Standard Musical Notation
Reading standard musical notation is not a daunting task. As a student of either banjo, mandolin, or guitar, you will soon learn that tablature often replaces musical notation as the standard for musical compositions. As a result, many students do not devote their attention towards learning how to read music. However, instructing a musical student how to play music without explaining how to read music, would be counter-productive. In this brief lesson you will learn the basics of reading standard musical notation.
The following illustrates how the three instruments in their normal tuning are represented in standard musical notation:
Now, compare the standard tunings with the narrative describing the notes in each clef above and you will see how your instrument in open tuning is represented.
The Guitar from the 6th (bass string) to the 1st (treble string) have the following open notes: E, A, D, G, B, E.
The Mandolin from the 4th (bass string) to the 1st (treble string) have the following open notes: G, D, A, E.
The Banjo from the 5th (treble string) to the 1st (treble string) have the following open notes: G, D, G, B, D.
While there is much more to reading music than what is described here, this will at least give you a basic understanding of what reading music will entail. It is my experience that utilizing tablature in conjunction with standard musical notation will prove to be the most productive course of action for the fretted instrumentalist.
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