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Reading music and elitism

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

  1. bassinplace


    Dec 1, 2008
  2. armadillopete


    Mar 3, 2012
    Tab allowed me to pick up a bass guitar and start playing. Three kids a grandchild and a full time job take up most of my time. I plan on learning to read music when I retire. For now tab has given me a new hobby and has allowed me to connect and play music with my son who does know how to read music and plays a lot better than I do. I don't think there's anything wrong with that.I have no allusions of making a living from music. I wish I could read music and one day I will . For know tab serves its purpose for me.

    IMO tab has a place in music.
  3. Curtybob


    Jun 2, 2007
    Jackson, MO
    Guys, don't bother. You'll eventually just get told that you imagined the whole thing, and that it was a joke. It's a pretty solid tactic, and I have since used it on my girlfriend with great success.:rolleyes:
  4. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Right, that's why it's lasted for centuries virtually unchanged, unlike any other language on earth.

    If there was a better system, we would be using it. Tab is unique to the instrument it's written for, and these ancient lute tabs mean nothing to a piano player or a horn player. They don't make sense to anyone else but ancient lute players. But notation can be used by any of them. And that's why it's superior. All instruments can use it. You can choose to deny it, but it's not really up for debate. It's the best system we've got, and it's pretty darn hard to beat it. But if it does ever get beaten, it won't be by tab.

    Also, how exactly is it inaccessible? If my wife can figure out the basics in a couple days, with zero prior musical training, most people can.
  5. Roy Vogt

    Roy Vogt

    Sep 20, 2000
    Endorsing Artist: Kiesel, Carvin, Accuracy, Hotwire, Conklin Basses, DNA, Eden
    I have to concur, Jimmy. I've had a couple of beginners starting their bass lessons with me this last couple of weeks. One is 14 and the other is 62. They're both catching on pretty quick.
    To those who are a little put off or intimidated by reading I'll quote an old Alka Seltzer commercial:
    "Try it, you'll like it!"
  6. MartinG1957

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

    Aug 5, 2011
    Dublin, Ireland
    "Then we have the problem that musical notation is far less than optimal. We have better, more logical alternatives, but people just stick to the old cumbersome notation because they're afraid of change. "

    Really? I'd love a link to see another system that can immediately indicate the pitch, length, rhythm, volume, attack, style and placement of a note, the overall and any incidental time and key changes and the structure, infrastructure and roadmap of a piece of music - the only thing missing for me is "musicianship" and that's where the player comes in.
    If you are talking about notating non-standard instruments such as electronics etc or quarter/micro tones which have been developed long after standard notation or in a totally different system and context to that being referred to here then I can see a very limited and very specific possible requirement ( "possible" because I don't have experience with these to know for sure) however in the context of both Jimmy's OP and the discussion I fail to see how standard fails to the extent that a "better more logical replacement" which is available hasn't gained widespread exposure much less adoption.
    Be interested to see the alternatives as I confess to being unaware of them-and in everyday real-world use, what do they offer that standard doesn't, say compared to standard over tab?
  7. dave64o

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

    Jun 15, 2000
    Southern NJ
    While I'll agree the original statement is doubtful, it's sometimes shocking what students turn in. My son (just finished his freshman year of high school) gets A's and B's in English and even his teachers tell us there are parts of his papers that look like he's texting his friends in otherwise very good work. And they also tell us that he's far better than most at turning it off when it comes to written expression.

    It seems as though, from a young age, kids get so used to the complete lack of clarity/completeness/effort/whatever that doesn't matter in text messages that, by the time they're in higher grades and need to write papers/tests/essays that require them to express themselves properly and in depth, they simply don't understand why they have to work so hard to do it or why the teacher "didn't get it" and lowered their grade for doing it. And my son is far from unique. The same is true with our friends kids, our nieces and nephews, our son's friends at other high schools.

    Actually, I hadn't intended to tie that to the tab/notation discussion but, at least in some ways, it does sound quite similar.
  8. Duke21


    Nov 14, 2010
    Narvik, Norway
    And it is a great picture of STING! :)

    I also think Jimmy is right spot on. I can't read music, well I like TAB with score above, I use the score to obtain additional info which is lacking in the TAB. Any way, very often I have to change the TAB to fit my way of playing.

    Learning something is just a matter of time and motivation. No money will make me as good as STING or Squire.... but for sure if I, and only me put more effort into it, I'll learn something.
  9. What you are suggesting, by analogy, would be that knowledge of TAB: a) impairs the ability to learn standard notation; and/or b) reduces the quality of one's use of already-acquired standard notation (by attrition?).

    I think both of these are doubtful claims, just as I do the analogous claims regarding written English vis-a-vis texting.

    Here's what I think:

    It is possible to learn standard, written, academic English subsequent to learning text messaging, and the use of both systems doesn't cause one of them to atrophy.

    It is possible to learn standard music notation subsequent to learning TAB, and the use of both systems doesn't cause one of them to atrophy.
  10. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    It does give people much less incentive to go the extra mile and do it right, though. How many times have I heard a kid say, "Everyone knows what I'm talking about when I type this way, so who cares?" I'll tell you how many times...a lot! Or how many times do I hear someone on here say, "I'd like to read, but all my sheet music has notation and tab under it, and I always look at the tab"? So while it's possible to learn the right way subsequent to learning the shortcut way, the likelihood of it happening goes way down IMHO.
  11. I agree - but you can't put the blame on the notation system itself (and I'm not saying you're doing that).
  12. As a musician who reads, I do not like the inclusion of tabs on every piece of bass guitar music out there. Why should I be forced to put up with more page turns than are really necessary? Give an option to have or not have tabs, I'd be willing to pay more to keep tabs off my page.
  13. It is not an elitist attitude that leads us to learn music notation -- which is a common language that enormously facilitates the flow of music. As far as TABS go, I don't like them for guitar or bass, Could do very well without them. However, I know many that use them. It is up to the magazine to decide whether having TABS would affect its sales. To me, the topic is, after all, moot.
  14. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    The price of printing two mags would be astronomical, and I think when you saw the price of a subscription after doing that, you'd change your mind ;)
  15. Picktastic


    Feb 29, 2012
    Kids today and their tabs! Back in my day it was something you drank. Get off my lawn!!!!!
  16. I'm not talking about magazines. I'm talking about books and sheet music aimed at bass players. If I'm on a reading session I do not want to be constantly flipping pages because the music is aimed at the hobbyist market.

    I have spent more time re-doing in Finale music I've paid for to get rid of extra crap that publishers force on us. As some of you know, Finale isn't cheap and there is a learning curve to it as well. I generally do my own parts to everything I need. I'd sure like to be able to buy a usable product aimed for a pro, but the option isn't even there.
  17. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    I hear you, Carl, but if a publisher told me I'd sell 50% more books if I added tab, guess what I'd be putting in my books? ;)
  18. I'm sure the number is higher than 50%, but you'd think someone would fill the niche.
  19. Phil Smith

    Phil Smith Mr Sumisu 2 U

    May 30, 2000
    Peoples Republic of Brooklyn
    Creator of: iGigBook for Android/iOS
    There is so much non-hobbyist reading material that you couldn't in multiple life times begin to put a dent into. Real Book I, II, III for starters will keep you busy no matter which clef you choose bass clef or treble clef.
  20. dave64o

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

    Jun 15, 2000
    Southern NJ
    Nothing I said conflicts with your statements. It's certainly possible to learn to write well if you're a frequent and "typical" text messager. It's also possible to learn to sight read if you're a tab user. But does that mean that the typical content of text messages conveys the same amount of information and is as complete and expressive as well written English? I'd certainly never make that claim. Nor would I make the claim that tab is a complete as standard notation. It simply isn't.

    For the record I do use tab occasionally if I'm looking for a starting point. But I also know I'm usually going to find mistakes in that tab. Plus, the fingering in most tabs are far busier than they need to be. It's rare that you find one with a well thought out, economical fingering. But in my lessons ... NO TAB!!!!! I figure if I'm paying for lessons my money is better spent on learning something more useful. My teacher is grateful because I'm the only student he's ever had that demanded a "No tab" rule in lessons. And he's been teaching for over 30 years!

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