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Aug 30, 2020 - 9:47:46 AM

n1wr

USA

791 posts since 12/27/2010

This issue has bothered me for some time.

I suppose both formats have their place - and I appreciate that. I also have observed over the years that TableEdit has become pretty much a de-facto standard for banjo TABs here on BHO.

PDF versions of TABs are perhaps workable for more proficient players.

TablEdit files lend themselves to learning, which, after all, is why we share TABS. They can be played (play along), slowed down, looped, etc. - all of the things that beginners (even intermediates) need as learning aids. PDF files provide none of this.

What am I missing? We would like to hear from some of you that provide TABs (and please - thank you 100 times for sharing) what is your perspective on this, and why not share in TablEdit format?

Thanks (I'm currently in a hand cast after thumb surgery. Hoping for the best! outcome!)

Aug 30, 2020 - 10:31:40 AM

11138 posts since 6/2/2008
Online Now

I'm going to assume that anyone who shares tab in PDF but not TablEdit (I share both) did not create the tab in TablEdit.

This is certainly the case if the tab is handwritten. I suppose it's possible a tabber posting only a PDF could have used some less popular music- or tab-writing software for which a free player is not widely available. Maybe they used some type of software that creates only viewable pages and doesn't produce an audio file at all.

PDF is analogous to the printed page, which for decades is all we had. So hard to say there's anything wrong with PDF.

I agree that playable TablEdit is great and maybe even best (for players at all levels) because it demonstrates what the piece is supposed to sound like. I'd add: As long as it's written correctly.

Have you specifically seen typeset PDF tabs that don't have a companion playable file of some sort?

Aug 30, 2020 - 10:36:04 AM
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janolov

Sweden

40729 posts since 3/7/2006

I use to share a lot of tabs and nowadays I try to post both a TablEdit (.tef) file and a pdf file and often also a midi file so you can listen to the tab wothout TablEdit.

One reason why some people don't post TablEdit files may be that they are afraid that some take the tab and change it a little and take the credit of the tab.

There are also some tab software that can't be uploaded in the BHO Tab Archive (but I think most common tab formats is possible to upload).

Aug 30, 2020 - 1:54:55 PM

10838 posts since 4/23/2004

A few years back, I switched to Musescore instead of TablEdit. BHO compatible output is PDF but if BHO could use a Musescore file format, I'd post that (as well as the mp3 that goes with it).

I switched because it is significantly easier to input from notation in Musescore...which is what I do (Classic Banjo is almost all written in standard musical notation) and it does a great job converting to Tab, once the notes are in.

Aug 30, 2020 - 1:56:31 PM
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JohnTN

USA

139 posts since 8/8/2012

I prefer to download tabs in PDF format because I don't want to have to download, install, and figure out a piece of software just to print out a tab. I have installed TablEdit, but for purposes of just printing out a tab, I find it daunting. There have been tabs I have just given up on because I could not figure out how to get into usable format.

I'm sure there are benefits of having the TEF for those who want it, but I wish a PDF would always be included for those of us simpler folks.

Aug 30, 2020 - 2:15:25 PM

262 posts since 10/4/2018

When I was learning to pick guitar, I never was taught tablature. Only standard notation. It was part of learning to play guitar, so we learned to read music and memorize how the timing of the notes worked and you didn't need an electronic audio version to help you out. You could always find a recording if you were stumped, and now there is youtube, so you can hear how anything should be played. Eventually you learn to hear how things work and you don't need the sheet music anymore. I think if you want to get stuck in the tablature rut, unable to ever learn anything on your own, then keep using TablEdit. To me PDF files are plenty to learn a song, especially if you are familiar with that song. Listening is 99% of learning. If I was going to make and share tab, it would only be in PDF form.

Aug 30, 2020 - 3:32:30 PM

4004 posts since 11/29/2005

One of the best advantages of Tabledit, to me, is the ability to input the music as either tab or notation and choose either one or both to print out. I use this often when I'm going to transcribe a tune, say from Milliner-Koken, that I want to try to figure out on banjo. I can input the notation from the book and then display it in either/both format to work with.

I learned to read music in the 4th grade via piano lessons, and only used tab when I started to learn CH banjo.  The problem with notation for me at this point was that the high G in print was an automatic 5th fret 1st string note for me, not a thumbed open 5th string, so I learned tablature at that point, some 40+ years after starting to play guitar.

Edited by - banjo_brad on 08/30/2020 15:35:48

Aug 30, 2020 - 3:38:41 PM

chuckv97

Canada

52854 posts since 10/5/2013

Any tabs I’ve posted in the tab library have been hand-written and in PDF form. I also include a YouTube video of me playing it so folks know what it sounds like and can slow it down.

Aug 30, 2020 - 5:34:05 PM

11138 posts since 6/2/2008
Online Now

quote:
Originally posted by trapdoor2

... it is significantly easier to input from notation in Musescore...which is what I do (Classic Banjo is almost all written in standard musical notation) and it does a great job converting to Tab, once the notes are in.


Does Musecore know enough about banjo technique to convert the notes to playable or reasonable banjoistic tab?

My experience with importing ABC Notation into TablEdit is that the software has no trouble displaying accurate standard notation, since there's only one way to represent each note. (OK, not counting the choices between sharp and flat).  But when it comes to converting the notes to tab, mosts notes can be played in multiple locations. TablEdit doesn't know anything about rolls, melodic style or single string. I assume that neither does Musescore.

Happy to be corrected and educated if I'm wrong.

Aug 30, 2020 - 6:16:21 PM

10838 posts since 4/23/2004

quote:
Originally posted by Old Hickory
quote:
Originally posted by trapdoor2

... it is significantly easier to input from notation in Musescore...which is what I do (Classic Banjo is almost all written in standard musical notation) and it does a great job converting to Tab, once the notes are in.


Does Musecore know enough about banjo technique to convert the notes to playable or reasonable banjoistic tab?

My experience with importing ABC Notation into TablEdit is that the software has no trouble displaying accurate standard notation, since there's only one way to represent each note. (OK, not counting the choices between sharp and flat).  But when it comes to converting the notes to tab, mosts notes can be played in multiple locations. TablEdit doesn't know anything about rolls, melodic style or single string. I assume that neither does Musescore.

Happy to be corrected and educated if I'm wrong.


It is better at it than TablEdit. 5th string is still not populated and you have to make that decision every time...but the drag-and-drop in Musescore is slightly easier to use.

No, Musescore doesn't understand BG...but it seems to make better choices. I just finished an intermediate grade piece (from 1889) today, 70+measures. I had to key it in in A, transpose it to C, move all the 5th string "g" notes and re-arrange some position choices. Easy.

Aug 30, 2020 - 6:44:03 PM

rob_jenny

New Zealand

770 posts since 5/20/2003

Just out of interest how do you write Tabs in PDF? is there some app within Adobe that allows this?

Aug 30, 2020 - 8:30:13 PM

587 posts since 8/14/2018

quote:
Originally posted by rob_jenny

Just out of interest how do you write Tabs in PDF? is there some app within Adobe that allows this?


Use notation software such as Musecore, then output as pdf. 

Aug 30, 2020 - 9:16:27 PM

23 posts since 11/5/2007

I have never been able to get TablEdit to download successfully on either a Mac or a PC. I MUCH prefer PDFs. I would be interested in learning more about Musescore. Where do I find more information about it?

Aug 31, 2020 - 1:01:53 AM

TablEdit

France

143 posts since 7/24/2011

Hi,

Nowadays, you can produce PDFs with any application that has a print function:

If you are using Windows 10, the possibility to print to a pdf file is integrated in the system and available for each application with the virtual printer "Microsoft Print to PDF".

With previous versions of Windows, you can print in pdf format using a free tool such as CutePDF Writer or PrimoPDF.

In MacOS, the ability to print to a pdf file is built into the system and available for each application.

Matthieu

Aug 31, 2020 - 1:27:02 AM

TablEdit

France

143 posts since 7/24/2011

Hi,

When entering notes in standard notation, there is more than just the Enter key. You can also use the mouse (Alt+Click). You can also type the initial of the note. I realise that we forgot to specify it in the help file ;-)

This kind of stuff is indeed critical in terms of ergonomics. So if you have any ideas for improvement, please let me know.

I have the greatest respect for Musescore as a score editor but it's a bit hard to hear that Musescore handles tablature better than TablEdit, especially for the Clawhammer banjo, the peculiarities of the 5th string, the capoes...

What Ken Norkin says is very interesting. TablEdit knows that the common instrument is a banjo. He could therefore apply special algorithms to create the tablature from note entry in the staff. If you find any modelisable cases where TablEdit does something stupid, it would be good to tell me about that too.

Matthieu

Aug 31, 2020 - 6:54:02 AM

10838 posts since 4/23/2004

quote:
Originally posted by TablEdit

Hi,

When entering notes in standard notation, there is more than just the Enter key. You can also use the mouse (Alt+Click). You can also type the initial of the note. I realise that we forgot to specify it in the help file ;-)

This kind of stuff is indeed critical in terms of ergonomics. So if you have any ideas for improvement, please let me know.

I have the greatest respect for Musescore as a score editor but it's a bit hard to hear that Musescore handles tablature better than TablEdit, especially for the Clawhammer banjo, the peculiarities of the 5th string, the capoes...

What Ken Norkin says is very interesting. TablEdit knows that the common instrument is a banjo. He could therefore apply special algorithms to create the tablature from note entry in the staff. If you find any modelisable cases where TablEdit does something stupid, it would be good to tell me about that too.

Matthieu


I'm probably a bad example, Matthieu. I rarely create Tab by itself, I don't use the capo features. I take public domain banjo sheet music from my collection, key it in from the original notation, transpose it to modern pitch and then take the system (TablEdit or Musescore) generated Tab and "fix" it as necessary. Much of this music is played above the 5th fret so chord forms and 5th string usage can be very complicated.

Neither program is perfect, they have different algorithms written by different people. The 5th string in both programs is handled well until after the 5th fret. After that, both systems appear to default to alternative locations for that note. I used TablEdit for many years (well over 500 tabs) and have been using Musescore for just a couple (about 100 tabs). Once the notation gets above the 5th fret, Musescore's algorithm appears to build fewer "impossible" chord forms than TablEdit. Thus, the cleanup stage is faster for me. Again, I'm not part of the "norm" for Banjo Tab users.

Frankly, the use of the 5th string, esp. in Classic Banjo, is a personal choice. I don't see how one could write an algorithm that would suffice in all cases.

One reason I moved to Musescore is that I started to produce more notation. I have an extensive collection of antique banjo sheet music, much of which is very hard to read. Re-creating that old notational style (for players who actually read notation) takes some special characters that either don't exist in TablEdit or are too difficult to create. Again, sometimes the same applies to Musescore (and I've not been using TablEdit for some years now...I haven't kept up with updates).

LOL, I never knew that TablEdit could input notes via initial, directly from the keyboard, I spent years poking notes around using the arrow buttons. It is much faster just typing the note names. I'll have to revisit TablEdit to see how that works.

Another feature that has given me much grief over the years is entering dotted rhythms (which was popular in the 1880-1890 period). Each piece of music is unique, of course. Both programs have a unique way of dealing with it. Musescore's method is much easier and less time consuming. I used to avoid Schottisches and Mazurkas in TablEdit because of this.

In the end, each system has its own pros and cons. They're just different. There is a reason that TablEdit is king in the BHO world. You have created a system that specifically handles the oddities of the traditional 5-string banjo and has re-defined Tab as a system of notation equal to standard notation in every way (I think you should get a medal for that aspect alone). It works amazingly well 99% of the time. Because I have grown to spend quite a bit of time in that 1%, I've been trying an alternative system.

I think the difference between them is their nature. TablEdit core is Tablature. Musescore is an orchestral core with integrated Tab. Classic Banjo style being orchestral, the core fit is a little better with Musescore...in my opinion, of course.

Aug 31, 2020 - 5:44:37 PM

16 posts since 7/27/2019

I think it would be great if banjo hangout would allow the upload of MuseScore files or music xml. I went to MuseScore a few years ago because I find TablEdit's user interface very frustrating and clunky. Not to mention the full version of MuseScore is free and open source.

Edited by - jimbopicks on 08/31/2020 17:45:44

Aug 31, 2020 - 6:57:17 PM

16 posts since 7/27/2019

quote:
Originally posted by jimbopicks

I think it would be great if banjo hangout would allow the upload of MuseScore files or music xml. I went to MuseScore a few years ago because I find TablEdit's user interface very frustrating, not to mention the full version of MuseScore is free and open source.


Sep 1, 2020 - 4:36:24 AM

TablEdit

France

143 posts since 7/24/2011

Hi Jim,

Honestly, I've heard a lot of things about the TablEdit interface but this is the first time it's been described as frustrating. Could you elaborate a bit more?

You can send me a private message if you prefer not to answer on this forum.

Matthieu

Sep 1, 2020 - 6:46:28 AM

10866 posts since 2/12/2011

PDF is sheet music. Period. Tabledit is the ultimate banjo tool for reading learning and changing things. Two different worlds. This is a banjo site.

Sep 1, 2020 - 6:48:21 AM

jcland

USA

312 posts since 3/7/2006

I am not buying any of these arguments simply because they sound more like excuses and complaints then logical reasons, but that's what happens when you are about to turn 73. You become a grumpy old man. smiley

That being said, I consider myself one of the fortunate ones as I am proficient in TableEdit, Musescore and Guitar Pro and can usually read a PDF printed tab to 'hear' what the song will sound like. If I see the PDF file is worth my time pursuing I will spend the small amount of time it takes me and transcribe it myself over to either TablEdit or Guitar Pro. Once that is done, it is mine to play fast or slow. Sure it would be nice to have to not do that extra effort but like I said, I can do the transcribing myself.

As a banjo player, a guitar player and a bass player, I used the software to modify or add, say a bass track, to hone up on my composing skills and to keep my useable but primitive notation reading skills active. You gotta remember, it's a lot harder to learn new stuff at my age, BUT will will attempt it anyway as it keeps the brain active.

I can understand why some members think that, for them,  reading tab is a sin or that it is too hard to understand software or that they only like hand written tab but those are your reasons and perhaps you are not thinking about what other BHO members would prefer. After all we are a community of like minded musicians.

I'm off my soap box now., Take care....

Sep 1, 2020 - 7:31:40 AM

16 posts since 7/27/2019

quote:
Originally posted by TablEdit

Hi Jim,

Honestly, I've heard a lot of things about the TablEdit interface but this is the first time it's been described as frustrating. Could you elaborate a bit more?

You can send me a private message if you prefer not to answer on this forum.

Matthieu


Matthieu, I'll send you a private message. Thanks.

Sep 1, 2020 - 7:59:03 AM

conic

England

816 posts since 2/15/2014

Tabledit is just fine but you need to spend a bit of time with the basics then its very easy to use. to print a tab all you do it click "file - print.

Sep 1, 2020 - 8:32:11 AM

n1wr

USA

791 posts since 12/27/2010

Well, as the OP I guess I opened up an interesting, useful, discourse. Thanks for all the replies.

My sentiments are very similar to @jcland above. I consider TAB to be just one tool in my tool box. There are many ways to learn/study banjo. I, like Joe, have taken pdf or other forms of written TAB and entered them into TablEdit - to make them more usable to me as a learning aid. Anyone that has struggled with a complicated phrase, even of a couple measures, surely know that being able to slow down the phrase, isolate it from the rest of the piece, and put it in a loop is an incredible learning aid. And of course written TABs (how many of us oldsters started out with the Earl Scruggs book?) are plenty usable, along with perhaps a recorded version of the song (thank you You Tube!).

My point was simply to (hopefully) encourage those that produce the many fine TABs that are posted to consider up loading in more than just pdf. And I acknowledge and respect the opinions of those that would rather not!

Sep 1, 2020 - 11:54:27 AM

10866 posts since 2/12/2011

Wayne - another great tool is Transcribe from Seventh String. Slow down - way down - to around 10% of normal if you want with no loss in pitch. Great learning tool for me. Not free but worth it when you can learn what someone is playing and tab is not getting it done.

Sep 1, 2020 - 5:43:13 PM

11138 posts since 6/2/2008
Online Now

quote:
Originally posted by n1wr

My point was simply to (hopefully) encourage those that produce the many fine TABs that are posted to consider up loading in more than just pdf. And I acknowledge and respect the opinions of those that would rather not!


Again: If the tabber didn't use TablEdit to create the tab they saved as PDF, there's no .TEF for them to upload. If you want people to consider buying and learning TablEdit so they can create share playable tabs, I believe that's too much to ask.

Perhaps you could post links of some of the PDF-only tabs you've encountered on the Hangout so the rest of us can look at them and try to guess whether the tabber used TablEdit and is withholding the .TEF file or if they created the tab some other way and there is no playable file.

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