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manleywoman
05-24-2011, 08:47 PM
Thom Yorke of Radiohead can't read music.

And not that I'm a fan, but Yanni can't either.

Both have done quite well.

ETA: I've always been curious about how written music came to be . . . i mean, we all have different languages, and even sign language is different from country to country. And yet musical notation is universal, so anyone from any country can read it. How did that develop? Is braille the same way?

MikiAndoFan#1
05-24-2011, 08:53 PM
Japanese singer Hikaru Utada plays the guitar and the piano. :)

GarrAarghHrumph
05-24-2011, 10:36 PM
ETA: I've always been curious about how written music came to be . . . i mean, we all have different languages, and even sign language is different from country to country. And yet musical notation is universal, so anyone from any country can read it. How did that develop? Is braille the same way?

Modern musical notation developed out of the European system of notation of classical music, and although its use is widespread, it's not universal for all types of music in all countries/cultures.

Braille is also not truly universal. It gets adapted for systems of writing that don't use Latin letters, and in some countries, such as China and Japan, it changes quite a bit.

PeterG
05-24-2011, 11:32 PM
Japanese singer Hikaru Utada plays the guitar and the piano. :)

Lots of people can play instruments, but cannot read music.

genevieve
05-24-2011, 11:57 PM
I would guess Xtina Aguilera can read music

Twilight1
05-25-2011, 01:23 AM
Sarah McLachlan is another musician who can definitely compose/ read music. Theory is actually pretty easy once you learn the mathematics of it. Beethoven was able to continue to compose because of this.

My sister went to school for music and she explained how Beethoven was able to continue after he went deaf and she said it is actually quite easy once you have the mathematical understanding of music composition. I just smiled and nodded. I can read music but do much better from hearing a song then playing it on the piano. From there, I can write it. I can't listen and compose to sheet.

cailuj365
05-25-2011, 02:13 AM
Maybe I'm being optimistic, but I feel like most musicians can read music, even the popular acts.

DickButtonFan
05-25-2011, 02:33 AM
I read once Mariah Carey couldn't read notes.

KikiSashaFan
05-25-2011, 02:36 AM
I think Jennifer Lopez has enough dance experience to be able to count music, but I doubt she can read it.

GarrAarghHrumph
05-25-2011, 02:53 AM
Maybe I'm being optimistic, but I feel like most musicians can read music, even the popular acts.

In pop, rock, and blues, that wouldn't be true at all. Some can read chord signatures, but not full sheet music. Others can't read music at all. This doesn't necessarily make them bad musicians in any way, shape or form.

For example, in rock guitar, it's a bit unusual, to be honest, for a rock or pop guitarist to be taught to read music. They are taught to read chord signatures, or what my sister, a guitarist, calls "tab", but not sheet music.

From my personal experience, almost none of the rock musicians I know can read music. Many of them can read chords, but not full sheet music. Those few that can read music learned to do so earlier, if they studied a classical instrument.

In a lot of modern forms of western music - rock, pop, jazz, blues, etc. - being able to read music isn't necessary. What's needed is to know chords, chord progressions, to play by ear, and to improvise. This is why you may recall hearing a group of musicians that haven't worked together on a song before - one person will call out a rough tempo and the key, and then they're off and playing.

cailuj365
05-25-2011, 03:05 AM
Okay, maybe not guitarists or other instrumentalists, but singers? Like actual singers, not Britney or J.Lo (who I heard is tone deaf). How would they learn the songs they would record? Just by listening to a demo and re-singing it?

I don't think being able to read music is that important either when it comes to overall singing/songwriting ability. I studied violin for years and became quite good, but I'm shit at music theory and wouldn't be able to compose anything. I think it's a rather separate talent.

Matryeshka
05-25-2011, 03:16 AM
I read once Mariah Carey couldn't read notes.

I seriously doubt that--her mother was an opera singer. Besides the awesome range she had when younger, there's quite a bit of technique in her singing voice.


I think Jennifer Lopez has enough dance experience to be able to count music, but I doubt she can read it.

Same as Mariah Carey--not the voice quality, but the technique. I know it's odd to say technique in terms of music, but Jennifer Lopez actually has great musical technique, if not a great voice. Britney Spears is the same way. I would be totally shocked if neither of them could read music.

Tori Amos not being able to read music is not shocking at all. She mumbles her words sometimes, her rhythm is interesting (in the best and worst ways) and her phrasing is not always great. It's not fullproof, but a good way to tell how much formal training a singer has had is by listening to the way they sing "sky" and how easy it is for you to understand what they're singing. It wouldn't shock me if Xtina Aguilera didn't read music for the same reason--not her vocal tone/quality, but her technique/phrasing is DREADFUL. Emotional quality, tone is top notch, but technically...:shuffle: If she can read music, I'll bet it's a recent acquisition.

DickButtonFan
05-25-2011, 03:29 AM
^ Mariah said she doesn't read music when she was on Larry King. http://edition.cnn.tv/TRANSCRIPTS/0212/19/lkl.00.html

CAREY: I don't read music. And my mom is this classically trained person, and I went the other way. And I think it's helped me write songs that I wouldn't have written if I were going at the technical way. Because they go, "Oh, you can't go from this chord to that chord. It's not the way you're supposed to do it."

KING: Irving Berlin couldn't read music.

I guess she doesn't say she can't read music, she said she doesn't write songs that way. In the interview she said she started Vision of Love on the piano.

GarrAarghHrumph
05-25-2011, 02:39 PM
Okay, maybe not guitarists or other instrumentalists, but singers? Like actual singers, not Britney or J.Lo (who I heard is tone deaf). How would they learn the songs they would record? Just by listening to a demo and re-singing it?


Yes. They'd listen to a demo and sing it in their own style.

Ozzisk8tr
05-25-2011, 03:07 PM
I wonder how many artists can actually read anything, be it music, their name, a cereal box?