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#971795 - 07/27/04 04:44 AM Look for pattern of intervals or each note individually?
jaxkewl Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 07/14/04
Posts: 15
How should I read music? How is it done by the professionals? Do they look for interval patterns or look at each measure/note separately?

For instance I see the notes middle C and D next to each other. When I see C, I know its a C. And when I see D do I look at it as, "Oh it's just another note up from C", or do I look at it as "D" separately?

I find myself reading music as if each note has no connection to the previous note just played.
Now I can read music ok, but reading music and finding the corrosponding key is another story. Whats the technique or solution here?

On another "note", you guys are great with suggestions....

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#971796 - 07/27/04 05:18 AM Re: Look for pattern of intervals or each note individually?
Pianogirl88 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 06/30/04
Posts: 17
Loc: Canada
Good question.........wow I don't know how to say this but I'll say music is just like literature, you have to look for phrases or sentences if you will. So no, don't read each individual note - read it as paragraphs and sentences.

#971797 - 07/27/04 05:21 AM Re: Look for pattern of intervals or each note individually?
ChickGrand Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/02/03
Posts: 3263
Loc: Midwest U.S.
I'm certainly not one to tell you how a professional does it, but I considered posting in the thread "What used to be hard for you?" the business of sight-reading/playing. I chose not to, because I can't say it's now entirely easy. But it IS much, much easier than it used to be.

I can't tell you how to make it easier, other than just to do it. Sight read less complex pieces for awhile and move into more complex ones later. The most useful thing I have found for familiarizing myself with reading is transcribing music. I had arrangements for string quartet I wanted for piano two-hands but couldn't find. So I transcribed them myself. (More complicated than reading the notes since you have to reconcile rhythms and time values, but that's aside from the point). Make photocopies of some of your favorite sheets. First, simply sit and pencil in the note values as an exercise until you feel confident about your ability to recognize individual notes on the clefs, even well above and below the staves. After a little time of this, you'll find yourself recognizing them quickly on sight. And you'll learn to recognize the spread of the octaves across the staves as well. Then, familiarize yourself with the keyboard by touch (though quick glances for reference are perfectly fine). You can tell where you are by the feel of the keys due to the spacing of the blacks and whites. Takes a little time. Practice finding notes without looking, by feel, so you can focus your attention on reading. Trust that it gets easier with practice because it does.

I have found fairly recently that I'm no longer thinking C, E, and G, but seeing the C and just knowing at a glance the spacing of the notes above--seeing the interval distance, which cuts out all that translation. When I just go with that instinct, I find I do surprisingly well. I've been spending some time every day on sight-reading/playing some new unfamilar piece. When I started, it felt painfully slow. But without very much pain and really not so many months of a small amount of my practice time on that exercise each day, I'm finding it suddenly much easier and the pain is almost miraculously gone. I find I'm playing things fairly accurately and very nearly up to tempo as I read. It feels like a miracle. But it's just ordinary learning. It takes time to soak in, but repetition gets you learning. And it does get easier.

With a little practice, you'll start seeing common intervals and chord inversions and recognizing them as a group and your hand will also find itself used to fingering that familiar group. And you'll start recognizing even whole phrases, like long scalar arpeggios and such. And then you'll start noticing that long phrases in one composer's work are identical to those of another. You start really recognizing big chunks all at once. Just takes some focused time, patience, and repetitive practice. Just start simple and take your time. It will happen.

#971798 - 07/27/04 10:01 AM Re: Look for pattern of intervals or each note individually?
signa Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/04
Posts: 8483
Loc: Ohio, USA
sight reading a note should be both as a single note on clef and as a connecting note from previous one to the one after, because your fingers will position on keyboard for that key from the key before and to the key after. so, certainly the connection is obvious at least for finger positions and movements. usually, when doing sight reading, you hold the current key/keys down and at the same time you are reading the next note or next sequence of notes in order to play next one/ones immediately after. in another word, you are doing at least 2 things at the same time: play current note/notes and read next note/notes.

#971799 - 07/30/04 10:57 AM Re: Look for pattern of intervals or each note individually?
LudwigVanBee Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/18/04
Posts: 83
Loc: USA
I find myself reading music as if each note has no connection to the previous note just played.
This is perfectly normal for a beginner, just like when I was in third grade and started learning the alphabet. But then by the sixth grade or so I was reading words, sentences, etc. There are no shortcuts, just practice and have fun with the learning experience. See Beverly Sills below.
_ _ ___________________________ _ _
"There are no shortcuts to anything worth doing." Beverly Sills


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