When is sheet music useful? When is it acceptable?
Please, let’s not debate old turf wars. I’m hoping to have a meaningful discussion about the use and misuse of notation as it applies to Irish music, learning tunes, playing sessions and sharing trad online, in music camps/workshops and as teaching aids.
Are you ready?
My last discussion was intended to be a pros and cons approach. I’m still aiming for that format. The following are my pros and cons regarding the usefulness of sheet music (and other forms of music notation).
- music stands take up valuable space for sessions in small places and can block some of the sound.
- several trad tunes are highly repetitious, easy to learn, use call and response motifs and require little detail when notated.
- tunebooks *in sessions* come with built in limitations if relied on *in a session*. (need I say more?)
- not everyone reads sheet music
- thesession.org and other websites have databases of notated traditional music in abc format and staff notation.
- notation whether it is staff notation, traditional forms of abc, modern code or any of the various other systems have been used by trad music instructors. obviously not to the exclusion of learning by ear, but various systems are used depending on the instructor & her or his students’ needs.
- ear training can be improved with the practice of transcribing tunes.
Thanks in advance,