Confused about sight reading (basics)

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Juggo, May 6, 2012.

  1. Juggo


    Dec 29, 2006
    Hey guys.

    I have started to learn how to sight read on the guitar and found a lesson to be confusing. It says in the book that the quarter note that appears on the + after 1 should be sustained until I reach 2.

    As far as I know sustaining a note is letting it ring, but how come it isn't written like I wrote it in the 2nd bar? Isn't it the same thing? I attached the bars, someone please clarify this for me.

    Excuse my MS Pain skills.

    It all 4/4 by the way.

    Attached Files:

  2. They are functionally exactly the same.
  3. Juggo


    Dec 29, 2006
    Alright thanks mate. Seems kind of unnecessary to start writing it this way, what the hell...
  4. jallenbass

    jallenbass Supporting Member Commercial User

    May 17, 2005
    Bend, Oregon
    You'll see it both ways.
    The 2nd note should be sustained until the + of 2 unless it's supposed to be played staccato.
  5. It's just easier to read the first example. They are the same.

    There are "grammar" rules to notation, conventions help make it easier on the reader. Stuff like staffs up or down, when to tie notes or not, that sort of thing.

    Music theory 101.

    Keep at, I think being fluent in reading gives a tremendous advantage, I sure wish I could do it.

    My kid who is 15 and has more than ten years of practice with written piano music, frequently mocks my ignorance. But he is a teenager. I just wrote the checks, I shoulda been taking the lessons.
  6. Juggo


    Dec 29, 2006
    Why don't you start now then?
  7. onlyclave


    Oct 28, 2005
    Reading works exactly like Absolute Pitch. What you do is write a whole note on A (treble or bass clef, whichever you want to read) and then you stare at it for 3-5 days. After that move on to E.

    I've already done them all and it's worked for me.
  8. Juggo


    Dec 29, 2006
    What does that have to do with my question? I know where the notes are located on the staff, which is not what my question was all about. But hey you can mock my way of gaining absolute pitch as much as you want, I don't care ;)
  9. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Yamaha, Ampeg, Line 6, EMG
    A little pro hint for ya...most pros prefer seeing charts written the second way over the first. Most want to be able to see where the 1, 2, 3 and 4 falls every time. I used to write charts the first way until I started getting complaints. Now I write them the second way, and no more complaints.
  10. miltslackford


    Oct 14, 2009
    Good for you.

    What Jimmy wrote is spot on it's easier to read notation when you've got the beats divided up obviously in the bar and you can see where each one starts. When I'm reading I think of each note as happening somewhere in the 1+2+3+4+ so if I can spot it at a glance it's much easier.
  11. Cabazon


    Jan 20, 2009
    I prefer the first one, personally. Less chance of spacing out and missing the tie, playing two eighths. Save ties for between measures.

    But that's just me. I can understand why some would prefer the ties--to see the half-beats, or to avoid the "Oh no, a quarter that isn't on a beat!" fumble.
  12. JTE

    JTE Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 12, 2008
    Central Illinois, USA
    Many of the rules for written notation go back to when everything WAS written, as in written by hand. The fewer strokes the better because of less chance of making a transcribing error.

    My preference is for the second so the articulation of the second attack clearly being on the "and" is explicit.

  13. seanm

    seanm I'd kill for a Nobel Peace Prize! Supporting Member

    Feb 19, 2004
    Ottawa, Canada
    The second version is much preferable over the first. When sight reading a piece cold, the first version would probably throw a lot of people unless the piece was very slow.

    I know that in school, you would lose marks for the first version.
  14. dave64o

    dave64o Talkbass Top 10 all time lowest talent/gear ratio! Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 15, 2000
    Southern NJ
    As someone who's just learning to read, I have to agree. The second version is much easier for me. Unfortunately, I seem to see the first version more often in music my instructor gives me and in the books we use.
  15. I might have to disagree on this one. I'd rather have fewer page turns. A little thought into the spacing within a bar will make both examples just as readable on the fly.

    I was primarily a symphony 1 st violin playing a circuit of 7 different orchestras, and also a reed player in a few different groups - symphonic and big band. I'd get many calls to come in and play concerts cold - IOW I read fairly well. I say this to give reference to where I come from as a reader.
  16. I'm used to seeing the second example with the tie. I prefer it.
    It kind of gives you some warning of a change up in the note

    However, I have often wondered why it isn't written the first way.
    I haven't seen anything anywhere stating that one or the
    other is the convention.
  17. FretlessMainly


    Nov 17, 2010
    Try doing it the first way across a bar line - you can't, so you have to use tied eighths. Now consider a repetitive syncopated pattern. If you defaulted to the first convention, at the bar change you'd have to switch to the second convention, which would make the musician think more than he/she has to in order to realize that the rhythm hasn't changed, but the way of notating the rhythm has changed (the OP's example is fairly simple; try it with a more complex rhythm). Thus, since the crossing the bar scenario necessitates convention #2, convention #2 should also be used within a bar to avoid different notational styles for the same rhythm.
  18. Otso


    Mar 6, 2006
    AFAIK it's a convention to use the second way of writing when the syncopation goes over the beats 2 and 3 (the halfway of the measure in 4/4).
  19. Excellent point.
  20. Ortus


    Apr 12, 2010
    New York, NY
    Agreed on all points here re: preference for version two. In addition, if this piece generally has an eighth note feel, I would find the second version helpful in reinforcing that fact.

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