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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
GUEST,Tom Bliss Guitar: Capo use and Baritone voice (30) RE: Guitar: Capo use and Baritone voice 25 Oct 12

"The study of composition requires note reading to some degree unless you are Woody Guthrie or Irving Berlin. I think even Paul McCartney reads music."

The study of other people's composition may benefit from note-reading, but it by no means a requirement as the two examples you mention prove - along with many others. It is very possible to learn to understand composition and develop you own skills just by informed listening, and absolutely possible to compose without ever being able to read (though an ability to write music down helps if you want other musicians to play your compositions).

I can do the latter (though I seldom bother) but I can't do the former, and I have composed many many songs in tunes, much music for film and television, and even a musical.

I don't have peer-reviewed evidence to hand, but I have met scores of people, including members of my own family, unable to play by ear, only from dots - purely because of how they were taught. They have tried to learn to analyse aurally, but the eye-hand habit blocks the process.

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