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Mental Tablature

Mental Tablature
March 06, 2012, 02:47:47 AM
It has become a habit for me to mentally "tab out" music as it plays, like a guitar tab minus the distribution over strings; basically I keep track of the notation of the music using the chromatic scale.  So the beginning of the US national anthem would go 7-4-0-4-7-12-----16-14-12-4-6-7, where 12 is the same as 0 but an octave higher.  
The advantages:
-You can immediately go play the song on guitar if you can remember it all.
-It's a fun mental challenge with 7 variables and, on paper, unlimited possibilities of arrangement; it's a good way to stay sharp.
-It allows you to see further into the DNA of bands, genres, and possibly time periods by revealing predominant intervals and recurrent patterns
The disadvantage:
-It can distract from other aspects of the music such as its textural nuance, spirit, and logical progression.  For example you might miss the fact that riff Z is a combination of riff X and riff Y.  However, this becomes less of a problem as you get familiar with combinations and get better at multi-tasking.

Does anyone else do this?

Re: Mental Tablature
March 06, 2012, 12:32:11 PM
If I'm looking to examine an album's music, I'll usually just pick up the guitar and play along from how I remember the songs, and then see what my fingers are doing on the fretboard.  If there isn't a guitar to hand (rare, but happens from time to time), I have to do this mentally.  However, rather than doing any kind of visualisation (of tablature, a fretboard, or anything), I tend to imagine the feeling of playing along, working out how my fingers would move to reproduce those notes.  The more I get used to the guitar, the easier this becomes.

I find it interesting that you would do this mental tabbing before trying to play the song on the guitar (and that one might not remember the entirety of a song) - do you learn the notes that are being played in a song individually, or do you learn how the song as a whole sounds?  Instinctively, I do the latter, to the effect that I have a very large library of music in my head, which I can dredge up at will (in fact, if there isn't music playing in the room/nearby [again, a rarity], I'll fill the empty sound spaces with music from my mind).

Quote
-It allows you to see further into the DNA of bands, genres, and possibly time periods by revealing predominant intervals and recurrent patterns

This, most definitely.  All of the really good Extreme Metal bands are pretty unique in their preferred modes, speeds, and types of riff.  Learning a bunch of a band's songs is a massive gateway into understanding how their music is linked together.

NHA

Re: Mental Tablature
March 06, 2012, 12:59:22 PM
Wanna tab out the solo to Chambers of Dis? Seems like a diminished scale but i cant get it to sound right.

Re: Mental Tablature
March 06, 2012, 10:16:57 PM
Yes, I do something similar except visual; it's based on this video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ipzR9bhei_o). And you're right, it does detract from spirit and textural nuance but it's a good way of keeping the musical part of the mind keen. Anyways, enjoy your perfect pitch, BSM.


Re: Mental Tablature
March 11, 2012, 10:13:55 PM
I find it interesting that you would do this mental tabbing before trying to play the song on the guitar (and that one might not remember the entirety of a song) - do you learn the notes that are being played in a song individually, or do you learn how the song as a whole sounds? 

I go note by note; pretty linear.  It's actually rare that I get a song down so completely that I can play it on guitar right of the bat, though.  I usually have to go back and relisten to something.

Wanna tab out the solo to Chambers of Dis? Seems like a diminished scale but i cant get it to sound right.

Haha I can try. 
This is probably leaving out a lot of the little notes in the middle of the sweeps, especially in the last leg.  I've tried to preserve some impression of the rhythm with the dashes:

0---(-1)---0-(-5)-0-5-4-0-4-5-4-0-4-5-7-8-5-7---7-11-16-17-12-11-15-13-12-8-7-5--13-15-13-12-8-7-5-3-0---8---2----0---10 (whammy bar)---(-2)-5-(-2)-5-(-2)-5-(-7)-5-3-0-1-0-1-(-7)-(-5)-3-1-0-(-4)-(-2)-(-7)-(-12)-(-13)-(-15)-(-17)--(-13)--(-15)--(-13)


NHA

Re: Mental Tablature
March 14, 2012, 08:35:19 AM
Seems pretty reasonable. Thanks haha.

I tried increasing the sample rate to stretch the time without distortion but it just sounds so wierd. Maybe cause the pitch is changing by an uncertain amount between semitones.

Re: Mental Tablature
March 21, 2012, 12:48:05 PM
There's a program called Audacity that will let you change the speed without changing the pitch, but you use the "change tempo" effect rather than "change speed."  Or is that what you're using already?

NHA

Re: Mental Tablature
March 21, 2012, 11:41:23 PM
I was using cubase.

It has a time stretch tool that does what you mentioned but it adds too much distortion and made things even more incomprehensible. The time stretch in Sound Forge was a lot better IIRC.

Or If you just double the sample rate of the file it expands the time without distortion but changes the pitch.


Its just weird how much my perception of the piece changes when its slowed down.

Anyway, i'll check out Audacity's time stretching.