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5 Tips For Livestreaming Musical Concerts

From packed arena tours to modestly attended open mic nights, the ways we used to share musical performances with people were events most of us took for granted. But now that the vast majority of shows have been put on hold, musicians and audiences crave musical connection and meaning through live performances like never before.

musical

While digital concerts can’t replace the real thing, they’re your best shot at keeping in touch with fans and maintaining an income through live music right now. These five tips will help yours look and sound professional, and make an impact on your audience.

1. Check your internet connection and turn notifications off

Let’s begin with the easy stuff. You’ll need a strong and uninterrupted internet connection to livestream your performances. A spotty internet signal will result in poor image and sound quality for your shows, or potentially the unintended and premature ending of a performance long before you planned to wrap up. Also, turn off the notifications on your devices. A phone call, for example, can embarrassingly sink your live-stream if you’re recording it on your phone. These are easy problems to solve, but not addressing these live-stream basics can severely impact the quality of your shows.

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2. Prioritize delivering professional sound

In today’s music-hungry world, fans will forgive the sound quality of your digital concerts not being up to par. But if you’re serious about making an impact through livestreaming performances, the attention you put into delivering professional sound will go a long way. The mic on your smartphone, tablet, or computer isn’t good enough to present the music you’re playing in a clear and compelling way, and winging it with the bare minimum of sound equipment means that critical parts of your music won’t make it to the speakers of your listeners. But with minimal equipment and a little planning, anyone can live-stream with professional sound.

3. Recognize that you’re not playing on stage

Shredding in your living room isn’t the same as shredding on stage. The livestreaming format is much different than in-person shows, so tailor your performances accordingly. For example, most performers don’t engage with audiences in venues. However, digital concerts are great for answering your fans’ questions, playing their song requests, and speaking with them directly. Although livestreaming is for musicians and audiences who are separated, there’s an inherent intimacy in the nature of these shows. Acting aloof or unavailable won’t help you connect with listeners.

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4. Perform in clean, engaging settings

At risk of sounding like your Mom, I need to tell you that no one wants to see your messy room during digital concerts. In fact, no one wants to see your poorly lit or boring space for these kinds of shows either. It doesn’t take much thought or effort to create an interesting setting to perform in. It could be in your backyard, an interesting room in your house, or a backdrop that you dream up yourself. Aim to livestream in settings that reflect and support your identity as an artist.

5. Focus on making your performances special

What makes live music special to you? You might not be able to transport the same energy, theatrics, settings, and surprises that shape the in-person music experiences you love, but trying goes a long way. If your digital concerts can lift spirits and inspire people during this time, your audiences will remember you for it. So whether it’s going the extra mile through an unexpected collaboration, backdrop created by a visual artist, or dramatic announcement shared over livestream, making your digital concerts special is a huge factor in whether these performances will end up being successful or not for you. Just like conventional shows, the more effort and planning you put into digital concerts, the more you and your fans will get out of them.

Like everything in music, it takes practice to get livestreaming right. But those who put in the effort have the chance to earn money and comfort audiences during a challenging time.

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How to Rap for Beginners | Learn How to Rap Fast

There is far more to being a rapper than writing rhymes and spitting them out. Breath control is essential, as well as diction, flow and timing. Rapping isn’t exclusive to men either as many female rappers, especially in the UK, are beginning to make waves.

Rap

We’ve got some great tips to help you learn to rap, as well as some advice to help you rap faster. The hardest part is usually getting started so let’s look at how you can get into rapping.

How do you get into rapping?

Nothing is stopping you from learning how to rap. All it takes is a bit of courage and a love of hip-hop music to find the motivation to be a rapper. It isn’t easy and just because you can sing doesn’t mean you can rap. The same goes for those who can rap as it won’t guarantee you’ll be a good singer.

Different rappers have their own distinct style and flow. Some are lightning-fast whereas others like to draw out their words. Some are more melodic and some like to focus more on wordplay. Think about the rappers you like and what makes them unique. This will help you find your own style as a rapper.

How to rap

  • Listen to hip-hop
  • Rap with rhythm and flow
  • Learn your favourite rap songs
  • Go outside your comfort zone
  • Find your attitude
  • Rap acapella
  • Work on your diction
  • Play with dynamics
  • Freestyle rap
  • Write your own rhymes

Does rapping have to rhyme

Like poetry, it isn’t essential for raps to rhyme. However, it definitely helps. Many rappers judge their abilities by how well they rhyme. This isn’t just having similar sounding words at the end of a line or bar. This includes layering multiple rhymes and poetic techniques in a single delivery.

However, with rapping being so diverse, there is no real limitation on whether you actually have to rhyme or not. If it sounds good then there’s no problem!

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How to be a rapper

1.  Listen to hip-hop

If you’re looking to learn how to be a rapper or simply want to improve on the skills you already have, then you aren’t going to do it well without listening to hip-hop. Whether it’s Eminem, Drake or Kendrick Lamar, there are countless incredible rappers that you can look to for inspiration.

Whilst hip-hop is very male-dominated, there are some incredible women who have made a name for themselves. Female rappers such as Lauryn HillMissy Elliott and Little Simz are great examples for any girls looking to rap.

It’s a good idea to immerse yourself in the culture and the different sounds of hip-hop and rap music to understand the influences and foundation of this particular genre.

How to rap on beat

2. Rap with rhythm and flow

It’s important to remember that rapping is much more than just saying a few words that rhyme, it’s just as much about the rhythm. A great way to get the feel for rhythm in hip-hop is by focusing on just the instrumental of the song. You’ll start to get a sense of how the words fit into the beat.

The foundations of rhythm in rap are the syllables in your lyrics. Treat each syllable of a word as a beat to be synchronised with your instrumental. If your lyrics contain too many syllables then you won’t be able to fit it over the beat that you’re rapping over. This can push rhymes out of place or make your flow sound forced and unnatural.

With words that contain multiple syllables, some are emphasised and others that are not. When pronouncing words, we naturally emphasise a stressed syllable. It is good to identify the stressed syllables in a word as they are the most effective part of a word to use for rhyming.

What is flow in rap?

Flow is the relationship between the rhythm of your delivery and the rhymes you use. Every rapper has their own flow that can vary across different tracks. There is no right or wrong way to flow as a rapper. All you need to focus on is being authentic and sincere. Originality is also very important because ripping off another rapper’s flow isn’t going to win you any points.

3. Learn your favourite songs

Listen to your favourite rappers and learn from them. Practising their lyrics will help you find a flow to rap with and also teach you about rhyming. If you can learn your favourite songs to a point where you can deliver them a cappella then you will find it much easier to take the next step towards writing and performing your own rhymes.

4. Go outside your comfort zone

You might find yourself drawn to a certain style of rap, whether that’s Atlanta trap, New York boom-bap or anything else. However, it is good to go out of your comfort zone and discover other forms of hip-hop. This will prevent you from sounding like your simply imitating a specific style. You will also become a more well-rounded rapper and also open your mind to new styles and flows.

5. Find your attitude

Having confidence in yourself and your lyrics will help you connect emotionally to your song. The easiest way to build confidence with your vocals is to just enjoy the experience. You will find this helps you engage with your audience and put on a better show. The more you practice the easier it is to enjoy yourself and this will also help you to memorise your lyrics and relax.

Rapping is about attitude and performance as much as it is about technique. To give a stand out performance you have to be able to feel the music throughout the whole of your body. If your brain and body are not in tune with the beat, it’s safe to say your rapping will look and feel stiff and unnatural.

One of the most common reasons for this is often from overthinking, such as trying to make sure you stay on time or not being confident in your own words. Learn to be in the moment and deliver your best performance when it matters.

6. Rap a capella

Try and rap a capella once you have learnt how to rap to a beat. This will not only improve your confidence but if you can rap without any aid of a backing track then you know you have mastered rhythm and staying on beat.

Learning to beatbox is also a great tool to help learn rhythm. It’s a great technique you can use in your performance alongside rapping and help you connect with other rappers.

7. Work on your diction

It’s no good mastering a good rhyme if you’re unable to rap the words effectively. Emphasise the consonants – don’t try and rap the way you would normally talk. Keep your words clear and sharp. Remember the rhythm is more important than rhyme. If you’re freestyling, don’t stop if your words don’t rhyme. If you keep on beat then everything will be fine, as the rhythm will help you get back on track. It’s ok to think about your next line but remember to still give 100% to the line you’re currently rapping.

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8. Play with dynamics

Having complete control of the dynamics of your voice will help you deliver the right message in your song. Intonation (the rise and fall of your voice) and pitching are powerful ways to change the meaning of your lyrics. Take one of your bars and try playing around with how you deliver it. Think about the following line as well and how your dynamics relate to it.

Delivering one line more softly allows you to make the next one sound harder. Compare this to a constant dynamic that won’t allow for any significant changes in your delivery. This can make your rapping sound boring.  By switching up your dynamic you can put more emphasis on important lines and make a bigger impact.

9. Rap with emotion

Learning how to embrace the power of emotion is vital for giving your audience a convincing performance and conveying the lyrical content. Emotion is characterised by your tone of voice, which is conveyed through changes in pitch, volume, speed etc. Focusing on the emotions of your lyrics will help you deliver the message to your audience more effectively.

A good technique to practice is to identify the emotion connected to a keyword in your rap, then try and act out this emotion whilst saying the word.

10. Freestyle rap

Freestyle rapping is essentially improvisation with words. Unlike soloing where you only have to focus on notes, freestyling requires a focus on notes and lyrics. This presents an extra challenge that can put many people off. However, it is well worth learning to freestyle as it will make you a better rapper.

Put on an instrumental and take some bars to get some lyrics in your mind. Try using a website like RapPadto help you come up with ideas on the fly.

Exercises to rap faster

Rapping as fast as possible is something many rappers try as a way to challenge themselves. Some rappers make this a part of their style and might say as many words in 16 bars as others will in a whole song. Here are some exercises you can use to rap faster.

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How to Make Money from Your Music on SoundCloud

SoundCloud is notoriously popular among independent artists. The platform helps indie artists upload, stream, and make money on their original music. Savvy users can even connect distributors and online stores to their SoundCloud to make more money.

money

Every musiciandream is to make money from their craft, and SoundCloud helps independent artists on their way to do just that. This article gives a full breakdown of the best ways to optimise your earning potential on SoundCloud. 

Can you make money on SoundCloud? 

Independent artists across the board have been able to make money on SoundCloud since 2018; when SoundCloud Premier was re-launched with a revised set of rules 

The monetisation programme existed before 2018 but was an invite-only beta until the programme was changed a couple of years ago. The new, revamped SoundCloud Premier has become much more inclusive and allows any indie artists who self-upload tracks to make money on SoundCloud. 

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How do you qualify for monetisation on SoundCloud? 

You’ll have to tick a few boxes to qualify for monetisation on SoundCloud. To start with, you need to be signed up to SoundCloud Premier to start making money from your music.  

To be eligible for SoundCloud Premier, you need to be:

  • 18 years old or above 
  • An independent, original creator 
  • A Pro or Pro Account SoundCloud member 
  • An artist who has at least 5,000 plays in the past month from SoundCloud monetised countries
  • An account holder with no copyright strikes 

How to monetise a track on SoundCloud 

Once you’ve signed a SoundCloud Premier agreement, you can submit a request to monetise your tracks on the platformIf you’re approved, a blue icon will appear beside your content.  

When you’ve got your account approved, you can monetise multiple tracks on your SoundCloud account at once by following these steps: 

  1. Step 1

    Go to your tracks page and select all the tracks you want to monetise.  

  2. Step 2

    Press the “Edit tracks” button and click “Monetisation.” 

  3. Step 3

    Double-check your metadata is correct and then press the “Enable Monetisation” button. 

  4. Step 4

    Press “Save, and you’ll be notified in 24 hours whether your monetisation request has been approved. 

How many plays do you need on SoundCloud to get paid? 

You’ll need to be signed up to SoundCloud Premier to get paid on SoundCloud. To go Premier, you need 5000 plays in the SoundCloud approved countries listed below. 

SoundCloud monetisation countries  

To sign up for SoundCloud Premier, your tracks need to be streamed in SoundCloud’s recognised monetised countries. These are currently the UK, Ireland, US, Canada, France, Germany, Australia, New Zealand, and the Netherlands. 

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Where SoundCloud monetised tracks are available to stream 

Once you monetise your track on SoundCloud, your song will be made available to stream in all countries. Just double-check your SoundCloud track settings and ensure you haven’t enabled geo-blocking if you want your tracks to be streamed everywhere.  

SoundCloud monetisation free 

If you want to make money on SoundCloud, you’ll have to part with some of your own money first. Sadly, there’s no way to access their monetisation for free – subscribing to a Pro account alone comes with a monthly charge. 

Like with a lot of audio streaming platforms, selling your music on SoundCloud has a catch: the platform will keep a share of the revenues from your sales. Singers and musicians who monetise with SoundCloud Premier receive a 55% net revenue. This means that for every song you upload or own the rights to, you will earn a 55% share of the profit, while SoundCloud will keep a 45% cut.  

Your income on SoundCloud is also affected by the platform’s revenue. How much you get paid will depend on how much SoundCloud makes from advertising and subscriptions, as it’s these schemes that fund the SoundCloud Premier programme. If SoundCloud doesn’t perform well and their income dips, so will yours. 

How does Soundcloud make money? 

As SoundCloud’s performance and revenue will directly affect your income, it’s worth knowing how the platform makes its money. SoundCloud operates a freemium basis, meaning its core streaming is available free of charge to its users.  

If people can listen to your music for free, you might wonder how you can make any money on your tracks. The SoundCloud Premier programme is funded largely by premium features and advertising, meaning that – although fans can access your music for free – the platform can still make a profit and pay you revenue on your songs. 

Premium features like SoundCloud Go and SoundCloud Pro Unlimited require a subscription fee. The income from this, and from collaborations with big companies and brands to run ad campaigns, turn over a profit for SoundCloud and allow them to pay artists who upload tracks to the site. 

How much money do you make on SoundCloud per play? 

The revenue you make on SoundCloud depends on more than just your plays, so it’s hard to determine how much money you’ll make based on streams alone.  

Your income will actually depend on SoundCloud’s performance each month in terms of advertising and membership subscription, rather than how many times your track is played. Whether people engage with the ads on SoundCloud (which they won’t if they have an ad blocker on) will affect how much you earn, and this means your revenue can fluctuate.  

A rough ball-park figure for how much existing artists have been paid per play on SoundCloud is in the region of $2.50 – $4.00 for every 1000 streams.   

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What is a Recording Contract in Music?

Music Recording Contracts have been around for decades yet they’re still an important part of how the music industry functions. They are always extremely important though when it comes to legally forming an agreement between an artist and a record label.

Recording

It’s a very common question ‘What is a Music Recording Contract?’ so here’s our short answer followed by lots more in depth detail. Essentially, it’s an agreement between and artist and a record label stating the label’s ownership over a music recording. It also covers their licensing rights in the promotion of the record.

Getting signed to a record label is a the end goal of mosts singers and musicians, so let’s explore music recording contracts in some more depth.

Music recording contracts explained

As well as being an agreement between and artist and a record label stating the label’s ownership over a music recording, the contract may also include something called the label’s licensing rights over a song.

What are ‘licensing rights’? Well, if a label has the licensing rights to a music recording, it means that it owns a share in the copyright of a song, so it earns money whenever the song is used anywhere (for example, if it’s used in a TV advert or on the radio).

For many years landing a deal with one of the big names in music management was the only route to a chart-topping career. Is that still the case for emerging singers and songwriters in 2020? It’s tricky to attract A&R attention and even harder to get signed. Do you need a record label to succeed.

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What is a record deal?

A music recording contract is also more commonly known as a ‘record deal’. You may have heard that record deals sometimes scam musicians, whilst some labels have taken a seemingly large percentage of the revenue away from artists, there are ways that, as an artist, you can avoid these pitfalls. One way to avoid this is to ensure you have good advice both legally through a solicitor and business wise through a music manager.

Different types of music artist recording contracts

#1 License deal

This is where an artist licenses a record label to manufacture, distribute and sell a recording that already exists. This is common when, for example, an artist has a song recorded and ready to go but needs the record label to help package and sell the music.

#2 Exclusive recording contract

In this type of deal the record label exclusively manages the music recorded by the artist during the length of the contract. After the duration of the contract is over, the label is provided with the right with an option to renew the contract for further periods of time. A record label will exercise the option if the first album is enough of a success. Normally one album is recorded during this contract term.

In this deal the label usually puts in a significant investment of time and resources into the artist. This could even cover the costs of recording videos, marketing and promotion.

What is a 360 deal in the music industry?

#3 360 Deal

In a 360 deal, the artist agrees to allow the record label to make money from not only selling recordings of the artist (like in an exclusive recording contract) but all other areas of activity where the artist is involved.

Typically these would include royalties from ticket money, merchandise or even written publications that the artist might produce (like an autobiography).

Music production contract

#4 Production deal

In a production deal, the artist doesn’t have a direct contract with a record label, rather, with a business that makes recordings. The recording company then licenses or assigns those recordings to a label.

The business (normally a production company) will generally expect exclusivity from the artist. During the term of the contract, the production company will develop the artist by recording multiple tracks and will then push their artists to the bigger labels, in the hopes to achieve a licensing deal

Typically, in this type of deal, the artist may enjoy greater creative freedom and have more focus come from the owners of the production company. Most production deals are 50:50 net profit deals though which means that the artist only receives 50% of net profits.

#5 Development deal

This is where a record label gives an artist the opportunity to record a number of singles or demos rather than an entire album. After judging the success of these singles, the label will then decide whether to extend or end the relationship with the artist.

This type of contract provides the artist an opportunity to impress the label in order to secure a full exclusive recording contract, however the fees payable to the artist are often limited and may only cover recording costs.

How long does a music contract last?

Typically exclusive recording contact terms last for a fixed period of 12 months. During this period you’ll make your first album, which may then be followed by further option periods, also usually of 12 months.

During this period, the record company has the option to extend the contract if they wish.

How much do record labels pay artists?

Once the record label recoups the artist’s advance, the artist will then start receiving royalties based on a percentage agreed at the start of the contract.

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What percentage will the record label contract give?

Songwriters and publishers receive the most royalties out of all the people involved in selling recording music. They usually split royalties they receive from labels – their combined share can range from 5% to 25%, depending on the specific deal.

Labels pay songwriters and publishers mechanical royalties for every unit sold while broadcasters and venues pay the performance royalties for TV or radio airplay and live shows.

Record producers are usually paid upfront either by artists or their managers. Producers can also get percentage points off album sales, which normally a small amount (around 3%).

Artists on major labels usually receive around 10% to 15%. Artists’ managers usually take 20% as they help finance or develop the artist’s project.

If, for example, an individual is both a performer and the songwriter of the record, a higher percentage will usually be calculated for that individual. Again, it depends on the deal.

Major record labels vs independent record labels

Traditionally, a major label is a label that owns its distribution channel. This means that they distribute music internally rather than externally.

Independent record labels are small companies that produce and distribute records, but aren’t affiliated with (or funded by) the three major records labels: Universal Music Group, Sony Music Group and Warner Music Group.

It is important to note that some independent labels sign dual-release agreements with major labels if they have a significant number of successful artists. Over time though, major labels can fully or partially acquire independent labels completely!

Some independent labels are started and sometimes run by artists on major labels, but are still fully (or partially) owned by the major label. These labels are great for bigger artists to discover and promote newer smaller artists.

The main thing though about record deals is that the major labels are brilliant for doing all the complicated stuff behind the scenes and making people aware of your music and your brand. It can really help you build a fan base and encourage more people to discover you as an artist.

The huge advantage of Major Record labels is they can have you represented globally. With experts in each territory across the World who are able to tap into different markets and bypass any cultural differences.

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How to Read Music, Sheet Music and Music Notes

Learn how to read music, sheet music and music notes so you can instantly sing or play a tune. It’ll put you ahead at auditions and make rehearsals smooth. It’ll enable you to compose your own unique melodies, follow harmonies and understand song structure.

read music

Don’t get left behind in this competitive industry. Read our guide on becoming proficient with the basic technicalities of music.

How to read music, sheet music and music notes 

It’s never been easier to learn skills at home by yourself, and DIY on coaching. YouTube, PDF guides, apps and podcasts have made self-development a cinch in all areas of life. And this includes music. Musicians have always been good at learning by themselves though. So many renowned artists are self-taught on the guitar, piano, drums and for singing. Without lessons, they learned to play ‘by ear’, picking up the notes, chords and harmonies required by listening to others and experimenting.

Dave Grohl of the Foo Fighters only ever took one drum lesson. He taught himself percussion by playing punk rock and then picked up the guitar using his basic drum knowledge. This unusual approach created some equally unusual riffs that became a signature for his world-famous band.

Is it hard to learn to read music?

So is it hard to learn music and should you even try? Is it better to learn by ear? Well, the answer to this depends on how you’re wired as an individual. For some learning by ear is actually much harder than learning the music formation and notation. And this is down to your brain. You may have heard people speak of ‘left brain’ and ‘right-brain’ people. You’ll fall into one category or another, based on which side you predominantly use (a bit like being left or right-handed). Those with a stronger left brain tend toward being good at reading and learning music. Whereas right-brained people will usually find it easier to pick up songs by ear.

This, of course, has a major impact on whether it’s hard to learn to read music. If you have a talent for maths, you’ll likely be better at it too. But anyone can learn to read music. It’ll just take some time, effort and patience.

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How to read music notes for beginners

Let’s take a look at the terminology specific to reading music, as we’ll be referring to these technical terms throughout the article.

The manuscript is the sheet on which the music is printed. It will contain the symbols described in this section.

The Staff is a set of five lines and four spaces on which the notes are written.

The Treble Clef is the top staff in a piece of sheet music.

The Bass Clef is the bottom staff.

The Bar line indicates measures of time. Music is broken down into bars.  A double line shows a change of time signature or the end of a section. A bold double bar line shows the end of the piece.

The Time Signature is shown as two numbers on the staff, one above the other. This may be something like three/four time or four/four time.

There are also some Italian words you may find on the page. Adagio means slowly, Andante means at ‘walking’ pace, Allegro means fast, Pianissimo means softly, Fortissimo means loudly and Crescendo means building in volume. More words are used in general music theory, but these are the most common ones to be found on sheet music.

Sheet music symbols

There are symbols that appear on the staff. How high or low they appear indicates the pitch. Even if you can’t read music, you can get a rough idea of where a song is going, by looking at the way they go up and down on the staff. The symbols themselves represent the timings of the note (how long or short they might be) and have their own names. The most common of these are:

Breve – a double whole note

Semibreve – a whole note

Minim – a half note

Crotchet – a quarter note

Quaver – an eighth note

Semiquaver – a sixteenth note

Demisemiquaver – a thirty-second note

There may also be a symbol beside the note.

Flat – looks like a lowercase b and lowers the pitch of a note by a semitone.

Sharp – looks like a # and raises the pitch of a note by a semitone. Any note that is not flat or a sharp is ‘natural’.

Rest – indicates a period of silence, with additional information for how many beats that silence should be.

Music notes names

As well as having a name to refer to the length of the note, each note will also be named by its pitch. The musical alphabet is made up of seven notes: A, B, C, D, E, F, and G, and any of these can be made sharp or flat, to add more variation and depth to the sound.

There’s a commonly used and easy way to remember the note names on the staff using one word and a simple sentence. Running from the bottom line to the top line, the bulbous part (or head) of the notes that sit on the line itself are E, G, B, D, and F.  This is remembered with the phrase: Every Good Boy Deserves Fudge. Meanwhile, the notes that sit on the spaces between the lines spell out the word FACE – F, A, C, and E.

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How to read music notes for singing

Perhaps the most famous example of learning the notes for singing comes from the legendary film The Sound of Music. Maria, the lead character in the movie, teaches the children to sing, by using – a song. While it’s an oldie and somewhat of a cliche now, it’s still a useful way to begin as a singer. In the video, the alphabetical note names C, D, E, F, G, A and B, are substituted for Do-Re-Mi-Fa-So-La-Ti.

Among musicians, musical notes are often referred to as ‘the dots’. Take a copy of the sheet music if you’re asked to bring your dots to an audition. This is common in musical theatre and cabaret. Sheet music is usually required because it’ll be played for you by a pianist.

How do you read sheet music?

The tricky part is putting it all together and at the speed of a song. You’ll need to recognise the note’s pitch and duration, as well as making a mental note of the time signature, bars and any extra symbols such as rests, flats and sharps. If you play the piano, you’ll need to follow both the treble clef (played with the right hand) and the bass clef (played with the left hand) at the same time. Once you’ve spent a lot of time looking at and reading sheet music, you’ll get faster and faster at this. It takes time to soak up what’s effectively a new language. Take it really slowly at fast. If you’re struggling with picking up the basics, take a look at this guide.

How to read sheet music for guitar

Guitar music is a little different in that it’s notated in its own way, contrary to standard sheet music. You’ll hear people refer to the tabs. A guitar tab – or tablature – is a way of writing music specific to this instrument. It shows the chord progressions on a kind of chart. This provides more of the information you need without anything that would be surplus for a stringed instrument. You can still play the guitar from sheet music and if you play as part of a group, it might be better to follow a manuscript so you can see what everyone else is supposed to be doing too. However, if you just plan on playing the guitar alone, learning the tabs might be better for you and faster than learning full sheet music.

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Finding Your Best Natural Singing Voice

Your natural singing voice is what sets you apart from other artists. No two people’s voices are the same and finding your natural sound will help you optimise your range and resonance. Your natural singing voice is much more powerful than an emulated voice.

singing

It can be tempting to imitate the style of your favourite artists – you might even do so without realising. But finding your natural singing voice is what will really unlock your potential.  

Does everyone have a singing voice? 

While everyone can sing, it can be hard to find your true voice. Everyone has a natural singing voice that is unique to them, but how your natural voice sounds might be harder to recognise than you think. 

External factors and influences can make you subconsciously change your voice over time. You’ll never lose your natural singing voice, but you might have to go back to the basics to rediscover it. 

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Test your singing voice online 

If you’d like to test your natural singing ability as it stands, you can take a Tone Deaf Test online.  The test has 3 stages and will identify if you struggle with your pitch, tone, and rhythm.  

You can also download lots of different apps to review and improve your singing ability. Vanido, Pocket Pitch, and Vocalist are some of the best free apps for coaching your voice and running through vocal exercises. 

How to find your speaking voice 

Finding your natural speaking voice is the ideal place to start when you’re discovering your singing voice. Learning to use your natural voice will put the least amount of strain on your voice and vocal cords and give the best audio results. 

Your speaking voice might seem like an easy thing to find; after all, it’s the voice you speak in every day. But the voice you use in day-to-day conversation isn’t necessarily your natural speaking voice. Without realising it, you might be emulating the vocal habits of other people around you, or your idols and influencers.   

There are two tests you can do to find and restore your natural speaking voice: 

1 The humming exercise  

  1. With your lips shut, make an“mmm-hmmm” noise with your voice.  
  2. Repeat this hum several times – if you feel your lips and the ridge and sides of your nose vibrate while you doit, you are using your natural voice. 
  3. Next, practice doing this hum while you count from one to ten. Alternate between making the “mmm-hmmm” noise and saying a number aloud. It should sound something like this: one, mmm-hmmm, two, mmm-hmmm, etc.  
  4. Pay attention to how your voice sounds when you say each number out loud between the hums – this is your natural tone and pitch.  

You can do this exercise any time you want to remind yourself how your natural speaking voice sounds.  

2 The diaphragmic breathing exercise 

  1. Stand and take a deep breath as you normally would. If your chest expands and your shoulders rise, you’re breathing from your chest, not your diaphragm.  
  2. Try speaking and raising your voice while you breathe from your chest – your voice might sound weak or strained. 
  3. Now take another deep breath, this time focusing on keeping your shoulders still and routing the air into your lower stomach. If your abdomen expands instead of your chest, you’re breathing from your diaphragm. 
  4. Try speaking and raising your voice while you breathe from your diaphragm. Compare how your voice sounds compared to when you were breathing from your chest – it should sound fuller and have more resonance.

Learning to breathe from your diaphragm rather than from your chest will allow you to access the full power of your natural speaking voice. 

Do you sing with your talking voice? 

Not everyone sings with their natural talking voice – some people may put on an accent or imitate popular artists when they sing.  

But you can learn to sing with your talking voice and doing this will unlock your natural singing voice.  

There are lots of benefits to singing in your talking voice. Everyone’s voice is unique, so singing with your talking voice is a sure-fire way to create a distinctive sound.  

Singing using your talking voice will improve your tonal quality and make your lyrics sound more authentic, too. Using your talking voice as a foundation is the best way to find your unique, natural singing voice. 

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How do you find your singing voice? 

To find your singing voice, you have to get to know your voice beyond your natural speaking register 

Familiarising yourself with how your singing voice sounds and what your voice’s strengths and weaknesses are will tease out your vocal ability.  

Here’s how to find your singing voice in 3 steps: 

  1. Step 1

    Establish your vocal range – practice some singing scales, starting with the lowest note you can sing and working up to the highest note you can reachYou can do this using a piano (or an online piano) and travel down from Middle C to establish your lower range, and up from Middle C to practice your higher range. 

  2. Step 2

    Work out what your tessitura is – once you’ve established your vocal range, you can find your tessitura (the range you feel most comfortable in.) Repeat your singing scales and look for the range where your voice sounds its best. It should be in pitch and shouldn’t feel strained.  

  3. Step 3

    Experiment with songs and styles – when you’ve found your voice type, range, and tessitura, you’re ready to start experimenting with different songs to find what music genre your voice lends itself best to.

What is a natural voice? 

You might wonder what your natural voice is and how you’ll know when you find it. You’ll easily be able to recognise your natural voice by looking out for these three qualities: 

  1. It’ll feel comfortable and easy to produce 
  2. You’ll be able to sing in this voice across a range of keys 
  3. You’ll feel a light buzzing vibration in the sides of your nose and lips 

How to find your singing voice type  

To put a name to your voice type, you’ll need to work out what your vocal range is. Once you know your lowest and highest note, you can identify your voice type by comparing your range to this classification system: 

  • Soprano: C4 – C6 
  • MezzoSoprano: A3 – A5 
  • Alto: F3 – F5 
  • Tenor: C3 – C5 
  • Baritone: G2 – G4 
  • Bass: E2 – E5 

Other factors like your timbre and tessitura can affect your voice type, so you might find that you don’t fall squarely into one categorywhich is normal. 

How do you find your natural singing key? 

The best way to find out your natural singing key is by working out your vocal range and what your highest and lowest comfortable notes are.  

If you want to doublecheck you’ve found your natural singing key, you can pick a new song and try singing it in full in three different keys. The version that feels most comfortable and natural is most likely to be your natural key.  

You can also try recording yourself as you sing a song in different keys. If your voice sounds fatigued or you notice yourself missing notes when you play it back, you’ll know this isn’t the right key for you.  

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Best Songwriting Apps 2020 | Help Writing Lyrics

Struggling to write lyrics or think of rhymes? There’s an app for that. Need help creating raps orcomposing sheet music? There’s an app for that.

lyrics

There’s an app for everythingincluding songwriting. But with so many to choose from, it can be hard to separate the useful apps from the gimmicks. This article gives a breakdown of the best songwriting apps available to help you hone your lyric writing skills. 

Best songwriting apps

Whatever aspect of songwriting you need help with, there are hundreds of apps to aid your songwriting process.

What apps do songwriters use? 

There are apps out there for every aspect of the songwriting process, from lyric finding apps to rhyme-inducing apps, and even those that offer chord progression help. There are also apps for every budget and every device.  

Here are five of the most popular apps used by songwriters:  

1. Songwriter Lite  

A staple in every songwriter’s toolkit, Songwriter Lite has dozens of features to help users with every element of songwriting 

This iOS app provides a space to write, edit, and organise all your songs, as well as tools that help you with song structure. You can switch between edit and view mode and select the option to write in chords too 

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2. Simple Songwriter 

This iOS-exclusive app is a helpful tool for beginners and advanced musicians alike. The Simple Songwriter assistant lets you generate song ideas, identify and edit keys, and gives you access to a large catalogue of chords to browse and use. You can record your ideas and access them later using playback.  

3. Hum 

If you like to use a combination of note-taking and recording during your songwriting process, Hum is the app for you.  

This iOS app lets you compile your lyrics and recordings in the same place. You can also organise all your songwriting content by key, tuning, and mood.  

Hum even has exclusive smiley face icons that allow you to select your keys based on emotions and rate the mood of your piece. The app will catalogue the various moods of your pieces so you can review your creative process and see what type/genre of songwriter you are! 

4. Suggester 

It’s not just lyrics that can be tricky to compose – thinking of what chords to use can be difficult when writing a song, too. That’s where Suggester comes in. This iPhone and iPad compatible app has a huge catalogue of chords that users can browse and experiment with to see what progressions work well together 

5. SongSpace 

Hearing other people’s ideas and constructive criticism is a crucial part of songwriting. There’s even an app out there to help you get feedback on your latest work-in-progressthe songwriting community platform, SongSpace 

You can use the SongSpace app on Android and iOS devices to write lyrics and record audio and then share the files you create with other members. You can grant these members permission to view/edit your piece which is a great way to get feedback from band members, friends, and critics. 

Apps that help you write songs 

There are lots of sophisticated and fun apps to help you create your tracks – but don’t overlook the simple songwriting apps. Downloading a basic notepad app will go a long way in aiding your songwriting process.  

One of the best apps to download at the beginning of your venture as a songwriter is Evernote. This note-taking platform allows you to jot down ideas as they come to you, which you can then organise, edit, and share later on 

Evernote also allows you to record notes and set reminders, making it the ideal companion for artists trying to write and create music on the go, or those collaborating with other musicians.

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App that helps you write lyrics 

Part of being a songwriter is being a good wordsmith. A hit song is built around catchy, memorable lyrics – but lyrics can be one of the hardest parts of a song to get right.  

Lots of songwriters recruit an app for lyric inspiration. These are three of the most popular lyric-writing apps to download right now: 

6. Lyric Notepad  

Songwriters and lyricists will find every tool they need for their songwriting process on Lyric Notepad. The app is available on both Android and iOS devices and comes complete with lots of handy features, including: an automatic rhyme matching feature, a syllable counter, a metronome, and a measure mode to help with lyric recitation.  

Lyric Notepad’s distinguishing feature is its built-in movable notepad that lets you take notes while you composesimplifying and decluttering your workspace while you write your lyrics. 

7. Rhymer’s Block 

Coming up with lyrics is one thing – getting them to rhyme is another. The Rhymer’s Block app simplifies the rhyming process by getting you to enter the word or phrase you’re working with and then suggesting basic rhymes, near rhymes, and slant rhymes that work with your lyrics.  

8. Word Palette

This iOS app promises to “destroy writer’s block forever” by generating random word combinations to help you get your creativity flowing again.  

Word Palette presents users with sliding panels of random words, or custom words you’ve imported from your favourite books, songs, and articles. By working your way through the panels and adding mix and match phrases and words to your sheet, you’ll create completely random and original lyrics that you might never have thought of before! 

Songwriting app android 

Songwriter’s Pad provides a complete toolkit for songwriters, covering all bases from lyric writing to music composing. The android app has everything a writer needs to create and revise lyrics including a rhyming dictionary, thesaurus, and a chord notation feature, all in one place.  

Songwriting app for computer 

A lot of the apps available for mobile download can be installed on your Mac or PC, too. Evernote and Garage Band are two popular platforms used by songwriters working on Apple Mac devices.  

SongWriter’s Pad is also available to install on computers and has announced that it’ll be making its content available for Mac and Apple users in the near future. You can join the mailing list to receive updates and to get exclusive access to the full version for free here. 

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How to Host Your Own Online Virtual Music Festival

With hundreds of festival and music events across the country being cancelled this summer, you may be feeling disheartened and stuck on what to do next. Below we give you all the tips and tricks on hosting your online music festival.

festival

Here’s how to stream your event, which platforms you can use, how to prepare a lineup, what equipment you need and how to develop your brand to promote your event. And ultimately how to make money for the performers or a charity.

How to host an online music festival

So, how can you keep your fanbase engaged when all your gigs are cancelled? How do you host a virtual event? Which platforms are best to use when running an online festival? And how to promote your event?  Below we’ve gathered all the information you need to make sure your online event is successful.  

Hosting a virtual music event

The music industry is all about gigs and performances, and connections and collaborations between artists, but the importance of self-isolation and social distancing puts a hold on the sociable side of things leaving us musicians in a rut.  

With your festival plans most likely being moved online, and ticketing being in aid of charities as opposed to a festival experience, why not host your event from the comfort of your bedroom? Being at home doesn’t mean musicians and singers have to put their career on hold. Online events may be the new norm for a while, so now’s the time to get to grips with digital platforms and streaming sites.  

How to run a successful virtual event  

It’s important to choose the right streaming platform for you. There are several options out there, some which are solely designed for online events, and others like Instagram and YouTube which have streaming options built into them. It’s a good idea to target the site that’s easiest to access and the one you have the greatest following on to maximise listeners tuning in.   

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Best online concert platforms  

  • Gigee is a great platform if you’re looking to schedule and promote a ticketed event. It’s free to use, although the site takes 20% of revenue off the event earnings, so if you’re planning on doing a non-profit concert then this isn’t the site for you. 
  • StageIt is similar to Gigee, but fans can tip you and you can set different charging prices for your fans.  
  • Twitch is a streaming platform for gamers, so it’s not specific to musicians, but there is an entertainment category and it’s a simple, free site to use.

How to host a virtual event on Facebook 

The easiest option is probably to stream through your social media account.  

Facebook Live is a very popular site to use. Live streams attract a bigger audience than prerecorded posts because it’s the closest people can get to a real festival at the minute. Joining in with like-minded music fans across the world creates a shared experience which could also encourage people to donate via a virtual tip jar, like PayPal, which can go towards your next gig.  

Instagram and YouTube are also great social media sites that allow streaming options. If you want to stream using your phone, you need at least 1,000 subscribers to go live on YouTube. If you want to stream using your laptop, you’ll need to verify your YouTube account (which can take up to 24 hours) and use a Google Chrome web browser.

What equipment should I use to host an online gig? 

The most important requirement is a performance space. It needs to be a quiet room, with good WIFI and preferably good acoustics. Soft furnishings or cushions will reduce reflected sound and improve the quality of your stream, it’s a good idea to test the sound quality before you go live.  

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This is the basic equipment you will need: 

  •  Lighting – if you’re streaming during the day, then sitting by a window with ambient lighting will work, or if you need artificial illumination the best option is a professional ring light- but you could use overhead lighting and lamps from around the house. 
  •  Microphone – you can use a built-in microphone on your mobile or computer, but a professional mic will massively improve the sound quality and professionalism of your concert
  •  Amps and speakers – if you decide to use a USB mic then you should plug it directly into your streaming device and you won’t need an amp, but if you use a lollipop mic then plug it into your amp and it will be picked up by the audio on your computer. For bands, you could plug each of your instruments into a mixer then into your computer to export it directly to your DAW.
  •  Phone or laptop/desktop – make sure your device is fully charged and has good internet connection or mobile data. 
  •  Instruments – whether you decide to use backing tracks or play instruments live as you sing, tune and test them beforehand to get the levels right and of course, warm up your voice.
  •  Cables – to connect your instrument or mic to your amp and/or mixer, the most common cable is the jack instrument cable, if you’re using your phone, make sure you have an aux to aux cable on hand.

Online concert tips 

Timing is crucial. It’s a good idea to carefully choose a date and time for your concert. Even though people may not be out and about as much, they’re still busy. Hosting a concert during the day isn’t a good idea, as people may be on conference calls or homeschool zooms. 

Virtual concerts  

You need to decide well in advance whether you want to plan a solo gig or a festival style line up with other artists which will require more planning.  

If you decide to do a solo concert, it’s easier to go live on the night. But, if you’re curating other artists performances to showcase, then it may be a good idea to prerecord some of the elements to ensure smooth user experience.  

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How Do Musicians Learn to Improvise Songs?

When a musicians improvises, they let their creativity lead. They experiment with rhythm, melody, and learn to play by ear to create a unique, raw solo. Musical improvisation is done on the spot, but it’s a skill that comes with rules and requires practice.

Musicians

Whether you’re a guitarist, pianist, singer, or songwriter; learning to improvise will make you a more rounded musician. Read on for a comprehensive guide on how to learn to improvise, whatever your level or field of music. 

What does it mean to improvise music? 

Musical improvisation is the technical term for when singers or musicians create/change music on the spot without any planning or preparation beforehand. 

Also known as musical extemporization, there are several ways an artist can improvise. A singer can change the lyrics, harmonies, or rhythms during their performance and an instrumentalist can alter notes, rhythm, and add riffs. 

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Musical improvisation 

Improvising can sometimes seem daunting, as it’s hard to know where to start. But as long as you follow the basic rules and keep it simple, you can’t go far wrong if you follow your creativity and let yourself just go with it.  

Why is musical improvisation important? 

Improvisation might sound like a last resort; something an artist would do if their performance went slightly off track and they had to cover up a mistake. But improvisation is actually a really valuable skill in the music industry and doesn’t deserve the bad rep it sometimes gets 

Musical improvisation has lots of important merits, for example: 

  • It draws out self-expression and emotion. 
  • It encourages creativity.
  • Everyone – including those who can’t read music very well – gets an equal chance to create and perform. 
  • It puts your own stamp on songs/musical pieces. 
  • It helps you explore your voice and ability, which means you can find who you are as a musician.

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Musical improvisation songs 

Improvisation isn’t just something amateur musicians use; even the biggest names in the music industry have improvised when performing – and creating – their tracks.  

These ten songs were written on the spot in around ten minutes by iconic popstars: 

1 .The Cave by Mumford and Sons 

2. Photograph by Ed Sheeran

3. Super Bass by Nicki Minaj

4.Yesterday by The Beatles 

5. See You Again by Wiz Khalifa ft Charlie Puth

6. Sweet Child O’ Mine by Guns and Roses 

7. Just Dance by Lady Gaga 

8. Skyfall by Adele 

9. Seven Nation Army – The White Stripes 

10. All Falls Down by Kanye West 

Learning to improvise 

The whole point of improvisation is to be free and spontaneous – so it might seem strange that you have to learn how to improvise. But improvising is a skill and takes even the best of musicians a bit of time and practice to learn.  

To improvise, you’ll need to tune into your musical imagination and be prepared to go with the flow – even if you sound a bit silly at first.  

You’ll need to learn how to “play by ear”; something you can do by learning the basics on your instrument and then learning some creativity-inducing exercises. 

How do you improvise? 

If you’re new to musical improvisation, it can be hard to know where to start with a spontaneous solo.  

You don’t have to go completely rouge; there are 3 basic guidelines you can keep coming back to whenever you improvise to give your solo a bit of structure: 

  1. Repeat notes and short patterns during your solo 
  2. Don’t feel like you have to play a note on every beat – experiment with holding notes and changing the dynamics 
  3. Don’t overplay; incorporate spaces and breaks in your solo 
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How to Read Music, Sheet Music and Music Notes

Learn how to read music, sheet music and music notes so you can instantly sing or play a tune. It’ll put you ahead at auditions and make rehearsals smooth. It’ll enable you to compose your own unique melodies, follow harmonies and understand song structure.

Read Music

Don’t get left behind in this competitive industry. Read our guide on becoming proficient with the basic technicalities of music.

How to read music, sheet music and music notes 

It’s never been easier to learn skills at home by yourself, and DIY on coaching. YouTube, PDF guides, apps and podcasts have made self-development a cinch in all areas of life. And this includes music. Musicians have always been good at learning by themselves though. So many renowned artists are self-taught on the guitar, piano, drums and for singing. Without lessons, they learned to play ‘by ear’, picking up the notes, chords and harmonies required by listening to others and experimenting.

Dave Grohl of the Foo Fighters only ever took one drum lesson. He taught himself percussion by playing punk rock and then picked up the guitar using his basic drum knowledge. This unusual approach created some equally unusual riffs that became a signature for his world-famous band.

Is it hard to learn to read music?

So is it hard to learn music and should you even try? Is it better to learn by ear? Well, the answer to this depends on how you’re wired as an individual. For some learning by ear is actually much harder than learning the music formation and notation. And this is down to your brain. You may have heard people speak of ‘left brain’ and ‘right-brain’ people. You’ll fall into one category or another, based on which side you predominantly use (a bit like being left or right-handed). Those with a stronger left brain tend toward being good at reading and learning music. Whereas right-brained people will usually find it easier to pick up songs by ear.

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How to read music notes for beginners

The manuscript is the sheet on which the music is printed. It will contain the symbols described in this section.

The Staff is a set of five lines and four spaces on which the notes are written.

The Treble Clef is the top staff in a piece of sheet music.

The Bass Clef is the bottom staff.

The Bar line indicates measures of time. Music is broken down into bars.  A double line shows a change of time signature or the end of a section. A bold double bar line shows the end of the piece.

The Time Signature is shown as two numbers on the staff, one above the other. This may be something like three/four time or four/four time.

There are also some Italian words you may find on the page. Adagio means slowly, Andante means at ‘walking’ pace, Allegro means fast, Pianissimo means softly, Fortissimo means loudly and Crescendo means building in volume. More words are used in general music theory, but these are the most common ones to be found on sheet music.

Sheet music symbols

There are symbols that appear on the staff. How high or low they appear indicates the pitch. Even if you can’t read music, you can get a rough idea of where a song is going, by looking at the way they go up and down on the staff. The symbols themselves represent the timings of the note (how long or short they might be) and have their own names. The most common of these are:

Breve – a double whole note

Semibreve – a whole note

Minim – a half note

Music notes names

As well as having a name to refer to the length of the note, each note will also be named by its pitch. The musical alphabet is made up of seven notes: A, B, C, D, E, F, and G, and any of these can be made sharp or flat, to add more variation and depth to the sound.

There’s a commonly used and easy way to remember the note names on the staff using one word and a simple sentence. Running from the bottom line to the top line, the bulbous part (or head) of the notes that sit on the line itself are E, G, B, D, and F.  This is remembered with the phrase: Every Good Boy Deserves Fudge. Meanwhile, the notes that sit on the spaces between the lines spell out the word FACE – F, A, C, and E.

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How to read music notes for singing

Perhaps the most famous example of learning the notes for singing comes from the legendary film The Sound of Music. Maria, the lead character in the movie, teaches the children to sing, by using – a song. While it’s an oldie and somewhat of a cliche now, it’s still a useful way to begin as a singer. In the video, the alphabetical note names C, D, E, F, G, A and B, are substituted for Do-Re-Mi-Fa-So-La-Ti.

How to read sheet music for guitar

Guitar music is a little different in that it’s notated in its own way, contrary to standard sheet music. You’ll hear people refer to the tabs. A guitar tab – or tablature – is a way of writing music specific to this instrument. It shows the chord progressions on a kind of chart. This provides more of the information you need without anything that would be surplus for a stringed instrument.