Written by John Cadd
Published: March 17, 2015 at 12:43 AM [UTC]
I had a very patchy start to connecting music theory with violin playing. Like many amateur players, there were times when the violin was left untouched for work and family. Eventually, I decided to get it all sorted out, but the formal scale books used by examination boards left me cold. Every page looked the same. They explained nothing. What about all the notes below the first note of each scale? There was a gap between the music sheet and the fingerboard. If you know the answers the questions are easy .
My first effort was to make a sort of calculator from plastic cards, the sort that came before electronic calculators. You pushed a slider along with a pointer and read the answer.
The scale calculator slider had holes with the spacing to match a major scale. The slider also showed in a hole above which key was being used. The plastic was white, so all natural notes showed black from the background pattern. All sharps or flats showed red from the background pattern.
A small violin calculator was made first. Then a larger version for guitar followed.
( Photos of guitar version to show here what all that looked like ).
But that only showed a fingerboard and fretboard image. The idea to combine the fingerboard/fretboard and classical music notation, on paper, was next to pop out of my subconscious. None of this was pre-planned.
The fretboard image needed to tilt across the music stave. The guitar was my main interest in this. I had just started to learn and wanted access to all the high notes and chords.
Lots of experimental geometry followed, until a reasonable compromise was settled on. (Even Bach was not too concerned if his bar lines were not exactly vertical!) The note shape was made oval to match the fingertip shape. Each "string " was given a colour, just for clarity. Fourteen sheets (one for each key ) seemed a lot, but only using one at a time was more user friendly than a calculator. The sheets gave the note on the music and the place on the fretboard at the same time -- just like adjusting your eyes for near or far vision.
The sheets can be sent by e-mail and printed out, so that was a bonus. The enharmonic keys are much easier to understand. Every major scale note from the lowest open string upwards is included. Keynotes are circled. Each page has the correct key signature.
Here are links to the pages, which progress upwards, one semitone at a time:
The Bb major top 4 notes should be a semitone higher. My clerical error . Sorry about that .
Notice this error was only wrong in the music sense. In the finger position on the string sense it was still ok.
(Here is where you can find all of them in one album.)
This helped me to catch up and organise a large, loosely connected mass of information into a manageable shape. The grid pattern can be adapted for arpeggios, chords etc. As it stands, they just show what notes are contained in each major key. Visual recognition of the patterns across the strings is especially useful.
If you look in many guitar books, you find diagrams that resemble radio circuits to explain all this. This is the cure for Tabs. It puts traditional music notation back in the front again where it belongs.
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John, thanks for the post!
I had to change the instructions for the Bass Guitar.
There are two very important points in this .
Starting at the lowest open string Ab you need to construct the major scale from that lowest open string all the way across the strings. Every keynote must be circled
You need to remember the relative tuning between the strings .
This is point 1.
The overall pattern of notes formed from the lowest open string will not change. But that whole pattern will move to the right as you move up by a semitone at a time.
This is point 2 .
The violin diagram shows each note and fingertip on a vertical line. This is no good for a guitar. The visual effect will be confusing. Start with open string notes to the left of the nut edge. The scales which omit open strings can be a blind spot. Only draw in open string notes if they belong in that scale.
A guitarist plays the notes between the frets.That is the image you need.Then the fret numbering system will appear as normal.
So there is not a quick and easy way to transfer from violin to bass guitar .You will understand it better after you work through it all .The unchanging but moving pattern should be remembered.
I don`t know the person who wrote the question as he used a number. I hope it works for him/her .
Use a sheet of tracing paper to help with the other scales.A double length octave will make it easier. As you move right the bottom half provides you with the other notes.
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