Authentic sheet or tabs

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kwikrp
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Authentic sheet or tabs

Post by kwikrp » February 21st, 2014, 6:17 pm

I have been looking for source for authentic music, I was told that anything that is published should be authenticated. But to my disappointment I have purchased song books and have seen conflicting sheet music. It does not match if I see a video of the original artist playing.

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Nuno
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Re: Authentic sheet or tabs

Post by Nuno » February 23rd, 2014, 6:41 am

The original artist plays a different note or plays in a different position? A note can be played in different positions along the fretboard, it would be Ok. If they are different notes, it could be just a mistake or an adapted/easy version or it could be based on a different version.

Forget the video, does it sound good to you?

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Re: Authentic sheet or tabs

Post by Alan Green » February 23rd, 2014, 11:58 am

It's a tough call.

Magazine versions are quite often in standard tuning rather than the original recording's semitone down or something similar. If you can afford it, buy the official versions.

Tabs have a bad reputation, but some of them are very good.
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Re: Authentic sheet or tabs

Post by NoteBoat » February 25th, 2014, 8:25 pm

I'm sensing a little bit of a disconnect here.

The goal of "authentic" music is a faithful reproduction of the way music sounds. The goal of "authenticating" a piece of music is pretty simple - if you play what's written, does it sound like the music it represents? If it does, it's "authentic". If it doesn't, it's wrong.

But there's more than one way to get a sound. When you say that sheet music doesn't match an artist's video - well, that doesn't make the music wrong. It means it's giving you one way to create the sound, and the artist has taken a different way to get the same sound.

Written music is like a movie script - it gives you the lines an actor will say. Two different actors can interpret a character completely differently, but if they say the exact same words, the performances are both authentic to the script - the same words are used.

So let's look at the common ways music can be presented and see if your expectations might need some adjustment...

Song books come in two basic flavors. One has standard notation for an instrument, often presented with tablature. The other has a vocal line above piano music, usually with chord symbols above the vocal line - in the trade that's known as a P/V/G (piano/vocal/guitar) arrangement. Note the key word here: arrangement.

On line, tablature alone is more common.

Now let's look at the limitations of these:

Standard notation - the instrument line in dots on a staff in guitar books - represents the rhythm of the music (by the types of notes used), the pitch of the notes played (by their placement on the staff), the relative volume levels (through symbols like f, mp, p, ff, etc) and some subjective indications of expression and technique (through the use of symbols indicating slides, slurs, staccato dots, and words or abbreviations, often in Italian). Standard notation attempts to convey what it sounds like, not how it's to be played.

Tablature - this represents ONE way to achieve the pitches indicated on a standard notation staff. It's rarely the only way. Some instruments can get a pitch in just one way: if sheet music says you play "middle C", there is exactly one key on the piano that will make that sound. There are FIVE places on the guitar that will produce that same sound - the first fret of the 2nd string, the 5th fret of the 3rd string, the 10th fret of the 4th string, the 15th fret of the 5th string, and the 20th fret of the 6th string.

P/V/G arrangements are exactly that, arrangements. They attempt to take everything going on in a song and move it around so it can be played by two hands on one piano. This often requires "reducing" the score... which means notes are either moved to lie within the reach of the hands, or by leaving some notes out entirely.

It's quite common for tablature to be pitch accurate, but different from what the performer actually played. The sequence of pitches 0-1-3 on the first string might be written as 5-6-8 on the second string. The sounds will be the same, so the tablature is "authentic" in that it gets you a result that sounds like the original.

You might think they don't sound the same, because if you play the notes on the first string they're not quite the same sound as you get from the same pitches on the second string. That's right - but it also doesn't matter. Unless you're using exactly the same instrument set up with the same gauge strings, your "timbre" (the quality of the sound) will be different than the original in subtle ways - and no system of notation will fix that. In addition, no notation system can handle all the subtleties of an artist's touch - how wide is the vibrato? How sharp or flat is the bent note?

Part of learning an instrument is learning the different ways you can play the same pitches. What you really want to do is start with something that's pitch-accurate, and then use your ears and skills to turn it into what you expect.
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jaredluvsmusic
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Re: Authentic sheet or tabs

Post by jaredluvsmusic » September 12th, 2014, 11:58 am

Would you guys say its better for a beginner to learn reading tabs or the standard notation? thanks for the help

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Re: Authentic sheet or tabs

Post by NoteBoat » September 13th, 2014, 3:36 pm

Learn both.

Tab is ubiquitous, because you can type it - writing standard notation takes specialized software... although some is available free, really good programs that will allow you to create different ensembles and write for multiple instruments is pricy. The software I use I've invested over a thousand dollars in between the initial purchase, upgrades, and adding VSTs and stuff so I can hear what a playback by a string quartet would be like.

But standard notation is, well... standard. It's the common language of music beyond the guitar. Wrote a cool riff you want your sax player to do? Good luck getting it across in tab.

Standard notation is also the foundation of music theory. If you ever want to learn how to compose, arrange, or understand the interaction of different instruments the best resources use ONLY standard notation. That's not to say you can't compose or arrange without knowing it - but knowing it will save you a heck of a lot of time.

And if you're going to learn to read standard notation, there's no better time than when you're beginning. It's a new skill, and it's independent of your chops - everybody will start with Mary Had a Little Lamb, Little Brown Jug and the like. If you can already shred, that's going to be boring. But if you start right away, and work at it a little every day, in a couple of years you'll be a decent reader. And I've heard dozens of guitarists say "man, I wish I'd learned to read music". I've never heard a single one say they were sorry they wasted their time learning. But I've only met two musicians - both full time pros - who didn't read, started gigging, and then learned to read. Because like I said, it starts with boring stuff. But if you learn while the boring melodies are still challenging, it's a pretty natural thing to pick up.
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notes_norton
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Re: Authentic sheet or tabs

Post by notes_norton » September 14th, 2014, 9:54 am

It's hard to add anything after those to very excellent NoteBoat posts, but there is one point I feel I must add.

Standard notation is the 'lingua franca' of music. It's OK to learn TAB but IMHO it's necessary to learn standard notation.
  • With standard notation, not only can you communicate with your sax player and keyboard player, but you can play with musicians that don't even speak a verbal language you understand. I've done this with Hispanic people - their command of English was no better than my command of Spanish
  • There is a lot written in TAB, but there are millions of songs not written in TAB. Virtually every piece of music that has ever been written exists in standard notation so you can read anything ever written - no limits
  • If I were to hire a guitarist and I had the choice between two fairly equal candidates, and one could read standard notation, I'd pick that one, simply because if everybody reads, there are situations where we can communicate better
I learned to read notation on the saxophone in school band, later on the keyboard, and finally on the guitar. I can't sightread on the guitar yet (unless the song is very easy) and I realize that reading notation on the guitar is more difficult than reading notation on the saxophone. On the other hand, transposing to a different key on the guitar is much easier than transposing on the saxophone. Each instrument has its gifts and challenges. Part of being proficient on any instrument is meeting the challenges and overcoming them. Pretty soon you will wonder why it seemed so hard at first.

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Re: Authentic sheet or tabs

Post by NoteBoat » September 18th, 2014, 2:12 am

notes_norton wrote:With standard notation, not only can you communicate with your sax player and keyboard player, but you can play with musicians that don't even speak a verbal language you understand. I've done this with Hispanic people - their command of English was no better than my command of Spanish
That might depend - last week I was talking to a friend, an excellent trombone player. He'd just gotten a pick-up gig with a touring salsa band.

Turns out that traditional salsa bands communicate in solfege. So when they called the first tune and said they'd do it "in si" he was a half step off (because he was "in C" and si = B!)
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Nuno
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Re: Authentic sheet or tabs

Post by Nuno » September 18th, 2014, 6:51 am

NoteBoat wrote:So when they called the first tune and said they'd do it "in si" he was a half step off (because he was "in C" and si = B!)
Exactly! I must "translate" each time I read a book (or web) with English notation, I learnt and use solfege. This time, moreover, "si" and "C" are almost homophones and if they are using verbal language...

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Re: Authentic sheet or tabs

Post by notes_norton » September 19th, 2014, 8:11 am

Funny. I worked on a cruise ship in the 1980s and we would pull into San Juan, Puerto Rico once a week. The musicians I met there read standard notation. There were a couple I could hardly talk with due to they knew about as much English as I knew Spanish, but we could all read the charts.
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