#1
I'm not sure if this is in the right forum, but I play bass I thought I'd put it here. The band I'm in has recently started to become more serious about playing and writing music, so I though it was about time to learn some theory. My only question is, is it really worth putting in the time to learn to quickly and easily read music, or should I just learn other theory like scales and stuff like that? I think having some knowledge of theory under my belt would vastly improve my writing ability, but I don't really think learning to read music would. Do you agree?

tl;dr: Do I need to be able to read music in order to have a good understanding of theory?
#4
I would reccomend learning to read and write music on staff (the classical way to read and write music). But make sure that if you learn to read, you learn the bass clef. There are different clefs in music which change what notes are what on the staff. The most common clef is the treble clef (guitar, piano, violin). And that is a very popular writing clef since it is so well-known.
As for reading helping theory, as long as you memorize the scales and their patterns then you may not need to learn to read. But as I mentioned before, I highly reccomend a musician to learn both.
#5
you dont need to be able to sight read music to understand music theory... I understand a bit, but have never been great at sight reading. however some understanding of the notes on the page will help you to learn music theory.

I can sight read on saxophone, but haven't bothered learning to sight read on bass or guitar
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#6
absolutely -- primarily because theory books use music notation. though even then, you don't have to sight-read, but it'd make it a lot easier if you could.

i'd be wary of using one that relied on tab, for fear that i might be instructed to play the A dorian mode over a track in G.
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#7
being able top read music is a wonderful skill to have. do you have to be able to read fluently? not really for 95% of rock musicians. but you must be able to understand whats going on on that page. it will help you learn everything else.
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#8
I think the ability to read music allows you a deeper interpretation of what you are playing. It also allows you to see what the author originally intended as apposed to someone's tab interpretation of a song.
#9
There will be a point in your musical career, if you pursue music, when you will be looked down on for not being able to read music.
#10
Quote by Bass First
There will be a point in your musical career, if you pursue music, when you will be looked down on for not being able to read music.



And you should care what people like that think about you?

OT: Probably, yeah, but nowadays it's not necessary for a lot of things.

I understand (almost) all the markers and symbols used in sheet music but I can never remember which note is at which height.
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#11
To be honest, I can't think of a good reason not to be able to read music.
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#12
Learning to read music opens up so many doors, its just a good skill to have under your belt as a musician. In your case TS, if you want to bone up on theory, knowing how to read music provides you with a way to visualize what you're learning. Understanding standard musical notation is also a writing tool, one that is more comprehensive then tabs and it allows you to better communicate your ideas to fellow musicians.

You could probably skate by without it, but why not take the time to learn?
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#13
Quote by gilly_90
And you should care what people like that think about you?

OT: Probably, yeah, but nowadays it's not necessary for a lot of things.

I understand (almost) all the markers and symbols used in sheet music but I can never remember which note is at which height.

There's not one argument that suggests not being able to read is better.

And what if 'people like that' are professors or adjudicators, in any type of music course, university, college, degrees, whatever (save maybe music tech and or industry), you will be required to be able to read music.
#14
I'm not saying not reading music is better, read the words.

And he's saying he wants to improve his playing, not get into music school. I don't know about you but I don't play music the way people want me to for fear of being looked down upon and you could say the same for many things in life.

tl,dr Yes, everyone is right that it would help, but in a lot of cases it just isn't necessary, OP needs to decide what he actually wants to do and his answer will be there.
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Okay guys, I have a confession to make. Not really a confession since it's something that's been bugging me for awhile but I've always been in denial about it.

**** you gilly, it's not what you think
#15
Ok maybe looked down upon was a bad choice of wording but either way, you're just limiting yourself if you don't learn to read music.
#16
Do you need to? No.

But, it's a VERY good skill to have, and will make you a much more well rounded bassist if you do.
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#17
Personally I don't think it's worth learning to sight read music unless you'll really see yourself needing it in the future.
That said...I really think it's worth learning to understand sheet music.
Learning how to read and understand note durations and all that is hiiiighly recommended.
Knowing which note is on which line...meh... I can figure it out, but it takes me a little time. Being able to see the rhythm of things feels much more important to me.
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#18
Some great musicians know lots of theory and can read music, some can't. Its helpful to be able to, but not essential.
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#19
most of us who can read music here make a lot more money playing bass than the people here who can't. my two highest paying gigs require reading.

but between a good ear and good sight-reading skills, i'd go with a good ear any day. it's a lot easier to sight read than it is to hone your ear. transcribe, transcribe, transcribe. INTO notation. two birds, one stone.
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#20
If your specific goal is to develop a better understanding of theory, then begin by making yourself comfortable with reading music. It will make most lessons and materials about theory easier to understand, it will give you another visual medium (other than piano keys or specific frets) to understand what's going on in a chord, a key, a scale, etc. And it is the easiest and best way to communicate any writing you do or any theory ideas/questions you might have to other musicians.

Add to all that some of the other benefits, like making you a much more valuable and dynamic resource for those hiring musicians, letting you jot down musical ideas on the fly without forgetting duration/timing, and giving you easy access to a lot of music instead of having to learn it by ear.

If you're going to take your theory knowledge pretty far down the road, it's a necessity. If you don't know how far you want to go, well, you might just have some fun learning to read standard notation anyway.
#21
the only reason i know how to is becase i have played trombone for 3 years which also uses bass celf but isight reading is very help full in many ways
#22
Just learn it. It can't kill you or do harm to your playing.
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#23
I comprehend a bit, but have certainly not been exceptional at sight reading. however some knowing in the notes near to the site will help you to definitely discover audio tracks theory.