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Do away with the dots

GUEST,ET 20 Jan 03 - 01:24 PM
Schantieman 20 Jan 03 - 01:32 PM
Jeri 20 Jan 03 - 01:50 PM
GUEST 20 Jan 03 - 01:55 PM
Genie 20 Jan 03 - 01:56 PM
GUEST 20 Jan 03 - 02:00 PM
sian, west wales 20 Jan 03 - 02:05 PM
Don Firth 20 Jan 03 - 02:59 PM
Schantieman 20 Jan 03 - 03:52 PM
Jeri 20 Jan 03 - 04:10 PM
Genie 20 Jan 03 - 04:16 PM
katlaughing 20 Jan 03 - 04:26 PM
John Routledge 20 Jan 03 - 04:33 PM
*daylia* 20 Jan 03 - 05:10 PM
GUEST,ET 20 Jan 03 - 05:24 PM
M.Ted 20 Jan 03 - 06:04 PM
GUEST 20 Jan 03 - 06:09 PM
Burke 20 Jan 03 - 06:47 PM
Burke 20 Jan 03 - 06:56 PM
GUEST,Frank Hamilton 20 Jan 03 - 07:16 PM
*daylia* 20 Jan 03 - 07:28 PM
smallpiper 20 Jan 03 - 07:46 PM
Sorcha 20 Jan 03 - 08:29 PM
Noreen 20 Jan 03 - 09:11 PM
Genie 20 Jan 03 - 09:44 PM
NicoleC 20 Jan 03 - 09:48 PM
GUEST,Noddy 21 Jan 03 - 07:29 AM
smallpiper 21 Jan 03 - 12:53 PM
C-flat 21 Jan 03 - 01:03 PM
GUEST,Pedant 21 Jan 03 - 01:27 PM
radriano 21 Jan 03 - 06:16 PM
Hrothgar 22 Jan 03 - 02:13 AM
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Subject: Do away with the dots
From: GUEST,ET
Date: 20 Jan 03 - 01:24 PM

Having spent hours on licensing reforms, I thought I'd seek advice on somthing simpler - does anyone have any useful hints on abandoning written music or am I too old and scenile to learn tunes in my head? Its hard to read, traslate and play from music at session speed and anyway my music is getting soaked in beer.


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Subject: RE: Do away with the dots
From: Schantieman
Date: 20 Jan 03 - 01:32 PM

Sit there with yer instrument, listen, touch a few notes, if they sound OK, fill in the gaps with a few more. Build it up bit by bit. If they don't sound right, try different ones!

Of course, when everyone else looks at you and scowls, you might want to try a different note too!

Steve


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Subject: RE: Do away with the dots
From: Jeri
Date: 20 Jan 03 - 01:50 PM

The way I sometimes learn tunes is to start with the dots until I get the tune in my head. For a while, I try playing as much as I can without looking, but I have the music there in case I get stuck. Eventually, I remember the whole tune.


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Subject: RE: Do away with the dots
From: GUEST
Date: 20 Jan 03 - 01:55 PM

I think Jeri's nailed it.

Practise


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Subject: RE: Do away with the dots
From: Genie
Date: 20 Jan 03 - 01:56 PM

Is THAT what you folks refer to as "the dots" -- plain ol' music scores?


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Subject: RE: Do away with the dots
From: GUEST
Date: 20 Jan 03 - 02:00 PM

Not just folkies, Genie. Most musicians, I'd think.

Some refer to them as 'tadpoles'


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Subject: RE: Do away with the dots
From: sian, west wales
Date: 20 Jan 03 - 02:05 PM

I leant my concertina to a friend (classically trained) who fancied playing it. I thought he'd be able to get a feel for it before committing to buying one. I also leant him an instruction manual ... and now REALLY with I hadn't. He's so fixated on the dots that, in a year, he's really made next to no progress. And I can't see that he'll EVER manage in an informal situation.

sian


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Subject: RE: Do away with the dots
From: Don Firth
Date: 20 Jan 03 - 02:59 PM

I'm a switch-hitter. I can use written music or not. Other than learning new stuff, I prefer not. Wean yourself away from depending on it constantly by listening carefully, then attempting to duplicate what you hear. You'll spend a lot of time groping around at first, but it's like learning to shoot from the hip. At first you miss a lot. Then you get better. Then you're right on. Practice, practice, practice. . . .

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Do away with the dots
From: Schantieman
Date: 20 Jan 03 - 03:52 PM

A friend of mine is a classically trained violinist & music teacher. Recently she's started to play folk with a couple of others, both folkies. The first time she came to the club she played from the dots and it was very accurate, lovely tone, but no expression.

Last week they played in a big (ish) concert. It was the same at first. Then she stopped reading it and just played it - and it REALLY took off!

But you gotta practise! (That's my trouble - I dont!!)

Steve


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Subject: RE: Do away with the dots
From: Jeri
Date: 20 Jan 03 - 04:10 PM

To be perfectly honest, I've heard musicians who use sheet music while they play and sound wonderful. The dots are just inconvenient at sessions and don't look cool. You can also practice quite a bit with the dots. In my opinion, what you need to focus practice on isn't necessarily playing, it's remembering.


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Subject: RE: Do away with the dots
From: Genie
Date: 20 Jan 03 - 04:16 PM

I didn't say "you folkies," I said "you folks" (meaning the ones I've seen posting here and using the term). I always assumed you were referring to some newfangled techno thingie like ABC notation that can be plugged into a software program to translate to a musical score.

If that's what "the dots" are, how would you ever write a symphonic composition (efficiently) without them?

I realize that guitar tabs, if I knew how to read them, would probably be easier to "translate" to playing a piece on guitar than the notes on a staff are. But having learned to read "the dots" in grade school (at least within an octave or two of middle C) and having sung from church hymnals since childhood, I find "the dots" almost intuitively obvious to read -- in that the vertical position of a note corresponds readily to its pitch. I can kind of 'see' the melody in a musical score (even though I can't sight-read it precisely) in a way that I don't think I ever could with ABC notation or guitar tabs.

FWIW, I play guitar by ear -- or, rather, by ear and by trial and error -- in addition to reading chord diagrams or chord names. Being able to read music (within the range of the human voice) doesn't interfere with that. If anything, it helps.

And since I DON'T play piano by ear, I'd be lost without the sheet music for piano.

Genie


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Subject: RE: Do away with the dots
From: katlaughing
Date: 20 Jan 03 - 04:26 PM

We never called them dots in orchestra or in classical piano and violin lessons. I'd never heard the term until coming to Mudcat. Even my mom and dad, who played all kinds of dance tunes and other songs, by ear, never referred to it as dots.

I don't think you're ever too old to learn by ear, as long as you aren't tone deaf. The best way I've found to learn a new tune is to listen, listen, listen. I'll play a CD, tape, etc. of whatever I want to learn, over and over until I've got the tune in my head. Then, I'll pick it out on the fiddle or piano.

If I don't have a recording, I will use the sheet music, but only to get an idea of the tune, then I leave off from the dots.

Having started on the lap dulcimer long after learning to read music, I find I prefer to play it without any dots; it's easier and more creative, for me. And, it reminds me more of my parents' playing.:-)

kat


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Subject: RE: Do away with the dots
From: John Routledge
Date: 20 Jan 03 - 04:33 PM

Jeri has it

It is remembering the tune. Without dots,if you don't know the tune in your head,you don't know where to put your fingers next


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Subject: RE: Do away with the dots
From: *daylia*
Date: 20 Jan 03 - 05:10 PM

GUEST ET - beer and reading music don't seem to work together very well for me either. :-)

Then again, sometimes beer and playing 'by ear' doesn't work very well either, depending on the amount of beer and the tolerance level of whoever else is around!

But I find that beer and listening to music seems to work okay!

Either way, I'd take the music over the beer any day, 'dots' or no 'dots'!

daylia


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Subject: RE: Do away with the dots
From: GUEST,ET
Date: 20 Jan 03 - 05:24 PM

Grateful for all this advice.

Guiness is good for you its says but not for reading music, especically if its soaked in same.

Recon its practice. May join Morris Band. Hard to play with music stuck on a prong in front of you like a brass band marching down the street.

Must go. Off to practice.

Cheers


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Subject: RE: Do away with the dots
From: M.Ted
Date: 20 Jan 03 - 06:04 PM

If you can whistle, hum, or even sing a tune without music--that means that you know a tune, and that means you can figure out how to play it, note for note, without the music--you should do this, for every tune you want to be able to play in a session. To memorize, try repeating a tune ten to fifteen times after you can play it smoothly--It might seem a little awkward at first, but keep at it--Repetition is the key--

It is easier to memorize by listening than by trying to read and remember. If all else fails, make a recording of yourself reading the music, and play along with yourself til you've got it down--

If it seems difficult, remember that it is easier for "read only" musicians to learn to pick out things by ear than for "ear only" musicians to learn to read--


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Subject: RE: Do away with the dots
From: GUEST
Date: 20 Jan 03 - 06:09 PM

What M Ted said


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Subject: RE: Do away with the dots
From: Burke
Date: 20 Jan 03 - 06:47 PM

I never heard of 'dots' before internet groups. I assumed it was a British expression.


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Subject: RE: Do away with the dots
From: Burke
Date: 20 Jan 03 - 06:56 PM

OK, I checked the OED. It's not new & not particularly British. I guess internet usage maybe had made it more popular.

Here's the OED entry:
    pl. Originally, the notes on sheet music; hence, written or printed music. slang.

1927 Melody Maker June 586, I will give you the 'dots' for them. 1956 K. BAKER in S. Traill Play that Music i. 22 When speaking of jazz, I mean that kind of music that is all spontaneous, fully extemporized, in other wordsno 'dots'. 1968 Crescendo Apr. 38/2, I know of not one other guitarist in my home county..capable of playing an arrangement..in a manner that could be termed 'doing the dots justice'.


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Subject: RE: Do away with the dots
From: GUEST,Frank Hamilton
Date: 20 Jan 03 - 07:16 PM

Hi,

Memorization oddly enough is a physical thing. Sometimes people have an erroneous idea that it's mental. If you're learning a song, you have to sing it over and over to get it. Your tongue, lips, and voice have a physical memory. They remember the words. This is true also of guitar, banjo etc. When you are learning something from music, the fingers do the walking and if you play it long enough they will remember where to go. It's really important to try to memorize as much as you can in music because that's the way to internalize it.

Memorize licks on the guitar, scales, songs (words) but sing aloud or with a whisper so your mouth remembers.

Frank


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Subject: RE: Do away with the dots
From: *daylia*
Date: 20 Jan 03 - 07:28 PM

Burke the only way I know how to really 'do the dots justice' is to memorize the music I've learned that way. It seems to me that there's a depth of expression, an understanding, a continuity that just can't be achieved while I'm still focused on reading the music.

Perhaps the mental exercise obscures the 'soulful' experience of the music? Maybe that's why I've heard children call playing music from memory "playing by heart!"

daylia


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Subject: RE: Do away with the dots
From: smallpiper
Date: 20 Jan 03 - 07:46 PM

My Dad always said that if you can whistle a tune you can play it!pity I wistle out of tune!


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Subject: RE: Do away with the dots
From: Sorcha
Date: 20 Jan 03 - 08:29 PM

Mostly, I''m with Jeri on this, but "memorize" is not the same as "have" or "know". I began as a Classical Violinist--after I started playing fidde it took me almost 15 yrs to learn what "by ear" actually meant and be able to do it. I am still not very good at it,but I can "get" a tune without actually memorizing......it has to do with having the tune in both your head and your fingers.......(??)

If you "memorize", you can forget, but if you "have" a tune, you don't forget. Make sense? Probably not.

I also watch other fiddlers fingers a LOT--some are easier to read than others, but it does help. If you do this a lot you can pick up subtle clues about what the next note will be.

I tend to learn tunes by 1) liking it a lot; 2)listening a lot;3) looking at the "dots" (if possible) and playing it a lot; then trying to remember not the dots, but the tune in my head and where the fingers need to walk.

I never heard them called "dots" before Mudcat, either. It was score or sheet music.


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Subject: RE: Do away with the dots
From: Noreen
Date: 20 Jan 03 - 09:11 PM

First heard it used by a lovely Irish whistle player, Peader Finn, who described someone's playing as having 'a touch of the black dots about it' which, as you can imagine, means someone playing as if from music, not having internalised the tune, and not able to make it flow.

These days used a lot more commonly, but I would still use it with a bit of a smile- it's not a 'serious' description.


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Subject: RE: Do away with the dots
From: Genie
Date: 20 Jan 03 - 09:44 PM

When I play with the bluegrass folks in Seattle, most of them have "The Fiddler's Fake Book." If they don't already know a tune, many of these fine instrumental players are, understandably, reluctant to do a melodic break without "the dots." Just watching someone do the guitar chords won't give you the exact tune.

Once folks know the tune, they, of course, don't need the dots. And you can learn a tune by hearing it repeatedly. (Another way of saying it is that one can scan a page of music visually many times in a minute, but you cannot hear a 2-minute tune repeatedly in one minute.) But with a simple score in front of them, many instrumentalists can PLAY the tune BEFORE they memorize it, and that playing is a good way of learning it.

Many times I'll be at some kind of session where someone wants to play/sing a song that someone did, say, the previous week. If they rely on memory or a lyric-chord sheet, usually they can't play and sing it without the presence of the person who introduced it. But if the tune is printed in simple "dot" form, there's no problem for the ones who do read music.


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Subject: RE: Do away with the dots
From: NicoleC
Date: 20 Jan 03 - 09:48 PM

Rats, smallpiper! I can't whistle at ALL!


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Subject: RE: Do away with the dots
From: GUEST,Noddy
Date: 21 Jan 03 - 07:29 AM

.... I put dots for there is no beginning
I put dots for there is no end....


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Subject: RE: Do away with the dots
From: smallpiper
Date: 21 Jan 03 - 12:53 PM

But NicoleC he hinted that diddling the tune was a good substitute and he was right! That is, after all, how music was kept alive in certain parts of the Uk for many years.... so if you can't whistle diddle!


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Subject: RE: Do away with the dots
From: C-flat
Date: 21 Jan 03 - 01:03 PM

I once played with a jazz drummer who read from sheet music. I'd never seen anything like it. You couldn't call it "dots", more like a bunch of spiders had dipped their feet in ink and ran amock over the page!


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Subject: RE: Do away with the dots
From: GUEST,Pedant
Date: 21 Jan 03 - 01:27 PM

Guest, dat kind o' dot is called a "ellipse," and ya's s'posed ta only use 3 dots

They's also a other kind o' dots dat ya does a Polka to.

P


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Subject: RE: Do away with the dots
From: radriano
Date: 21 Jan 03 - 06:16 PM

I can make do with or without the dots. But trying to catch a tune played a mile a minute (as in some sessions) can be somewhat futile. Learning by ear is easier if you can get a musician (or teacher) to play sections of a tune slower so your ear (and brain) can digest it better.


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Subject: RE: Do away with the dots
From: Hrothgar
Date: 22 Jan 03 - 02:13 AM

I know somebody who learned to play piano using dots - and can't play the piano without them.

Same person learned fiddle by ear, and when playing fiddle can't read music to save her life!


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