Sight reading . .


Rayblewit

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What exactly is this?

It's mentioned quite a lot as if its important or difficult to do or requires special skills. Am I missing something?
Is it just a fancy way of describing how one picks up a piece of sheet music and plays it by reading it. Is that it?
So in my case I NEED sheet music to play a tune because I have so many tunes I love to play and I can't remember what key or what chords.

Is this "sight reading" or is it something else.

Rayo_O
 
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Hey Ray,

"Sight reading" is reading music and playing it. Which as you've stated, you already do.

The reason people sometimes speak about it in revered and hushed tones is:

- Some people cannot read traditional music notation but can still play quite well. They might play by ear, tablature or chord charts. Very common in rock bands - I currently only work with two other musicians who can read music, and I'm in two - three bands, depending on what day you ask me.

- There are differing levels of proficiency. As an example, when I was a teenager and studying piano for exams, etc. I could pick up a piece of sheet music that I'd never seen before and do a half decent job of playing, provided the tune wasn't crazy complicated. However these days, I tell people "I'm a terrible sight reader".

What I mean by this is the first time I see a new piece of sheet music, I will have to play the tune very slowly and probably make lots of mistakes. It takes me quite a long time to gain proficiency through practice, unless the song is really simple.

Hope that helps.
 
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Rayblewit

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Thanks Cowboy! I actually got a big head there for a few minutes. Thinking "hey! I must be an excellent sight reader." 'Cause now you explained to me what is and I realise I'm good at it! :cool:
Uh!:eek:
So, I can read the sheets and play the music as I read it. . .
Haha:eek:

However:eek: REALITY CHECK!

What about the Bass cleff stave?
Uh! No freakin' idea.

So to be honest I can say too that sight reading does require some skill. Now when people say they struggle with sight reading I can understand and respect that it is a difficult task. To sight read and play bass and treble together is somewhat most difficult. High five to those doing it.

I also have high regard for those who can play by ear or from tablature charts or play from memory. That must require immense dedication and skill too.

Ray
 
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I sight read, well sort of, so I am probably like a fair number of keyboard players in that I start off by reading and playing very slowly and building up the speed as I become more familiar with the song. I end up with the sheet music being an aide memoire, a prompt to play the right notes in the right order but with odd eyesight I can still miss a line or play the same line twice.

A simple song I play was made famous here in the UK by a jazz clarinetist in the sixties and it is called Stranger On The Shore, but begger me I just keep playing one line twice, its the recurring melody that moves up and down a couple of notes and there is one transition at the end of one line that when I make the error and start to play the same line again it sounds like I have stood on our cats tail. Such is life.

Bass clef is a ....... well I just noodle there or play a chord arpeggio.
 

Rayblewit

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Acker Bilk.
Beauiful tune is Stranger on the Shore.
That tune is in my repitoire too.
There is one part where a D13 chord is s'posed to be played:eek:.
I just play D7 and it sounds okay!
but begger me I just keep playing one line twice, its the recurring melody that moves up and down a couple of notes and there is one transition at the end of one line that when I make the error and start to play the same line . .
I often lose my place with this tune too and other tunes. I would be hopeless if I was playing live to a crowd. So its just a matter or practise runs I guess but keeping it enjoyable and not stressing about mistakes hey!
Ray
 
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So to be honest I can say too that sight reading does require some skill.
Yeah, absolutely. And like all skills, the more you practice, the better you get at it. The reason my skills have dropped off is I've become a bit lazy in latter years - I often work off chord charts or by ear these days. I only occasionally need to sight read something.

It is a handy skill though, even in covers bands. I'm currently working on this:


I'm nowhere near good enough to get this to performance standard by trying to memorise it all, so I'm going through a process of transcribing it bit by bit onto sheet music. Then I'll learn it off the sheet music!
 

Becky

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I understand proficient sight reading to mean that you can play a piece of music for the first time even if you haven't heard it before, just by reading the music. I was never very good at it, my fingers have to learn what they're doing before I'm able to play something well :p
 

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