Reading Music

I have all manner of topics to present to your mind for your consideration and at this point, I wish to step aside a moment from the main thrust of this discourse, which is your approach to playing, and put before you the subject of reading music.

Tracing backwards in the general evolution of music we will discover that the origins, in the way distant historical past are that of a purely aural tradition. Born out of our constant need to express and communicate, we would find our ancestors in song, lyrical or not, and no doubt accompanied and supported by various instruments of the generic line that has culminated in the instruments of the present time.
As our intelligence manifested more and more, the ability to record for posterity, by increasingly technological means, has developed. Some of the earliest examples being the beautifully illuminated manuscripts, labours of great love created by monks, who were part of the minority of people even capable of reading and writing.
Gradually, through many a twist and turn, the system of notation that is now quite universal was arrived at.

Consider, if you will, for a while, the requirements of a system to record musical instructions in a medium that does not employ sound. Still, to this day, there are various alternatives put forward by lateral thinkers, but after your consideration I think you will agree that what we now have is a system that is remarkably versatile and flexible, and one that permits a great deal of graphic representation and understanding, after suitable study.
By that, I mean it's almost what you see is what you hear.
Graphic in the sense that we have the two axes, Horizontal being the time domain, and Vertical the domain of pitch.

I cannot allow myself to be specific about the process of reading music, but I am presuming that you are aware that as far as the vertical axis is concerned, ie. your ability to read the pitch of the notes and find the corresponding keys, the act should ideally be instantaneous, or as near to that ideal as you can possibly train yourself!
Yes please, dear student, you should not allow time to scratch your head too much.
Remember that music is a language.
Take yourself to the stage of reading it as fluently as you would your native written language. Add to this the extra dimension, that in our every day language is never quite so explicit, the dimension of time (and precision timing at that) and you will see your target ability ahead of you, or already in your grasp.

To sum up therefore, you are required, as much as possible, to combine the immediacy of identifying the correct notes and the order and duration of their timing!
OK, I relent, we are talking about Sight Reading skills here, and unless you have a situation which will focus you in a very real way, and bring your awareness and concentration to a peak, it
is unlikely that you will find your sight reading skills developing very quickly. However, the ability to read the music from the page as fluently as you can is immeasurably useful, and will develop alongside your other skills with regular practice.

The fluency of translating rhythms, from the written, to the felt (excuse the pun) must not be under-rated, for the correct absorption of the rhythmic information empowers you to be able to play.
In simple terms, understanding WHEN to play must happen before your understanding of WHERE to play has relevence, although you will hopefully forgive the obvious when I state the fact that these two processes will feel simultaneous.
Nevertheless, decoding the rhythmic information unlocks your energy, gives you the fuel with which you play, it empowers you for the task.

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