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Re: Tab one octave off?

From: David Raleigh Arnold
Subject: Re: Tab one octave off?
Date: Thu, 22 Aug 2002 10:34:11 +0000

On Thu, 22 Aug 2002 11:48:58 Lamy Jean-Baptiste wrote:
> > Well, I also prefer using the "G_8"-clef - so that the music is really 
> > notated in the octave where it sounds.
> > I definitely think that default guitar strings should be defined like 
> > this. If one want's to define and display music one octave off (which is 
> > historically the normal thing to do), one could do
> > 
> > <
> >    \context Staff { \music }
> >    \context TabStaff \transpose c { \music }
> >  >
> > 
> > I think that this would be intuitive enough - also for normal users.
> (This has nothing to see with the current thread)
> Are you saying tablatures are one octave off in regards to staff ?

Sort of the opposite.  The *guitar* has been one octave off for centuries.
Banjo has always imitated the guitar.  Long necked lutes also, balalaika,
colascione, etc., are usually at the octave.

The short-necked lutes, viol and mandolin families
have generally not been off.

I was happily surprised to find no one protesting the use of "G_8" for guitar
music.  If you don't notate instruments according to their true pitch
guitar is not the only instrument that might cause you trouble.  Some
winds don't always consistently use octave clefs either.  I have heard
midi files where the author apparently had trouble putting his guitar
parts in the right octave, and the result was peculiar.

It may or may not surprise you to know that when the guitar had only four 
guitar music was commonly written in notation with one voice, adding 
arbitrary more-or-less standard chord names a-z etc..  That system
was called "alfabeto" and it coexisted with tab.  At that
time noted guitar music was written at the octave because all the notes in first
position fit on the treble clef staff without leger lines that way.  Nothing
ever happened to change the practice, even the exclusive use of
tab for the 5 course guitar, until the invention of "G_8".

I think that if you use "G_8" with guitar music that it will save
you and your users trouble in the long and the short run.  Its acceptance seems
to be much more widespread than I thought.  

Information is not knowledge.           Belief is not truth.
Indoctrination is not teaching.   Tradition is not evidence.
         David Raleigh Arnold   address@hidden

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