Fermata

fermlogo.gif I read mu­sic pret­ty well, but some­times I think my gui­tar in­struc­tor thinks I’m an id­iot, be­cause I read mu­sic strange­ly.

He’ll say ‘Start from the E’ and it will take me 5 or 10 sec­onds to find the right note from which to start. When I read mu­sic I don’t read notes as their names, I read them as tones. I sup­pose the best anal­o­gy I can come up with is that when you read this, you don’t read each let­ter and think A-D-A-M adam I-S is D-U-M-B dumb. You just read it as: Adam is dumb. I’ve al­ways read mu­sic this way, but I used to be bet­ter at pick­ing up the notes on the staff, but since I had an 8 year break from read­ing mu­sic, that se­mi-abil­i­ty is slow to come back.

In the oth­er di­rec­tion, sort of, I can’t play things by ear un­less I’ve read and mem­o­rized the ‘pas­sage’ first. I’ve got a good mem­o­ry for rote things.

5 thoughts on “Fermata

  1. See, I’m all about their names. Though, grant­ed, I can read staff like a 3 year old. So you think about the pas­sage, as a whole, not the in­div. notes with­in it?

  2. I have a hard time con­vert­ing the au­di­to­ry to the vi­su­al. I have al­ways been able to pick things out by ear and hear whether some­thing is on key or not (what some re­fer to as ‘per­fect pitch’, al­tho most peo­ple think that means you can sing per­fect­ly on key). It’s my one gen­uine mu­si­cal tal­ent that I got from be­ing on the end of gen­er­a­tions of mu­si­cians (my grand­par­ents met at Westminster Choir College). What this means tho is that I can sort of play any in­stru­ment I pick up, but can­not re­al­ly play any­thing be­cause I ab­solute­ly can­not read mu­sic with­out think­ing “ok — e-g -b — yah — that’s a b!”, so in all my lessons I nev­er could play any­thing longer than about a page be­cause i had to be able to mem­o­rize it to play it.

  3. On gui­tar for ex­am­ple, once I’ve got the note ful­ly as­so­ci­at­ed with its po­si­tion on the neck, I ‘for­get’ what the note is called and in­stead re­late it to the notes around it, al­most like I have an in­tu­itive grasp of what some­thing should sound like.

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