Reading sheet music

I'm just curious:

Who here at BGD can read sheet music?

Who here simply relies on tablature?


  • No sheet music for me.  I can read tab, but don't like to...I mainly like to just see where somebody's fingers go.
  • I read sheet music.
  • I can read sheet music, albeit, slowly.

    I generally transfer a new tune to learn into tabs, which I can sight-read.
  • I can read either but prefer notation by far.
  • I read sheet music.

    I switched over a few years back, before that I only used tab. I found that very limited so I decided to learn how to read sheet music. To my surprice it was quite easy and took me only a few weeks to get used to it. (I have posted my experience and process with that here on BGD earlier). It opens up a new dimension with all new music available and that one can play from.
  • I can read sheet music.  It is the easiest way for me to learn the basics of a tune.  I find that I don't really play the tune well, however,  until I have it memorized and can put the sheet music aside. Then it starts to flow and I can improvise. I've never been able to learn by ear. Joe
  • sheet music and tablature both.

  • Thanks so much everyone for your great replies.

    I learned to read sheet music from a very early age, (self-taught and mostly arrangements for piano). And then I had a long hiatus from music for a number of years. Tried learning the guitar but it just didn't work for me. When I began learning to play the fiddle back around 2014, I found it easier to use either tablature or simply play by ear. Even now, although I rarely play the fiddle, I find it easier (almost instinctive) to play by ear when playing the fiddle.  But for playing the piano, I'd definitely use sheet music to play other composer's music. For my own comps, I play them by ear ( Left ear bass, right ear melody). And gee, do they get sore after a while.  As Hakan said, reading sheet music opens up a whole new dimension.
  • Cool!

    I do most of my learning of new material with a split screen of video and tab/notation.
    Then I learn just as much when I become able to play around with the notes a bit.

    Right now I'm working strictly from a recording...whew...almost forgot how much work that is! Some times I believe I only find a lick because there just weren't any more mistakes that could be played, so it was all that was left to try...haha
  • Sheet music here. I can figure out tabs, but not on the fly. When in jams though, I find a guitar, and follow along with whatever chords they're playing. If they go off out in the fields, I'm coming right behind them lol.
  • I read sheet music it's a nice cheat but also a crutch
  • I can read sheet music slowly.  If I find a song that I want to learn that's not one that John has done,  I will take it into my Ipad with a app called Onsong.  Most of the people I jam with here

    in Southeast Missouri use Onsong for playing chords for lyrics-not sheet music.  However I with take a song and convert it into fiddle notes ie. D would be D0, and E is D1, F# is D2, G is G0 or

    D3 and so on.  For me this is easy to read.  I have converted over a 100 fiddle songs in Chordpro

    format.  If anyone has Onsong, I would be glad to pass my chordpro files along.
  • I LOVE Onsong! I paid the year subscription in February I think it was. The more I use it, the better I like it.
  • The way "Tab" would make sense to me would take in to consideration that an open G is played open and a G# is played with the index finger. But, so is an A played with the index finger. So when one plays the G# and moves to the A how is this best described? How about I l (Index low position) and I h (Index high position); followed by Ml (b flat) Middle low and then Mh (B natural) Middle high, etc., etc. Ring finger would be C and C# and pinky would be D (perhaps played in unison with next string open). This method assigns each finger two notes, a low and a high.

    I'm pretty sure fiddle tab is written somewhere near what I'm indicating but not absolutely sure.

    Writing tab for a fretted instrument is a piece of cake. For example a Bb might be 3rd fret and a B natural the 4th fret. No need to think of low and high.
  • I do same as sheet music till my brain goes on auto pilot and just plays.  Also helpful if trying to learn "by ear" and get stumped on certain part..  Wish I could always play by ear.  I see people doing it all the time.  Very talented...
  • Most of the time I play the fiddle with my fingers, but sometimes my ear gets in the way.  I really couldn't ever move my ears fast enough....
  • 1.  Initially, I read and play the notes from the sheet music a few times.

    **Then I tab the notes DOWN the page’ (not left to right).  This helps me increase my speed faster AND best of all the muscle memory kicks in faster.

    2.  Some tunes I can hear the notes and just play by ear.  What is  really weird is that if I originally  learned the tune “by ear”, I can’t play it by notes on the page or tab.  I don’t know why!!!!





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