Friday, February 22, 2008

FAQ: No Tab, Pepsi

I'm frequently asked for tablature for my arrangements of popular songs.

I don't use them. I don't make tablatures after arranging something for myself, because I don't need them. Once I've completely forgotten how to play something all I need to do is refer back to the video I made and relearn it by listening and watching. Often as a result of this (and in combination with listening to the original song) I make improvements to the arrangement.

This is vastly simpler, I find, than taking out a piece of paper with little dots and dashes on it and trying to figure out what I was thinking.

If I were to entabulate an arrangement it would take longer than relearning the whole thing from scratch. A Benedictine brother in the middle ages painstakingly illuminating the Book of Hours would consider his work a rush job in comparison to what it's like for me.

Now, I figure there are these programs now that do all the work for you. Is this the case? You play an audio track into a notation program and it writes it out for you? What a dream come true. I had that idea when I was 6! :D However, if that is the case then there's no need for me to make (and email, snail mail, scan and fax etc etc) any tablatures of my arrangements, because the person so interested only has to find one of these software programs and voila, they have score and tablature just from saving the audio out of some video of mine.

Does that bother me? Not in the least. I encourage it (although I encourage ear-training much more!) After all I've already "borrowed" the tune from someone else who has legitimate copyright claims (more on this in another post). Certainly if anyone wants to copy and study what I'm doing that's their bunch of grapes. Just happy to be of service.


Jaco said...

Hi Tony,
Thanks for posting your guitar videos. I really enjoy listening you playing. I also like your posts here and I agree, youtube is great tool for short-term memory guitar amateurs! I do the same.

Justin said...

I love your stuff but I have to admit that I wish there was tablature. The reasoning is pretty simple; any tablature to be found is nowhere near this quality and to make matters worse I don't quite have the ear-training down. Of course I could develop it with time but I'm not that serious a guitarist. Like you, I play it for awhile then forget it but I'm just not passionate enough to spend a couple hours a day fiddling around trying to play along by ear. Couple that with my music theory ignorance and, for me, trying to follow your videos is like you trying to make tabs.

If that wasn't bad enough, it's hard to find this type of tablature. Most of what's available are just chord "sing-a-long" types.

Sorry to write so much. I just wanted to state my case and express my frustration with hearing something beautiful, knowing I have the technical ability to play it, but not having the experience to play it by ear. I know the solution: play more, right?! The only problem is that everything has an opportunity cost and I guess I'm just not dedicated enough, thus beautiful playing like yours seems out of reach for now. The only person selling tabs of high quality, of the music and style I like, is Uncleparsnip. If you know of others, please tell me. You can also contact me on Youtube under "wufnu".