How to Read Guitar Music, Chords and Notes


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In order to play the guitar, you need to learn how to read guitar music. Learning and understanding it may sound complicated but once you get used to it, it is actually quite simple and can be done in a breeze.

To play guitar music, first you must understand the basic chord patterns and what they are. A guitar chord is a sound composed of different notes being played on the guitar. Once you know the chord formation then you can start building the chord progression patterns to play a whole decent song.

In order to read the guitar music you must first understand the common terms, and the first on this example are the major chords. Major chords are the major notes. It’s the most basic chords used in guitar playing. The major chords are composed of series of notes from the chromatic scale (the major scale C, D, E, F…) without alteration.

Then there are the Minor chords. Minor chords are also chords based on the major scale but instead of the normal notes used on a chord, the 2nd note should be a half step lower, so if the C chord is made up of C,E, and G notes, the Cm chord will have a C D# and G note. Major and Minor chords are the common chords used in a chord progression.

Another thing you need to learn is the flats and sharps. Flats are chords lowered by half a step and sharps are the opposite or chords which are a half step higher. This tiny information is indeed needed in order to understand well how to read guitar music.

In order to read chords you need to know the chords abbreviations and what they would look like in a song sheet. A major chord like for example a C major can be written as C and a C major 7 (a C chord with an additional 7th note) can be written as CM7. For minor chords a C minor can be written as Cm. A flat can be symbolized by a small letter „b“ and in E chord it can be written as Eb and Sharps are written using the universal symbol of „#“ and in C chord it can be written as C#.

There are two types of song sheet or guitar music sheet, there’s the tablature and the simple chord sheet. The tablatures are figures of music bars and each bar signifies as strings on guitar. The numbers on the tablature sheet shows which strings are to pressed and on what fret. While the chord sheet on the other hand are simply the song with lyrics and the chords above them, the timing of chord changing is based on where it is positioned above the lyrics. The chord sheet is the type we often used and often found on basic song books.

Learning how to read guitar music is a tough process and needs a lot of dedication and hard work, But with the right materials and research, you’ll get used to it and reading guitar music would be as simple as reading a text message shortcuts.

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Source by Bernice Eker

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