View Full Version : Sight Reading

08-30-2002, 01:01 AM
"arghhhh" i hear you all cry. No, just kidding :)

I'm a self taught guitarist who's been playing for 6 years and i'm now doing a degree at the ACM in Surrey, England. I have a lot of experience reading music as i used to play trumpet, but i haven't been reading music using the guitar very long, probably about a year and a half now.

Does anyone know any sites on the net that offer free sight reading material? or any certain peices that I should search for to have a go at?

08-30-2002, 04:29 AM
You could get Powertab scores and ignore the tab.
Searh the web for power tab or .ptb

08-30-2002, 08:27 AM
Hi guys,

I don't know of a free site that focuses on reading.

There's a great book by William Leavitt called Reading Studies for Guitar. It works itself up the neck and through every position. This is a great way to get started.

Otherwise, music for violin and flute are pretty well in the same range as the guitar (well, an octave higher :-). And you could just read through some Fake Books.

Yes, the guitar is a transposing instrument. It sounds one octave lower then written. The advantage of this is that otherwise we would have to deal with so many ledger lines and reading on the guitar would even become more difficult. BTW: This applies to bass guitar too.

If you have played the trumpet you will be familiar with transposing instruments. The trumpet sounds one whole step lower than written. So to get a trumpet to play a C you have to write a D. (weired I know :-)

Anyway here's a little notation that shows the played note versus the actual sounding note on the guitar

08-30-2002, 12:40 PM
Hi there,

thereīs a really cool book from MI Press, written by GIT-instructor David Oakes. Itīs called "Music Reading For Guitar", and starts from the very basics. Great book, very helpful.
You can order it online on several sites, and I also saw it being sold at Barnes & Nobles, and Borders...
Check it out
Hope this helps

08-30-2002, 10:56 PM
sorry, i guess i wasnt clear at the time....

i literally meant music scores of any kind that would be of any help to me. Not particulary on guitar, anything that might be worth having a go at

08-31-2002, 02:47 PM
I've posted a series of reading studies on my web site.
These are duets that are pretty easy to read. There are 12 in all, one in each key. So far I've posted 6.

There are other pieces on my site that you can read, and, of course, if you hunt around this site, there's lots of stuff to read.

I like to distinguish between reading study and sight reading . A reading study piece is challenging enough that you might have to stop and start, figure out fingerings, count out rhythms, etc. Sight reading means you start at the beginning and play in time to the end without stopping, skipping anything that is too hard.

Of course, since you can already read, you know this, but a lot of beginning readers don't.

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09-02-2002, 03:22 PM
Hi Steve,

I think these are very nice reading studies.

For those of you who are interested: http://home.attbi.com/~swcarter/lesson_reading_studies.html


09-02-2002, 03:36 PM
Hi Gunharth,

I think these are very nice reading studies.

Thanks. I hope to post the remaining six this week.

Then I'll be posting a series of duets called "Presence Chambers", each one written as a reading exercise in a given key and postion. The rhythm parts have notated chord voicings, so that's good reading practice, as well.

A note to those who are working on their reading: don't forget to include the reading of notated chord voicings in your reading practice.

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09-11-2002, 11:53 PM
Has anyone downloaded my reading studies and read them? (OK, Gunharth -- other than you ;)

Do you find them too easy? Too hard? Just right?

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09-19-2002, 12:20 AM
I posted reading studies 7 through 12 on my site. Now there's one in each key. Also, these studies cover more of the neck.

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09-27-2002, 12:56 PM
Here's something that needs to be emphasized:

When you are practicing sight reading, don't ignore the phrasing, articulations and dynamics.

Some students are mislead by the classical orchestral players' comments on sight reading. Here's an example.
I played string bass for a season with a local civic orchestra. We'd take home the parts to practice. But when we got a new piece, we'd sight read it first in rehearsal. At that point, the objective was just to get through the piece and get a taste of it: structure, etc. In that case, it's OK to ignore the phrasing, articulations, and dynamics. So orchestral players often talk about sight reading that way. (I'll post more about this on my site.)

But for the working guitarist or bassist, often sight reading on the gig means MAKING MUSIC ON SIGHT. You get one shot at it, and the band expects you to play not just the notes and rhythms, but the phrasing, articulations and dynamics.

So work on this.

See the list of sight reading books on my site.

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09-27-2002, 09:33 PM
Hi Steve,

Very important topic. Dunno if you are interested (or have the time) but I think it would be real cool if we could offer an article about dynamics and what it is all about. Just an idea.


The Bash
09-28-2002, 09:55 PM
Hey Steve,
to answer your question: I think there perfect.
I'd given ex. 1-6 to a couple of students and they seem to be perfect for them. Besides just sightreading there a nice way to practice reading/playing in a certain key/scale shape. I think sometimes the scalework gets lost when people begin to read. They for example know a G Major scale (in whatever postion) Cold. But when it comes to sightreading in G they fail to make the connection that they already know where the notes are (sight singing and knowing your intervals soundwise and fretboard wise helps with this as well.)
I'm no great sightreader, and haven't done it on a daily basis in 12 yrs or so, but for my paticular sightreading level ex. 1-6 are no big deal. But ex. 7-12 begins to offer up a challange and soon progress to: This is pretty darn hard.
So I think there's a nice mix there for everyone to use. With a lot of information tucked away in 12 little ditties.

BTW: Everyone should check out Steve's Web Page there's a LOT good stuff there.

NP: Gary Moore- "Victom's of the Future"

09-28-2002, 11:15 PM
Thanks for the feedback. I think I want to write some more studies that are a little harder than 1-6 but simpler than, say, #12 (which I'm not sure I can read anymore).

That's a good point about not associating the scale fingering with the "patterns". The only way out of that, of course, is lots of reading. Most sight reading books just aren't fun to read, which is why I wrote these and other pieces.

Thanks for the plug of my site. I'm adding lesson material all the time to the site.

By the way, one way you guys can support my site is to click on over to Amazon and buy my CD. If you click on the CD cover image, it will take you to the page on Amazon, or you can click on the link.

If you already have a copy, well, they make great holiday gifts.

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