How to Read

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

So far, we’ve been notating (writing down) musical examples using guitar tablature, a special system of notation developed just for the guitar. Tablature is a great, easy way to learn, but it can’t capture all the nuances of a piece of music. Plus, not all books feature guitar tablature. “Standard music notation” is more common. Believe it or not, notation is not hard to learn, and once mastered it will speed your learning of new music. Any system that has survived for centuries—and is used to record all types of music—must be a valuable one to learn!

This chapter shows how music is written in standard notation for the guitar. We learn about the musical staff and how it differs from the one used for tablature. We see how notes are written on the staff and also above and below it, and we relate this to rising and falling pitch. Tones and half tones are discussed and related to the frets of the guitar. Then we put theory into practice and start actually playing from notation, with easy examples of notes on each string.