DRUMMERWORLD OFFICIAL DISCUSSION FORUM   

Go Back   DRUMMERWORLD OFFICIAL DISCUSSION FORUM > General Discussion

General Discussion General discussion forum for all drum related topics. Use this forum to exchange ideas and information with your fellow drummers.

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
  #1  
Old 05-26-2014, 11:02 PM
Ollie Bonugli's Avatar
Ollie Bonugli Ollie Bonugli is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Location: South-east England
Posts: 194
Default Tabs Vs. Traditional Notation

Do you prefer Drum Tabs or Traditional Notation (I prefer Trad). And I don't mean it as 'on the Internet Trad/Tabs are used less/more so they're worse/better', I mean as in 'Trad/Tabs are easier/harder to read and/or write'

Just wanting to get some opinions.
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 05-26-2014, 11:26 PM
BacteriumFendYoke's Avatar
BacteriumFendYoke BacteriumFendYoke is offline
Platinum Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Canterbury. The One With the Cathedral.
Posts: 6,372
Default Re: Tabs Vs. Traditional Notation

Traditional notation is superior in every single way.
__________________
PEWFLADCC
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 05-26-2014, 11:27 PM
Jeff Almeyda's Avatar
Jeff Almeyda Jeff Almeyda is offline
Senior Consultant
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: NYC
Posts: 2,782
Default Re: Tabs Vs. Traditional Notation

I've never used tabs. They look terrible. As drummers, we are typically only concerned with rhythmic notation anyway so how hard is it really to learn how to "read music"?
__________________
Either you have a purpose behind your expression... or you don't.
JoJo Mayer
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 05-26-2014, 11:48 PM
BillRayDrums's Avatar
BillRayDrums BillRayDrums is offline
Gold Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2014
Location: Lower California
Posts: 1,259
Default Re: Tabs Vs. Traditional Notation

I remember when that stuff came around. Guitarists use tab because melody and rhythm to them are usually two separate planets.

For drummers, tab is useless in the real musical world. You'll spend just as much time learning tab as you would learning traditional rhythmic notation. And while it may have given many cats their start, it's just impractical past a certain point. You can't share a "chart" in tab with the guitarist or keyboard, and you can notate a rhythmic "line" with traditional notation on one line quickly and easily rather than having to type out the entire thing.
__________________
~

Best Regards,
13612
Bill Ray
http://billraydrums.com
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 05-26-2014, 11:50 PM
gretschandy gretschandy is offline
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Posts: 27
Default Re: Tabs Vs. Traditional Notation

Traditional music is far easier to read. TAB is useful for guitar where the same note can be played in a number of positions across the fretboard, but for drums is a big step backwards!
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 05-27-2014, 12:53 AM
Nero-707 Nero-707 is offline
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2014
Location: Ireland
Posts: 4
Default Re: Tabs Vs. Traditional Notation

I've always preferred traditional. It's what I learned to read first and gives you so much more than tabs.
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 05-27-2014, 02:28 AM
JustJames's Avatar
JustJames JustJames is offline
Platinum Member
 
Join Date: May 2013
Location: Sydney Australia
Posts: 3,173
Default Re: Tabs Vs. Traditional Notation

For drums, tab is a great way to replace an apparently tricky (but actually simple) task with an apparently straightforward (but actually tricky) one.

Another way to state it is this:

Learning to read music takes a bit of effort, but once it's learnt, playing what is written is relatively easy.
Reading tab takes no new skills, but playing from tab is almost impossible.

If tab was the way forward, those funny squiggles would have fallen out of use long ago.
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 05-27-2014, 03:05 AM
WhoIsTony?'s Avatar
WhoIsTony? WhoIsTony? is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: the city that never sleeps
Posts: 34
Default Re: Tabs Vs. Traditional Notation

learning to read rhythms is probably the easiest thing anyone will do in their musical journey

why "drum tabs" exist I have absolutely no idea ..... completely and utterly pointless
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 05-27-2014, 03:26 AM
MJD's Avatar
MJD MJD is offline
Silver Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: Pleasantville NY USA
Posts: 542
Default Re: Tabs Vs. Traditional Notation

Quote:
Originally Posted by BacteriumFendYoke View Post
Traditional notation is superior in every single way.
I cannot agree more with that statement. To my guitar students' dismay i still cant read tabs comfortably but sit me down with the same thing fully notated and i can read it and play it faster than they can decipher their "easier" tabs. I have attempted to learn some lately because all my students come in with tabs which i didnt expect because i'm a self taught guitarist and i had never dealt with anything other than chord charts, lead sheets, or traditional notation before i started teaching the instrument. There were no tabs for piano, voice, or violin which i took lessons in and my drum teacher always notated rhythms in traditional notation. I only learnt about lute tabulature in college when going over basso continuo writing. Tabs wouldn't have come up in a Classical Composition program. I played rock and blues guitar in high school and we'd either figure stuff out by ear or do a transcription in the notation we learnt in school. I've found tabs to be very annoying because i'm used to having the rhythmic notation as well as the pitch. I had no idea Drum Tabs existed until this thread.what pray tell do they look like?
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 05-27-2014, 04:08 AM
JustJames's Avatar
JustJames JustJames is offline
Platinum Member
 
Join Date: May 2013
Location: Sydney Australia
Posts: 3,173
Default Re: Tabs Vs. Traditional Notation

Quote:
Originally Posted by MJD View Post
... I had no idea Drum Tabs existed until this thread.what pray tell do they look like?

Prepare to be dismazed....

Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 05-27-2014, 04:17 AM
BacteriumFendYoke's Avatar
BacteriumFendYoke BacteriumFendYoke is offline
Platinum Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Canterbury. The One With the Cathedral.
Posts: 6,372
Default Re: Tabs Vs. Traditional Notation

Just to add:

Traditional notation doesn't work for everything. Most of the material I write can't be notated in a traditional way (I don't deal with standard pitches or time signatures most of the time) but for the vast majority of Western music, it works.

A notation system should be theoretically complete. That is, it has all of the information that's required to play the part without reference to external resources. Modern tablature is not complete as a system. With modern tablature (of whatever instrument) important rhythmic information cannot be presented without major structural modification. Traditional notation is just more flexible and elegant when it comes to recording rhythm.

That doesn't mean that all traditional notation charts have to be complete (e.g. lead sheets) but any serious attempt to replace Western notation should at least be as complete a system as the notation that precedes it.

I look at notation as giving you the information that you need, so that you know what to play. Tablature just tries to tell you how to play it, although it fails with rhythm.
__________________
PEWFLADCC
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 05-27-2014, 04:27 AM
jeffwj's Avatar
jeffwj jeffwj is offline
Platinum Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Richmond, VA
Posts: 2,047
Default Re: Tabs Vs. Traditional Notation

Drum tabs originated from the lack of access to musical notation software. So to write something out on computer, they would write symbols such as -,x,+, and o. Tab is really not necessary today, since we now have musical notation programs, some of which are free.

Jeff
__________________
Johnson Drum Instruction - Drum Lessons in Richmond, VA
Author of "The Level System"
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 05-27-2014, 04:43 AM
Michaelocalypse Michaelocalypse is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2014
Posts: 192
Default Re: Tabs Vs. Traditional Notation

I find it easier to read tabs, probably because it's more spaced out. I don't have vision problems. Just seeing everything crammed together makes me feel tense.

That being said, I can't actually read either of them well at all. I've always been better at hearing then memorizing.
Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old 05-27-2014, 05:19 AM
toddbishop toddbishop is offline
Platinum Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Portland, OR
Posts: 4,109
Default Re: Tabs Vs. Traditional Notation

Tabs are not a legit alternative system of notation, so it's not really one vs. the other. The only reason ever to use them is if you have to communicate something very basic in plain text on a computer-- like in an email or newsgroup, or on a forum or something. I almost never do even that; I would never write out a complete part, like in JJ's example. I would say that professionals and serious students never use them, but maybe there's some special case where it's easier or more illustrative to diagram a rhythm or set of parts on a grid like that. I guess.

I used to get really annoyed by the existence of tabs, but videos have kind of replaced them as the least efficient/most slovenly possible way of communicating an idea-- you now have people giving these lengthy verbal explanations and demonstrations of things that could be understood instantly if people would just learn how to read.
__________________
Visit Cruise Ship Drummer! - a drumming blog
Reply With Quote
  #15  
Old 05-27-2014, 05:45 AM
jeffwj's Avatar
jeffwj jeffwj is offline
Platinum Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Richmond, VA
Posts: 2,047
Default Re: Tabs Vs. Traditional Notation

Also, if you buy a drumming magazine or look at any drum book, it will be in musical notation - not tab. Take a look at the transcription part of this site.

http://www.drummerworld.com/Drumclin...tionstabs.html

Jeff
__________________
Johnson Drum Instruction - Drum Lessons in Richmond, VA
Author of "The Level System"
Reply With Quote
  #16  
Old 05-27-2014, 05:55 AM
JustJames's Avatar
JustJames JustJames is offline
Platinum Member
 
Join Date: May 2013
Location: Sydney Australia
Posts: 3,173
Default Re: Tabs Vs. Traditional Notation

Quote:
Originally Posted by Michaelocalypse View Post
I find it easier to read tabs, probably because it's more spaced out. I don't have vision problems. Just seeing everything crammed together makes me feel tense.

That being said, I can't actually read either of them well at all. I've always been better at hearing then memorizing.
When I started drumming about 18 months ago, objective one was to learn to read music.

I've played guitar for longer than I care to admit to, but never learned to read.

Honestly, learning to read was the easiest thing. Even at my "cat-sat-on-the-mat" music reading ability, notation is an enormous improvement over tab. I don't consider myself especially musical, but even I can (usually) hear the rhythmic pattern in my head when looking at a piece of drum music*.

* Simple music...Black Page and Polynesian Nightmare do not count!
Reply With Quote
  #17  
Old 05-27-2014, 09:59 AM
BFrench501 BFrench501 is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2014
Posts: 219
Default Re: Tabs Vs. Traditional Notation

I've got nothing against either form, same as I don't have anything against patterns being written in a line with letters instead of notes (like Adam Tuminaro does in his videos as Orlando Drummer on youtube).

However here is where tab may be better - say if you were to learn Dance of Eternity by Dream Theater, there aren't enough lines on the notation paper for all his different toms, let alone the various crashes, hats and chinas that he uses through out the whole song!

I know there are transcriptions available which explain which cymbal is what on the sheet etc but just for knowing what to hit and where, tab is just as useful as notation. If a piece gets too busy I would rather see it on tab, and then when I'm used to playing it then when I see it elsewhere I can relate to it easier.

To me tabs and notation are just like two different accents - its the same language being spoken just put across a different way. One is no more relevant than the other. Only difference is you change how you read, but you can't stop sounding like a cockney if you are from London! :-)
Reply With Quote
  #18  
Old 05-27-2014, 01:58 PM
JimFiore's Avatar
JimFiore JimFiore is offline
Silver Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Omicron Persei 8
Posts: 738
Default Re: Tabs Vs. Traditional Notation

Like MJD, I had no idea that tab for drums even existed until I saw this thread. I have used tab for bass and guitar, and it is useful if you want a specific chord voicing, but you could always include chord symbols above the standard notation (which is very common). I don't see any real advantages to it short of trying to notate something on a computer using plain text.


Quote:
Originally Posted by BFrench501 View Post
However here is where tab may be better - say if you were to learn Dance of Eternity by Dream Theater, there aren't enough lines on the notation paper for all his different toms, let alone the various crashes, hats and chinas that he uses through out the whole song!
You can make as many lines as want on a decent program. You aren't limited to a grand staff (and even with a grand staff and a few ledger lines you can easily get a few dozen discrete assignments).

But that does point up one unique thing about drum kits, and that's the highly customized nature of many of them. Sure, it's common to have a four or five piece kit with maybe three cymbals, but it's no big deal to see kits with five toms or eight toms and seven or more cymbals. This would be like some basses having four strings and 22 frets but also having some with 8 or 9 strings and 30 or 40 frets. That is, if someone hands me an electric bass and I'm blindfolded, I still know pretty much what to expect short of a few outliers. But you plop me blindfolded behind a kit and who knows what I'll find.
__________________
"Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition! Our chief weapon is surprise...surprise and fear..."
Reply With Quote
  #19  
Old 05-27-2014, 02:35 PM
Wavelength's Avatar
Wavelength Wavelength is offline
Platinum Member
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Finland
Posts: 3,082
Default Re: Tabs Vs. Traditional Notation

Quote:
Originally Posted by BillRayDrums View Post
I remember when that stuff came around. Guitarists use tab because melody and rhythm to them are usually two separate planets.
Really? First tabulatures date back to the 12th century... ;)
__________________
I play Kumu Drums. I also shoot videos.

Last edited by Wavelength; 05-28-2014 at 05:06 PM.
Reply With Quote
  #20  
Old 05-27-2014, 03:34 PM
vxla vxla is offline
Silver Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Chicago
Posts: 570
Default Re: Tabs Vs. Traditional Notation

The best thing we can do, as drummers, is learn how to read music and make fun of guitarists that cannot do so, themselves.
__________________
Please take a moment for the Bass Drum Pedal Questionnaire
Reply With Quote
  #21  
Old 05-29-2014, 01:17 AM
Ollie Bonugli's Avatar
Ollie Bonugli Ollie Bonugli is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Location: South-east England
Posts: 194
Default Re: Tabs Vs. Traditional Notation

Thanks for all your opinions. It seems that we mostly agree that Traditional Notation is better than Tabs, it'll be interesting to see what people think in a few years time. Hopefully Tabs won't have taken over!
Reply With Quote
  #22  
Old 05-29-2014, 01:20 AM
BillRayDrums's Avatar
BillRayDrums BillRayDrums is offline
Gold Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2014
Location: Lower California
Posts: 1,259
Default Re: Tabs Vs. Traditional Notation

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wavelength View Post
Really? First tabulatures date back to the 12th century... ;)
DRUM KIT TAB... Mr. Smarty Pants... ;)
__________________
~

Best Regards,
13612
Bill Ray
http://billraydrums.com
Reply With Quote
  #23  
Old 05-29-2014, 04:19 AM
bobdadruma's Avatar
bobdadruma bobdadruma is offline
Platinum Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: second measure of a fill-in
Posts: 11,176
Default Re: Tabs Vs. Traditional Notation

I wouldn't know where to begin with a Tab.
Traditional notation is hard enough, but Tabs! No way they are easier for drummers.
That Nashville stuff also gives me a headache.
__________________
I kind of like old drums:)
Reply With Quote
  #24  
Old 05-29-2014, 05:58 AM
Michaelocalypse Michaelocalypse is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2014
Posts: 192
Default Re: Tabs Vs. Traditional Notation

Quote:
Originally Posted by JustJames View Post
When I started drumming about 18 months ago, objective one was to learn to read music.

I've played guitar for longer than I care to admit to, but never learned to read.

Honestly, learning to read was the easiest thing. Even at my "cat-sat-on-the-mat" music reading ability, notation is an enormous improvement over tab. I don't consider myself especially musical, but even I can (usually) hear the rhythmic pattern in my head when looking at a piece of drum music*.

* Simple music...Black Page and Polynesian Nightmare do not count!
I've tried to learn. Never picked it up. My original hurdle was nobody told me speed/tempo didn't really matter (as long as it was all the same).
I think the other thing that bothers me is the way music is counted vs how numbers are counted. In music, the whole number/count comes first, then the parts of it: 1-e-and-a. In math the parts come first: 1/4-1/2-3/4-1. Occasionally I've gotten my brain to see it differently and kind of read along with some parts. I haven't bothered reading anything, or had to, since I figured these things out.
I mean I did kind of follow sheet music in high school for bass drum, cymbals and tympani, but never for snare. My first teachers in middle school overestimated my reading abilities and I adapted by using some intense hand-eye coordination to copy what they were doing as they were doing it. They thought I was reading, until they finally told me to play by myself one day.
Reply With Quote
  #25  
Old 05-29-2014, 07:30 AM
Seafroggys's Avatar
Seafroggys Seafroggys is offline
Silver Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Edge of Nowhere
Posts: 912
Default Re: Tabs Vs. Traditional Notation

Another vote for notation.

I've looked at tab and was like "can't tell if that's supposed to be a sextuplet or 32nd notes, but its spaced like a quintuplet?"

You will never have that issues with notation.
Reply With Quote
  #26  
Old 05-29-2014, 05:49 PM
MJD's Avatar
MJD MJD is offline
Silver Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: Pleasantville NY USA
Posts: 542
Default Re: Tabs Vs. Traditional Notation

Quote:
Originally Posted by JustJames View Post
Prepare to be dismazed....

That looks worse than guitar tabs. I am dismayed. I can understand and have used hybrid notation systems (think a mix of traditional notation for the bits of the piece that cn be notated that way and specific and keyed out graphic notion for the bits that cant, a particularly useful way to score electro acoustic pieces) because my school placed an emphasis on music since 1945 especially the so-called avante garde but that just looks hopeless. how would you sightread something like that?
Reply With Quote
  #27  
Old 05-30-2014, 02:42 PM
vxla vxla is offline
Silver Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Chicago
Posts: 570
Default Re: Tabs Vs. Traditional Notation

You don't sight read that crap, which is precisely why it's useless.
__________________
Please take a moment for the Bass Drum Pedal Questionnaire
Reply With Quote
  #28  
Old 05-30-2014, 03:00 PM
MrPockets's Avatar
MrPockets MrPockets is offline
Gold Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: Minnesota
Posts: 1,106
Default Re: Tabs Vs. Traditional Notation

Quote:
Originally Posted by bobdadruma View Post
That Nashville stuff also gives me a headache.
All that system does is tell you chord progressions.

There isn't any rhythm written n that short hand.

The leader says, "Let's play this song in [key]."

Then the melodic instruments follow the chord progression.
__________________
Drum is fum
Reply With Quote
  #29  
Old 05-30-2014, 03:34 PM
mymarkers mymarkers is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2013
Posts: 108
Default Re: Tabs Vs. Traditional Notation

The difference? I can read one of the two.

I've given tabs a fair try. I have yet to find a situation in which they are useful. The same thing happens every time. I realize that I can figure it out by ear faster than I can decipher the tab. This is especially true for drums, but I find it applies to guitar too. The concept at least makes sense with guitar. It shows where to put your fingers to actually play something that you hear. Even then, I can figure it out almost as fast despite very little training or practice on guitar. If I actually cared about playing that kind of stuff, I'd just take lessons.

To me, tabs feel like taking a shortcut- except it's longer than the path and you get stuck in the mud.
Reply With Quote
  #30  
Old 06-01-2014, 10:00 PM
andrew_k andrew_k is offline
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2014
Posts: 2
Default Re: Tabs Vs. Traditional Notation

Quote:
Originally Posted by BacteriumFendYoke View Post
Traditional notation doesn't work for everything.
Absolutely, music from the microtonal works of Stockhausen or Partch all the way to the subtleties of a BB King string bend are extremely difficult to notate using traditional systems. Before turning to the world of IT I was a professional guitar teacher for 10 years and have to admit I really liked tab. I did want all my students to get to grips with standard notation. However learning tab, on the guitar at least, was quick and got them playing much harder pieces than they could have handled if they were reading the music, particularly from a rhythmic perspective. If it meant they played/practiced more I was happy to use it.
Reply With Quote
  #31  
Old 06-01-2014, 10:02 PM
BacteriumFendYoke's Avatar
BacteriumFendYoke BacteriumFendYoke is offline
Platinum Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Canterbury. The One With the Cathedral.
Posts: 6,372
Default Re: Tabs Vs. Traditional Notation

The advantage of traditional notation is that it can be adapted quite well for the guitar. Bends can be notated with specialist symbols - but it's not perfect.

Quite right about Stockhausen. I was specifically thinking of Penderecki when I wrote that post but there are dozens of others that fit that bill.
__________________
PEWFLADCC
Reply With Quote
  #32  
Old 06-01-2014, 10:07 PM
Dr_Watso's Avatar
Dr_Watso Dr_Watso is online now
Platinum Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 6,756
Default Re: Tabs Vs. Traditional Notation

I can think of two reasons one might use a tab as opposed to notate.

1) Online. In forums and computers in general, it can take some effort to properly convey a sequence of musical events. We can "fake it" with these lame tabs sometimes, and though it's not really "superior" to notated stuff, it can usually get the point across.

2) Real complicated voicing in drum context. Let's say you're trying to notate "Polynesian nightmare", and you want to be very specific about which of the 17 toms to use for each note. It might be easier to put them on a tab timeline.
Reply With Quote
  #33  
Old 06-03-2014, 11:32 PM
vxla vxla is offline
Silver Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Chicago
Posts: 570
Default Re: Tabs Vs. Traditional Notation

Ledger lines (2 on each side) would offer 9 positions with 8 spaces = 17 notes. Then figure a minimum of 4 unique note heads = 68. Then subtract bass, snare, bass drum, hi-hat, ride, crash, cowbell, hi-hat with foot. That gives us around 60 notes to use for toms.
__________________
Please take a moment for the Bass Drum Pedal Questionnaire
Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are Off
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off




All times are GMT +2. The time now is 07:01 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.0
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Bernhard Castiglioni's DRUMMERWORLD.com