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Getting position from music notation

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by progrmr, Apr 19, 2010.


  1. progrmr

    progrmr

    Sep 3, 2008
    Columbus, Ohio
    I don't think this can be done w/o experience but I thought I'd ask.

    I was going to tape off the tabs in my blues books to reinforce the music reading I've been doing (going very good BTW, after a month I'm up to 8th rests - NEVER gotten this far in my previous attempts to read).

    What I can't seem to get from the notation is position - IE is that "A" played on the open "A" or do Play the 7th fret on the "D" string?

    Is it possible to derive position from standard notation?
     
  2. Those are A in different octaves so yeah, they are notated differently.

    Open A (or E-sting 5th fret, or B-string 10th fret if you have a B string) is the bottom space, the next octave 'A' would be the top line of the stave.

    Technically speaking, bass is a transposing instrument so it actually sounds an octave lower than written - The line between the two dots in the clef is F3, a perfect 5th below C4 (middle C) but your instrument is actually sounding an octave + P5 below C4. But that's not really something you need to think about to play what's written.

    So, specifically to your question:

    ----x----- (A, D-string 7th fret)
    ----------
    ----------
    ----------
    ___x_____ (Open A)


    -PE
     
  3. JTE

    JTE Supporting Member

    Mar 12, 2008
    Central Illinois, USA
    Not generally. There is a convention in "legitmate" guitar notation that uses a roman numeral to indicate a fret, but it's generally used for only specific cases, and in exercises.

    It just takes some experience working out most practical position. Decades ago there was some tab for Richard Cousin's great line to "Smokin' Gun" by Robert Cray. The tab showed it all way up at the seventh fret area- where it sounds boxed and short, not at all like Cousins played it. The point is when I played if for a lesson in the open position where Richard played it, one of my students finally was able to make it sound right.

    But that's part of the learning too- you learn what fingering works for YOU. There's a bit on McCartney's part on "Day Tripper" that I'm still not sure what makes the most sense- after the first B to D back to B the the F#- then it goes B to D to the high E. If I play that at the 9th fret it sounds better, but it makes the change back to the 7th position for the critical start of the riff again awkward. If I play those last three notes in 7th position, it's a choppy shift back down to 7, but sets up the repeat nicely. That's what you learn for working things out instead of having someone tell you where to play it.

    How do you do it? Start with looking at the lowest and highest notes of a passage or phrase- use that to try a staring point, then try it there. Work out alternatives of awkward shifts, and try it different ways.

    John
     
  4. On the violin we normally work out the fingering and position changes and write it up over the score. Some music comes with suggested fingering, but on the whole ya have ta figure out whats best for you.

    With bass I often find that there are two ways of doing a riff, one with moving your hand, and one with stretching your hand a bit. I normally opt for stretching my hand, but other people I've seen tend to prefer to move their hand.
     
  5. fmoore60

    fmoore60

    Jun 11, 2008
    Jonestown, PA
    Read through your notation, quick glance, if you wave an "A" and you notice later in the piece you need an octave lower "A", well that is a tip to start higher octave wise, dig! Also note whether you have lower B, C, D's, unless you are playing a 5ver this will be tip where to start, same theory applies to do you need higher octaves in the piece. Other than that, the choice is yours as to sound, fingering or blend to the music. I personally base my choice on fingering. One BIG plus doing this based on notation, you will come up with better fingering choices. I have seen a lot of people play of tabs, I ask why do you go way up the neck for a "B" you have one next to the "E". I get because the tab says. You lose track of notes when just reading tab, IMO. Your effort is one to be proud of!
     
  6. By position if you mean octave - Yes. Piece of cake. go here www.visualguitar.com/index.php scroll the screen down a page.
    This is for treble clef and 6 string guitar you will have to adapt this to bass clef and your 4 string bass. The visuals used are great for "seeing" the note placement. Click on the note and hear if they are the same note (octave) or in another octave. Your question; "Is it possible to derive position from standard notation"? Yes.

    At that site I gave you notice standard notation middle C is in the green area.
    Then C on the staff at the F-A-C-E spot is in the light blue area.
    Then C in the upper ledger is in the dark blue area.
    That's 3 octaves of the note C. Let's get this out of the way --- green area has 2 C's. Same C in two places. The Light blue area has 3 C's, all the same and the dark blue has 1 C which is in the 3rd octave. Lot of duplication on the guitar fretboard, use whichever is easier to get to. See my reference to "first position standard notation" in the following.

    So if your standard notation middle C or the C in the lower ledger you would play the C on your guitar at the A string 3rd fret or E string 8th fret -- same note take your pick. I like to keep close to the nut when I'm playing from standard notation so I'd pick A string 3rd fret for my middle C --- now let's do not get into the discussion that the guitar is one octave off --- save that for later.

    That light blue C (F-A-C-E)- I would use the B string 1st fret. Then if you had a standard notation C in the upper ledger area I'd use the 1st string 8th fret.

    Everything you need is in the first four frets of all 6 strings and then just go up the 1st string for all upper ledger notes.

    Yes every "standard notation note" has a specific spot on your fretboard. Most of the time at least 2 places. Like I said I play two octaves close to the nut and then go up the 1st string for the third octave, i.e. I ignore all other notes I've picked out my "first position standard notation" and I use those notes. The 6 string guitar is a 4 octave instrument; if you have 24 frets. For the 4th octave - should you ever need it - just keep going up the 1st string past the 12th fret.

    You will have to adapt this to the bass clef - but here also every standard notation note has a specific place on your fretboard. Hopefully someone can give you a site that will spell out the bass clef the way www.visualguitar.com/index.php did for the treble clef. This comes close http://www.guitarnoise.com/help/beginner-questions/ scroll down you'll find it...
     
  7. dogofgod

    dogofgod

    Dec 24, 2009
    ^^
    Good advice.
    When I am reading charts, I do multiple takes with multiple fingerings. For me, I want to know the easiest method to get where i need to go, and also more difficult fingerings that allow me to add something extra when needed.
     
  8. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    i really don't care what position someone played something. i do a lot of motown stuff but i hardly ever use open strings like jamerson and babbitt did. so why would i want the position to be notated out for me? the beauty thing about knowing how to read music is that position becomes immaterial, and the fingering position that tabs give you that so many non-readers depend on to survive is useless when you know how to read. position markings are for beginners, quite honestly.
     
  9. Did I misunderstand the question in my original reply??

    Is the op asking about position as in 1st, 2nd, ... thumb?

    The example cited was:

    An open A vs A, D-String/7th fret (different octave) - in which case the notation is different as is the position (though variable). Each can be found in multiple spots but they are each different from one another and appear in different octaves on the stave.

    -PE
     
  10. I took it that progrmr (the OP) was asking when he reads standard notation and sees an A note where does he play it? A string open or D string 7th fret?

    The answer of course depends on where was that A note on the staff. Where it is on the staff dictates where it is to be played on the fretboard. That brings up the question in treble clef when we see middle C where do we play it? Then in the bass clef where do we play the lower ledger note E? That dictates where the other notes fall.

    Point -- seems we all do not start at the same place. I'm self taught, interested in seeing where others place those notes.
     
  11. There really is no set rule for this- a lot of it has to do with how you are comfortable playing. But the answer is being able to read ahead, so you can find where you should be on the neck - how you should finger the upcoming notes. Simple little major 6th riffs (1 / 3 / 5 / 6) can be played with the 1st and 4th finger in a single position, but you may find the riff will flow better if you play the first note with the 1st finger, then jump up 4 frets and play the next note on the same string with the 3rd finger, and finish the riff with a two finger pentatonic.

    The home work for this is to play through a piece, and try various positions and fingerings. Lead with the fourth finger, next the first, then in different positions. Experiment. If you do this enough, you'll develop a sense of what to do, just from reading the way the bass part for the song is phrased. Except for piano bass parts handed over to the bass player, in which case, you're on your own...
     
  12. fmoore60

    fmoore60

    Jun 11, 2008
    Jonestown, PA
    Amen,dead on! lol
    This very thing made me go, "What the "F-bomb"!" at worship group practice.
     
  13. These are the same:

    G clef:
    --------------
    --------------
    --------------
    --------------
    --------------
    -x- (middle C)

    F clef:
    -x- (middle C)
    -------------
    -------------
    -------------
    -------------
    -------------

    Transposition still applies so in either case that could be indicative of e.g. C, Gstring/5th fret - So, nothing changes with the pitch an open E would sound at.

    -PE
     
  14. First measure - the E - where on the fretboard would you play this E? I think that will clear everything up.
    [​IMG]
     
  15. D string/2nd fret
    A string/7th fret
    E string/12th fret
    B string/17th fret

    You pick, anyone of those represent that E.

    -PE
     
  16. OK all those you listed are the same E. You have to chose one. I choose D string 2nd fret. Why? Because the staff pointed me to the 2nd octave of E. My first octave of E is the ledger note E or E string open.

    Why would I go to the A string 7th or the E string 12? I know I can, but to what advantage? I'd like to keep my notes around the first 4 frets then go up the 1st string for the 3rd octave. That's the way I recognize / relate to standard notation

    Understand I'm learning not trying to be ^%&*$$#. Why would you use A string 7th fret?

    I guess I should add if I'm playing chord tones or scales / mode improv I'd place the E pattern at the A string 7th fret.
    Or at the E string 12th fret as that would be an easy spot to think scale or chord intervals, however, easier with standard notation - for me is to stay around the nut and catch the 3rd octave on the 1st string. My pattern for standard notation is the four frets around the nut. Really, unless some one can point out a big disadvantage of doing standard notation this way I think I'll stay with it.
     
  17. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    you're missing the point, mal. of course it's an octave above the open E string. that's non-debatable. that's where the E an octave above the open E always goes on the staff when writing music for bass. what the op is talking about is where you would position your hand to get the most out of it.

    since there are no notes below C in the second space and no notes higher than D above the staff, i would play your example in 5th position the entire time. and that's what i meant by the notes giving you enough information to where you don't need a tab-like notation telling you where to put your hands. i figured it all out on my own just because i know my notes. you can do that with any sheet of music, too, although more difficult stuff might make you have to try a little experimenting.
     
  18. Correct, all the same E; choose one based on your next, or better, next several moves and or where you are prior to it. The music as a whole will answer a lot of that for you. As an example to address your question of advantage: Lets say on 4 string bass, you have a 16th note E (2nd octave as you call it) followed by an A a perfect 4th plus an octave above the E which is also a 16th note, and for the heck of it lets say followed by C a minor 3rd above that (make it an eighth note followed by a 1/4 note rest and a 1/2 note rest just to complete a measure of 4/4). Set the tempo at 180bpm - now, pull that off smoothly and efficiently starting from E, D string/2nd fret or E, A string/7th fret. I think you'll quickly see why E, E string/12th fret might be a preferable choice. That's the advantage and the 'why'.

    And also correct on the open E, first ledger line below the stave in F clef. And if you have a low B string it could also be B string/5th fret.



    -PE
     
  19. progrmr

    progrmr

    Sep 3, 2008
    Columbus, Ohio
    Excellent replies all. I am good with the octave difference on the staff (stave??), I guess my original example was not a good one.

    I'm working blues (specifically the stormy monday line) and I see G - C - D, well because I'm new to reading music that D is the open D string. However the pattern for this line is to play it on the 5th fret of the A string - the pattern is movable, the open D is not.

    Basically my instructor said to leave the tabs in place until I get more advanced in reading and the know the different positions better. I'm taking a break from the blues book anyway, it's ahead of my music reading ability although only by a little bit.
     
  20. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    i'm not down with that and i'll tell you why...if you leave the tabs in place, you'll never have any incentive to read.
     

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