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Thread: How did you learn to sight read?

  1. #1
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    How did you learn to sight read?

    Right now I'm trying to learn my fret board and attempting to sight read. I've found that the most effective way to read music is to identify the key, and then identify intervals between the note your on and the next note.

    However, I'm wondering if this method is flawed is some way because there is so much emphasis on learning the fret board that it makes me wonder if I should be identifying each and every note, then playing.

  2. #2
    Registered User Malcolm's Avatar
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    Right now I'm trying to learn my fret board and attempting to sight read. I've found that the most effective way to read music is to identify the key, and then identify intervals between the note your on and the next note.
    If you are using pattern to place your scale - G @ the 3rd, C @ the 8th etc. This works, but, you ask.....
    However, I'm wondering if this method is flawed is some way because there is so much emphasis on learning the fret board that it makes me wonder if I should be identifying each and every note, then playing.
    There is a lot of duplication of notes on our fretboard. Knowing all the notes on your fretboard is not critical if you are playing from standard notation aka sight reading and using position one to play by rote what is written on the sheet music. If you are doing that all you need is to know - where is an area I can find four octaves of the scale I want to use. Position One is that place.

    Dodging the shoes being thrown....... Our guitar is a four octave instrument and "Position One" occupies the first four frets (nut to the 4th fret) on all six strings and then proceeds up string one for the remainder of the third and fourth octave so --- all notes within those four octaves can be found in that one area of the fretboard.

    Now if you are not relying upon standard notation that's another story. Before we go any farther let's clear up what and how you are using sight reading. Are you reading the music as written in standard notation and then using position one?
    http://www.musicnotes.com/sheetmusic...?ppn=MN0056005

    http://www.cyberfret.com/reading/con...-position.html

    http://www.acousticguitar.com/lesson...notation.shtml
    scroll down several pages till you come to Tablature and see standard notation and tab together.
    Last edited by Malcolm; 05-14-2009 at 11:06 PM.

  3. #3
    bitter old fool Jed's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Malcolm
    There is a lot of duplication of notes on our fretboard. Knowing all the notes on your fretboard is not critical if you are playing from standard notation aka sight reading and using position one. Playing by rote what is written on the sheet music. All you need is to know is - where is an area I can find four octaves of the scale I want to use.
    Huh? There's only 2 octaves and a 3rd available in any one position.
    Quote Originally Posted by Malcolm
    Dodging the shoes being thrown....... Our guitar is a four octave instrument and "Position One" occupies the first four frets (nut to the 4th fret) on all six strings and then proceeds up string one for the remainder of the third and fourth octave so --- all notes within those four octaves can be found in that one area of the fretboard.
    What?? "First position" means that the index finger plays the 1st fret, middle finger plays the second fret, etc, etc. You can't move up the fretboard without changing the position.

    http://www.cyberfret.com/reading/con...-position.html[/QUOTE]

    The tab moves out of "First Position" as soon as it plays the "A" natural on the 1st string.

    cheers,

  4. #4
    bitter old fool Jed's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by H0bGawblin
    Right now I'm trying to learn my fret board and attempting to sight read. I've found that the most effective way to read music is to identify the key, and then identify intervals between the note your on and the next note.

    However, I'm wondering if this method is flawed is some way because there is so much emphasis on learning the fret board that it makes me wonder if I should be identifying each and every note, then playing.
    I would spend some effort trying to learn the fretboard. I used 2-octave triad arpeggios to facilitate learning the fretboard. It worked like a charm for me.

    cheers,

  5. #5
    Registered User Malcolm's Avatar
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    Jed I knew you would throw shoes. Your position one, like they taught you at Berklee, is not the same as this position one.

    Standard Notation Notes on the Guitar
    Using Position One

    e|--F---|-----|--G--|-----|--A--|-----|--B--|--C--|-----|--D--|-----|--E--|
    B|--C---|-----|--D--|-----|
    G|------|--A--|-----|-----|
    D|------|--E--|--F--|-----|
    A|------|--B--|--C--|-----|
    E|---F--|-----|--G--|-----|
    The first E on the 1st string is the E in "FACE" and the second E on the 1st string is a ledger note E above the staff.
    E on the 6th string is a ledger note E below the staff.
    E on the 4th string is the E in "Every Good Boy"
    Four E's in position one and you complete the 4th octave by going on up the 1st string beyond the 12th fret. Probably will never need to as that would be ledger notes way up the staff.
    Last edited by Malcolm; 05-14-2009 at 01:46 AM.

  6. #6
    bitter old fool Jed's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Malcolm
    Jed I knew you would throw shoes. Your position one, like they taught you at Berklee, is not the same as this position one.
    Well Malcolm,

    I'm not throwing anything. You cited a source that is not in agreement with several hundred years of musical tradition. If that makes me "a stick in the mud", well then I'll just have to accept that.

    My definition of "first position" is supported by numerous legitimate published texts related to various stringed instruments. The link you posted is a freaking internet page. Is it possible that you believe that everything you read on the 'net is accurate?? Never mind, don't answer that. I've had my say, believe whatever you want to believe. But understand that every time I read some post that I know to be inaccurate, I will respond in an attempt to interject accuracy into the discussion.

    cheers,

  7. #7
    Registered User Malcolm's Avatar
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    Jed, chill out. You'll have a heart attack. We've been down this road before.
    Last edited by Malcolm; 05-14-2009 at 02:15 AM.

  8. #8
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    The notation I'm trying to learn is, I think, standard notation. As in notes on a staff.

    Is there a link to the different positions or a book that could instruct these positions with some application? Previously I was just using scales and ran into problems because I couldn't jump an octave seeing as how I was playing on the lower end of the fret board while using the higher strings.

    Additionally, I do end up playing pieces that go very high up on the neck (19th fret and +) such as canon rock and other little pieces. I'd try to post some of these, but unfortunately, I'm a bit incapable of doing that considering I don't own and can't download on school computers.

  9. #9
    Registered User Malcolm's Avatar
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    ... but unfortunately, I'm a bit incapable of doing that considering I don't own and can't download on school computers.
    I'd suggest you get with the music department at your school and see if they could give you or point you to some study material. Your public library will also be a good source of information. Those sites I gave you earlier could get you started. I've added a couple more.

    http://www.musicnotes.com/sheetmusic...?ppn=MN0056005

    http://www.cyberfret.com/reading/con...-position.html

    http://www.acousticguitar.com/lesson...notation.shtml

    Step one. Be able to recognize the notes in standard notation and verbalize the name of the note in the same amount of time it takes you to say you name. That will take some time just you and your study material. After you understand the principle of staff spaces and lines - FACE or Every Good Boy Does Fine then get some flash cards and scatter them around so when ever you have a few moments of free time you could get some study in. A deck of flash cards cost about $4 a pack or you could make your own.

    Step two. After you can recognize and verbalize the names of the notes start sounding them on your guitar. It's now time to start playing songs from sheet music. http://www.celticguitarmusic.com/sta...ion_primer.pdf
    I recommend you start with lead sheet single note melody notes with chord names. Easy songs, first, however no need for Mary had a little lamb, see if you can find some E-Z Big Note books on your favorite songs. http://www.pianospot.com/1704640_alt_ge.html Most music stores will have some. Hal Leonard's Decade Series - Songs from the 80's, 90's etc. Each book has about 100 +/- songs for around $10. One book will keep you busy for quite some time.

    Study your sight reading in addition to your normal practice routine. It's going to take you several months to get up to speed, but, well worth the time and effort.

    Good luck.
    Last edited by Malcolm; 05-14-2009 at 11:42 PM.

  10. #10
    Registered User JonR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by H0bGawblin
    Right now I'm trying to learn my fret board and attempting to sight read. I've found that the most effective way to read music is to identify the key, and then identify intervals between the note your on and the next note.

    However, I'm wondering if this method is flawed is some way because there is so much emphasis on learning the fret board that it makes me wonder if I should be identifying each and every note, then playing.
    There's two different tasks here: learning notes on the neck, and learning notes in notation.
    The way to begin (IMO) is to work wholly in open (or 1st) position, so you only have one place for any note. Don't go above 4th fret.
    Make sure you know all the notes in that region, beginning with the natural notes (C major scale).
    This will take you up to G above the stave, so you will rarely need to go higher than that. (If you do, learn more notes on the top E.)

    Most books that teach sight-reading on guitar go string by string, making sure you know the 3 notes on the E string, then the 3 notes on the B, etc. I assume you're beyond this, but maybe not? (You certainly should be able to identify every note - not just work by memorising intervals. Memorising intervals is good, and will happen anyway, but you should be learning notes.)

    Ultimately, you will just know where to find any note you see, before even thinking about the name of the note. You'll see (say) a C and your finger will go straight to it, without you thinking "that's a C, so it must be here...". You will immediately picture all the places on the neck you could play that same note. But the note names, linked with fretboard position, are the route there.

    Make sure to tackle new pieces all the time. The point of the exercise is not to learn specific tunes, but to be able to read new ones, unknown ones. And ideally without looking at the fretboard. (I agree with Malcolm that songbooks are a good resource, esp those big compilations with vocal top line only. Songs you've heard before will tell you if you're reading them right or wrong (you'll hear when you get it wrong), but tackle tunes you don't know too.)

    Once you're completely comfortable in 1st position - and can read in at least 3 or 4 keys (C, G, D, F) there - then move to 5th position, or 7th position (both places where the simpler keys are relatively easy).
    Try playing the pieces you already know, in the new position.

    I don't advise learning patterns first, although I do believe chord shapes can help. (Eg, a C shape at 7th position gives you a G major chord, and using the C major scale pattern you know in open position, gives you a G major scale at 7th. But you should know the notes too!)
    Last edited by JonR; 05-15-2009 at 10:01 AM.

  11. #11
    Registered User 01371406's Avatar
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    I created a mp3 file for learning the fretboard for this reason. The file is a very simple audio track that calls out random notes on the fretboard. The purpose is for you to identify the note on the fretboard you hear the track call out. It becomes sort of a game.
    For instance, the tracks says F#. Then you go find all the F#'s you can before the next note is called out. Or as Jon R suggested, just stick to a 4 fret area of the fretboard.
    Let me know if you want the file.
    As for sight-reading I have been working on this and all I can say is practice, practice practice. I believe it took me 50 Jazz Standards before I could see any difference in my sight reading and minimal at that. My only other recommendation for sight reading is to develop a method you use everytime.
    For instance my method consist of noting the:
    Beat style, name of tune, author, then the key signature, time signature, review the rhythms in the melody, and review the chords. I find having a method I use helps me to understand a song more quickly. Best of luck
    Last edited by 01371406; 05-23-2009 at 07:06 AM.

  12. #12
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    I'd love the track thank you. That would be very excellent.

  13. #13
    Registered User The Pecker's Avatar
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    I started my sight reading journey a few short months ago. I've made a good bit of progress with only two resources-

    This AMAZING website where I learned the notes on the staff over time. Go to "Note Trainer" and go at it...

    http://www.musictheory.net/

    The other resource is "Music Reading for Guitar" by MI Press. Its about a $20 book that contains a large amount of the sight-reading cirriculum from Musician's Institute. The information compiled in this book is essential and teaches you from the very beginning of sight reading. Good luck.

  14. #14
    Registered User 01371406's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by H0bGawblin
    I'd love the track thank you. That would be very excellent.
    Let me know where to email the track.

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