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Switching from Tabs to notation

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by RHCFlea, Jul 5, 2001.


  1. RHCFlea

    RHCFlea

    Jun 16, 2001
    Washington DC
    I've noticed a lot of argument between tab users and more experienced bassists who use standard notation.
    I'll say this for tabs - they're the only way to get notes for we who cannot learn by ear.
    But I suggest getting tab's then, before learning a song by tablature, transcribe it into notation in a 2 dollar manuscript book. I decided to do this with all my piles of tabs. It takes only 5 to 10 a tab minutes and serves two purposes - you learn while transcribing what actual notes the tab represents and also, you will be playing the manuscript version in the future, which will make more sense, teach music theory, and actually have value when you use it.

    Also, using rests and notes of different lengths, you can visualize timing between notes.

    Just some advice from beginner to beginners
     
  2. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    Very well said. I teach most of my students to transcribe, and they all agree that writing speeds up the reading process immensely. If you are going to do ANYTHING with TAB at all, what you suggest is the best thing I've heard so far.

    Don't give up on learning to transcribe. You use the phrase, "for we who cannot learn by ear" in your post. May I suggest an alternative? How about, "for those of us who have not learned to transcribe on our own YET"? Remember, music is a language, and it takes years to build a vocabulary and learn to use it fluently. It's not like only certain humans posess the ability to figure out music by hearing it - it's a LEARNED skill. If you try to learn it, you'll begin to understand the language better. If you keep at it, you'll get it eventually. The path to enlightenment is exactly the same as the directions to Carnegie Hall in the famous joke. Stay positive and work at it, and it will come.
     
  3. Thanks man! i'll keep that in the future
     
  4. RHCFlea

    RHCFlea

    Jun 16, 2001
    Washington DC
    Thanks Chris. I will work on learning by ear, but I meant by "we who cannot learn songs by ear" was that some people naturally can tell notes and others cannot. Thanks for the encouragement
     
  5. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY

    Actually, the so-called "perfect pitch" phenomenon is vastly overrated. I've learned to identify single pitches without an instrument, but it's a skill I rarely use. What's more important is to develop "relative pitch", which can be described as the ability to identify the distance BETWEEN pitches (you don't have to be able to identify them by name to do this). While some people have higher natural aptitudes for this than others, anybody can learn to do it - even people without an amazing natural aptitude.

    Transcription is a science, and it is often best to learn it systematically. Most people make the mistake of trying to proceed from the specific to the general, when it is actually infinitely easier to begin with the general and then work INWARD to the specific. If you break the whole process into steps (I usually teach it as about a 10 step process, depending on the student), it becomes much easier, since each large step sets up the format for the next one. Also, when you come at it from this direction, it is possible to make "incomplete" transcriptions in which you notate only as much information as you can get at whatever level you're operating at, then come back and fill in the gaps when your ears have "grown" a bit later.
     
  6. I was going to post a new finding and found this thread where it will fit perfectly -

    I've found the perfect transcription/learning tool and I immediately thought that it would help players switch over from tab. I downloaded a copy of Finale Notepad from the web (do a search) and was stunned by what you can do on it. I've begun to use it to help with my poor reading skills of notes above the staff by transcribing works into the program and playing them back at slower speed to learn the pieces. I'm currently working on the Prelude to Bach's Cello Suite in G Major. Since I didn't have an audio file to hear the piece, I thought that I would put it into Finale and it works great!!! Not only have I helped my reading skills by transcribing but I've got a reference for how the piece sounds that I can play on top of at any speed needed to accomodate my aging mind and hands.

    And the program was free!!