I very rarely use tablature (tab) when notating music

Is this a mistake? Which method of notation do you find most helpful?

Does learning to read music seem too difficult? Or has tab proven to be sufficient for your requirements?

I'm often asked for tabs of my music and I offer lead sheets (music notation), but is tab better (more informative) to you?

Please let me know what you prefer!

I very rarely use tablature (tab) when notating music. Is this a mistake? Which method of notation do you find most helpful?

Does learning to read music seem too difficult? Or has tab proven to be sufficient for your requirements?

I’m often asked for tabs of my music and I offer lead sheets (music notation), but is tab better (more informative) to you?

Please let me know what you prefer!

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  • https://plus.google.com/112336147904981294875 Gerwin Sturm

    Depends on what instrument I want to play on :)

  • https://plus.google.com/101465854435804471513 Rob Michael

    +Gerwin Sturm If you wish to perform the music on different instruments, does that disqualify tab a a useful tool?

  • https://plus.google.com/112336147904981294875 Gerwin Sturm

    Even though I can read sheet music, I find tabs a better/clearer match for guitar.

  • https://plus.google.com/112336147904981294875 Gerwin Sturm

    But I don't see tabs useful outside of the guitar/bass world.

  • https://plus.google.com/103176027131721094653 Pat Smyth

    Personally, I'm finding the tab difficult to understand – but then my background is piano and flute . .

  • https://plus.google.com/111804553198628148394 Joshua Guillory

    I just recently started learning to play guitar. I've found tabs much easier to understand and that allowed me to get a few simple tunes going early on (I have NO natural talent). I do plan to move on to reading sheet music, but I've been very appreciative to be able to find tabs of certain songs. I would guess others would be in a similar situation, being new and a very casual player. 

  • https://plus.google.com/118105058938367102961 Otto Harms

    I prefer traditional notation though I think it was a historic mistake to use a single staff for guitar music. I guess it was done to simplify reading, but the inevitable ledger lines is what makes it difficult. How clear it would be when we would use a bass and a treble clef and the actual pitch.

  • https://plus.google.com/102632919742737793292 Mark Kidd

    I like both. The rhythm and tabs together.

  • https://plus.google.com/101465854435804471513 Rob Michael

    +Otto Harms I agree that guitar manuscript should be notated on the grand staff. Unfortunately, I was not consulted on the matter. 😉

  • https://plus.google.com/118105058938367102961 Otto Harms

    Yeah, why didn't they emailed us before they made that foolish mistake +Rob Michael

  • https://plus.google.com/112582097124741474228 Frank Rockenfeller

    Both is good. For beginners tabs are easier and helpful. The early success shouldn´t be underrated. Later on you can go deeper with sheets. 
    Guitar offers the same note on many positions, piano only one key per note. A guitar beginner easily knows which fret and string to play, when using tabs.

  • https://plus.google.com/113236568082521787331 Joseph Radtke

    When I look at tab I can't imagine the music in my head. When I look at music notation I can hear the music in my mind. Notation has more info in a smaller package; duration, specific pitch, articulation, etc. Tab, while helpful, is less efficient that way.

  • https://plus.google.com/113236568082521787331 Joseph Radtke

    When I look at tab I can't imagine the music in my head. When I look at music notation I can hear the music in my mind. Notation has more info in a smaller package; duration, specific pitch, articulation, etc. Tab, while helpful, is less efficient that way.

  • https://plus.google.com/114680674238539111731 Michael Rainey

    I've never seen tab before and I can barely understand it from this example.  I learned music notation.  Tab has no meaningful information for me.  

  • https://plus.google.com/102249997640971802620 Daniel Waineo

    I'm fine with the realbook, and a single line melody on a lead sheet.  I don't have the patience to go beyond lead sheets when reading music on guitar.

    I don't like tab because it's missing a lot of information (key signatures, time signatures, etc.), and it does a poor job of notating rhythm.  Also, I'm not interested in most music that has been notated in tab.

  • https://plus.google.com/116359055447363070973 Brad Golden

    I've done both, but either way I feel like I'm deciphering hieroglyphs because I never spent time becoming fluent in either one. I really want a new method of reading music that involves a continuous scrolling screen that tracks you as you play something, but at that point I would want to use traditional sheet music without all the repeats and other things that are only a part of the language because it's sheet music. It needs to be redefined and rewritten, there's a better way to do it, it just hasn't been created yet.

  • https://plus.google.com/102632919742737793292 Mark Kidd

    Completely agree +Brad Golden

  • https://plus.google.com/101465854435804471513 Rob Michael

    +Brad Golden I've long marveled at how right they got it re: standard music notation. It's a very detailed set of instructions to some otherwise pretty abstract business. Does it require a good bit of energy to become fluent at reading music? You bet. Is it worth it? It has been for me. YMMV. :-)

  • https://plus.google.com/104885425865662974211 Kiko Starkmann

    Music notation is more beautiful and more versatile and general. I (almost) also can sing a melody written down in musical notation, but I only can play tabs on a guitar.

    Tabs are very practical, easy to read and quick to learn. I like both, but I think learning to read the "classical" way should be part of a musical education beyond camp fire strumming 😉

  • https://plus.google.com/112582097124741474228 Frank Rockenfeller

    +Kiko Starkmann That´s a good summary in my opinion. :-)

  • https://plus.google.com/102632919742737793292 Mark Kidd

    On a guitar which g is it?

  • https://plus.google.com/104885425865662974211 Kiko Starkmann

    Thank you, +Frank Rockenfeller :-)

  • https://plus.google.com/109019349033811263489 Howlin’ Hobbit

    I can decipher notation but can't sight read it, so sussing out a tune that way is a long and somewhat painful process for me.

    but you shouldn't approach this question as notation vs. tab. the best tabs I've ever learned from had a staff directly above them.

    this way you get duration and such and where to press which string.

    of course, I'm not expecting a lot of ukulele tabs out of you anyways. :-)

  • https://plus.google.com/110511728210570642636 Alan Doyle

    I like the original musical notation. I never learned the Tab form of music notation. I did however study guitar at Berklee College of Music…no tab there. http://www.berklee.edu

  • https://plus.google.com/107453493752744634937 Alberto González Téllez

    No doubt learning music notation is a must, so tablature just delays the inevitable…

  • https://plus.google.com/109019349033811263489 Howlin’ Hobbit

    many talented and successful musicians can't read the flyspecks. not really a "must."

  • https://plus.google.com/111204943363765114345 Erik Schlosser

    Ditto on the grand staff. I've even tried playing the Bach lute suites on the original grand staff and it just made sense (although I wasn't good at it). However, it is too late to change tradition. +Otto Harms 

  • https://plus.google.com/108864496916059257511 Blake Johnson

    I see tabs like reading english at this point

  • https://plus.google.com/104294083885937159989 Alex Lapidus

    I was taught from sheet music from the beginning, plus I've learned multiple instruments along the way, so there's nothing natural or simple about tablature for me.  I could live without wrestling with E flat and B flat instruments (I have three versions of three volumes of the Real Book, and even got myself a C-melody sax…).  I've definitely spent much more time playing jazz from Real Book-style lead sheets than from full notation, so I can process that much faster.

  • https://plus.google.com/107453493752744634937 Alberto González Téllez

    +Howlin' Hobbit sorry I should say it is a must TO ME, I'm not talented enough to do what I intend to do in music relying only on tablature. Maybe it is enough for coarse grain approach (i.e. simple comping) but I doesn't work to me when dealing with "the details", in my view this is what makes the difference between guitarists and musicians in general

  • https://plus.google.com/102632919742737793292 Mark Kidd

    Again. How do you know which G note is the right one on a fretboard that an overwhelming amount in the beginning?

  • https://plus.google.com/101465854435804471513 Rob Michael

    +Mark Kidd I don't quite understand your question

  • https://plus.google.com/102632919742737793292 Mark Kidd

    There are several of the same notes in differeny octaves on the fretboard. How do you know which note in which octave? Example is it the g string, 3rd fret on e strings? 12th fret on g string?

  • https://plus.google.com/111204943363765114345 Erik Schlosser

    +Mark Kidd Context is how you figure it out. There are usually multiple ways to play each melody; but you have to figure out which position to use. The best way to learn it is practice. I highly recommend William Leavitt's Berklee Method. If you go through even the first two volumes you will be very comfortable reading in most common positions.

  • https://plus.google.com/107453493752744634937 Alberto González Téllez
  • https://plus.google.com/104345299722628529517 Gusi Bock

    Rob I work with quite a lot of self taught muzos mostly guitarists and I find that it takes them a while to get used to understanding tabs but when they do they often do not want to learn to read proper notation. Tabs are easier but you need to know the item whereas with proper music notation it is not necessary to know a tune to play the tune.