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My Tab Symbols

I use + and – for sharps and flats. One + indicates a 1/2 tone raise. Two ++ indicates a whole tone raise. One – indicates a 1/2 tone lower. Two – – indicates a whole tone lower. Three of either symbol indicates three 1/2 tones and so on.

I use these raise and lower symbols because they are used in music to describe interval formulas and they actually indicate what the pedal is doing to the intervals we play. Many of us have different pedal and lever setups (known as “copedents”), so it’s best to describe what is happening to the note – raised or lowered – and you can determine which pedal/lever you have assigned to that task.

A squiggly line means the string sustains without blocking until it is not seen. “Squeeze” means to press pedals from a slightly activated position. Squeeze is so important to master for musical and emotional impact…I encourage each of you to experiment with how much squeeze suits your ears.

Tab in its traditional form is void of emotional input – I wish there were symbols for vibrato and volume pedal movements. That’s where your ears and the videos come in!

– Paul

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