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Charts vs Sheet Music vs Scribbled Notes vs Nothing


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What does everyone use to play music?

Playing professionally, I used nothing....but let's face it.... easy to remember 3 chords!

I have used charts for many years....I am VERY handicapped if I don't have charts in front of me.

Was discussing this with my brother.   He said he keeps about 40 songs in his head.... plays them differently sometimes and changes the words sometimes (mental lapse?).

I have close to 400 songs I can do...but I can only do like 3 of them without charts!

Maybe 25 years ago I started putting all my charts on a computer.... before that I used 'grid paper', and hand wrote out the words and chords.

I was never very good at site reading music...but I did it some when I was in the orchestra, but not my strong suit.

Some examples of my computerized charts.

May be an image of text
May be an image of text
 
 

 

 

 

 

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Rob,

I use the same sorts of charts you use, except that I also draw chord diagrams in the right margin for any that are unfamiliar to me. Additionally, I sometimes have tab charts for various riffs.

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, I could read music, but not well enough any more, so whenever I buy music for a particular song, it is really just for the chords and tab, if it is included.

RBSinTo

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13 minutes ago, RBSinTo said:

Rob,

I use the same sorts of charts you use, except that I also draw chord diagrams in the right margin for any that are unfamiliar to me. Additionally, I sometimes have tab charts for various riffs.

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, I could read music, but not well enough any more, so whenever I buy music for a particular song, it is really just for the chords and tab, if it is included.

RBSinTo

RBS, Sounds very close to what I do and have done.....except for the riff parts....I don't really do 'riffs'.

I don't put chord diagrams in either...I can usually remember the chords, regardless of how complicated they appear to be.

I have found I can't make some chords anymore...and some chords that are essential I can't make too many times...so I have to compensate....but the chart remains the same!

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1 hour ago, DanvillRob said:

RBS, Sounds very close to what I do and have done.....except for the riff parts....I don't really do 'riffs'.

I don't put chord diagrams in either...I can usually remember the chords, regardless of how complicated they appear to be.

I have found I can't make some chords anymore...and some chords that are essential I can't make too many times...so I have to compensate....but the chart remains the same!

Rob,

After essentially not playing for almost 40 years, I took it up again about five years ago. And as my collection of music grows, I find the number of chords I have to diagram decreases. However, concurrent with my experience and improvement (however slight over time) is my failing memory, so for some of the really odd or exotic chords, I still must chart them in order to play a song. As for the "riffs", they are only of the simplest variety, (the introduction to "The Weight" for example) as I am at best, only a mediocre rhythm guitar player, rather than any sort of lead guitar player.

Perhaps the most success I've had in the last five years, is training the fingers of my left hand, so it much easier to shape infamiliar, or exotic chords.

RBSinTo

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I use my(our) own versions of charts, 90% for the lyrics, tricky bridge chord changes sometimes for songs I haven't done in a while.  We keep a couple hundred at the ready for different places we play, so I(we) need them.  We are old.

Prediction:  Someone will come in here and crap all over anyone that "has to have" lyrics or chord notes in front of them.

Prediction about that prediction:  They've never played outside of their house, with anyone else, in front of anyone.

rct

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I cannot pay attention to much of anything and play at the same time.  The surest way to guarantee I will screw up is to get me to think about what I am playing.  I just utter a silent prayer to the guitar gods that the muscle memory particularly in my right hand does not have a brain fart.  

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1 hour ago, rct said:

I use my(our) own versions of charts, 90% for the lyrics, tricky bridge chord changes sometimes for songs I haven't done in a while.  We keep a couple hundred at the ready for different places we play, so I(we) need them.  We are old.

Prediction:  Someone will come in here and crap all over anyone that "has to have" lyrics or chord notes in front of them.

Prediction about that prediction:  They've never played outside of their house, with anyone else, in front of anyone.

rct

That was my brother... chiding me as to why I need charts..... I mean he plays 40 songs....I do 400.....and like many parts of my body....my memory is short!

I'm close with Tower of Power.... They are about a professional as you get....and they use charts, so I'm not going to feel bad about using them!

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19 minutes ago, zombywoof said:

I cannot pay attention to much of anything and play at the same time.  The surest way to guarantee I will screw up is to get me to think about what I am playing.  I just utter a silent prayer to the guitar gods that the muscle memory particularly in my right hand does not have a brain fart.  

ZW,  I'm just the opposite....if I don't have my charts in front, I can't recall words OR chords....even when I play out (which is not often these days).

They're like a pacifier to me.    I played  Dylan's "You Ain't Goin' Nowhere" for my son's wedding a few years back.....no chart.... I was a nervous as.....as.....well.....nervous as Nancy at closing time!   I did a High School Reunion in 2019..... had my charts there....never looked at 'em...but they were THERE!

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To learn a tune - sheet music, music books, TAB, charts, videos, recordings...whatever it takes sometimes...

But live, better to have memorized everything, for example - often, the lights facing me in a band stage were so bright I couldn't even read the song list written in big letters sitting on the floor! 

I like sitting at home playing through charts and the books/online with the 'As recorded TABs/music'. There are plenty online these days....but never anything you really want, so stump up, sit down and learn it off .....ha!........... the original recording!

 

BluesKing777.

 

 

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30 minutes ago, BluesKing777 said:

 

To learn a tune - sheet music, music books, TAB, charts, videos, recordings...whatever it takes sometimes...

But live, better to have memorized everything, for example - often, the lights facing me in a band stage were so bright I couldn't even read the song list written in big letters sitting on the floor! 

I like sitting at home playing through charts and the books/online with the 'As recorded TABs/music'. There are plenty online these days....but never anything you really want, so stump up, sit down and learn it off .....ha!........... the original recording!

 

BluesKing777.

 

 

I've found with very few exceptions, that almost all the music I want is available on-line. The notable exceptions for me are songs by Canadian groups or artists that were moderately successful usually moreso in Canada than in the U.S. and  so have not even been put on-line.

Having said that, a great deal of the music I see on the internet has been either scored incorrectly, or "sanitized" such that simpler versions of chords have been substituted for the more exotic versions that were originally scored.

RBSinTo

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My advice is to do whatever works best for you.  That’s pretty much what everyone else is doing.  No sense to do what works best for someone else if it doesn’t work best for you.  Do whatever makes you perform your music the best…is my advice.  If you perform your music the best you can, there’s not much anyone can criticize other than blowing  plain hot air.  Different things work differently for different musicians and sometimes those things change over time and age, too.


QM aka “Jazzman” Jeff

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One advantage of reading music/charts/TABs is that you can play a song another player gives you....most people I have played with don't read music, but a couple of sidemen types I met not only read music but write out music charts for big bands and stuff! They tend to hand you a 'head' arrangement type chart, the famous chorus/verse parts written in music with chord symbols on the top. (if you know the style of music, you just jump in and 'play the chart'). You can also send these by email etc.

Worth learning music! Easy! Everyone thinks you have to learn Beethoven or something ridiculous to learn music, but you can play something very simple and pleasing like a famous song....

BluesKing777.

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I use chord sheets much like the one DanvillRob showed. I switched from to digital a few years ago. Then I saw solutions for devices like iPads and Laptops and switched to those. The one I use is Song Repertoire by a small outfit in Germany, but there a a few to choose from. It imported all my song chord sheets including the folder structures. It's got quite a bit of editing and transposing features. Most importantly, it has adjustable font sizes and scrolls. I've got a foot pedal for controlling the scrolling. My most common goof up is forgetting to start scrolling, so the second part of my pedal turns pages..

While I do have some songs memorized, most fall into partially memorized. I'll look at the song sheet as much or as little as needed.

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yea,, charts, pffft, who needs em!!

cuz we all know, there's nothing quite like that  4 seconds prior to walking up to the mic to sing the first words of the verse and your brain just goes TV Test Pattern on you.

yea,, that's AWESOME!

I have  200+ songs in a my version of "the great book"... 

Some I've been playing since way before the end of the last century..

I can probably bang off about 30 songs with out it, but I wouldn't want to try going much further especially if people are like listening... and I'm getting paid....

 

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15 hours ago, DanvillRob said:

ZW,  I'm just the opposite....if I don't have my charts in front, I can't recall words OR chords....even when I play out (which is not often these days).

They're like a pacifier to me.    I played  Dylan's "You Ain't Goin' Nowhere" for my son's wedding a few years back.....no chart.... I was a nervous as.....as.....well.....nervous as Nancy at closing time!   I did a High School Reunion in 2019..... had my charts there....never looked at 'em...but they were THERE!

I have never subjected the music loving world to my voice.  But I will print out lyric sheets for others with the basic chords listed.  For me to learn something I have to have it in my head.  So I will walk around humming it or singing it to myself.     Because I do not sing I tend to arrange everything as an instrumental so have bass, melody and harmony lines running together.  But when I play with others I have to really tone it down or else we will be tripping over one another all night.  So one of the things I will do is say take a song like Dylan's "Don't Think Twice" and play it Carter style and then go back to the way I would normally approach it and play it as a solo.

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I  can see the variety of tools we all use.

If I'm learning a new song, I usually listen to several different people doing the song.... even covers.....just to hear the differences, then learn it in 'my style'.

Once I have it in my head, I'll try to find a chart of the song, (like Ultimate-Guitar.com), so I can copy & past the song into WORD, as a short cut to typing out all the words.

Now, I wanted to learn a Jinder song....no examples of the song other than the video Jinder posted.... he sent me the CD, and fortunately, the insert had the words to all the songs...so that helped.   I did his song, (I Still Believe) both on the guitar and piano....it's a FANTASTIC song.   So you have to use whatever is available.

When I was playing out....we only could by the 45 or album.... lay on the floor with a record player, and play the song...picking up the needle and moving it back multiple times to try to catch words and licks, etc.... a real beast!

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On 7/2/2021 at 10:48 AM, DanvillRob said:

If I'm learning a new song, I usually listen to several different people doing the song.... even covers.....just to hear the differences,

I've been thinking about this off and on all day long. I've been inspired to learn songs that I have had no prior interest in only after hearing a cover, but never sought out covers to get various approaches to songs I was interested in learning. Makes perfect, obvious sense to me. I'm going to give that approach a go. Thanks!

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I play in a Catholic church choir (so very structured not a music jam)..

we have somewhere around 150 songs we play through the year.. I used to use a large binder.. then had a Android tablet running Moblesheets for my songs in PDF format and organized into set lists.  but at 10.5" I wanted larger. my son bought me a iPad Pro at 12.9" bigger screen much nicer. Used the same PDF's to populate Forescore for IOS. organizes great

I read music to get the melody, but mostly use chord charts in the music; I'm still struggling with the music theory which helps people a lot

my buddy knows theory really well and his fretboard better than me can know which notes are best in which progression as he knows the Keys and Notes better than I

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My very best resource for my musical questions is our Grand-daughters' music teacher, who teaches one Guitar and the other Ukelele. Because I sponsor and sit in on their lessons, and have even played in their recitals, the teacher and I have an excellent rapport, and he always very kindly and generously takes the time to give me advice, or suggestions on chords when the scoring on music just doesn't sound correct.

RBSinTo

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4 hours ago, RBSinTo said:

...have even played in their rectals, the teacher and I...

That's one of the more unfortunate typo's in the history of typo's.

rct

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16 minutes ago, rct said:

That's one of the more unfortunate typo's in the history of typo's.

rct

Oy! Horrible typo.

I missed it when I read the message before posting.

Just corrected it. Thanks for pointing it out.

RBSinTo

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