Not exactly Sing Along with Mitch
Holy geez — have you seen tab lately?
Tab. Tablature. Remember that? It’s musical notation for people too stupid to read musical notation. Stringed instruments, mostly — draw a line for each string and a circle where the fingers go and before you know it, you’re warbling out Joni Mitchell’s Song to a Seagull and hoping the high notes don’t kill the dog stone dead.
Confession? I’m actually too stupid to read tab, either. My eyes just glaze over. But there was a note or two I couldn’t work out on the Chicken Reel, so I figured I’d download the tab and find it.
Whoa! What a difference a computer makes! Digital tab files (see above) show the musical score, the tab, a keyboard version, the fingering and play the tune for you at any tempo in real time using MIDI. I can allllmost follow along.
Try this program if you’re interested. It makes a big deal out of being free, and then it turns out you have to pony up sixty bucks to get all the features, but it’ll give you a taste. Lots of free banjo and guitar tab out there (the digital version is a .tef file, if you’re Googling).
But be careful. There are few things in the world more neurotoxic than banjo music played by a computer.
Possibly only banjo music played by a banjo player.