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Tips on learning to read music
Last post Wed, Jul 31 2013 by Suntower, 10 replies.
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Posted on Sat, Jul 20 2013 20:37
by The Minstrel
Joined on Fri, Oct 16 2009, Sweden, Posts 96

Greetings,

This is probably a quite unexpected question at this forum. Thing is, I don't read music very well, I learnt to play and compose music by ear, and when I started out many years ago, my writing focused mainly on the rock genre. As years went by, I was more and more drawn towards writing some kind of orchestrated music. However, after discovering VSL and really starting to appreciate the wonders of classical music, not reading music very well has become a hindrance. Hence, I decided to remedy the situation.

My ultimate goal, of course, is to better learn to write for orchestra. Learning to properly read music seems like the first natural step towards achieving this goal.

Any tips on good resources that will help me with the first step of this undertaking?

Posted on Sat, Jul 20 2013 20:59
by PaulR
Joined on Mon, Dec 22 2003, England, Posts 2370

Most people use a keyboard with a computer - so I would advise getting a piano book on reading music for beginners.

Posted on Sun, Jul 21 2013 03:09
by thomamd
Joined on Sat, Jan 31 2009, Dundas, Ontario, Canada, Posts 205

One thing to consider is purchasing a good book on sight-singing. Not only will you develop your reading skills, but you will also be learning to do it without needing to play it.

Posted on Sun, Jul 21 2013 06:10
by thomamd
Joined on Sat, Jan 31 2009, Dundas, Ontario, Canada, Posts 205

I should not have told you to buy a good book without suggesting at least one I like so...."Music for Sight Singing" by Ottman and Rogers.

Posted on Sun, Jul 21 2013 07:25
by Peter Alexander
Joined on Wed, Aug 21 2002, Virginia, Posts 642

Given the investment you've made in VSL and the hardware needed to run it, I suggest you invest a few dollars in your self and take piano lessons. Here, you'll learn to read music and how to play with musical expression.

Peter L. Alexander
Author, Professional Orchestration Series
www.soniccontrol.tv
www.alexanderpublishing.com
Posted on Sun, Jul 21 2013 14:26
by Ricardo22
Joined on Mon, Oct 08 2012, Portugal, Madeira, São Martinho, Posts 74

 Buy some composition books. It is the best thing to do. If you are in a conservatory, you can study more music basis, like theory or composition (reading notes, clefs, rhythyms, intervals, building chords, hear chords with inversions). You can study accoustics too, which is one of my favourite. Pretty much is helpful for mixing with Vienna Suite and MIR.

Posted on Fri, Jul 26 2013 06:01
by jasensmith
Joined on Tue, Jan 15 2008, Arizona, Posts 1582

Nothing against NONkeyboard players but try learning a keyboard instrument, like piano or organ, whether through books or private lessons or whatever.  Reason being, keyboard instruments are generally written in both treble and bass clefs so you learn and understand how bass notes and treble notes interact but, more importantly, you learn about chord structures and harmonizing melodies.

Once you've got a general understanding of the keyboard instrument; you don't have to be a virtuoso who could sight read upside down or anything, then move on to score reading.  A pretty good book that has a straight forward writing style is Score Reading by Michael Dickreiter (at least the English translation is straight forward) 

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=score+reading+michael+dickrieter

The book suggests methods of reading scores as they are playing and this tends to fill in a lot of blanks that you don't learn while studying the keyboard.  Mozart's scores were pretty simple which makes them easy to read along with while they are playing so I would recommend starting with his scores. 


"If at first you don't succeed, try, try again. Then quit. There's no point in being a damn fool about it."
- W.C. Fields
Posted on Sat, Jul 27 2013 06:21
by jasensmith
Joined on Tue, Jan 15 2008, Arizona, Posts 1582

I should point out that I'm not affiliated with Mr. Dickreiter, nor the publisher of Score Reading, and I don't get a "cut" of any books sold.  I just put the link in there for the convenience of the OP.


"If at first you don't succeed, try, try again. Then quit. There's no point in being a damn fool about it."
- W.C. Fields
Posted on Tue, Jul 30 2013 17:20
by The Minstrel
Joined on Fri, Oct 16 2009, Sweden, Posts 96

Thank you guys. I really appreciate you taking the time to give me advice. I've decided to take piano lessons, starting this autumn. Until then, I found some useful android apps to get me started. MusicTutor SightRead, CSharply and Perfect Ear. With the help of these apps, I will learn to identify the note names on the treble and bass clef, different intervals, chords and inversions and so forth. Actually, after spending a week with these apps, I'm feeling quite comfortable with note names, intervals and chords, at least in the treble clef.

I will also get the suggested literature. It seems to be just what I was looking for.

Thanks again everyone!

Posted on Wed, Jul 31 2013 07:11
by Suntower
Joined on Wed, Mar 16 2011, Seattle, Dublin, Posts 276
thomamd wrote:

One thing to consider is purchasing a good book on sight-singing. Not only will you develop your reading skills, but you will also be learning to do it without needing to play it.

This is the smartest thing I've read here in a long while.

You can only really read what you can already hear in your head. 90% of reading is actually ear training.

You don't need method books (although ear training courses speed things up fer sure.)

1. Just sight sing... in lots of different styles.

2. Get some scores... or just piano music. Pick 2 staves and tap out rhythms---like you're drumming.

And above all? Don't cheat. :D If you already know the song, move on.

DAW: Cubase 8.5/64
Controllers: CME UF8, Roland VDrums, Exp. Pedal, Sus Pedal.
Main: Sandybridge Win10/64 16gb Boot Dr: SSD, Samples: SAT-600
Slave: Intel Q8400, 16gb RAM Win10/64
VEP5, VIPro, Chamber Strings, Tenor Sax, Epic Orch, EWQLO
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