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  #1  
Old 02-12-2018, 01:43 AM
DissonantTimbre DissonantTimbre is offline
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Default Is the ability to read standard notation required to play classical guitar?

As a self taught electric/steel-string player I've never learned to read sheet music for guitar, primarily playing via tablature. I can read for piano because it's easy a there is only one of each note. On guitar there are multiples of the same note in different positions on different strings.
How does standard notation account for this?

I recently purchased a classical guitar book and there was no tablature. Is this common? Is it necessary to be able to read music to play classical guitar?
Does anyone know of good books for beginner classical guitar players that include tablature?
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Old 02-12-2018, 02:25 AM
frankmcr frankmcr is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DissonantTimbre View Post
As a self taught electric/steel-string player I've never learned to read sheet music for guitar, primarily playing via tablature. I can read for piano because it's easy a there is only one of each note. On guitar there are multiples of the same note in different positions on different strings.
How does standard notation account for this?

I recently purchased a classical guitar book and there was no tablature. Is this common? Is it necessary to be able to read music to play classical guitar?
Does anyone know of good books for beginner classical guitar players that include tablature?
Classical guitar notation indicates what string a note should be played on if there is any ambiguity (sometimes it's pretty obvious, depending where your hand is at that point). It also indicates what position on the fretboard your hand is supposed to be in, and also what right hand fingering you should use, if that seems likely to be a problem. Guitarist/composers will put in those indications themselves, otherwise that's an editor's job. That's sheet music for classical guitar we're talking about - just generic classical sheet music won't have instrument-specific stuff like that.
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Old 02-12-2018, 02:50 AM
DissonantTimbre DissonantTimbre is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by frankmcr View Post
Classical guitar notation indicates what string a note should be played on if there is any ambiguity (sometimes it's pretty obvious, depending where your hand is at that point). It also indicates what position on the fretboard your hand is supposed to be in, and also what right hand fingering you should use, if that seems likely to be a problem. Guitarist/composers will put in those indications themselves, otherwise that's an editor's job. That's sheet music for classical guitar we're talking about - just generic classical sheet music won't have instrument-specific stuff like that.
I've noticed symbols like "C<a number>" or "cut time symbol<a number>" but I have no idea what these mean.
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Old 02-12-2018, 06:21 AM
Don W Don W is offline
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See Frederick Noads Solo Guitar #1 and set tablature aside for a while. I have been playing guitar - electric, acoustic, flat pick, and finger style for more than 50 years using tablature and learing by ear. I started learning standard notation a year ago with this book. I have a classically trained instructor and when I told him that I wanted to learn some spanish/classical pieces he said that many of these are not available with tablature..."it might be time to bite the bullet". I feel that if you want to learn standard notation on guitar... jump in with both feet. Tablature only confuses the process when learning standard notation. This book walks you through the entire process and teaches you some nice classical pieces in the process. I still use tablature as I can not sight read yet and am very slow but I keep the two separate. I play my steel string as always but play only from standard notation on my nylon string classical guitar. The interesting thing is that as I work out a piece on my steel string with tab, I am using what I am learning with notation for help. I can not reccomend this book more. My instructor says "learning standard notation on guitar is more difficult than learning it on piano but it can only help and will expand your musical world". I had to be ready...now that I am, I am really into it and kind of enjoy being a beginner at this aspect of guitar...learning basics that so many of us never learned. I am 65 now...its never too late.
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Old 02-12-2018, 07:58 AM
815C 815C is offline
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This classical guitarist, blind from birth, obviously can't read.

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Old 02-12-2018, 08:23 AM
smwink smwink is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DissonantTimbre View Post
I've noticed symbols like "C<a number>" or "cut time symbol<a number>" but I have no idea what these mean.
Is the number a Roman numeral? This usually indicates a barre (whole or partial) at the fret indicated by the number.

Many internet flame wars have been fought over the question of reading standard notation on guitar--I think it depends on your personal goals. If you just want to dabble with classical guitar and play a few pieces here and there, then you can probably get by fine with tab. If you are somewhat serious about studying classical guitar, though, then you will need to learn standard notation. That's just what the CG community uses, and as you've already noticed, your options for good editions of classical guitar pieces will be limited if you require tab.

Most of the time, the location for a specific note is pretty obvious from context (for example, a note in another voice will kind of force the issue). There are sometimes string/position indications when it's less obvious or if the composer wants a specific timbre. But there are also cases where you as a player get to decide where to play a passage based on your vision of how to interpret the piece. This is one of the things I personally don't like about tab--just because someone chose to tab it out a certain way doesn't mean it's the only way. If you can read notation and map that to the fretboard, then you can see the alternatives and decide for yourself. Otherwise you're at the mercy of the tabber (whose skills vary widely as the various tab sites demonstrate).
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Old 02-12-2018, 09:57 AM
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Tablature shows what notes to play on what frets, but does not include a lot of other vital information for playing a piece properly. This is why I prefer notation by a long shot. Even if tablature were available for a lot of classical guitar pieces, I am not sure how useful it would be.
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Old 02-12-2018, 12:46 PM
dkstott dkstott is offline
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I highly recommend the book "Pumping Nylon"... It's available in standard notation as well as a TAB version.

The Tab version will give you an introduction to reading standard notation and give you a lot of tips on Classical technique!

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Old 02-12-2018, 06:31 PM
ameriken ameriken is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DissonantTimbre View Post
On guitar there are multiples of the same note in different positions on different strings.
How does standard notation account for this?
As frankmcr stated, many pieces will tell you...e.g. if say an E should be played on the 3rd string instead of an open E. Otherwise when learning a piece it's obvious where you should play just based on the positions you're in.

And yet sometimes it's not so obvious or not clarified and you have to figure it out which can be challenging and part of the fun.

So is it necessary to learn standard notation? No.

However it opens you up to huge inventory of material that is not available in tab. Also as has been mentioned, the composer often notes how they specifically intended certain phrases or sections or notes to be played. In tab, you probably miss out on that. For example you might inadvertently play a section loudly when the composer intended it to be played softly and quietly.

I guarantee, if you learn standard notation, you will one day look back and be very happy you did. When I first learned acoustic guitar in the 70's and wanted to be a rock n roll star, I thought it was a pain in the *** that my first lesson was learning to read the E,F, and G notes on the first string. Rather than learning Stairway to Heaven. 2nd lesson was B, C, and D on the 2nd string, etc etc. But looking back that basis for standard notation is what opened the world up to classical guitar for me and I'll never regret those lessons.

Really, just do it.
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Last edited by ameriken; 02-12-2018 at 06:36 PM.
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Old 02-20-2018, 06:55 PM
rob2966 rob2966 is offline
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I play a lot of classical pieces from TAB. Most popular pieces are easy to find in TAB.

However, I do need to clarify. When I say/thinkTAB, I am speaking of the "hybrid" with the standard notation on the top, and the tab below. To me that is TAB. With this format, I use the tab to guide finger placement, but use the standard notation for timing, performance notes, etc.

Standard notation has everything you need to play that piece, but can take longer to learn depending on your reading ability.

TAB without the standard notation is pretty useless most of the time.

Having both is my preference.

Later
Rob
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Old 02-20-2018, 07:36 PM
Bax Burgess Bax Burgess is offline
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............................................

Last edited by Bax Burgess; 02-20-2018 at 11:33 PM. Reason: Posted in wrong thread.
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  #12  
Old 02-20-2018, 10:47 PM
menhir menhir is offline
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Well, you said you can read piano music, so you're halfway there.

I'd recommend this...

The Library of Easy Guitar Classics

https://www.amazon.com/Library-Easy-...uitar+classics

I think it fits what you're looking for.
Standard notation for guitar with the TAB right under it showing where you should put your fingers.

Take your time, make the connections between the two, and you're well on your way.

To answer your question of whether or not you need to read music to become a classical guitarist, I'd say...
Need to? Not in the strictest sense. I suppose. Maybe.
Should? Emphatically, yes.

Granted one could find a list of prodigies who didn't have to learn all those nasty notes and stuff...I have no idea if you fit the definition of prodigy or not...Sure as heck, I ain't one. The exception to the rule is exactly that...the exception.

If you don't mind learning everything by limiting yourself to aping recordings, or if you have an instructor/Svengali who can stand over you and tell you each and every note to play, how to play, and where on the fretboard you should play it, you're going to have to deal with notation.

As another posted said: TAB just doesn't tell you enough. I agree.

Written notation is the language of music, where a composer or arranger can communicate how a composition should sound to a person who may have never heard that composition before.

Back to the book...
There's a lot of good music in there and it doesn't start at the Twinkle Twinkle Little Star level. There are a few lighter pieces, but there's a great deal of easy...not stupid...just relatively easy classic in a lot of styles from a lot of periods.
I'd recommend starting at the first piece...not skipping around right away...learn it and then move onto the next. No hurry. After about page 77 (at least in my edition) the tab disappears. I'm willing to bet by then that you'll have a good grasp on how to do without it after that.

There's over 200 pieces in the book alone. If you learn how to read the notation...they're all yours. Otherwise, you'll be limited to finding recordings of each to imitate, finding TABS of each, or having someone teach them all to you one note at a time. And if you can't do that, you'll never know if you missed out on an enjoyable composition.

Or you can learn to read the music.

I'm working through it myself, so you know what choice I made.
(Classically trained pianist here - Not a classically trained guitarist...I'm going though the same process.)

Last edited by menhir; 02-21-2018 at 08:37 AM.
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