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reading music


leemond2008
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rite then, I have got myself a keyboard, or more like I have stole my sisters one that she had about 15 years ago, I was toying with the idea of getting one purely because...well I wanted to learn how to play it so I thought this would be a good place to learn the basics and then go out and get myself a decent one.

I can play the guitar and read tablature fine but I have no idea how to read music so I was wondering if anyone on here had any decent starting points or any tips on how to make reading music easier.

any help or advice would be much appreciated

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There is a series of music books under the title SFX. They have the letter of the note written within the note, that can really help if you're starting out.

If it is an old second hand keyboard it can also help to write the notes on the white keys until you get your eye in and your hands co-ordinated.

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I've downloaded music theory for dummies, been crashing through it

just learnt about full notes, half notes, quater notes, full rests, half rests etc

I am pretty good at picking things up music wise its just actually understanding what each symbol means, its quite a good guide to start off with, I'm on about page 40 now.

No doubt I'll forget what all the symbols represent and haveto re-read it again tomorrow but it seems to be sticking for the minute, just looking at the staff's now.

It pretty much is just like learning a new language isnt it

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The best way is to actually learn an instrument or the piano/keyboard. Trying to learn it like a language is much more difficult and far less rewarding. Learning to play something will give you a far more holistic experience IMO.

What's your goal for learning to read music? To be able to read on the guitar or to be able to write music down so that other musicians can read and play your compositions?

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nah I dont need it for the guitar I'm fine on that

I wanto learn how to play the key board and reading music goes pretty much hand in hand with that doesnt it.

I am already picking up the playing side of it, I have just spent 15 minutes or so following an easy tutorial of imagine and its no problem following patterns and chords when they are there in front of me, its just a case of wanting to understand what I'm looking at with regards to sheet music I suppose

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you can pick up theory books cheap enough. i would suggest starting from grade one and working your way up. it will teach you how to read and understand music. the ones they use in music schools have plenty of exercises to do and are really worth it if you want to take it seriously. also most of the information is online if you want to check if you are getting things right.

reading music is easy but once you understand why you do certain things, you'll become a better player.

alternatively most decent keyboards have tutorials built in, but aside from the basics they aren't that great.

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It pretty much is just like learning a new language isnt it
See my bafflement in the 'Things you've never "got"' thread.

I can read it, in the sense of "decoding" it, but the thought of reading in "real time" - at the same speed as I'm playing an instrument - is utterly beyond me.

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Hmm. From my experience (albeit at a low level in the music business) there is a lot of snobbery between those who can read and those who can't. Also,between those who can read "the dots" and those who just read the chords. I think you can get by if you read the chords;drums don't have an equivalent so I had to (try) and read the drum dots. As mjm says' it is much harder to read a part that some 'bird' singer drops in front of you 20 minute before you are going to play it and expects you to read it like Buddy Rich.

I believe The Beatles couldn't read the notes and I'm guessing Stevie Wonder would have been limited(that is not meant to be insulting btw). If you can do it then it is a huge advantage - no doubt.

A little story - many will have heard of Mark Knopfler - rock guitarist.

When he was still at the top, Steely Dan wanted him to play a session and were surprised to find that he couldn't read very well but was a very good guitarist.

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Ive actually just been out to buy a cheap ''how to play keyboards'' book, I have got it just because it has got the chord windows in the back of the book

as for standard playing I am now pretty confident that I understand the basics of it and would be able to play something pretty simple.

I know you can get by without learning it but to be honest I have never really bothered with anything other than my guitar's and it was a choice between keyboard or a banjo.

The whole learning music bit is just something to callenge myself with, If I am doing something like this then I'll more than likely throw myself into it headfirst and it'll keep me out of the pubs for a while lol

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it was a choice between keyboard or a banjo.

And you chose keyboard? You fool!! Banjo is AWESOME fun to play :D

I can read music, but only in the way I can read French.. ie not fluently, I have to sit there and slowly decode it. But in 20+ years of being a working musician, I've only once or twice been in situations where I wished I could read properly, can't say it'e ever held me back. And I've played with some extraordinary musicians who wouldn't know musical notation from esperanto.

Musical theory is much more interesting, and you can learn so much of that without ever having to actually read the stuff. The ear is king.

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Ok then I had a little breakthrough this morning, last night I sat there learning the **** tedious shite they get you to play when you first buy a keyboard (jingle bells, oh when the saints come marchin in etc) just to try to familiarise myself with the notes on the staff and whatnot

Any way this morning whilst in the middle of a dream of a Ginger haired ghost who was trying to haunt my missus and our unborn child (I don't even have a missus so that in itself was a little strange, anyway that's another story lol) something went click and I got out of bed at 6 o'clock and pulled out an old Zeppelin tablature book that I've got.

Going off the notes on that I have taught myself to play the first few bars of black dog

I'm quite pleased with myself this morning anyway, going from not having a clue 2 days ago to being able to play a bit of Zeppelin is pretty good going I recon (still got a way to go but im happy)

Getting a new keyboard tomorra when I get paid now lol

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  • 2 weeks later...

ok then, a bit of an update and a request for help off someone if possible

I am getting on fine on the keyboard (havent had that much time to practise it until this week) I am getting by reading notes and stuff with no problems but I am having an absolute ball ache getting my head around the chords

I have got 'music theory for dummies' downloaded onto my laptop and have read and re-read and re-re-read the section on chords but to no avail

I have tried that link that was posted earlier on in the thread as well but still no joy

is there anyone here who in lamens terms could explain to me how to figure out what keys are pressed from these two examples because they are starting to annoy me now

music1h.png

music2j.png

(the bottom part of the second staff is fine its just help with the top part I need)

cheers if anyone can help

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Musical score runs thus C-D-E-F-G-A-B-[C],

So in the first example the first chord is the d f and a flat above middle C.

It may be worth booking just a couple of lessons with a pro because the secret to keyboard/piano is fingering. (fnah fnah) If you get your fingering wrong (fnah fnah) it will mess up the next chord you want to play.

Practicing scales will help with this (when to tuck in your thumb) etc.

I did Grade 5 piano and theory but now couldn't make the **** thing work at all........

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Looking at the top example it is 4/4 time so you count to 4 for each bar. Your left hand would start and play a chord of DFAb for beat 1, then two lots of chord FAC in the space of the 2nd beat, then in this bar you hold that chord for 2 more beats to finish the bar, having counted to 4 in total. At the same time your right hand is resting for half of beat 1, then plays a D for 1 and a half beats, then you have 4 more notes, (quavers) DFAC to play at the same time as your left hand is holding the last chord. These 4 notes are played evenly over beats 3 and 4.

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I'm just reading an analysis of Miles Davis's "Kind of Blue", and trying to get my head round the theory of modal jazz (i.e. music based around scales, rather than chords). Interesting, but slightly bewildering.

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