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#1
Can the majority of you sight read?


I've been thinking today, i'm going to need to learn to sight read because of my studies, it's something i've avoided for a while due to ignorance. It has many benefits im sure, but i also think it's not an essential tool in playing guitar, many of the 'greats' cant sight read, but nevertheless if you can learn it, why not!


So yeah, there's my question for ya!

(and by sight read, i don't mean sitting down for half an hour to work out a bar of music lol)
There's riddles in the shadows
They're thrown the way that i'd expect
And people never seem to know
What they least suspect is coming next
#2
Sight-reading is a skill that takes a while to develop. I can sightread moderately easy pieces. I'm much better at sight-reading on my trumpet. Most people can sightread, but I assume you mean 'can you sightread hard songs'. I doubt anyone would have any trouble sightreading mary had a little lamb or an easy song like that.
#3
not really well but depending on the piece i can eventually play it from standard notation....i use my ear mostly
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#4
I can sightread some simple classical stuff. I guess unless you're going into college, it isn't the most useful thing a guitarist can devote his time to, especially since it's entirely possible (for guitarists) to learn theory without reading music (it helps though).
#5
Thanks for the input u lot.

How long do you think it'd take someone to learn to sightread at a level which would be considered fluent?

I'd imagine a year or 2 at a solid rate of practice
There's riddles in the shadows
They're thrown the way that i'd expect
And people never seem to know
What they least suspect is coming next
#6
I can sightread quite fluently, as long as the piece is not too fast.
Ever since I starting to play the guitar, I was sightreading stuff, my first guitar books.
I am however a lot better at sightreading on my saxophone.
I'm currently practising sightreading as well, and I can see improvements ever other day, so 2 years could well be too much
I do not want to have a signature anymore.
#7
Only if it has the tab under it

I use tab for the notes to play and look at the actual staff with notes to figure out the timing of all the notes. (ex. 1/8 notes, 1/16 notes..etc)
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#8
Quote by srob7001
Only if it has the tab under it

I use tab for the notes to play and look at the actual staff with notes to figure out the timing of all the notes. (ex. 1/8 notes, 1/16 notes..etc)

Why not just learn the notes and ditch the tab then?
Quote by bearded_monkey
Everytime I go into the guitar shop and ask for a G-String the shopkeeper always makes that TERRIBLE joke about it not being an underwear shop

So next time I go in I'm gonna ask for a thong
#10
There's a selection bias cause everybody who CAN sightread visits this topic. Believe me, the majority of ALL the users on UG: no way.
#11
I can sight sing and sight read with the trumpet, however I severely struggle to do it on the guitar. I blame it on playing by ear for so long

I also am horrible at reading bass clef.
Isolation is a gift. All the others are a test of your endurance.
#12
Quote by Baroque_and_Rol
Why not just learn the notes and ditch the tab then?


IMO its a waste of time..for me anyways.

Been playing 12 years..I know the notes on the staff and all I just can't read along and play unless I use tab. So it takes me time to "translate" it all

I'm a bedroom guitarist and don't and never plan on doing music for a living so why waste my time learning to read music. Learning theory already takes up too much time for me.
Gear
Jackson RR24M - EMG ALX w/ ABQ installed
Ibanez Xiphos - stock
LTD Alexi 600 - stock
Ibanex RG - Tone Zone(bridge), PAF Pro(neck)
Blackstar HT-20H
Fulltone OCD
MXR 10 Band EQ
#13
I learned to sight read a while ago, still not as fluent as I'd wish.

Luckily I get to practice it in Chorus.




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#15
no not really. i mean, i know the whole every good boy deserves fudge and "face" to find the notes. but i dont sight read a lot so im really slow at it. its mostly getting the time values right thats the problem for me. i need to hear the song in order to play it. i used to be able to in like grade 6 and 7 when i had band class. but i havent really done much since then.
#16
Practice seems to make perfect.

I wonder when everyone will understand this? (It should be common sense, but people still ask about things)

You should KNOW where the notes are. Not using egbdf and face to find the notes.

Also what do you mean by time values? The type of note? They all have distinct differences (except many 8ths and 16ths to some people)

Stems, Flags, Filled or not.




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#17
Quote by kalaloch131$
I can sight sing and sight read with the trumpet, however I severely struggle to do it on the guitar. I blame it on playing by ear for so long

I also am horrible at reading bass clef.

+1

I can sight read extremely well on guitar, not so well on clarinet, not very well at ALL on piano.

It takes me a few seconds longer to read bass clef, alto clef I totally suck at and have to write the names of the notes underneath...
#19
How long do you think it'd take someone to learn to sightread at a level which would be considered fluent?


That's impossible to say. There are many factors to take into account and even if they are thought about, it'd still be impossible to make an estimate.


I can sight read. I can read simple pieces of classical guitar without much difficulty, but I do struggle with pieces my level because they are much harder to actually sight read. The trick is to slow down. The more time you have between one note and another, one rhythm pattern to another, the more time you'll have to work out what it is.


Another thing, is that you have to use your head a bit when sight reading. If you see four notes descending without any accidentals, it means they're in key so you shouldn't have to think about them. Learn rhythmic patterns like different types of syncopation, dotted notes etc etc. If you learn them before hand you'll recognize them when sight reading and you won't have to think of the rhythm then, only the notes. There are loads of tricks like this. If you know how to play arpeggios in many positions and you see one when you're sightreading, you should just play the arpeggio automatically.


Another intelligent thing to do is before diving right into the piece is to read it over once or twice and look for these things, look for what might trip you up.


Yeaaaaaaaah.
#20
I'm fairly decent at sightreading.

My piano sightreading is at a standard needed for upcoming exams (AMEB grade 7), my saxophone I good enough to play 40 songs I've never seen before in a big band at a gig, and I think my bass is good enough for the experience I have with it.
#21
Quote by koslack
Absolutely essential to be a working musician.




Define "working musician".
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#22
Quote by Invokke_Havokk
You should KNOW where the notes are. Not using egbdf and face to find the notes.
Lol I'd forgotten about them - Every Good Boy Deserves Football First mnemonic I ever learnt I can sight read treble and bass clef, and brass band and tenor a bit slower, but I've got the advantage of having learnt to read music at the same time as I...well.. pretty much at the same time as I learnt to read - and I was taught by the scariest violin teacher I ever want to meet!

I can sight read notation a lot better than I can read tab - I never realised how much I rely on seeing the 'shape' of the music, and knowing by sight what its meant to sound like, until I tried playing something with just tab. I suck donkey nadgers with just tab
#24
Treble/G Clef
Every good boy deserves freedom.
FACE (ryhmes with space)

Bass/F Clef
Good Bassists Date Friendly Alto's (sp?)
All Chickens Eat Grain

Am I the only one that learned it that way? D=

I'm still a tad slow, but I can read it fluently enough. :x




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#25
Quote by koslack
Somebody who actually makes a living playing, rather than posting questions about modes on a guitar message board.


So you think all the members of Fall Out Boy know how to read music? Or even the majority of people who play music? I seriously doubt it.

I don't disagree that it's important, but people get by without it.
#26
I can sight read yes, it is a major help to you musically. Unless you dont plan on doing music at GCSE, a-level or Uni. But even so, it is still a major help full stop.

Treble clef= Very easily
Bass clef= Not so easily, but still quite quick
Alto or Tenor clef= Slightly slower but not outrageously slow.
#27
Quote by timeconsumer09
So you think all the members of Fall Out Boy know how to read music? Or even the majority of people who play music? I seriously doubt it.

I don't disagree that it's important, but people get by without it.



If you think Fall Out Boy are representative of the working musician, I weep for you. That's like saying the Gates family is a good example of an American family with two parents. You're taking the exception to be the median, just because of increased visibility.

I draw a firm line between 'rock/pop star' and 'working musician.' The two are only superficially similar in almost every way.
#28
Quote by koslack
If you think Fall Out Boy are representative of the working musician, I weep for you. That's like saying the Gates family is a good example of an American family with two parents. You're taking the exception to be the median, just because of increased visibility.

I draw a firm line between 'rock/pop star' and 'working musician.' The two are only superficially similar in almost every way.


Musicians/bands who I strongly doubt know/knew how to read music:

1. Jimi Hendrix
2. Most Hardcore/Post-Hardcore bands.
3. Most metal bands.
4. Most rock bands.
5. Most punk bands.

I could keep going, but I think you see my point. Do you honestly think you could go up to a random metal/rock/punk guitarist with standard notation and they'd be able to read it? The majority definitely is the group that DOES NOT know how to read music.

EDIT: And why do you not call a rock/pop star a 'working musician'? Because they perform in a genre you don't like?
#29
Quote by timeconsumer09
Musicians/bands who I strongly doubt know/knew how to read music:

1. Jimi Hendrix
2. Most Hardcore/Post-Hardcore bands.
3. Most metal bands.
4. Most rock bands.
5. Most punk bands.

I could keep going, but I think you see my point. Do you honestly think you could go up to a random metal/rock/punk guitarist with standard notation and they'd be able to read it? The majority definitely is the group that DOES NOT know how to read music.

EDIT: And why do you not call a rock/pop star a 'working musician'? Because they perform in a genre you don't like?


I have to agree with timeconsumer here. It's a great skill to have, but the jobs that specifically require you to read standard notation are very few. I mean they are there of-course. I wouldn't trivialize the importance of the skill, but I wouldn't say that you can't work without it either.
shred is gaudy music
#30
Quote by timeconsumer09
Musicians/bands who I strongly doubt know/knew how to read music:

1. Jimi Hendrix
2. Most Hardcore/Post-Hardcore bands.
3. Most metal bands.
4. Most rock bands.
5. Most punk bands.

I could keep going, but I think you see my point. Do you honestly think you could go up to a random metal/rock/punk guitarist with standard notation and they'd be able to read it? The majority definitely is the group that DOES NOT know how to read music.

EDIT: And why do you not call a rock/pop star a 'working musician'? Because they perform in a genre you don't like?



Thanks for not reading my post. You've confirmed my worst fears regarding literacy in the American education system.
#31
Quote by GuitarMunky
I have to agree with timeconsumer here. It's a great skill to have, but the jobs that specifically require you to read standard notation are very few. I mean they are there of-course. I wouldn't trivialize the importance of the skill, but I wouldn't say that you can't work without it either.



90% of jobs playing music require some degree of reading. I am talking about average, working musicians. Not guys in rock bands playing for beer. Not guys who want to become big rock stars. Guys with music degrees who pay their bills with gigs as sidemen, sessions, teaching, playing on cruise ships. They all know how to read. I think it's fair to say none of you guys a) have bills to pay, or b) are able to pay them with your music. If that's your goal, you need to know how to read, you need to be able to take gigs where you can play jazz charts on the first try, you better be able to comp, and you better be ok with playing lounge/classical with little preparation time. That is what it takes to make it as a musician.
If you want to be a rockstar, just go out and walk around in a lightning storm with a big metal pole. Hope for lightning. Same odds.
#32
Quote by koslack
Thanks for not reading my post. You've confirmed my worst fears regarding literacy in the American education system.


Then what do you define as a working musician? If nobody in a band is a 'working musician', that leaves... Studio players. Really, that's it. If you're not playing with a group (and a solo artist would fall under here as well), and you're not a studio player, what else can you do to be a 'working musician'? Don't say teachers. Teachers are working educators. And most of them are probably in a band in the first place.

I assume that's the part you were referring to.
#33
Quote by timeconsumer09
Then what do you define as a working musician? If nobody in a band is a 'working musician', that leaves... Studio players. Really, that's it. If you're not playing with a group (and a solo artist would fall under here as well), and you're not a studio player, what else can you do to be a 'working musician'? Don't say teachers. Teachers are working educators. And most of them are probably in a band in the first place.

I assume that's the part you were referring to.


Lounge players, showband players, classical players, dinner theater players, session players, teachers, cruise ship players, big bands, wedding bands... There are literally hundreds of thousands of these guys, and they make up the vast, vast majority of working musicians in the world.
And teaching is your bread and butter as a musician, especially because of the rise of dj's in the last 20 years. Used to be every wedding had a band, but most people go with a dj these days. So yes, teachers, because that is how you make a living if you have a 3 month period with no work lined up (and that lack of stability is something you are going to have to get used to in the industry).
#34
Quote by koslack
Lounge players, showband players, classical players, dinner theater players, session players, teachers, cruise ship players, big bands, wedding bands... There are literally hundreds of thousands of these guys, and they make up the vast, vast majority of working musicians in the world.
And teaching is your bread and butter as a musician, especially because of the rise of dj's in the last 20 years. Used to be every wedding had a band, but most people go with a dj these days. So yes, teachers, because that is how you make a living if you have a 3 month period with no work lined up (and that lack of stability is something you are going to have to get used to in the industry).


With your definition of 'working musicians'. When you redefine something to fit basically 100% of the people you use in your examples, it's kinda dumb. Honestly. And you think that all wedding bands know how to read music? Whose to say they don't just learn from tab? Cruise ship players? Same with them. There are plenty of people that fit the description you listed, but still don't know how to read music.

Working musicians are people who make money from performing/making music. You can't redefine it to mean 'people who make money from music if I deem their music to be worthy'. So yes, guitar players in punk bands and rock bands and metal bands and all the other kinds of bands out there are working musicians. And most of them don't know how to read music. Your definitions mean nothing.
#35
Generally, it means the likings of a session musician or an unsigned solo artist who is payed to play music.

PAYED TO PLAY MUSIC.
Not necessarily PAYED TO PLAY THEIR MUSIC.

Just like the definition of rape doesn't have to be sexual. It could also be similiar to that of "owned". It doesn't need to be taken quite so literally. (Fail example is fail)




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#36
I think what Koslack is getting at is the more professional musicians. Contractors.

You may be able to handle yourself as a wedding band for a while playing covers you learnt from tab, but when that dries up what else are you going to do? If you are a working musician you will have to find work elsewhere eg, session player or teacher.
I think all teachers should know how to read.

You can only get by for so long before someone brings to you one of those foriegn pieces of paper with that weird language on it. If you have this skill, whether you use it or not can be irrelevent. The fact that you do have it will have clients taking you more seriously. You'll seem much more professional and ultimately net yourself more clients. Could you imagine what they would think if you told them you were a musician but you couldn't read music?

If the 'majority' of people like you say CANT read music then that small group who can must be living like kings right now. Thats not the reality though.
Last edited by Casuist at Sep 11, 2009,
#37
i can sight read piano to a very high standard because that's how i learnt piano, i learnt guitar by ear so my ear on guitar is better than my sight reading (though i can do it - most easily on bass on bass clef).

sight reading is how i discovered my poor eyesight, which turned out to be mild dyslexia. I find it incredibly difficult to tell which line a note is on unless i have a ruler to hand, it just kinda jumps from line to line. (NB this makes me great at harmonizing in 2nds )
The only 6 words that can make you a better guitarist:

Learn theory
Practice better
Practice more
#38
With most music jobs now sight reading isn't important at all. Yes you need to be able to read notation, but you don't need to be a fluent sight reader.

Band (Live Playing) - Usually plenty of rehearsal time = no sight reading required

Studio Work - Most work now is already worked out apart from maybe tv stuff so that recording isn't as expensive (less time)

Give me another type of 'working musician' and I'll tell you why "most" times you will never be able to be a FLUENT sight reader.


Although let me say I am still putting in my time to try and disprove that stereotype that guitarists can't read...
#40
i can sight read but its usually easier for me to look at tab and interpret the song.
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