Why is it difficult for guitarists to read the melody “from the sheet”
Photo by Shawn Nystrand CC BY-SA
Our opinion was drawn to various opinions on this issue in the corresponding Quora thread , and we selected the most interesting answers. We continue the discussion in the comments to the material.
One of the most common opinions is the lack of need for knowledge of musical notation. Most beginners and people who are just keen on the guitar do not need to study it, because you can play by tablature.
Jay Verkulen (plays the guitar, fretless bass, drums and keyboards) believes that the guitar is an instrument that you are unlikely to read the “instruction” to. He gives an example: “the same note Do can be extracted in five different ways: 2 string 1 fret, 3 string 5 fret, 4 string 10 fret, 5 string 15 fret and 6 string 8 fret. And besides this, sounds can be extracted using fairly sophisticated techniques that the piano does not have: bands, vibrato, jamming, and others. ”
Others consider that it is not necessary to generalize all guitarists as "not able to read scores." Victor Eikhot (knows how to play more than 24 instruments) says that on the piano chords in different keys are similar to each other (in the setting of the hands and fingers on the keys), but you cannot play the guitar on this principle (even in the case of barre).
“Secondly, music schools study musical notation on the piano, so when playing the guitar, using the knowledge gained is not so simple. And finally, thirdly, pianists (and organists) have a lot more practice reading from the score, regardless of where they play: in church, at rehearsals, or on stage. ”
Third - emphasizes that guitarists usually play harmony, not melody. The melody can go well with harmony, but harmony can be changed.
Eric Sawyer (started playing guitar at age 10, dropped out at 35 and started again at 55): “for example, in traditional church music, an organist is allowed to play various variations of harmonies, while not deviating from the main melody. Experienced guitarists can pick up the chords that sound in the song by ear, but this does not mean that these chords were originally used in it, because variations are possible. "
Clay Motley (a guitarist with experience of 30 years) supplements Eric's commentary and notes that the melody does not determine harmony and chords unambiguously. Clay gives an example of a story from his life experience when an experienced jazz guitarist, accompanying one melody, constantly changed the rhythmic pattern and chords, thereby changing the harmony of the song.
This suggests that each guitarist has his own sense of music, and by changing harmony, he can achieve different sound results. Clay believes that the point is not that the guitarist does not know which chord to choose, but that there are a lot of variations of these chords.
Pankam Lonkar (guitarist) believes that the peculiarity of guitarists is the ability to "work with your hands, not your ears." Working on musical theory (harmonies, developing musical ear, reading from a sheet and various playing techniques), the musician begins to understand how various standard chord sequences can be used.
For example, jazz players learn to play chords of major scales, mastering ways to extract the same chords using other strings. Constantly practicing, they are able to learn by ear to identify the chords used in the songs. Musical theory is a kind of "system for the effective categorization of sounds." Of course, this is not the only way to study music, it can be analyzed and classified according to its own rules, but the lack of certain skills can affect the ability to accompany the melody.
Dorien James says that no matter what the technique of playing and solfeggio’s knowledge of each individual guitarist, for any melody there is always a huge variety of “right” chords. Jazz players love to change the main chords of songs, complementing them with variations. As an example, he cites "Opus One" - a melody consisting of 5 notes that are constantly repeated, while the chords that accompany it change.
Mark Werner (who has been playing guitar since the mid-70s, everything from country to jazz) believes that if a well-trained jazz guitarist is given a melody, he will quickly pick up a good chord sequence for it. Similarly, any other good musician will be able to find the right harmony for the song.
However, the very idea of a guitarist who reads a melody from a sheet and (therefore) finds it difficult to pick chords for it is too exotic an example. Most of the performers work with notes, where both melody and chords are registered.
Ted Boucher says that guitarists can play the score, only they need time to write the accompaniment. Of course, there are a huge number of songs with similar melodies, so guitarists can easily play along with a song that is familiar in harmonics.
In addition, the guitar must set the pace and rhythm, and regardless of what kind of melody is playing, the guitarist decides what sounds now - polka, disco or something else. This means that guitarists must pick the right chord in advance to fully reflect the meaning of the melody. Ted also believes that all the information written in the score does not give the guitarist an idea of how the song should sound.
Nikolaus Exeli (playing the guitar most of his life) believes that everything depends on the amount of practice and theoretical knowledge. It is easier for a musician to improvise using a chord progression than to pick up chords on the go.
Any melody can be played in several ways, so it all depends on the taste and mood of the guitarist. For example, in the time of Mozart, the A6 chord (major triad with a large sixth) was considered cacophonic, although now people call it very pleasant.
PS More recently, we decided to tackle the topic of musical instruments and equipment. Today, in a special section , products of 26 brands and as many as 19 categories of thematic products are available.