The Trouble with TAB

A Form of Musical Notation Using Numbers and Letters on a Staff.

Published: Jan 2, 2005 Updated: Jun 13, 2019 Visits: 2

ukulele Subjects: readingTABintermediateadvancedbasics

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TAB, short for tablature is a form of musical notation using numbers and letters on a staff that that corresponds to the number of strings of fretted string instrument. Theses number tell a player which fret to place their fingers on rather than which pitches to play.

TAB has a history with lute music from centuries ago and has found wide use in the music publishing industry catering to the guitarist who can't or doesn't want to learn to read. TAB doesn't exist in mainstream music, primarily by some music magazines and on the internet.

Learning to read TAB can be accomplished in minutes. Learning to read standard music notation takes a lot of dedicated work and is well worth the effort.

"I think anything that separates guitar players (ed. ukulele players also) from the rest of the music world is bad. Tablature is a certain secret code only for a guitar player. So you have guitar players who can read tablature and not music." - Peter Bernstein

On other real benefit to being able to read standard music notation is you then have access to a wider range of material from other instruments and not limited to ukulele TAB.


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