Guitar Lessons in Tulsa | Difference in Sheet Music and Tablature
This content was created for Curtis Music Academy
Some guitar instructors in Tulsa have a difficult time understanding that one of the things that they will be discussing is tablature versus reading sheet music for the Acoustic Guitar or even the Electric Guitar. And the biggest difference between reading music on other instruments and reading music on the guitar is that you have six strings on the guitar, which allows you to play different notes in a combination of ways. So
there are some notes on the guitar that couldn’t be played on different strings. Reaching up to five different ways to play an individual note. Middle C is one of those notes. You can actually play middle C on five different strings. The only, the only string that you can not play Middle C on is your first string on the guitar, which is high E. So it’s actually just for half steps above where middle c would normally be at. So because of that, there’s only one string. Where do you cannot play middle C.
There are a few other notes that can be played during your guitar lessons in Tulsa, in a number of different strings, but middle c is one of the highest note that you can play five different ways. So because of that it can be actually quite a bit of a challenge when reading sheet music because they do not give you the string to play that specific note. All that it tells you is the note to play. So if you have five different places where you could play middle C, the biggest difficulty with that is that you could play middle C on the fourth string, on the third string, on the second string, or even on the sixth string. And there’s no real correct in quotations way to make that note sound correctly. So because of that they invented tid tablature and tablature is a great alternative to reading traditional sheet music on the guitar. And the reason for that is because tablature has six different lines on the sheet of tablature and what these lines signify is actually the strings on the guitar.
So you have six lines, four the six strings. And unlike sheet music, when you have a note, you would just signify the note by drawing a circle and then the duration of the note, whether it’s a whole note, half note, quarter notes, eighth notes, 16th note, it doesn’t matter. But you would have a specific note that as a circle and then some sort of flag or stem to signify the type of note. With tablature, there are ways where you can write in the duration of the note, but typically taboo Fletcher does not include the rhythm at least very effectively. And so that’s the biggest downside of tablets or is that not a lot of people actually specify the rhythm. So you kind of have to hear the song and attempt to replicate the rhythm simply by listening to it and then playing it as you hear it.
But the thing is about tablature is it, it has a number that you would draw on the specific line. So if you needed to play middle c and the string that you wanted to play Middle Sian was the fifth fret of the third string, then you would go to the third line from the top, you would count from the top, so one, two, three moving down and then you would just draw a five on that line and that would tell you the specific place to play middle C. Whereas sheet music would just
draw a middle c and you would be left guessing which si you should play on the guitar and so most of the time you would be able to narrow down which string to play any given note. Basically if I saw a middle C, I would assume that I would play that middle C either on the first string or the second string.
And the reason that I would assume that is because those two strings, you’re able to play middle C pretty low on the guitar. When you’re taking guitar lessons in Tulsa, your instructor can help you see where these notes are located. You’ve got the first fret second string where you can play middle C, then the third string, fifth fret. So because of that it allows you to keep your hand pretty far down. Now if your hand is, I already say in the 10th fret, if you’re all the way up on the 10th fret or do the 11th fret, then you would want to play middle C on the fourth string so those certain situations are going to help you to know which place you would play a given note. But the best thing about tablatures that you don’t even have to guess, you don’t even have to trial and error. You’re given exactly where to place your hand for that note. So that’s why tablature is actually very, very useful. Now sheet music is used on pretty much every instrument including the guitar, classical guitar players use sheet music as well as most flamenco guitar players. They’re going to use sheet music, which is certainly pretty helpful for that genre of music.
And when they read sheet music, there can be specific notes on the sheet music to help the performer know which string to play on. There could be specific notes on the sheet music to tell you which finger to use and that’s going to help the performer to know how to play that given piece. But again, tablature, is going to be one of the best ways to read guitar music during your guitar lessons in Tulsa because there’s no guessing. And one of the things that you may end up finding if you are searching for different guitar songs, you may find a song that has the notation, which is the sheet music on the top and then the tablature is below the sheet music. And this is a very, very effective way to read music for the guitar.
It’s actually the best of both worlds. You have your notation so that you know the rhythms, you can see the notes you’re playing, but the tabs could be immediately underneath the sheet music so that you can still see which fret and which string to use. And this is my absolute preferred way to read music on the guitar by reading music that has both the sheet music, the durations, the note values, and then the tablature underneath. It gives all the information that you would possibly need to perform a song. And this is a great resource. So when you’re taking guitar lessons in Tulsa at Curtis Music Academy, we actually write out our own music most of the time, unless it is a very easy song that just uses a few chords. But if we are going to write out a tab or a solo that a guitar player needs to learn, then this is the way that we will write it out.