#1
Hiya just had a few questions on reading sheet music , or rather a certain part of it!

I can read sheet music, I read Bass Clef for Trombone and Cello, and can read Treble clef to. I do also understand key signatures, time signatures etc.

Until now I've never had an issue with sheet music, For Trombone and Cello it's been fine and I must admit any time I'd learn something for bass guitar ( my main instrument ) I'd either do it by ear or read Tab.

However now I'm advancing more into music, with college and hopefully some decent gradings for trombone maybe cello soon after Id like to understand reading classical guitar sheet music better. I have a book of Classical guitar pieces in Tab and Standard notation and while I could look at the standard notation and read it I've always just read the tab as it was available.

My question is, when im reading classical guitar music and I see an A note between the second and third lines of the staff, I know that that particular A note is higher than if I were to read an A on the second lower ledger line, and I know that the A between the second and third lines of staff is lower than an A on the first ledger line above the staff. So that's three different A notes, each higher or lower than the other A notes but there are more than three frets on the guitar where I can play an A? I can presume that an A note on the second lower ledger line would be playing the open A string but much more than that I don't know.

Where would an A have to be for me to play the fifth fret on the E string for example? I imagine there can't just be loads of ledger lines that would seem silly!

As you can imagine I've never had problems like this on the trombone unless on the rare occasion I've come across a piece with lots of lower ledger lines I've never really had to think twice but this has really stumped me!

Thanks for your help , Simon
#2
Notes that don't fit easily into standard ledger lines are notated by 8va or 8vb (above the bar). 8va means that a notated note is actually one octave higher than what's written, and 8vb means a note is one octave lower than what is written.

Hope that helps!
#3
Where would an A have to be for me to play the fifth fret on the E string for example? I imagine there can't just be loads of ledger lines that would seem silly!


two ledger lines below the staff. but really it sounds an octave lower. EDIT: all pitches on guitar will sound an octave lower than written

but there are more than three frets on the guitar where I can play an A?


yes you can go one more octave higher 17th fret high e string. Written above fourth ledger line above staff, sounds one octave lower though. More likely it will be written one ledger line above staff with 8va over it

I can presume that an A note on the second lower ledger line would be playing the open A string but much more than that I don't know.


That is true. 2nd fret G string is A: 2nd space. 5th fret E string is A: one ledger line above staff. 17th fret E string is A: as said abover
Yeah I'm that guy who says I'm right
but more than likely is wrong

It happens doesn't it?
Last edited by dumbface12 at Jul 29, 2013,
#5
Ah okay that makes far more sense , out of interest how did you learn to read sheet music for classical guitar? Actually reading the notes is fine, but placing the notes onto the fretboard is the only issue I'm having. Is it something that just becomes natural or gets easier the more you look at the sheet music? A friend recommended to buy a piece of classical guitar sheet music without tab, and challenge myself to learn it correctly do you think that might be a good idea? Thanks again!
#6
I am trying to learn how to read guitar music the staff is 5 lines this confuses me lol
I though it the staff was the guitar strings I will get the hang of it I wish there was a easy way to explain it.crash course .
#7
Yes, it is like reading for cello, where the same note can be played in several positions - sometimes this is marked with roman numerals.

The A on the 5th fret high E is one ledger above the staff. The low A on the low E is 2 ledgers below the staff. Yes, there can be a lot of ledger lines - just take a look at sheet music for flute, which is mostly ledger lines.
#8
Quote by Tazz3
I am trying to learn how to read guitar music the staff is 5 lines this confuses me lol
I though it the staff was the guitar strings I will get the hang of it I wish there was a easy way to explain it.crash course .


Check out the Modern Method for Guitar by Bill Leavitt. I bought it when I was first learning the guitar and it was not at all helpful for rock lol. For classical, theory, chord forms, sight reading, it's a great book and not terribly difficult.
#9
Music for guitar will have position markings (roman numerals for positions and barres), numbers by the notes to indicate fingerings and numbers in circles to indicate what string it's played on.

Example

If it doesn't have those, well, work through it yourself.
^^The above is a Cryptic Metaphor^^


"To know the truth of history is to realize its ultimate myth and its inevitable ambiguity." Everything is made up and the facts don't matter.


MUSIC THEORY LINK
Last edited by rockingamer2 at Jul 30, 2013,
#10
Music for guitar will have position markings (roman numerals for positions and barres), numbers by the notes to indicate fingerings and numbers in circles to indicate what string it's played on.

Example

If it doesn't have those, well, work through it yourself.


I've seen this markings on different pieces and never completely understood them, so looking at the first note with a number by it which is a G# with a 4 in front of it. Does this mean I should play the 6th fret on the D string?

I know people that refer to the low E string as the first string and the high E string as the 6th and also vice versa which really didn't help when I was first learning as you can imagine!
#11
Quote by SimonGrounsell


I've seen this markings on different pieces and never completely understood them, so looking at the first note with a number by it which is a G# with a 4 in front of it. Does this mean I should play the 6th fret on the D string?

I know people that refer to the low E string as the first string and the high E string as the 6th and also vice versa which really didn't help when I was first learning as you can imagine!

6th string is the low E string, not the high E.
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#12
i ordered the Modern Method for Guitar by Bill Leavitt thanks
#13
Quote by SimonGrounsell

I've seen this markings on different pieces and never completely understood them, so looking at the first note with a number by it which is a G# with a 4 in front of it. Does this mean I should play the 6th fret on the D string?

I know people that refer to the low E string as the first string and the high E string as the 6th and also vice versa which really didn't help when I was first learning as you can imagine!

Yep!

Another thing: if you see letters above the staff over notes, those tell you what picking fingers you should use.

p = thumb
i = index
m = middle
a = ring

The letters come from Spanish, where the thumb is "Pulgar," the index finger is "Indico," the middle finger is "Medio" and the ring finger is "Annular." Just remember PIMA and you're golden.
^^The above is a Cryptic Metaphor^^


"To know the truth of history is to realize its ultimate myth and its inevitable ambiguity." Everything is made up and the facts don't matter.


MUSIC THEORY LINK
#14
Okay thankyou so much! I feel incredibly more confident about reading classical guitar music now! I've decided to order a book of 50 classical guitar pieces described as easier pieces ( although in sure they'll still sound great ) and Ill try and read the pieces from there and ill keep on reading the sheet music for the harder pieces so it all falls into place I'm planning to start composing some pieces for different instruments I play so I'm sure I can try and write some of my own classical guitar pieces as sheet music soon! Again thank you all so much!
#15
Hi Simon!

Guitar is tough to sight-read, partly because there are multiple places to play the same note. With A's for example...

A on one ledger line above the staff:
-5th fret high E string
-10th fret B string
-16th fret G string

A on second space of staff:
-2nd fret G string
-7th fret D string
-12th fret A string
-17th fret E string

A on two ledger lines below staff:
-open A string
-5th fret E string

Typically, you learn to sight read in different positions on the fretboard. First learn to sight read with only notes from frets 1-4. Then with only notes from frets 5-8. Then frets 9-12.
#16
Hiya Ben from the various instruments I play I do have a pretty strong knowledge of the fretboard I think the issue I had was seeing say a high A and being confused as to which high A i play but now I understand about the numbers to indicate which string its played on for the most part I'm doing okay! One thing I am now thinking about is just how hard sight reading for classical guitar will be! I can read it fairly well now and then go through pieces a few times to play them but if I was to sight read and play at the same time I really seem to hit a brick wall
#17
and people wonder why guitarists have a hard time learning to read music lol
Theory is just...wow. I'm getting a bit over my head by trying to learn so much w/o formal educators

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