Sheet music or staff notation.

Sheet music or staff notation.

I can’t read sheet music or staff notations and i do want to learn them.
In fact, at least i know how the ‘Tonic Solfa’ works.
Does knowing doh, re, meh……help me in picking up sheet music quicker?
How much difference do they both have in common?

Re: Sheet music or staff notation.

"Alfred’s Essentials of Music Theory, Complete " from Amazon, will give you all the tools.

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Re: Sheet music or staff notation.

Can you play an instrument, or do you want to be able to read sheet music and at the same time learn an instrument?

You don’t HAVE TO be able to read sheet music in order to be(come) a musician, but it can be a valueable skill.

My basic advice is to learn to read sheet music that you already know ("Twinkle twinkle", "Row row row your boat" etc.), kind of like learning vocabulary and grammar "in context". I’m not saying that staff notation learned in isolation is particularly bad for you, but if you already know some music it’s easier to think "Ah, so this is what [insert melody of your choice] looks like!" (similar to reading a transcript while listening to a podcast).

After you’ve done this for a while, have a look at the notes of a not-yet-known melody and see if you can make anything out of it. Repeat for as many melodies as you want (and/or find the method helpful). Some people can play never-heard pieces of classical music directly from sheet music, but are unable to repeat "Yankee Doodle Dandy" by ear if they hear it.

Re: Sheet music or staff notation.

It might depend on where you are. More common in Europe (I think) is the "fixed-do" system where "do" is always c. Here in the States we often use "movable-do" where "do" just means the first note of the scale of the key you’re in. Either way, I’d suggest picking up a good book and/or teacher and just diving in. As with any language, learning music notation well is only possible if you do it a lot.

Re: Sheet music or staff notation.

If you are keen to learn staff notation (‘sheet music’ is another name for the same thing) then do so. You’ll find it useful - just as long as you don’t forget the importance of listening. Whatever musical knowledge you already have will help in learning staff notation.

The first and fundamental thing you need to know about staff notation is that the dots follow the shape of the tune - if the tune climbs up, the dots go up, if the tune goes down, the dots go down. If you can trace the ‘ups and downs’ of a tune with your finger as you hear it, then you have an idea of how it would look in staff notation. The rest is filling in the details: what position on the staff corresponds to what note, how long each note lasts, where the beat falls.

This won’t mean much to you yet, since you haven’t started reading music, but staff notation is, in my opinion, particularly well suited to mandolin and fiddle, because the open string notes are represented by alternate spaces, which serve as useful reference points.

Good luck!

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Ditto what CreadurMawnOrganig said. You can more or less read music now — all you have to do is remember which line/space corresponds to which note/solfah/doh-re-me on the instrument. Find the ‘root’ note on whatever instrument you are playing, and memorise its location on the staff. It will always be the same. After that it’s just a matter of getting familiar with where the other notes are. Things like keys and note duration are easily learned as and when you come to them.

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Re: Sheet music or staff notation.

The comments posted so far in reply to your question are absolutely right. However, having taught the GHB in pipe bands for years it is quite clear that everyone is different and abilities to even relate a note on the instrument to what is written on the stave vary. It is essential to remember that what to play may be learnt mechanically from the dots, but how to play it is learnt by ear and from the heart.
You don’t say what instrument you play, but when I started learning the fiddle, the different keys, major, minor, Adorian etc’ were and still are a nightmare. But as long as I know which notes to play sharp and which to play natural I seem to get by. Keys that require notes played flat are beyond my ability. Having said that, I play fiddle in sessions and love it to bits. Stay strong.

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Well let’s start at the beginning - a very fine place to start.
If you know DO-RE-MI then it is substitution. MI corresponds with the lowest line in a Treble Notation which is E. From there you can work out each step. FA=F is between the lines. SO=G is the next line and so forth repeating at DO=C. This pattern repeats beyond the 5 lines in both directions. Write the letter over the note.
In time you will begin to recognize the notes quicker and will not need to write out the notes as much.
My daughter was taught ABC notation and would write out the letters when given a piece of sheet music. Now she doesn’t need to do that anymore. Just another tool to have.

Re: Sheet music or staff notation.

"If you know DO-RE-MI then it is substitution. MI corresponds with the lowest line in a Treble Notation which is E. From there you can work out each step. FA=F is between the lines. SO=G is the next line and so forth repeating at DO=C. This pattern repeats beyond the 5 lines in both directions."

That applies only of you use the fixed Doh system - standard in E. Europe and some of W. Europe. But, in Britain, we are more familiar with a movable Doh, where Doh = tonic, Re = supertonic etc., regardless of the actual key or pitch.

Re: Sheet music or staff notation.

Never heard of the movable Doh. Learn something every day.
Why do self-absorbed people make the worst musicians?
They never get past Do-Re-Mi-Mi-Mi.

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Yes! And also ABC notation, as there was and is a similar style of notation that uses the Do-Re-Me instead of A-B-C… Best of luck, and, as most are willing helpers here, if you need any help with the learning, just ask. I have actually taught non-believers to read music in one sitting, with a lot of laughter in the mix… Just, as children so easily do, let go and let it come, play with it, and don’t take it or yourself too seriously. Our own self-criticism tends to be the biggest block on learning anything… You might even start with ABCs first and standard dotted notation next?

Here’s one fun book on the subject, but I’ve not doubt there’s a lot on the Internet to help you along too ~

"Learn to Read Music" ~ Howard Shanet

Re: Sheet music or staff notation.

If you think in terms of the moveable ‘Doh’ (Doh being your root note) you can then start anywhere you like on your fretboard (Guitar and Mando, I believe?) and recognising that each fret is a semi-tone you then follow the standard interval structure of a major diatonic scale, which is root note, then T, T, S, T,T,T, S. (Where T=a whole tone and S= a semi=tone [i.e., a whole tone =2 frets and a semi-tone= 1 fret). That is basic scale theory and it allows you to play your ‘solfa’ in any key (a translational invarient interval structure). I acknowledge that this doesn’t directly respond to your request of learning the notes, but puting in a bit of time learning scale theory directly on your instruments will help you do that. A minor scale, by the way, has a different interval structure, but I’m sure you can find all this on the web.

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Re: Sheet music or staff notation.

I guess that was as clear as mud. It’s harder for me to think and explain than to just automatically apply it. But maybe I need to clarify that the tones and the semi-tones (T, S), are not the notes (the Doh, re, me, etc), but the speces in between them. You can teach yourself the notes and sharps (or flats) as you go up and down your fretboard. All you have to remember is that there is no E sharp and no B sharp and you can learn where your at. It helps before you look at the dots to know your fretboard. Meanwhile it doesn’t hurt to prctice memorising the written notes separately (if you honestly need to)

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Yes, and I meant the ‘spaces’ in between.

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Moveable doh is the way to go. Learning to read dots is about intervals and pitch relationships. I was taught rhythm first (reading and writing it, starting very simple and then advancing) and then was moved on to concepts of pitch. We used a moveable doh symbol on the staff notation and learnt to read sol fah well in any key before being taught mechanics of key signatures etc. Sight singing, internalizing, developing a sense of intervals before you have a chance to be dissuaded by the apparently scary theory stuff, that will help. It’s good to learn about chord structure and note function too.

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Announcement : abc2notes: Show the notes/letters from ABC notation

Even though I’ve been playing ITM for years I still find it difficult to read music in staff notation.
ABC notation is great, but it has lots of markup inline with the notes.
I’ve always learned tunes by writing out the notes as "D E F# E F# E F#" etc.

I’ve written a windows application (and a script) to add the notes/letters to staff notation so I can get the best of both.
Please see : https://sites.google.com/site/johnkeeney/code/abc2notes

https://thesession.org/discussions/42979