- Subject: Whammer-Jammer Tablature
- From: "Vern Smith" <jevern@xxxxxxx>
- Date: Wed, 10 Sep 2003 10:24:17 -0700
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I have previously opined that tablature should be abandoned after the =
second page of the beginner's harmonica method. This is because it is =
more arcane and more difficult to read than standard notation when you =
get past "Lightly Row" and "Oh Susannah" to real music. I understand =
that tab describes the operation of the instrument and standard notation =
describes the music produced.
The perfect example is the tab for Whammer-Jammer on page 56 of the =
Spring/Summer 03 Harmonica Happenings. (I'll overlook the blurring and =
pixellation that was apparently caused by scanning it at too low a =
resolution.) I don't see how anyone can look at this and with a =
straight face criticize standard notation as being difficult or =
It seems to me to fail as a means of communicating music because it =
would make sense only to a person who already knows the piece. In that =
case it is mostly useless or redundant. I find the following problems =
* Because it is not separated into measures, one has no idea where the =
* Because the notes don't have time values, the phrasing is not =
* It is very difficult to get a feel for rising or falling musical lines =
from numbers and arrows.
* It communicates almost no sense of pitch intervals.
The writer apparently had to make up a lot of his notation ad hoc. =
Through numerous footnotes, he makes an attempt at suggesting the timing =
of certain repeated phrases. Example: (2) =3D "wa-da-la-da-da-da-duh" =
These syllables probably make perfect sense to the writer who already =
knows the phrasing but are gibberish to the reader who does not. Maybe =
if we knew that a "duh" =3D 2 "la" =3D 4 "da" =3D 1.5 "wa", then we =
could dope it out.
Is there anyone who could play the piece from that tablature who was not =
already familiar with it from some other source?
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