Thursday, June 25, 2009

Great Tab Website

I've now been playing guitar for about a year (reflections to come soon), and 90% of the music I've learned has come from guitar tablature websites. For the uninitiated, guitar tablature is a written music system that represents pitches as positions on guitar strings rather than as notes on a staff. Because the guitar offers multiple ways to voice many notes and chords, and because the means of finding pitches on a guitar is unintuitive, guitar tablature is much easier for most guitarists to read than traditional staff notation. It is much more difficult to depict rhythms on guitar tab than on traditional staff notation, so guitar tabs in books and magazines are often accompanied by rhythm staves.

Whatever its advantages, guitar tab often goes sour on the internet. Most tabs are transcribed from recorded music by amateurs, and so are inaccurate, incomplete, or dramatically simplified from the original recordings. While many tab sites have rating systems for users to assess the accuracy and completeness of tabs, these are only somewhat helpful, and tracking down the most accurate tab for a given song is often time-consuming.

Last night, while searching for a tab of the Dire Straits song "Romeo and Juliet" in its original Open D tuning, I found this tab site, which is easily the best I encountered. Not only are the tabs very accurate, the applets will play through MIDI recordings of individual instrumental tracks, which are often difficult to pick out on regular recordings. Their selection is good, though not overwhelming and they have only one tab for each song. Furthermore, their tabs require no special software to use, unlike many other sites. Pretty cool.

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