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Help with sight reading
#3026721 09/19/20 11:00 AM
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I sight read by intervals and only note identification for the first note so basically I press based on the relationship of the future note and my last note, I don't actually think about what specific note I'm pressing, I only think in relationships.

This trick is easy in key of C, where there are only white notes and skipping down and up relatively is easy.

But what if the key is C# major or Cb major with lots of accidentals?

I have learned and played all minor and major scales, i dont know if my way of thinking of intervals is bad but since i cant know the specific note i am, how am i supposed to know the accidents, i saw on internet that you should be reading by intervals, not note by note, i would be very thankful if you can help me

P.D: i dont have a teacher, im planning to get one but we are in quarantine

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Re: Help with sight reading
ilikeanime #3026727 09/19/20 11:13 AM
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I think reading by intervals can be very helpful, but you also need to be able to recognize the note on its own, particularly, as you note, when there are accidentals.

It seems to me that being skilled at reading musical notation recalls being able to use a range of strategies simultaneously, but right now, you're only using one strategy.

This about reading written test: you mostly are reading by recognizing entire words at once, rather than letter by letter. But if you come across a letter on its own, or a new group of letters that you don't recognize, you still are able to say what each of those letters are.

I think this is a good metaphor for musical notation...


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Re: Help with sight reading
ilikeanime #3026787 09/19/20 02:12 PM
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It's a bit strange but when you have practiced your scales a LOT your fingers automatically find the right keys without even thinking about it. If I play in a key like A major then when my fingers go on C-sharp, F-sharp, and G-sharp whenever those notes have to be played. I don't have to think about it because the finger memory is ingrained from all the scale practice. For a key like C-sharp major you have to remember to shift all notes by a half step including B-sharp and E-sharp, which is a bit harder.

Re: Help with sight reading
ilikeanime #3026800 09/19/20 02:47 PM
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For what you are doing, maybe arpeggios in all keys would help? Have you played the thirds? In C major thirds you just go every other white key up the scale. In other keys your fingers need to learn the intervals of thirds over black/white keys. You're calling the black keys accidentals but they're not, they are in the scale for the key you're in. Try scales in double thirds and sixths in all keys. You might want to find a reference for fingering.

Re: Help with sight reading
ilikeanime #3026811 09/19/20 03:24 PM
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What level are you?

If you are below level 2, then all you really need are intervals.

As you get to higher levels, you need experience in fingering. Knowledge of fingering can make or break your sight reading. Unfortunately, a lot of older editions of music comes with really outdated fingering principles. I would suggest that you get recent editions, or editions without any fingering, and start working on writing out every single finger number.

Re: Help with sight reading
ilikeanime #3026825 09/19/20 03:58 PM
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I've actually never stopped to think about whether I read based on intervals. I didn't think it was that separate from reading the notes.

Doesn't mostly just come from familiarity with reading notes? For me personally, everything on the staffs just kind of automatically translate to notes, but when I get to parts that have a bunch of ledger lines below the bass or above the treble, I probably think a bit more in intervals because I'm less familiar with them.

Lets say the first note is C4. and the next note is C5. Do you count out the octave instead of recognizing the notes?

Re: Help with sight reading
ilikeanime #3026840 09/19/20 04:38 PM
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After a while you immediately know what key to press for any given note, and what the note is. Also in advanced level, you recognize full patterns, scales, arpeggios, chords, .... the intervals are fine to get started but it should be an intermediary stage.

Re: Help with sight reading
ilikeanime #3026902 09/19/20 08:13 PM
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My problem is not about fingerling, I don't have problems with that, my problem is that if I read by intervals then I can't know what note I am, when I see for example in b major, a b3 then a f4 if I read it as a an interval that's a fourth, but I can't know what specific note I am, when I sight read this by specific note then is an f but while saying the interval or calculating the distance, the point is, I can't read by intervals without thinking of specific note for the sharps or flats, is not about fingerling.

P.D: I have played some Chopin nocturnes, rondo alla turca, right now I'm learning fantasie impromtu

Re: Help with sight reading
ilikeanime #3026950 09/19/20 10:21 PM
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Originally Posted by ilikeanime
My problem is not about fingerling, I don't have problems with that,

You won't know that. If you are so busy figuring out the notes while you sight read, you will have no clue that your fingering is less than ideal. You'd have to videotape yourself doing the sight reading, and then go back to review every single stumble. Then, you'll see that fingering is a major issue.

People who are good at sight reading can figure out the notes very quickly. On top of that, they know exactly which finger to use.

Originally Posted by ilikeanime
my problem is that if I read by intervals then I can't know what note I am, when I see for example in b major, a b3 then a f4 if I read it as a an interval that's a fourth, but I can't know what specific note I am, when I sight read this by specific note then is an f but while saying the interval or calculating the distance, the point is, I can't read by intervals without thinking of specific note for the sharps or flats, is not about fingerling.

B3 to F4 is not a fourth! It's a fifth! Are you sure you are reading the intervals correctly?

I have no idea what you are trying to say in the rest of the paragraph. It makes no sense.

Originally Posted by ilikeanime
P.D: I have played some Chopin nocturnes, rondo alla turca, right now I'm learning fantasie impromtu

Maybe the repertoire is a bit too steep given your sight reading issues? Ideally, your repertoire level should be two levels above your sight reading materials.

Re: Help with sight reading
ilikeanime #3026961 09/19/20 10:54 PM
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Originally Posted by ilikeanime
I sight read by intervals and only note identification for the first note...This trick is easy in key of C, where there are only white notes and skipping down and up relatively is easy.

But what if the key is C# major or Cb major with lots of accidentals?

You do eventually have to reach a point where you have in the back of your mind “I’m in the key of F, I need to flat all the B’s”, and then you practice enough that when you see one of the B’s you flat it without thinking.

But doing this in all keys is difficult to learn straight away. As adults we tend to look at the big picture and think that we should just learn all the keys kind of equally. That’s not an efficient way to learn. The non-symmetrical diatonic scale and keyboard layout has just too many combinations to learn everything at once.

So the effective way to learn is to limit the task to just keys with one or two sharps and flats and practice reading them a lot until they become automatic. Then increase from there. This can take months if not years.

I’ve been learning for three years and even though I can play some music and scales with more than two sharps or flats, I don’t do reading practice with more than two.


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Re: Help with sight reading
ilikeanime #3026988 09/20/20 01:10 AM
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Originally Posted by scirocco
Originally Posted by ilikeanime
I sight read by intervals and only note identification for the first note...This trick is easy in key of C, where there are only white notes and skipping down and up relatively is easy.

But what if the key is C# major or Cb major with lots of accidentals?

You do eventually have to reach a point where you have in the back of your mind “I’m in the key of F, I need to flat all the B’s”, and then you practice enough that when you see one of the B’s you flat it without thinking.

But doing this in all keys is difficult to learn straight away. As adults we tend to look at the big picture and think that we should just learn all the keys kind of equally. That’s not an efficient way to learn. The non-symmetrical diatonic scale and keyboard layout has just too many combinations to learn everything at once.

So the effective way to learn is to limit the task to just keys with one or two sharps and flats and practice reading them a lot until they become automatic. Then increase from there. This can take months if not years.

I’ve been learning for three years and even though I can play some music and scales with more than two sharps or flats, I don’t do reading practice with more than two.

Does that mean that i should be conscious of what notes im playing?

Re: Help with sight reading
ilikeanime #3026994 09/20/20 01:51 AM
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Just my experience, but you kind of do and kind of don’t. I’m no expert.

Reading by intervals is really useful and a lot of what you read is intervalic but it’s not a substitute for knowing what the notes are. Sometimes the intervals are too widely spread or there are rests or bar lines which break up the sequence and make it hard to see what the interval is.

I understand exactly what you mean when you say you find it hard to read intervals onto black notes. I get that as well. I think you have to develop that by starting with simple keys with say just one sharp. That is manageable because it only occurs once in a while (specially in G where the sharp is the 7th that doesn’t occur so often). Once you have that mastered go up to two black keys and up from there.

You can’t learn everything at once (well I can’t anyway). Bootstrap up little by little.


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Re: Help with sight reading
ilikeanime #3026996 09/20/20 02:11 AM
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Originally Posted by ilikeanime
My problem is not about fingerling, I don't have problems with that, my problem is that if I read by intervals then I can't know what note I am, when I see for example in b major, a b3 then a f4 if I read it as a an interval that's a fourth, but I can't know what specific note I am, when I sight read this by specific note then is an f but while saying the interval or calculating the distance, the point is, I can't read by intervals without thinking of specific note for the sharps or flats, is not about fingerling.
It doesn't work like that. You need to hold constantly the "topography" of the key in your mind and all intervals that you read need to be "overlayed" on that topography. So you never really lose awareness of what piano key you are playing now, you just don't identify every individual note like, "it's G, it's Cb". In other words you don't verbalize anything internally, but you must still know exactly where your hand is at every moment.

Certainly you need to know keys very well for that and you need to be able to read and play all intervals from every note instantly. It takes time.

It's best to begin with keys with few black notes and gradually progress to "black" keys.

Re: Help with sight reading
ilikeanime #3027008 09/20/20 03:44 AM
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Originally Posted by ilikeanime
Does that mean that i should be conscious of what notes im playing?

The simple answer is yes, if you need to. It is just that in some case you dont need to read every single note. If you see a scale passage, you just need to know what key you are in, and what accidentals apply or not, because you are in a given key (or because there are accidentals in the score). It is sort of semi automatic.

But for example if there are large jumps or isolated notes, you need to be able to recognize what these are and in fact i dont consciously name the note, i just know what finger and key i have to press. But i rarely use intervals.

Re: Help with sight reading
ilikeanime #3027137 09/20/20 11:51 AM
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I couldn't sight read to save my life. It takes me ages to learn a new piece, I have to learn each bar separately. Once the tune is in my head I can play it. The trouble is I'm not confident reading the bass clef. I stopped playing for ages and spent a lot of my time playing clarinet/recorder which just uses the treble clef. So now I have to learn bass clef again.


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Re: Help with sight reading
ilikeanime #3029144 09/26/20 02:47 AM
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LarryShone, the only thing that works for sightreading, in the long run, is lots and lots of practice--- preferably daily. Read things that you can do fairly easily--- there are books full of pieces that are easy to read, though they may not have a lot else going for them. Some are not so bad. It will not kill you to put in your 15 minutes on this.

My problems are similar to yours in some vexing ways; I'm paying now for all the musical skills I didn't absorb when I was young, and my eager mind was like a powered sponge. Now it is all hard, yet I don't know when I'm licked. Also, my piano is good enough now (as it was not when I was young) for me to hear the dynamic range, and the color that touch can bring out. Anyway, what follows may be of use to some learner, though it sounds like you have been at this for awhile.

If you don't know all the scales, it can be very helpful to your sightreading to get to work on them, and practice them regularly. You may find it more musical to alternate doing them in double meter (as they're usually given) and triple meter. And, I prefer to go all the way up and down the keyboard, instead of the couple of octaves usually given.

Start with the easier, or more common ones. It will take awhile to make it through all the key signatures. Do take note of the fingering that is given. It is possible to do some of them differently, but learn the standard way first; the wheel has already been invented.

Scales and arpeggios are tools that you want at your fingertips, ready to help you without your even asking for them. They will be friends that will serve you for the rest of your life. Anyway, you still have to practice sightreading, as such, every day. It does get easier; you'll soon find out how to put just the right tension on it: not too easy, not too hard, so you'll observe your progress.

All of this is extremely helpful at building up pieces you want to perform, enjoy just for yourself, or record. Be patient, put in the work; you'll get there. Remember the ACEes: the scale tones A, C, and E run from below the bass clef to way up beyond the treble clef. They're simple, and everywhere. Recognizing them makes it easy to figure out where your fingers are going, if you happen to be wondering.

ilikeanime , thanks for the topic. A lot of teachers are doing piano lessons over the computer. The way handling COVID is going, it may be awhile before in-person lessons are safe. If you've been doing the technical studies so diligently, some teacher is going to be very happy to find you.

Best of luck!


Clef

Re: Help with sight reading
Jeff Clef #3029163 09/26/20 04:36 AM
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Originally Posted by Jeff Clef
LarryShone, the only thing that works for sightreading, in the long run, is lots and lots of practice--- preferably daily.

You have to assume that the note-reading process is not flawed to begin with. Practicing flawed reading will only make things worse.

For example, people who were taught to read by the All Cows Eat Grass and FACE method will find the letter of the note, then stare at the keys to find that note, then press it down. If you repeat this 4-step process a thousand times, you'll get good at doing the 4-step process, but you'll never get good at sight reading.


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