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Alternative Tab Systems?

Discussion in 'Tablature and Notation [BG]' started by wulf, Aug 1, 2002.

  1. wulf


    Apr 11, 2002
    Oxford, UK
    I've recently joined a Soul / R&B band and have been getting my listening skills sharpened up with a lot of song learning (although it's much easier than it used to be thanks to having a computer and a handy little program called Transcribe! to hand).

    Once I've got a part worked out, I want to scribble it down for future reference. I'm storing my records electronically so that I don't end up toting round grubby bits of paper or loosing them in my paper filing system. Tab seemed like an ideal way to go - just the thing for a text editor and monospaced font.

    However, not only is it awkward to convey the rhythmic feel of the pieces, but it's also not incredibly helpful to the rest of the band to have bass tab.

    Are there any systems that combine the computer friendly properties of tab with aspects of standard notation? I'm aware of ABC, but, AFAIK that focuses on single line melodies - no good for chording. I've also played around with an ASCII rendering of standard notation, but it's pretty bulky.

    For example, my C major arpeggio came out as:

    Bass Clef:

                e       e               |
     4      e               e           |
     4  e                       q       |

    I know this is the tablature forum but I presume that there are at least a few other people here who are primarily interested in electronic formats for exchanging notation rather than just wanting to see which fret somebody else thinks a given note should be played at (nowt wrong with that but it's not what I'm after).

  2. stroggnoy

    stroggnoy Guest

    Jul 11, 2002
    Wow, that's actually a great idea IMO. I had always tried to think of a way to combine the two forms, and I think that's the best way to do it.
  3. wulf


    Apr 11, 2002
    Oxford, UK
    The problem is that it's about 40 characters wide and 12 characters high, just to represent one bar of relatively simple music. The same thing in tab is only:

        1 & 2 & 3 & 4 &
        e e e e e e q

    -> 22 columns, 5 rows

    I know I could print the ASCII standard notation in a smaller font but I'm interested in storing it in text files where there isn't any formatting information... or maybe I'll have to mark it up anyhow.

  4. whozat92


    Feb 23, 2011
    I always get lost when reading tabliture, SO i created something that has probably already been created before.
    but I find that the learning cure is much lower and it even it's radically easier to find the fingering than normal tabs and it feels more natural to read and write it

    heres a little riff You can use it if you like it's not very good and it is for guitar, sorry guys.


    so the numbers that are not bracketed are the frets to hold down and the numbers that are bracketed represent the sequence, it is to play the frets in the order given in the bracketed numbers

    you can do so much with this by making footnotes where as in tabliture you have to scribble all over page
    it is also very simple to write these
  5. That example looks like this in Lilypond:

    \new Staff{
    \clef bass
    c8[ e g c'] e[ g] c4

    Exactly 50 characters.

    I'm guessing on the rhythmic values, because tab doesn't convey that information.

    As a bonus it can be converted in to beautifully formatted notation.

    Lilypond is free and open source software that will run on pretty much anything.

    Attached Files:

  6. DeanT

    DeanT Send lawyers, guns and money...

    In my opinion, TAB is only really useful when it combines the notes and the TAB–either on separate staffs or as a combined Note-TAB form. This way you get the fingerings and the rhythm together.
  7. My band uses a program called tabit. It works wonderfully
  8. SteveC

    SteveC Moderator Staff Member

    Nov 12, 2004
    North Dakota
    I store mine as pdf's and use my iPad at gigs. The best thing I have done.
  9. jeepin_jer1


    Dec 19, 2010
    Mukwonago, WI
  10. JTE

    JTE Supporting Member

    Mar 12, 2008
    Central Illinois, USA
    First, all I'm seeing is " " in the first and third posts so I don't see anything.

    Second, I'm finding the stuff in the 4th post to be really confusing- Playing is sequential and that has your eyes jumping all over the place to find the next note.

    Third, I've looked at a lot of jeepin-jer1's transcriptions, and they're easy to read and have rhythm indications too. Almost as good as reading standard notation.

  11. KenHR


    Jul 28, 2010
    Waterford, NY
  12. PopaWoody

    PopaWoody The major rager

    May 28, 2009
    Tampa, FL
    I suggest Guitar Pro. It covers every instrument imaginable, bass clef, treble clef, drum notation. Tab or sheet music views of each bar.

    It can also be layered to produce decent midi files for import into soft synth programs like cakewalk or fruity.

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