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Thread: difference between TAB and Treble clef

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    Senior Member captdg's Avatar
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    difference between TAB and Treble clef

    Whats some easy and fast rules for this?..I m not a musicologist..Thanks

  2. #2
    Cream Crackered Mikegarveyblues's Avatar
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    Tab is a visual representation of a guitars fretboard.

    You'll have the 6 linhes representing the 6 strings and the numbers on the lines represent the frets. Basically tells you where to put your fingers as well as other usefull information. Doesn't help you with timing.

    With Staff or Stave notation (The Treble Clef just gives you the pitch of the notes within a range) you have the notes written out on 5 lines. Each line represents a note, say E,G,B,D,F and the space between also represents a note F,A,C,E. The different types of notes indicate the timing.

    There's a lot more to it than that, but that's the difference at a basic level.

    Tab is usefull to a guitarist as you have the exact same note appearing multiple times on the fretboard. YOu can also fit in more 'instruction' with tab. Personally, I like tab and Staff combined, along with my ears. I can't read music (Hey, i'm a guitarist!!!) but I do like conventional notation to work out the timing.
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    A♥ hoards guitars A♥ rugerpc's Avatar
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    Another important difference is that standard musical notation (the bass and treble clefts) do not tell you where on the guitar to play an enharminic note.

    Take the note sounded by the open 5th string, A in standard tuning. That same A can be played on the 6th string at the 5th fret. It is the same A, same pitch, but a different timbre. That makes tab notation slightly more useful for relaying where on the neck of a guitar a familiar riff is played.

    But tab's real drawback is the almost complete lack of timing notation.
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    Name Manglin' Putz alantig's Avatar
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    On the plus side, tab (as has been noted) is very good for telling you how to play something. On the minus, tab is very good for telling you how to play something. It doesn't leave you much room for determining how you might want to voice something. But if you're trying to cop what someone else did, it's excellent for showing that. And it also may show you a way to voice something that you might not have considered. Tab, to my mind, is much easier to pick up quickly - it's simply translating the diagram to the fretboard.

    Standard notation, though, is almost a must if you want to communicate to other musicians. "A-flat" means something to a keyboard player - "second string, ninth fret" doesn't.

    There's definitely a place for both, though.
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    Still a Junior Member Albrecht Smuten's Avatar
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    A little derail... because I forgot classic notation and never learned tabs (I have a killer hearing and memory ), I developed my own system of notation, which is far from perfect, but usually works (it's basically a table with 8 columns, saying "one-two-three-four" in first row, 2 columns for each beat, two notes per column).
    Problem starts, when you have 3/4 accents in a 4/4 song, and the system completely fails when you have to write down something more complex, like HC/djent patterns (unreadable/unwritable).

    When it comes to non-regular complex patterns that spread over several bars, it seems very useful just to draw it on a square paper - full squares being notes and clear squares being pauses.

    Message is: Be creative. You may know tabs or classic notation, still you may have to communicate with those who don't
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    Tab is great for people like me who cannot read music. Using tabs instantly teaches you how to play a particular segment. Once you learn the basic notes, you can figure out the subtleties (like timing) much easier than learning everything from scratch. Tabs give players like me the ability to learn virtually any song. They can't help with technique...but they can eliminate the confusion as to "what note, where".

    I learned how to read music using a staff and traditional notation in grade school when playing the flutophone. I forgot it faster than I had learned it by the time I reached 6th grade. :-)

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    Quote Originally Posted by alantig View Post
    On the plus side, tab (as has been noted) is very good for telling you how to play something. On the minus, tab is very good for telling you how to play something. It doesn't leave you much room for determining how you might want to voice something. But if you're trying to cop what someone else did, it's excellent for showing that. And it also may show you a way to voice something that you might not have considered. Tab, to my mind, is much easier to pick up quickly - it's simply translating the diagram to the fretboard.

    Standard notation, though, is almost a must if you want to communicate to other musicians. "A-flat" means something to a keyboard player - "second string, ninth fret" doesn't.

    There's definitely a place for both, though.
    Concur! I like to have both notations on a page because it is brain dead simple to determine the key signature from standard notation. For key signatures with sharps, the key is a half step about the last sharp. For example, the most common key signature in rock music is the key of G major/E minor. In standard notation, the key signature for G major/E minor is written as one sharp (F#) to the right of the treble clef (G is a half step above F#). For key signatures with flats, we remove the last flat. The key signature is then given by the rightmost flat. The only key with flats that deviates from this rule is the key of F major/D minor. It only has one flat. The only key signature with no sharps or flats is the key of C major/A minor (C major/A minor is all white keys on a piano).

    Last edited by Em7; 11-02-2012 at 12:02 PM.

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    A♥ hoards guitars A♥ rugerpc's Avatar
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    Missing from the above chart - the key of D♭ is also the same enharmonically as C #,
    and the key of B sounds the same as C♭.

    If a piece of music is new to a guitar player, having both standard notation and tablature solves a lot of problems. You get both the correct notes in the correct octave with their timing and rests (from the standard notation) and the solution as to which strings to use and where to play them on the neck (from the tablature).

    Some classical standard notation music even tells you which fingers to use when fretting notes.
    Last edited by rugerpc; 11-02-2012 at 11:30 AM.
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    A♥ hoards guitars A♥ rugerpc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Albrecht Smuten View Post
    A little derail... because I forgot classic notation and never learned tabs (I have a killer hearing and memory ), I developed my own system of notation, which is far from perfect, but usually works (it's basically a table with 8 columns, saying "one-two-three-four" in first row, 2 columns for each beat, two notes per column).
    Problem starts, when you have 3/4 accents in a 4/4 song, and the system completely fails when you have to write down something more complex, like HC/djent patterns (unreadable/unwritable).

    When it comes to non-regular complex patterns that spread over several bars, it seems very useful just to draw it on a square paper - full squares being notes and clear squares being pauses.

    Message is: Be creative. You may know tabs or classic notation, still you may have to communicate with those who don't
    I think you need to show us an example of your notation - it sounds interesting.
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  10. #10
    Still a Junior Member Albrecht Smuten's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rugerpc View Post
    I think you need to show us an example of your notation - it sounds interesting.
    And let you know how lame it really is? No way!
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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by rugerpc View Post
    Missing from the above chart - the key of D♭ is also the same enharmonically as C #,
    and the key of B sounds the same as C♭.
    The enharmonic key names are missing, but both key signatures are notated on the Circle of Fifths diagram show above. The key signature for C# is located below the key signature for Db, and the key signature for Cb is located below the key signature for B.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Em7 View Post
    The enharmonic key names are missing, but both key signatures are notated on the Circle of Fifths diagram show above. The key signature for C# is located below the key signature for Db, and the key signature for Cb is located below the key signature for B.
    Yup. Saw those. I was just fleshing out the missing names.

    Quote Originally Posted by Albrecht Smuten View Post
    And let you know how lame it really is? No way!
    C'mon. It sounds very graphic, intuitive and different. It might be just what someone who is struggling with notation on the Forum needs. You never know - it might turn into a useful shorthand for even seasoned players.
    Last edited by rugerpc; 11-02-2012 at 01:47 PM.
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    Cream Crackered Mikegarveyblues's Avatar
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    Yep, come on Albrecht... You've piqued my interest!
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    Senior Member captdg's Avatar
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    okay....wow! I played trumpet in college..Go USM!....But anyway, uhhh when I wanna play an "E" on sheet music do I do an open "E" or fret it? Em7 blew me away!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by captdg View Post
    But anyway, uhhh when I wanna play an "E" on sheet music do I do an open "E" or fret it?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mikegarveyblues View Post
    Tab is a visual representation of a guitars fretboard.

    You'll have the 6 linhes representing the 6 strings and the numbers on the lines represent the frets. Basically tells you where to put your fingers as well as other usefull information. Doesn't help you with timing.

    With Staff or Stave notation (The Treble Clef just gives you the pitch of the notes within a range) you have the notes written out on 5 lines. Each line represents a note, say E,G,B,D,F and the space between also represents a note F,A,C,E. The different types of notes indicate the timing.

    There's a lot more to it than that, but that's the difference at a basic level.

    Tab is usefull to a guitarist as you have the exact same note appearing multiple times on the fretboard. YOu can also fit in more 'instruction' with tab. Personally, I like tab and Staff combined, along with my ears. I can't read music (Hey, i'm a guitarist!!!) but I do like conventional notation to work out the timing.
    Quote Originally Posted by alantig View Post
    On the plus side, tab (as has been noted) is very good for telling you how to play something. On the minus, tab is very good for telling you how to play something. It doesn't leave you much room for determining how you might want to voice something. But if you're trying to cop what someone else did, it's excellent for showing that. And it also may show you a way to voice something that you might not have considered. Tab, to my mind, is much easier to pick up quickly - it's simply translating the diagram to the fretboard.

    Standard notation, though, is almost a must if you want to communicate to other musicians. "A-flat" means something to a keyboard player - "second string, ninth fret" doesn't.

    There's definitely a place for both, though.
    Quote Originally Posted by Em7 View Post
    Concur! I like to have both notations on a page because it is brain dead simple to determine the key signature from standard notation. For key signatures with sharps, the key is a half step about the last sharp. For example, the most common key signature in rock music is the key of G major/E minor. In standard notation, the key signature for G major/E minor is written as one sharp (F#) to the right of the treble clef (G is a half step above F#). For key signatures with flats, we remove the last flat. The key signature is then given by the rightmost flat. The only key with flats that deviates from this rule is the key of F major/D minor. It only has one flat. The only key signature with no sharps or flats is the key of C major/A minor (C major/A minor is all white keys on a piano).

    I agree with all. A gigging guitarist needs a working understanding of all these tools/means of communication.

  17. #17
    Still a Junior Member Albrecht Smuten's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rugerpc View Post
    C'mon. It sounds very graphic, intuitive and different. It might be just what someone who is struggling with notation on the Forum needs. You never know - it might turn into a useful shorthand for even seasoned players.
    Quote Originally Posted by Mikegarveyblues View Post
    Yep, come on Albrecht... You've piqued my interest!
    Ok, I already started making fool of myself, so why not finish the job...

    Theme 1 is random practice, 3/4 pattern in 4/4 song, Jethro Tull ripoff is loosely based on a particular pattern from "Hunting girl" song.
    (I deliberately left the beats and half beats in czech to explain that every half beat is differentiated from others, unlike "1 and 2 and 3 and 4 and"... I'm grateful for that, it's pretty handy when talking about particular half-beats)

    The square paper notation ended up looking pretty similar to classic notation, only it's strictly geometrical/regular, whatever.

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  18. #18
    Still a Junior Member Albrecht Smuten's Avatar
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    Thinking outside the box, if the notation system is ever about to develop, the use of COLORS might actually come in handy to differentiate stuff (as we are no longer limited to a quill and black ink)...
    Love for all human beings is like listening to any kind of music. You just don't care.
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    A♥ hoards guitars A♥ rugerpc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by captdg View Post
    okay....wow! I played trumpet in college..Go USM!....But anyway, uhhh when I wanna play an "E" on sheet music do I do an open "E" or fret it? Em7 blew me away!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    It all depends upon which "E" you are trying to play from the sheet music. Have a look at this diagram.

    C scale in standard notation and in tab

    The third note is an E - a very specific E - the E just above middle C on the piano. On a guitar in standard tuning, that E can be sounded by playing the 4th string at the second fret as shown in the tab.

    But there are 2 other places on the guitar to play the same E.
    5th string 7th fret
    6th string 12th fret

    The 6th string open is an E too, but it is an octave lower - the E below middle C on the piano.

    Have a look at this link for a fairly good tutorial on how standard notation and tab relate:

    reading notation and tablature
    Last edited by rugerpc; 11-03-2012 at 10:10 AM.
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  20. #20
    Cream Crackered Mikegarveyblues's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Albrecht Smuten View Post
    Ok, I already started making fool of myself, so why not finish the job...

    Theme 1 is random practice, 3/4 pattern in 4/4 song, Jethro Tull ripoff is loosely based on a particular pattern from "Hunting girl" song.
    (I deliberately left the beats and half beats in czech to explain that every half beat is differentiated from others, unlike "1 and 2 and 3 and 4 and"... I'm grateful for that, it's pretty handy when talking about particular half-beats)

    The square paper notation ended up looking pretty similar to classic notation, only it's strictly geometrical/regular, whatever.

    If it works then that's all that matters!

    Not found myself in a situation where i've had to write out standard notation for anyone - thankfully! - but i've done a version of tab where i've had to write the duration of the note under the number on the tab line. Kind of worked.
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