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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.

June 28, 2011 — 9:38 pm
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