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Reading music and elitism

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by JimmyM, May 3, 2012.

  1. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    I saw a comment in the new BP today that just angered the living crap out of me. They asked a poll question: "Should we do away with TAB in our transcriptions?" To which one halfwit replied:

    "Losing the TAB would make the magazine way too elitist."

    Another joker replied:

    "Not all of us had mommies and daddies who could pay for music classes."

    Really? You really think it's about money and elitism? Yeah, you're right...I learned out of a book that cost $5 in addition to joining the middle school band. My wife, who had no previous musical skills, wanted to learn the piano a few years ago. I bought her a piano for Christmas and a $15 piano method book. She worked through the book herself and taught herself how to read. Real big money there, eh?

    So stop with this nonsense about reading music being elitist. I'm sick of it, and it's just a lame excuse for not wanting to put in the work. You never see anyone who can read music talking about how much it costs or how elite they are, do you? Nope, only the whiners who resent people for working for it.

    That's what it boils down to...not wanting to put in the work. It ain't brain surgery, folks.
  2. MartinG1957

    MartinG1957 You can never have too many bones....

    Aug 5, 2011
    Dublin, Ireland
    ^supportive applause :)
  3. kreider204


    Nov 29, 2008
    The only people who argue against reading music are those who can't do it. That pretty much ends the debate, as far as I'm concerned.
  4. bass12

    bass12 Say "Ahhh"... Supporting Member

    Jun 8, 2008
    Montreal, Canada
    For the cost of a cup of coffee a person can go to a university library, make some photocopies and get to work. No university nearby? Tons of on-line resources. The only real obstacle to learning to read music is an unwillingness to put in the time.
  5. pnchad


    Nov 3, 2005
    can anyone tell me what year it became cool to stay ignorant?
  6. THand


    Jun 9, 2008
    My name is THand, and I support the OP's statement.
  7. puddin tame

    puddin tame

    Aug 14, 2010
    I used to be able to read music when I was about 12, pretty well too. But as it happens my musical decisions led me down a path where it wasn't all that useful so my skills almost non-existent today. I'm not anti-reading but I think some people maybe overrate its importance. I could sight read decently as a kid but I just ended up never actually using or having the desire to sight read for long enough to let my skills vastly degrade. There's been maybe a couple of times I wish I could still do it, mainly when taking a peak at a few transcribed jaco solos and it taking me an eternity to work out the phrases, but as long as it may take me to learn a piece of written music on the rare occasion I will actually want to it is but a fraction of the time it would take me to learn to sight read it.

    There are people who will have use of it and gain from it, people who are straight up required to do it, and people who will play you under their table and go about their business without reading a note. And of course there are people who suck AND can't read
  8. Agree totally. Learning to read is not rocket science, it's just requires a bit of work. In fact it's a hell of a lot easier than learning a foreign language. TAB is BS.
  9. salcott

    salcott Supporting Member

    Aug 22, 2007
    NYC, Inwood.
    More applause.
  10. KeithPas

    KeithPas Supporting Member

    May 16, 2000
    I could not agree more; if someone does not want to learn then don;t learn it but don;t describe learning music that way.
  11. Jazzdogg

    Jazzdogg Less barking, more wagging!

    Jul 29, 2006
    San Diego, CA
    Jimmy, the responses to which you refer betray an attitude that is annoyingly commonplace among my younger students who bring with them to class an attitude of entitlement that, when coupled with a short attention span, and lack of self-management skills, makes me fear for the future of our country.

    Thankfully, I also have grow-ups in my classes. Otherwise, I'd find a new career.
  12. Fergie Fulton

    Fergie Fulton

    Nov 22, 2008
    Retrovibe Artist rota
    I find it is those that have never really tried it that are it's biggest critics.
    The truth of the matter is those that rail against it just don't know what they are talking about.

    I like to point out to them it is a communicative skill to learn like reading and writing.....after all if you could not read and write, not only could you not follow tab, you could not write and complain about about how you believe how hard it is to learn SN without trying.:crying:
  13. salcott

    salcott Supporting Member

    Aug 22, 2007
    NYC, Inwood.
    I don't dismiss tab completely-there are instruments, like pedal steel guitar, where there may be ten different ways to play the same notes. Only with tab can the bar position, strings used, pedal, and knee lever information that gives the desired inflection, dissonance/resolution, etc., be notated. That said, I'm a firm believer in learning to read standard notation.
  14. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    You benefitted from reading immensely even if you never use it anymore. It isn't all about sticking a sheet of music under your nose and being able to sight read it. It's about learning chord structure, it's about learning the names of the notes you're playing, it's also about understanding what's going on with music at a higher level than you had before, which I'm sure happened with you. If you never read another sheet of music again in your life, you benefitted from it.
  15. kreider204


    Nov 29, 2008
    Ya, I like it when both are included - the TAB can be handy when seen as suggestions for positions and fingerings. That being said, I'd rather do without TAB, if I had to choose.
  16. TNCreature

    TNCreature Jinkies! Supporting Member

    Jan 25, 2010
    Philadelphia Burbs
    Hmm...but what if WAS rocket science? Hmmm?
    It's too deep to think about...

    I am one of the lazy ones. Not lazy really, but easily frustrated. I always seem to get so far when self teaching and then I hit a wall.

    I did my best reading in high school and even started writing out simple parts.
    I think what saved me is my good ear, and my love and study of music theory and music history.

    I just bought a stack of theory and learn to read music books because I am going to try again to break through that wall.
  17. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Any pedal steel guitarist who knows how to read can figure out where to bar the strings, just as any bassist who knows how to read can figure out where to put their fingers without needing to be told.
  18. LouisV


    May 19, 2006
    mill valley, CA
    Yes! Learn to read music, it's not "elitist," it's as important as reading/writing English (or whatever language(s) you speak.) Tab is fine, too, but it's sort of like using transliteration to read/speak another language. It doesn't carry all the information, in my opinion. Ultimately, use the all the tools available to get the job done. Ignorance is not bliss!
  19. lowfreq33


    Jan 27, 2010
    Endorsing Artist: Genz Benz Amplification
    I agree with your statement Jimmy, but if BP wants to continue to sell magazines it's probably best that they continue to include tab. I'd wager at least 70% percent of their readers can't read notation.
  20. MartinG1957

    MartinG1957 You can never have too many bones....

    Aug 5, 2011
    Dublin, Ireland
    No problem with including TAB, my problem is with the attitude displayed by the inverted snobbery brigade... it's not elitist or privileged to learn to read music, it's liberating and expanding.

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