Questions tagged [sight-reading]

Playing or singing a piece directly from sheet music, without prior rehearsing or studying.

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32 votes
2 answers
74k views

Unknown notation - thick horizontal bars between notes

I haven't the faintest idea of what these bars could mean. They're thick and mostly horizontal with a slight tilt. Some sort of run perhaps? How do you effect the dynamics/notes these bars are ...
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27 votes
9 answers
27k views

Fast Chord Identification

How would someone go about identifying chords quickly and efficiently? While sight reading, I would often come up to some strange chord and try to decipher it. It normally takes me (what feels like) ...
  • 1,133
46 votes
16 answers
20k views

How can I improve my piano sight reading?

I am 25 years old, and I started learning piano about 6 months ago. I really want to play the piano well, but it takes me so long to be able to play any piece of music. In the meantime, I'm using a ...
  • 6,552
9 votes
6 answers
3k views

Ledger Lines vs. 8va notation

As musicians sight reading music – are you very comfortable reading parts in ledger lines or is it more convenient having higher/lower parts notated within the staff with an 8va (or 8vb) symbol? For ...
  • 121
1 vote
2 answers
823 views

Some measures have extra whole notes in them. What do they mean? [duplicate]

So i am practicing sight reading and i came across these exercises that have extra whole notes in a measure. What do they mean and how do i play them?
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22 votes
5 answers
2k views

Notation - when to use staccato vs rests

I'm arranging a piece of music I wrote for string quartet, and I'm not sure what the most practical way of notating the following rhythm is. I'm self taught and rarely use written music, so I'm not ...
13 votes
2 answers
26k views

What do the letters above the piano staff represent?

I am a beginner trying to understand the music notation for a song I want to try. Can someone kindly tell me what are the letters above the treble clef in the following figure: I've read that they ...
8 votes
4 answers
1k views

Is the beaming of this score following a vocal practice or it is just outdated and obscuring the beat?

The source is c.1770... https://imslp.org/wiki/Scots_Songs_for_Voice_and_Harpsichord_(Bremner%2C_Robert) ...first book. I can see that the beaming matches the words of the vocal part. But it ...
4 votes
5 answers
1k views

Tools to improve sight-reading of rhythms

So, there are a number of tools and strategies to learn to sight-read pitch. I mean, you just make flashcards and in a while you should be able to read comfortably all notes on all staves, right? ...
3 votes
2 answers
748 views

Acquiring advanced level sight reading

Beyond the basics of sight reading that everyone talks about, what are some of the skills you need to learn to sight read advanced and complex pieces? What are the nuances and techniques that not a ...
  • 467
34 votes
12 answers
42k views

Can people really sight-read advanced pieces?

I find it hard to read a staff and play it on the keyboard fluently. The most common scene for me is that I read one note on the paper and then lower my head and find out the location of that note ...
14 votes
8 answers
4k views

When you read sheet music do you read the notes or the intervals?

I have found myself doing both but not sure which is the right way. Sometimes I see a note then I can see the next note is a 4th above it so I play it but I actually don't know what note I just played ...
  • 8,759
12 votes
10 answers
4k views

How do I improve in sight reading?

Preparing for my Grade 8 AMEB examination in piano but my sight reading is atrocious. For keys within the bass and treble clef staves, I can recognize and locate their positions fairly well but for ...
  • 151
8 votes
3 answers
10k views

Exercises for quickly identifying intervals on the staff

In order to improve my piano sight-reading, I want to practice recognizing intervals on the staff faster. If possible I'd like to combine the interval-recognition with a training for my finger memory, ...
7 votes
3 answers
5k views

Same note in two staves [duplicate]

I have only just started to learn (on my own) to read music and play the piano at the grand old age of 64! Please can someone tell me how to play the same note on two staves? I keep being asked to ...
6 votes
3 answers
1k views

Learning standard notation without succumbing to simply remembering songs?

I'm in a tricky position. I've been playing guitar for around ten years and am fairly good at improvising and tinkering around on a piano, too. I understand sheet music, I can decipher it, but I can't ...
  • 731
5 votes
7 answers
1k views

How should I teach myself sight-reading?

How would I go about teaching myself how to sight read for piano, should I practice out of a sight reading book? Or should I take a piece of music with a lower grade level (such as Bach) and sight ...
5 votes
4 answers
587 views

Problems reading sheet music with visual disability

I'm not really sure if "visual disability" is correctly said since english is not my native language and had to use Google Translator. My worries are about reading sheet music. I'm trying to learn ...
5 votes
3 answers
4k views

Is reading bass clef by reference to the corresponding position in treble clef a bad learning method?

I've taught myself to play the piano when I was young, but I never really learned to read sheet music. Usually I would just look at a synthesia tutorial online or try to do it by ear (which I'm not ...
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4 votes
3 answers
121 views

do singers do sight singing/improvisation?

what I mean is do singers sight-sing on the first run say on a gig, and sound relatively good, equivalent to sight-reading a piece for musicians? like in a gig, the accompanist has to play sight-...
  • 1,160
4 votes
3 answers
505 views

Are there exercises or techniques to improve sight reading?

Short story: The question is self-explanatory Long story: I play the piano and I know how to read scores, and I always struggle a little bit to learn new pieces of my level because my reading is very ...
  • 1,911
3 votes
6 answers
2k views

Is there any evidence that suggest not looking at your hands increases ability to sight read on the piano?

I am currently learning to sight read on the piano and constantly noticing my eyes looking down at my hands instead of reading the music. Will this habit slow down my progress? I am curious if there ...
2 votes
6 answers
3k views

Sight reading piano pieces with sharp or flat key signatures using intervals

I need help with reading piano pieces with key signatures that have sharps or flats (other than C Major or A Minor). I learnt to sight read music using intervals (but do have a very good grasp on ...
100 votes
18 answers
123k views

What is good software for learning how to sight-read?

I'd like to learn how to sight-read on my own, but practicing the same song over and over again just causes me to memorize it, and filling out worksheets is boring. Is there any good software for ...
44 votes
10 answers
39k views

As a guitarist, how can I learn to sight-read music?

I'm learning guitar right now, mostly from Justin Sandercoe's free online lessons, starting from the beginner's course. He has a lot of good tips for how to practice and drill chords, and scales, but ...
18 votes
2 answers
8k views

What is a Fake Book?

The question was asked here as to why there are no Fake Books for Blues. But what is a Fake Book in the first place? What genres is it used in?
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13 votes
2 answers
556 views

When did keyboard partitions start to use the G-clef for the upper staff ?

When you look at very old sheetmusic (for harpsichord or organ), you see that the upper staff has a C-clef, first line. The lower one is the familiar bass F-clef, fourth line. Why and when did the ...
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11 votes
7 answers
4k views

How To Improve My Sightreading?

I've been reading music since I was five years old, but I learned how on the piano, never on the guitar. I find that when I play guitar, I think of the notes as they relate to each other spatially: "...
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10 votes
4 answers
3k views

Should I always use scale fingering when sight reading?

I'm practising sight-reading using https://sightreading.training/ which randomly generates notes for practice. If I'm practising in the key of C Major, should I stick to C Major scale fingering/hand ...
9 votes
7 answers
328 views

How do I learn to sight read?

I started my school’s jazz band recently and I really struggle playing with them. It’s just really different to playing by myself alone, where if I make a mistake I can just go back and keep repeating ...
  • 91
8 votes
3 answers
2k views

Should these notes be played as a chord or one after another?

A fairly basic sight reading question coming up... Are these notes (highlighted) intended to be played as a single chord or one after the other? They are so close together that they could be played as ...
8 votes
3 answers
2k views

Knowing where to put hands without looking at the keyboard?

I've identified three main problems holding me back from better sight reading on the piano, and this is the biggest one: I need to look away to find the keys for my hands. On a computer I can type ...
6 votes
9 answers
4k views

Do pianists look at the chord letter or notes on the stave to tell what chord to play?

I am doing a piano course and my feeling is that they try spoon feed you every step of the way by making things very VERY simple. One example is when learning chords you are taught to recognize the ...
  • 8,759
6 votes
3 answers
546 views

How to practise, ear piano playing after years of sightreading only?

I am stuck in sheet music. I know theory, have average sight reading skill, know chords and their inversions, scales, accidentals, ect. But if someone took the notes away I couldn't play even ...
5 votes
4 answers
4k views

Learning to read music, please help, understanding time signatures

I am attempting to teach myself how to read music and have hit a wall. My trouble is time signatures and it was described to me as this: Imagine you are walking and you walk 1-2-3-4. This would be ...
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4 votes
7 answers
2k views

is my sight reading approach correct

I practice sight reading for an hour everyday from the Paul Harris Piano series and I currently am at Level 1 of sight reading. I find it hard to recognize notes, so I pause till I get the note right ...
  • 61
3 votes
1 answer
194 views

standard notation and the numbered notation

So I have been playing piano for 1.5 years and my biggest obstacle for learning piano is definitely to play both hand, I’m still struggling right now, maybe I improve a little bit, but still very much ...
3 votes
3 answers
743 views

What is a good way to practice piano sight reading?

Recently I was practicing piano and my choral director walked by and tapped on the door and told me that, when he grew up, he wished he did a bit of sight reading every day when he was young. Hence my ...
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3 votes
2 answers
1k views

Vocals : How to practice accidental notes in sight singing

So I have been practicing sight singing since last 5-6 months. I think I'm able to read the notes in the scales quite easily using the solfege method (each scale somewhat resembling the Do-Re-Mi ...
  • 133
3 votes
4 answers
2k views

Is it customary to put a natural symbol on notes if the same note in a different octave is sharp?

I'm spending a lot of time sight reading piano music and one thing that is constantly trying me up is a scenario like this: A note, D say, is sharp in the left hand. In the same bar, another D, an ...
0 votes
4 answers
711 views

Sight reading outside the piano

It is hard for me to practice lately the piano. But i really want to sight read well and keep advancing, even if it is outside of it. Is it possible to sight read outside the piano by reading piano ...
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