    The Dark Wolf Contributor

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    I actually learned that from some very accomplished musicians, DR.
     
  9. Xtremevillan

    Xtremevillan im leaving ss.org Contributor

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    This topic is for me.

    I started to do basic one note sight reading and then just stopped. Now I forgot it all.
     
  10. josh821

    josh821 SS.org Regular

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    I think it's intimidating when you think about doing it but once you get into it and start figuring things out it seems to come pretty naturally. I just started reading on guitar like a month ago. I was very good at sight reading when I was younger from playing trumpet but with that you don't have to play chords or worry about what position to play each note in. I think that's why I waited so long to learn on guitar.

    I think the just do it idea is the most obvious. I've gotten in the habit of translating notation into tab while I'm at work too which helps. Actually, before I started trying to sight read on guitar I spent a couple weeks using this fretboard trainer which has helped tremendously.

    While we're talking about notation, I have a question that someone out there may know the answer to. What on earth do all these CVIII and other roman numeral markings on the top of this piece mean??
     
  11. The Dark Wolf

    The Dark Wolf Contributor

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    Roman numerals are usually used for harmonic analysis (to denote which chord, where it falls on the scale of that key, etc.), but I've never seen anything like that, exactly. 1/2 CVIII? It seems like it denotes some kind of inversion, as the first note starts on the E (which is a 1st inversion C major chord). Maybe because it's a partial, and the third tone is arpeggiated?
     
  12. Jongpil Yun

    Jongpil Yun Contributor

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    I've never seen that before either. Weird.
     
  13. Durero

    Durero prototyping... Contributor

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    Those are barring indications which are very common in classical guitar pieces where fingering indications are present.

    C stands for "Capo" which means to barre several strings with one finger in this context.
    The Roman numerals indicate which position (fret) to barre.
    The 1/2 indicates a 1/2 barre (3 strings) or just a partial barre (< 6 strings) or some publishers use it to indicate which string to start the barre from (eg 3/4 means barre 3 strings starting from the 4th string). (It can be annoyingly inconsistent from publisher to publisher.)




    I'd be very cautious about marking letter-names on any scores. It's very difficult not to just read the letters instead of the notes themselves and it can easily become a crutch. I've had many students take it upon themselves to try this (or come to me from another teacher or class) over the years, and every time they come in to play a piece which they've marked letters on they are helpless as soon as the letters are gone.

    Instead I'd recommend reading the notes without the guitar in your hands and just concentrating on the letters.


    Aaron Shearer's book Learning the Classic Guitar (Mel Bay pub.) outlines a very effective learning process which basically goes like this:

    (without the guitar in your hands)
    1. read & vocalize the rhythm
    2. read & vocalize the pitches while visualizing exact finger movements of both hands.

    (then with the guitar)
    3. read & play on the guitar while still saying the notes to yourself in your head.


    This approach takes way more concentration than the usual "go until you crash" method most of us use, but it's far more effective.
     
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  14. Shooter

    Shooter Drinkin' a Pizza

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    Thanks for the advice guys. I can't really mark up my scores, cuz I'm playing off my school's music. All the scores stay in the classroom. I've been practicing out of The Real Book, basically just flipping to a page and trying to read it so I don't wind up re-doing songs over and over. For those who don't know The Real Book, it's like a giant fake book full of Jazz standards, and I gotta say it's pretty cool. But yea, the just do it idea has been working, but I think trying to recognize certain patterns, like thirds or fifths, is a really good idea too. I really wish my violin teacher hadn't written in all the fingerings when I was a kid... I'd be great at sight reading!
     
  15. The Dark Wolf

    The Dark Wolf Contributor

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    ^ Photocopies. :agreed:



    I respectfully disagree with Durero, as I've been told this is a helpful technique by Amy Bruksch, Dr. Lee Heritage, and Paul Galbraith himself. And I will tell you, when you begin classical instruction on the college level, it's sink or swim, so what really works quickly becomes your best friend. My playing skills were above average, but my sight reading skills were sub-par. I was reading as well as all the other students after only 2 months or so (although I'm horrible anymore. Lack of practice :lol:)

    Thanks for the heads up on the Roman numerals, though. I was thinking it looked like fretboard positions (something fairly common with classical guitar transcriptions), but the "C" and the 1/2 really threw me, as I'd never seen than before.
     
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  16. ElRay

    ElRay Mostly Harmless

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    I'm sorry, but the intrusive, no cancel/close button, oblivious to any OS other than Windows and any browser than IE security FUD advertising crap (What brain-dead shylock thinks falsely detecting a Windows virus on a Mac and then tries to install Windows-only, IE-only ActiveX crap on a Mac running Safari will sell a product?) zaps any desire to test it out or return.

    Ray
     
  17. Stitch

    Stitch Banned

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  18. Jongpil Yun

    Jongpil Yun Contributor

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    Huh. Never noticed any of that. I use Firefox and there's a close button.
     
  19. josh821

    josh821 SS.org Regular

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    Hah, sorry, buy a PC, we all know they're better. ;)
     
  20. Stitch

    Stitch Banned

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    Yeah man!

    Cos the ability to catch just about any virus for computers going around is a great plus point. And the constant freezing, the frankly shameful process-handling Windows provides, the fact that you need an obscene amount of RAM to just RUN the newest OS without any sparkly plugins either, and the fact that most software doesn't work with the new OS, yet no software will be written for the old ones now...

    PC's suck.

    :fawk: :lol:
     
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