Preferred Rhythm Layout

• Aug 13, 2022 - 12:33

Is one of these layouts preferred over the other? I have checked Marc's rhythm guide score and both look like they would be ok.



For sight reading TAB, not standard notation, this would be best:
Instead of this:

The reason is that in TAB a line represents a string and therefore different frets can be entered upon it. Therefore, there is always a possibility to see something like this:
(In standard notation different pitches are not placed on the same line.)

The TAB examples above show "6-str. common".
The "6-str. simple" yields this:
where the choice is non-existent and a lot more than a dotted quarter will be missed. You have to basically know the rhythm. (Drove me crazy when someone worked out a guitar lead and handed me one of those TABs.)

In reply to by Jm6stringer

I don't quite follow: why would someone possibly mis-read fret number 2 as a 3, (on the third beat).
Can fret 2 even be tied to fret 3 or wouldn't this rather be a slur?

(I have seen some standard notation where different pitches have been placed on the same line, e.g. G and G-sharp).

In reply to by yonah_ag

I have seen some standard notation where different pitches have been placed on the same line, e.g. G and G-sharp

Okay, I overlooked the sharp (or flat or natural) - which is needed as an added accidental placed onto a standard notation staff. The note head will maintain its line/space position on the staff.
TAB uses no accidentals on the TAB staff. If a guitar has 20 frets, there can be 20 different pitches on the same staff line. This is not possible in standard notation, even using double or triple sharps/flats to try to keep the note on the same line. What I mean is that a note on a TAB staff can be followed by another note on the same TAB staff line which can be pitched many semi-tones away from the first note. This is not possible in standard notation - and here I don't mean using triple sharps/flats or something like 8va for a note on the same staff line.

Can fret 2 even be tied to fret 3 or wouldn't this rather be a slur?
Look carefully. It is a slur. Slurs and ties in TAB are more easily confused because different note names can be on the same line in TAB. Placing a dotted quarter note will eliminate potential confusion, especially when trying to sight read at tempo.
You wondered if the tie looked a bit messy. Well, the dotted quarter also creates less clutter. After all, only three notes are actually played in that TAB measure.

I don't quite follow: why would someone possibly mis-read fret number 2 as a 3...

Look at these 2 lines of TAB:
Here I don't mean someone is mis-reading a fret number. Rather they might falter at the rhythm and/or confuse the tie.
Observe that the first line shows 4 notes per measure (disregard the bass note) with the same quarter-quarter-eighth-eighth rhythm. What I'm saying is that the slur/tie similarity can be confusing in the TAB staff context. When reading TAB, slurs instinctively conjure up hammer-ons and pull-offs.
The second line more obviously shows that something is different rhythmically in the 3rd measure: indeed, only 3 notes are present and so 3 are played according to this "looks different" sequence. (Disregard the bass note.)

In reply to by Jm6stringer

OK, I see what you mean now.

I think that multiple pitches on a single line are one of TAB's advantages since there is never a need for ledger lines. Fret numbers are very easy to read and distinguish at tempo, unlike notation where you can have exactly the same note shape, (e.g. a crotchet), but it means a different pitch because of it's vertical position in a stave. You even have to spot whether it's on a line or between lines. No wonder notation is so difficult. (Even worse, there's another entire clef for bass notes where the positions mean more different pitches).

That aside, I do agree that the dotted crotchet shows the rhythm change more clearly and, with the tie removed, there is less information for the player to process. So I will go with this version. (Marc has also pointed out that in ¾ it may not always be necessary to have beats 2 AND 3 made obvious.

Thanks for the comments.

I think you've hit an area where there is subjectivity. The "usual" grouping in 3/4 is 2+1 (in other words, show beat 3, just like you do in 4/4), so that makes the first better. But, many people will say, as long as you can see either beat 2 or beat 3, it's OK. I usually try to show beat 3 if that can be done without ties. If a tie is required, I then check to see if showing beat 2 instead of 3 allows me to notate without ties, and if so, I'm usually OK with it.

In reply to by Jm6stringer

For me, yes, I work in standard notation 99% of the time. But I don't know that my thinking would be much different in tab. If anything, I'd be that much more reluctant to choose 2+1 if it led to a tie that could be avoided with 1+2, because I think ties are inherently more awkward for tab than for standard notation.

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