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Using music as a guide, not reading note for note

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by floatingaxe, Oct 14, 2010.

  1. I'd like to be able to use sheet music as a guide.
    I want to be able to look at the bass clef of piano music and see keys, chords, etc. and use it as a guide for what to play and where the song is going. Not necessarily as a note for note prescription for what to play.
    Do I need to suck it up and learn to read for real, or is there a method for doing this without being able to sight read?
  2. BassyBill

    BassyBill The smooth moderator... Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 12, 2005
    West Midlands UK
    Think about how you learned to read English. One word at a time, slowly, right? Once you get more proficient and accurate, you can skim read to get the larger meaning of stuff quite well.

    Same for music.
  3. BassChuck

    BassChuck Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 15, 2005
    what you are talking about is a skill that takes a while to develop. Learning how to read is the begining.
  4. MonetBass

    MonetBass ♪ Just listen ♫ Supporting Member

    Sep 15, 2006
    Tulsa, OK
    Yes, learn to read proficiently so you can analyze on-the-fly. The best way to do that, IMO, is to learn to play piano.
  5. No, there isn't. You can't paraphrase or riff on something you read unless you can first read it.

    Reading's not that hard. It will never hurt you to know how to do it. BTW, sight-reading is not the same thing as reading. Sight-reading, depending on how rigorous you want to be about it, means you can read a piece or a part more or less accurately more or less close to speed without practicing it. It's a great skill to have, but not everybody has or needs it. Plain reading, though, is something nearly anybody can learn, and it will never be to your detriment to do so.
  6. You guys don't understand how this works at all.
    You're supposed to tell me what I want to hear, not depress me with all your "reality".
    Seesh, thanks for nothin'.
  7. Jon Moody

    Jon Moody Commercial User

    Sep 9, 2007
    Kalamazoo, MI
    Manager of Brand Identity & Development, GHS Strings, Innovation Double Bass Strings, Rocktron
    You should learn to read for real.

    However, when you are playing off a piano chart, the LAST thing you should be doing is reading it note for note. All that's going to do is really muddy up the low end, because you'll be playing the same thing that the pianist's left hand is doing. This is exactly what I get at church to read off of; piano charts. Any time I'm backing up a high school choir, it's rare that I get anything other than piano charts.

    I wrote a blog about playing off a piano chart without "reading" it per se. Please keep in mind, it still assumes you have a lot of knowledge of how to read music in general. You can find it here.
  8. mambo4


    Jun 9, 2006
    A few years ago I used to prefer just following at chord charts and improvising my part.
    Eventually, during a Latin band stint, I began to appreciate the value of being more specific with my rhythm, and learned to follow rhythm notation better.
    I give myself a few more years to feel the same about pitch...
    Just sayin...

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