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What is Tab?

"Tab" or "tablature" is a method of writing down (or transcribing) notes and chords in music.  Tabs, unlike standard musical notation, do not use symbols (ie: ) to represent notes. 

Most tabs are easier to read - but not nearly as detailed - as traditional "sheet music".  Tabs enable both beginners and experienced musicians alike to learn, share, and expand their music making talents.

 How to read piano tabs - Как Читать Табулатуру

Don't play guitar? Don't do tabs? No problem. Say hello to our little friends:

  • Guitar Tab to Piano Tab converter
  • Guitar Tab to Sheet Music converter
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  • Tab to Midi converter (play your tabs!)
  • How to read guitar tabs  
    How to read sheet music

    Как Читать Табулатуру


    Это мои клавишы. c4 означает ноту До в третьей 4 октаве, что является средней октавой (нота До находится посередине клавиатуры). Обратите внимание на то как я пометил клавишы.


    Чтение табулатуры (простая):

    Вот простой пример клавишной табулатуры фа мажорная гамма сыгранная в двух октавах:

    piano tab

    Табулатуру нужно читать с слева направо (ноты над друг другом играются одновременно)

    • Цифры (3,2,2, и 1) означают номер октавы. Третья октава находится посередине клавиатуры.
    • Прописные буквы (a,b,c,d,e,f,g) означают названия целых нот (белые клавишы)
    • Заглавные буквы (A,C,D,F,G) означают диез, тоесть A#,C#,D#,F#,G# (черные клавиши). Можно добавлять знак "диез" после ноты, но мы рекомендуем использовать заглавные или прописные буквы для экономии места. Замечание: Для упрощения табулатуры и чтобы не путать прописную b со знаком "бемоль", используются диезы как эквиваленты бемолей. Например, вместо Си бемоль Bb используется Ля диез А.
    • Симол "|" означает границы тактов
    • Символ "-" означает паузы между нотами


    Чтение табулатуры (экспертам):

    Клавишная табулатура может означать как одиночные ноты, так и аккорды. Перед вами более продвинутый пример клавишной табулатуры:

         [D]      [Gm]
    R 3|--a-d-F-|--g-d-g-|--------|
    L 2|F>d>>>>>|g>d>>>>>|F.------|
    L 1|F>F>>>>>|g>A>>>>>|F.------| 

    • Буквы над табулатурой ([D] и [Gm]в данном случае) означают названия аккордов.
    • Символ ">" означает длительность ноты
    • "R" означает что нота играется правой рукой
    • "L" означает что нота играется левой рукой

    Let us know if you have an addition or improvement to the tab notation!

    Иллюстрация для любителей классических нот

    Sheet music to

    Это: (стандартные ноты)  
    (нотная табулатура)  
    [Em]   3b   4D# 
    (табулатура аккордов)  


    How to play piano chords - аккордов


    File Types 

    We get it. Tabs aren't everyone's forte. A universally accepted method to reading and writing music just does not exist, and that's probably a good thing. TabNabber's all natural organic non GMO tab notation is obviously the superior choice, but there hasn't ever been (and likely never will be) one and only one type of notation. The intricacies of the audio world simply cannot be captured in written notation without sacrificing reading comprehension for accuracy. Even if there was a common notation that everyone loved and used some jackhole with a website would probably come along with and ruin it for everyone. wait... what was I talking about again?

    Music notation comes in many different forms, here are the most common:

      A text based notation we call tab.
    You know how to read tabs, right?
    A tab containing chords (instead of individual notes).
    How to play piano chords.
      A midi file.  Technically midi files are not music notation, but the notes inside midi files can be viewed in our Midi to Tab Converter.
    .nwc NWC is used by "Noteworthy Composer", free music composer software. Scores written in "Noteworthy" have the file extension .nwc. Get "Noteworthy Composer" .
    .mus   MUS files or "Coda Notation Files" are used by "Finale" music composer software.  Scores written in "Finale " have the file extension .mus. The "Finale" software is not free, but another software called "Notepad " (made by the same company) allows you to view MUS files.
    .ove OVE files are used by the pricey software "Overture" made by Sonic Scores .  Scores written in "Overture" have the file extension .ove.  They also make a slimmed down version of the product called "Score Writer" which is slightly more affordable.
    .pdf   PDF files are used by "Adobe Acrobat" or "Adobe Acrobat Reader" software made by Adobe Adobe . PDFs can contain pictures of sheet music or scores. They are nearly impossible to edit and extremely difficult to read, unless you know how to read sheet music.
    .ptb PTB files are Power Tab files created with the freely available (at least for now) "Power Tab Editor" music composer software.  Get it .
    .jpg .gif
      JPEG, GIF, PNG, TIF, BMP are just a few of the many image file formats in use, typically pictures of sheet music or scores. They are nearly impossible to edit and extremely difficult to read, unless you know how to read sheet music.
    .zip   A file compressed using WinZip software , possibly containing sheet music. Use caution when opening these types of files as they can also contain viruses.
    .rar   A file compressed using WinRAR software , possibly containing sheet music. Use caution when opening these types of files as they can also contain viruses.



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    Comments / Corrections (136):  

    russ jarman
    (3 years ago)
    I like it so far. Thank you
    (4 years ago)
    La mejor tablatura para piano y para cualquier instrumento es la notación que exponemos en donde se da un número del 1 al 12 a cada nota de la escala cromática, así como a cada tecla de cada octava del piano. Fué Medalla de Oro en el Salón de Inventos e Innovaciones de Pittsburgh (EE.UU.) en 2014
    (5 years ago)
    A hack, says all the people who are hopelessly addicted to sheet to the point that they can't play Mary Had a Little Lamb without it.

    I can interpret for myself; I hear music, not just play it. Tab is fine. We can hear the opinions of the masters and draw our own conclusions from tab. Assuming we have ears, which many "musicians" do not, in the least, have. Obviously.

    300 hundred years ago, without constant access to any song any time in my pocket, perhaps sheet would be necessary. Tab and a general idea is all that's needed these days.

    (5 years ago)
    Thanks for the feedback, @Anonymous!

    I don't agree with your observations but I sincerely appreciate your honesty. Most people don't have the guts to say what they really think, and I actually want to hear negative feedback, as Elon Musk once stated - most people don't solicit it and it's incredibly helpful.

    Having said that, here's some helpful feedback for you:

    I think you think notation is easier than tabs because you already know how to read notation (an ability that's likely taken you years to learn). Heck it's taken us years to create a sheet music guide for dum dums, you should check it out:

    Any sane person that's memorized EGBDF, FACE, GBDFA, and ACEG knows that sheet music notation is incredibly complicated, which is why the simplified form of it (tablature) exists. The ABC music notation you claim is "way better" is essentially the same thing as piano tab, amirite? From what I've seen I'd say ABC is MORE complicated.

    But if you really are a jazz player, why do you even need any notation since jazz/improvisation is just random notes?

    (5 years ago)
    I had never heard of "piano tab" until today when I found this. I gave it a fair read and here is my verdict: Why not just learn to read actual music? This is more complicated, not as concise, and way more visually confusing. Personally I think ABC, (which you don't mention at all) is way better, because it's instrument neutral. Complex timing would be very cumbersome in this system; it fails to visually depict the spatial relationship between the keys, and having no flats is theoretically incorrect and would drive a jazz player nuts because we use harmonic and scalar relationships to improvise on and this totally muddies that water.   The "advantage" is that it's completely text-based, hence portable for both computer and human readability, but we have plenty of software nowadays that makes that a non starter. Standard music notation has evolved over centuries, and while it is far from perfect, it covers a lot more possibilities than this hack. Sorry mate, this is cockamamie, and I think any serious pianist would agree with me.

    (5 years ago)
    @Hlnwlz22 what do you meam, there isn't an L on your instrument or on the tab you're looking at? Not every tab will specify the L/R (for Left and Right hand), but in general you can figure it out pretty easily because the lower notes are almost always played with the left hand.
    (5 years ago)
    I don't know when to play my left hand because there is no L or .

    (6 years ago)
    @SexPistol happy to try to help, if you can give us some more what instrument do you play, how long have you been playing and what's your bank account #?
    (6 years ago)
    i can't understand this... (slow learner)
    (6 years ago)
    yeah buddy this was awesome

    (7 years ago)
    @calvin Jackson - By tap music do you mean tap dancing music? Never heard of it, whats it sound like?
    calvin jackson
    (7 years ago)
    Is there a book or sheet for practicing tap music. beginners piano books have practice pages...

    (7 years ago)
    @jazz - playing several letters/notes at the same time is seen when the notes are lined up vertically, for instance:

    This means play both the c and the e notes at the same time.

    You mentioned the blue arrows don't play anything, can you check to see if this link plays anything?

    That's a link to a standard midi file which is playable in most media/audio players such as windows media player, quicktime, winamp, etc.

    Hope that helps, do let us know!
    (7 years ago)
    couldnt find how to play 2 3, or 4 letters together. I get the tab method and I love...just need this info. I didnt see it on how to read tab. blue arrow doesnt play any thing also. the coda dont seem to line up with the notes on so many utube videos. I been trying by best to get this song down from watching videos then write the note down, but cant get it. tab method would make this so

    (7 years ago)
    @calvinJackson can you provide more details? where are you searching from and what are you searching for?
    (7 years ago)
    I found CODA song (sammys song) on your site in tab form, came to the library so I can print it but cant find it again. you tell me to search but it doesnt link me back to your site.

    (10 years ago)
    I have to say. I've always thought about a notation system similar to that of guitar tablature, but never thought it would catch on.

    When I 1st started out all I had to go on was the relation between piano and guitar
    That system looked something like this.
    Strings = Down
    Frets = across


    Whenever I'd read guitar tabs
    I'd do math to convert it

    ex: 6 on the 12th fret is 5 on the 7th fret and also 4 on the 2nd fret
    and so on (i think you get the picture)

    Basically My version of tablature looked almost
    the same as guitar tab
    only nothing went over the 5th fret

    Ex: Enter Sandman went from looking like this

    Rhythm Fill 2:
       E5                        G5 E5 G5 E5 F#5 G5 F#5
              sl       V          PM------------------|
    (Repeat Rhythm Fill 2 once)

    To looking like this

    Rhythm Fill 2:
       E5                        G5 E5 G5 E5 F#5 G5 F#5
              sl       V          PM------------------|
    (Repeat Rhythm Fill 2 once)

    Ever since then, That was how I knew Music
    Never read sheet music. (Okay I tried once with "November Rain")
    I always get the weirdest looks from people when I tell them
    "I don't read sheet music, I read Tablature"

    But this takes me back to those days (many years ago) when I first started out.

    (10 years ago)
    learning piano is a good habit .

    (10 years ago)
    Sure, how can we help piano gurl?
    Piano gurl
    (10 years ago)
    I need help can the owner of his help me? Really...I need it for school plzz help... Thxs plz reply sap( soon as possible)
    ...More Comments...
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