Mandolin Babe's Has Ukulele Stuff!

Monday, January 31, 2011

Importance of Reading Music

   Before you flip to another blog page as you might be moaning over that title,let me assure you that songs will open up to you if you learn to read music for your uke,no matter if it's soprano or baritone. Having said that,I am a fan of TAB but it only works for the instrument & tuning it's written for. Learn to read standard notation and here's what can happen:
   Seeing as baritone uke is like the 4 upper strings of a guitar,a lot of guitar music books become applicable. Not that you'll be able to play absolutely any tune in any guitar book due to being minus two lower strings,but it opens a lot of doors. And-if you love 1920's tunes,etc,you'll be able to play most of those even tho they're arranged for soprano ukulele.   
   I'm quite amazed that beginning baritone books never seem to mention these points-they have you learn to read music with really boring tunes but never mention the true reward. (because the old ditties they use,while dull as dirt,are public domain which means no concerns over copyright infringement) In modern english,you may not be all thrilled to learn to read the notes to play "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" but that can lead to you being able to play "Stardust" "Darktown Strutters Ball" and a host of others,including modern tunes by your favorite groups.
    In other words,you're no longer beholden to "arranged for baritone uke" sheet music & song books. 
    Don't forget right hand technique guitar books,either. Flatpicking is flatpicking even if done with a felt pick and on your bari-right hand technique is basically the same,as are bass runs from one chord to another,so on & so forth. 
    The pic of the baritone book you see to your upper left is a wonderful primer for reading music-click on the book and you'll be taken to where you can get a copy at a discount. 


  1. Sherrie -- it is nice to have another baritone ukulele perspective. I do read music sometimes. I have been stuck somewhat with the GCEA fretboard and beginning to feel comfortable with the five frets worth of lower tones. I like these lower tomes.

    What you're saying about a variety of guitar books that work well for the bari too is an area where I have been sinking some time and money into.

    Two periodical resources are available and are reasonably priced: Acoustic Guitar Magazine and Flatpicking Guitar Magazine. The may lean more towards the LowD-GBE tuning bari but they are both a wealth of information coming from the guitar world. [Not everything is applicable to DGBE, of course]

    Last, I am glad that you mentioned bass runs between chords. I personally would like to hear more about how YOU do these. This is an aspect that can be used when jamming with standard tuned uke players.

  2. I agree with you. If you take the time to really learn how to read music, the whole world of music will open up to you.

    You are no longer limited to a TAB, relying on someone else to show you, or waiting until you can "hear it" first.

    A truly confident and independent musician can read music and develop a great ear.

    Great points here!

  3. I can't seem to find a book that teaches me how to read sheet music for the baritone ukulele. Can you recommend one?

    1. You can get a copy here in my online store!

  4. I'd be happy to purchase it but have a few questions because I'm not clear on a few things. Your books says "tablature book" but I'm interested in traditional sheet music with the hope that learning it might enable me to play music written for different instruments and learn to master the Uke to it's full potential. So I assume your book teaches traditional sheet music or is it mostly just tab (like guitar tab?). If it is sheet music, does that mean I can pick up sheet music for another instrument, like guitar, and be able to play the song? Sorry for the beginner-ish questions. Chords aren't that interesting to me because I know quite a few on guitar and already have reference sheets. I have played guitar for a few years but I don't know much about music theory. I'd also like to know if there is any other material such that I can learn things such as fingerstyle, blues, etc on the baritone Uke. Thanks a lot!

  5. The book uses tab as a way to learn standard notation-so you'll see both in the book. Once you learn to read music with this book,you should be able to work out of any music book with no problem-just remember the lowest note you'll be able to play will be a D above middle C. As far as fingerstyle and blues,you may have to borrow the information from soprano uke books. You can learn guitar books as well. There hasn't been a lot of exploration into different styles for baritone,sad to say. If there's any more questions on the book,go to the book listing itself and hit "ask seller a question" at the bottom of the listing page. :-) Hope I'm helping you!