Reading Chord Charts

It's not as hard as you might think.

Brown Eyed Girl Chord Chart

Reading Chord Charts

toon_Eyechart A Chord Chart (or chart) is a form of musical notation that in addition to writing out non-embellished melody, describes harmonic and rhythmic information. It is the most common form of notation used by professional musicians playing jazz or popular music. It's intended primarily for a rhythm section ( usually consisting of piano, guitar, drums and bass ). In these genres the musicians are expected to be able to improvise the actual notes used to represent the chord and the appropriate ornamentation or counter melody.

A Road Map Through a Song

toon_you_are_hereUL505-1A Road map Through a Song – Your road map through a song includes – the landmarks, traffic signs and directions to and from one place to another place, the beginning of the song, to another, the end of the song. For a song that would be the key and modulations, the sections, type of chords, codas, repeats and the music signs used to determine you path through the song. Basically the form the song is to take when performing the song.

A Chord Chart is simply these directions. It contain the chords and form of the song to play. I might or might not contain directions on where to put you fingers, chord diagrams or where to play any particular note. Depending on the intended final use of the chart it can as simple as the chords to completely written out instrument part for a recording.

At a minimum it should contain are the chords and form of the song. The lyrics are for the singers. Chord diagrams are for beginners who might not have a chord vocabulary of chords to cover all the chords in a given song. TAB serves a different function and is not needed in a chord chart.

Depending on the song, my chord charts might contain any signature licks and riffs for that song. These will be in standard notation on the chart. I'll provide TAB for ukulele players separately. Using standard music notation allows ANY musician that can read music to play the song on any instrument.

Standard Music Notation Practice (PDF)

This study, prepared by the Production Committee of the Music Publisher's Association , outlines a series of standards for music notation .

( Ed. This is great introduction and reference for standard music notation. )

A Few Reading Lessons to Get You Started

The following two lessons are the first lessons for a series of lessons on reading in the open position and a series for more advanced reading up the neck.

Reading for Ukulele - The Next Steps

Reading can be thought of on many different levels. 1) the ability to slowly and painfully work out the written music. 2) the ability to hear the music by looking at the notation. 3) the ability to notate< your ideas in standard music notation. 4) the ability to read music as you read a book or an article. 5) the ability to communicate with other musicians in the written language of music. 6) the ability to learn songs that you have never heard.

This series of lessons picks up after right after the Reading Music on Ukulele - Primer which focused on reading in the open position. This series is a Pro level series of lessons to get you really reading.

Reading Music on Ukulele - Primer

There are a few things in music that students and players avoid. These are things like learning to read and knowing the notes of their own instrument. It is hard on guitar - but not so hard on ukulele. With the right guidance and plan of attack. IT IS EASY.

It is really quite easy on a uke. Starting with natural notes in in the open position you can finally check off the Reading Music to do item.

Learning to read standard music notation is really, really easy.

Reading Standard Music Notation for Ukulele

Reading music on ukulele is all about learning what the notes look like and where there are on the instrument for your favorite tuning.

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