#1
(Correct me if I'm wrong on any of this) I'm looking at the ability to read sheet music as a seperate thing from understanding music theory. I see music theory as being useful because it will teach me the right way to write songs, figure out chords, compose solos based on scales, etc. I'm seeing reading music as a thing it's good to have a basic understanding of, but if I want to learn a song, I'll always be able to just find a tab of it right? I'm not a big classical or jazz guitarist, so unless reading music ties into being able to understand music theory in some way I'm not realizing, do I really need to know it?
#2
the more you know about music, the easier it will be to FIGURE OUT songs without tabs...reading music won't be a big deal, but if you understand theory, it's fairly easy anyway. reading music is like the easiest part of theory.
#3
Dude, i know almost nothing about reading music, and to be honet i doubt i ever will.

I don't need to.

You probably don't need to either unless you're planning on joining an orchestra.
#4
It's helpful and if u ever plan on having a carrear in music than its a must weather u are a musician, teacher, tech, etc.
"Men profess to be lovers of music, but for the most part they give no evidence in their opinions and lives that they have heard it." ~Henry David Thoreau
#5
Well, it's pretty much part of music theory to my knowledge. It's the written language of music. Analagous to your comment on tabs, you can get by without learning to read or write English, and just find images to convey meaning.

Of course, social language is a bit more important, but the point still remains. You don't have to, but why not? Knowing how to read and write in standard musical notation helped me a lot personally. What did it help... chords, scales, intervals, relationships between notes, proper timing and rhythm... everything to be honest.

It's the language of music, so it's great to learn if you have the time. Besides, there's nothing wrong with learning both standard and tablature, they're both great musical languages and both relevant to your instrument.

As long as you can read it and understand it perfectly, you don't have to sight-read music fluently. (Though that is something I should learn...)
#6
There's a lot of great guitarists out there that dont read music. I dont think kirk hammett knows how to read music. I use to know when I was in the band, now i just play by ear. No need to sit there and read music and play a song, you wont be doing that at a show.
#7
Quote by face_value
the more you know about music, the easier it will be to FIGURE OUT songs without tabs...reading music won't be a big deal, but if you understand theory, it's fairly easy anyway. reading music is like the easiest part of theory.

Given the hundreds of musical terms, it is in no way easy... And there is four commonly used staves and presumably many others which all relate differently to middle C.
I find learning to read music VERY helpful. When reading it you find it easier to identify 7th's and other adds, etc... Aswell as that, you can undertand time signatures, note values, etc, which altogether gives you a better understanding of the songs.
You can also use this to write for or transcribe other instruments.
It also comes in handy for some music exams.
I think everyone should have some basic understanding of notation but I know that that is not the case so learn it if you think you will benefit.
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#8
Learning to read music isn't a necessity but i still recommend it, however if you want to get far with music you're going to have to learn music theory, learning it is a very rewarding thing.

Sure you could pick up the tab for a song if you wanted to learn it, but good musicians could pick it up by ear, transcribing helps you develop your ear and learning to write and read standard notation tells you exactly how to play the song, what key it's in etc. or you could stick with tabs that have lack of rhythm tempo and have to wade through the numbers wondering "it has a umm, Bb....Eb....and a Ab..or is it a G#?"
I'm not saying don't learn tab, learn both, tab helps with positioning and phrasing etc.
#10
Quote by rockingleper
dude all you gotta know is tabs now adays
That's very incorrect.


If you plan on messing around and jamming with friends and having a garage band, reading standard notation is not important.

If you plan on being a professional musician, it is very important, as you will be expected to read charts that are written in real music, not tab.
#13
Go for it, it's not very hard and it certainly won't hold you back in any way...You'll be a more well rounded musician if you can read it....but like others are saying it's not always necessary depending on what you're goals are, but it's beneficial to learn either way imo.
#14
Well, I really wanna be a musician for a career, so I just want to get the reading down before I dive into all the theory. I mean, I know scales, chords, what modes are and how to solo and whatnot, but right now I practice the reading like crazy.
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#15
Quote by bangoodcharlote
That's very incorrect.


If you plan on messing around and jamming with friends and having a garage band, reading standard notation is not important.

If you plan on being a professional musician, it is very important, as you will be expected to read charts that are written in real music, not tab.


If you are writting your own music, you don't need to write out charts. You see bands sight reading at concerts? Me neither.

But for orchestras and such, you need to be able to do it.

And knowing theory is completely non related to sight reading. I can't sight read well but I know my theory, and quite a bit of it. I don't need tabs either, seeing as I can play by ear. I do plan on working on sight reading soon though.
#16
If you want to play the guitar then you can get by without it, although you still need to learn the relevant theory to be of any great use.

If you want to be a musician, well that's a different story.

That's very incorrect.


If you are writting your own music, you don't need to write out charts. You see bands sight reading at concerts? Me neither.

But for orchestras and such, you need to be able to do it.

And knowing theory is completely non related to sight reading. I can't sight read well but I know my theory, and quite a bit of it. I don't need tabs either, seeing as I can play by ear. I do plan on working on sight reading soon though.

The majority of professional musicians aren't in bands, they do session work...and if you turn up to play or record with someone then you better be able to read music. To be honest you'd probably get away with it as long as your theory knowledge is good and you can pick things up quickly, but you should still understand musical terminology, know what a key is and know what a time signature is. And you'd look pretty daft if you turned up as a supposed "musician" and couldn't read music.
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#17
Meh, it's not necessary but it helps. Some types of music (classical/jazz/blues) mainly aren't tabed out, along with other types. So, if you want to play types of music like that, you should learn. It's not that hard.

Edit: To what steven seagull said, he's right. If you really want to pursue a career as an active musician, doing jam sessions and such, you should learn how to read it.
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Last edited by bassmaniac101 at Mar 14, 2007,
#18
You should if you want to right good songs or have a career
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#19
It really depends on what you want out of guitar. For serious jazz or classical it's pretty much a must, for other styles it's less necessary. I played piano for a while so I have a basic knowledge of notation, so while I can't sightread very well for guitar it's enough to figure out basic jazz heads and stuff. Either way, I would definitely recommend learning a whole lot of chord and scale theory; for jamming anything other than blues and rock, it's good to know how to play a minor 7th flat 5 chord and what scales to use. It's really up to you though, a ton of amazing music has been with none of that knowledge.
#20
Quote by The way to hate
If you are writting your own music, you don't need to write out charts. You see bands sight reading at concerts? Me neither.

But for orchestras and such, you need to be able to do it.

And knowing theory is completely non related to sight reading. I can't sight read well but I know my theory, and quite a bit of it. I don't need tabs either, seeing as I can play by ear. I do plan on working on sight reading soon though.



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#21
not at all important... theres somthing inside of me ( i hope this make sense) that beleives if i learn to read music then i fall into the "forced" catagory. as in... i no longer FEEL the music... its all mechanics... and that... that is bad...
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#22
not at all important... theres somthing inside of me ( i hope this make sense) that beleives if i learn to read music then i fall into the "forced" catagory. as in... i no longer FEEL the music... its all mechanics... and that... that is bad...

that thing is mistaken, it's just laziness in disguise.
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#23
Sheet music actually helps with the emotion, because it usually tells you the emotion the piece is wanting or how to help convey it (crescendo, decrescendo, ritards, etc.) And what if you want to play a song you haven't heard before? Tab will definitely not let you do that because it tells you none of the rhythms. The most fun I ever have on saxophone is when I just grab a bunch of solo's and start sight-reading the hell out of 'em, and seeing how much emotion and technique you can put on your first time through. Sheet music will also help measure yourself as a musician. If you don't feel the music anymore its a mental block you created yourself, not a fault of the sheet music. And it just means your a bad player, so keep the feeling there and learn to read sheet music.
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Last edited by Thin Ears at Mar 15, 2007,
#24
Tablature tells you what notes to play. Music tells you what notes to play and what timing to play the notes. Which sounds superior?
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#25
Quote by steven seagull
that thing is mistaken, it's just laziness in disguise.

+1

That said, it's not *important* to know how to read music unless you're planning on being a professional musician, in which case it will be pretty much essential.
But it can be useful - it has the rhythms written in, unlike tab, so as you get better you won't need to listen to a song to know what it should sound like. Also, it will allow you to play pieces that were written for other instruments, or write pieces so other instruments can play them.
I'm just starting to get into it myself really as I'm starting a music degree in September and I'm kind of going to need it - if you decide you want to learn to read standard notation, it's worth getting a teacher to help you with it, but be aware you'll likely start out playing canned versions of "Ode To Joy" and "Scarborough Fair"
#26
I do not think that learning how to read sheet music is 'necessary' but it is not harmful to your playing in anyway.

I also treat music theory and reading sheet music seperatley. I personally believe I am better at theory than reading music (and I am), but I can read music. When I read music, I can't just see it and play it - there might be a little bit where I can just play it, but other parts I must work out and memorize.

I'm personally not a fan of sheet music, and I instead prefer to memorize the music instead of reading it off a piece of paper.

However, depending on your career choice, you may or may not need to read sheet music. I believe the ability to read sheet music should be necessary for a guitar teacher, music teacher, session musician, composer (depending on what you are composing), professional musician in a orchestra or similar setting.

However, talent scouts, producers, famous members of a band etc. most likely do not to know how to read music.
#28
Well if you do classical then you would HAVE to learn to read sheet music. But you arn't interested in that so, sort of. It helps, as you can just play a peice of music written as sheet music without even listening to the song. Tab doesen't have the timing and stuff but you can listen to the song for that and figure it out. So being in your shoes, then no you don't really need to learn it.
#29
How many orchestras have guitars anyway.
A basic understanding of which note is which would.
speakin' of sight reading, i've got some work to do.
#30
^ yes but being able to sight read would allow you play any piece of music on guitar (or any instrument you may be technically proficient with) i say its good, i can do it, it's not that difficult, being able to play as you read is a bit more difficult but its totally possible. i think the ability to at least be able to read it and sit down and say "ok thats an F in the bass clef and an A,C and G in the treble clef, played in quarter notes arpegiatted so it would go like this....." i think the ability to do that is important.
#32
To be totally honest it all depends on how the learn and how you like to learn if you can do it by ear, then its not to important, but to fully understand music its a must...
#33
no, reading music does not have anything to do with music theory...its not exactly important that you learn to read music either.

i know how to read it but ive been in a Superior Band for almost 4 years so i pretty much have to know how to read it. I play in the drumline though so knowing where an A# or Bb is on the staff doesnt really affect me. Although i did play trumpet for a couple of years, trumpets are tuned different so what i use to see as a G is really a D# in Concert Tuning...thats what always confuses the hell out of me when playing bells or vibraphone or some shit like that
#34
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#35
Contrary to what everyone says about learning to read sheet music as being important - I beg to differ.

I can read sheet music - however, it has not helped in my understanding of guitar and music theory. If you are aware where the notes are on the fretboard, you won't have any need of musical notation if you plan on learning any theory.

As for guitar teachers, I doubt it is necessary to learn sheet music. When people begin playing guitar, no one wants to start out playing "Mary Had a Little Lamb" after spending a long and tedious ammount of time learning how to read notatation.

In the long run: (This is my opinion, btw) Musical notation should only be used to communicate the music you write for other instruments, and nothing more.
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#36
you dont need to because you can always just look at tab but if you do learn how to it my help a little
#37
Quote by SillyRabbit
Yeah Nightwind knows his theory thats forsure



Haha, I don't know how I came up, but your too kind.

I always wonder why threads like THIS go on for so long, and threads about real theory related things don't get very far.

I think everything that has to be said has been said. If you have something new to bring, then say it. If not, well, feel my icy cold cursor.
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