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Reading different music notations

Different music notations for stringed instruments - what are those?

Tablature

Tablature (or tab for short) is a form of musical notation, that indicates directly which frets to press on which string. They can also display info about playing techniques, like bending and palm muting. However, they usually lack accurate information about rhythm and note length.

A standard tablature has lines representing the strings of the instrument. The string names can be defined in the beginning, which makes it easy to write music for alternate tunings too.

Standard notation

Tabs are quick to grasp and easy to read for musicians, but if you want to sing or play other instruments, write your own music and understand music in general, you should learn standard notation too.

It's more complicated to learn than tablature, but music for most other instruments is written in it. A staff has 5 lines, which don't represent the strings, so a musician has to learn, where on the fretboard the notes are located.

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