Talk:Sight-reading

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Article-Specific Editorial Guidelines[edit]

Hyphenation[edit]

  • Hyphenate except as noted below.
  • Its use in direct quotes should not be changed from its original hyphenation.
  • Its use in citations, notes, references, etc. should not be changed.
  • The article title is incorrect and needs to be change.
  • "Sight-playing" and "sight-singing" are also hyphenated. "Sight transposition" is not.

Qazin (talk) 05:43, 30 July 2008 (UTC)

Discuss links[edit]

Editors regularly clean out undiscussed links from this article. Please discuss in Unresolved Proposals/Questions below if you want a link not to be cleaned out regularly, and review the following guidelines:

Qazin (talk) 22:58, 31 July 2008 (UTC)

Unresolved Proposals/Questions[edit]

Unresolved: Please add new issues to the bottom of this section.

Assessment and standards has suspected advertisement[edit]

There is just one commercial product it claims it is the standard, questionable at best. If reader searches  "The Standard Assessment of Sight Reading" they will be led to that product.

Fix article title (move page)[edit]

Per guidelines, this article title needs to be changed to hyphenated, existing redirects need to be changed to the new title, and a new redirect needs to be created from old title to new title. Qazin (talk) 06:12, 30 July 2008 (UTC)

Resolved Proposals/Questions[edit]

Resolved: Please move resolved issues to the bottom of this section.

Clarification[edit]

How come you can read and play "musical notation without having seen it before"?? -- Taku 07:08, Nov 6, 2003 (UTC)

You've seen the notation system before - you've just not seen this particular piece of sheet music before. I've tweaked it a bit - hopefully it's clearer now. --Camembert

Thanks. Now, it makes sense. -- Taku

Should we include other kinds of sight reading?[edit]

Sight reading is also something that actors do -- being presented with a script and having to perform it without rehearsal or preparation. Does anyone else think this should be mentioned somewhere within the article? --Sonance 06:48, May 27, 2005 (UTC)

That's a very good point. I've added a mention in the first paragraph, but that's probably not enough, since the rest of the article is purely about music. If the term 'sight reading' is common in acting as well as music, then it needs a section to itself - but I'm not at all qualified to do that. Would anyone else like to have a go? Wombat 08:00, 27 May 2005 (UTC)

I'm familiar with the expression "Cold reading"; do actors really sight read? I notice the cold reading article is about something else altogether. Sparafucil 04:51, 5 July 2007 (UTC)

Silent reading[edit]

I am quite fascinated by this sentence: "This distinction is analogous to ordinary prose reading during the Middle Ages, when the ability to read silently was apparently considered remarkable." Does anyone have a source for this? I would love to learn more.

Oh here:

When [Ambrose] read, his eyes scanned the page and his heart sought out the meaning, but his voice was silent and his tongue was still. Anyone could approach him freely and guests were not commonly announced, so that often, when we came to visit him, we found him reading like this in silence, for he never read aloud. This quote, taken from St. Augustine’s Confessions, and referring to Ambrose, bishop of Milan circa 383 AD, offers the first instance in recorded Western literature of silent reading (Manguel 43). The fact that Augustine took such pains to point out the circumstance, emphasizing the fact that Ambrose "never read aloud", suggests that this practice was by no means considered an ordinary occurrence at the time. Indeed, there is ample evidence "to suggest that in medieval Europe reading was normally [sic] a public activity, performed out loud for the benefit of the listeners" (Rendall 35). Certainly, this is partly due to the fact that literacy rates throughout the Western world were so low as to be almost non-existent until the early 16th century. Thus, the only way for written information to be disseminated was through public readings.

http://www.louisville.edu/a-s/english/dale/401/termpapers/foster.htm

Thanks very much, 24.215.202.168. I put the anecdote into the Ambrose article and also added here a link to a book chapter that covers this material more thoroughly.
Btw you can sign and date your postings (thus making these talk pages a bit more coherent by concluding with four consecutive tildes: ~~~~. Yours truly, Opus33 16:09, 24 July 2005 (UTC)

An unsupported passage[edit]

I am moving this passage to the talk page:

Sight reading ability is a distinct area of study for musicians and will tend to atrophy if neglected. Practice improves the ability and a musician who has a sight-reading job will get better results by doing a lot of sight reading beforehand. The best way to improve sight reading is to do exactly that: read page after page of totally unfamiliar music.

Reason: there's no source given, it just seems to be someone's opinion. To qualify for inclusion in an encyclopedia, we'd need to have a reference to a controlled experimental study showing that practice makes a difference, or a poll of musicians asking them if their sight reading ability atrophies when they don't practice it. A quick Google check didn't find any such sources on line, but perhaps a visit to a library might do it. Opus33 16:09, 24 July 2005 (UTC)

Agreed - I can only offer anecdotal evidence that it's the case (my sight-reading used to be so much better!), and that's not really enough. Wombat 08:27, 25 July 2005 (UTC)

Remove Refimprove template[edit]

I've added some references for existing content and I've added some additional referenced content and references. Most of the content is now referenced fairly well. I propose removing the Refimprove template currently at the top of the article. Any remaining holes in the sourcing can be annotated with a [citation needed] template. Please comment. Qazin (talk) 20:11, 23 June 2008 (UTC)

Seeing no objections, I have implemented the above proposal and moved this to Resolved Proposals. Qazin (talk) 20:25, 18 July 2008 (UTC)

Sight-read vs Sight read[edit]

The article has both uses: with and without the hyphen. An online (American) dictionary has it as "sight-read" (http://m-w.com/dictionary/sight%20read). Is that the universal preferred spelling, or is "sight read" (no hyphen) more common elsewhere? Either way, I think this article should use only one or the other. Harveydrone 23:49, 29 October 2007 (UTC)

Very good question. I looked at a few journal articles and it is usually hyphenated, but not always and not even consistently in the same article. My AHD 3rd electronic version also shows it hyphenated. Regardless of the noun and verb hyphenation:
  • Its use as a compound modifier should always be hyphenated. For example, it should be "sight-reading skills" not "sight reading skills." However, even this isn't even followed consistently in the literature.
  • I think it should be the same as the title of the article. So if we decided to hyphenate in the article, we probably should change the article title. Not sure of the difficulty or impact of this.
  • Its use in direct quotes should not be changed from its original hyphenation.
  • Its use in citations should not be changed.
Qazin (talk) 20:42, 1 June 2008 (UTC)
OED 2nd ed also shows it hyphenated. Qazin (talk) 04:14, 8 July 2008 (UTC)

Seeing no further discussion, I have resolved the above question by adding an editorial guideline above, fixing non-conforming content, and moving this to Resolved Proposals. I will leave the title change to someone else or I will do it in the future. Qazin (talk) 05:24, 30 July 2008 (UTC)

Move "In Drama" section to Cold Reading (theatrical) article[edit]

I propose moving the In Drama section to the existing Cold reading (theatrical) article thereby limiting the subject of this article to music. Here are my reasons:

  • There is already more content on this specific practice in the Cold reading (theatrical) article.
  • cold-reading may be the more commonly used term for this practice as suggested by these google search results:
  • cold-reading drama -music 7060
  • sight-reading drama -music 3500
  • cold-reading acting -music 22500
  • sight-reading acting -music 3190
  • The OED 2nd ed. definition of sight-reading is limited to the practice in music. (However, my AHD 3rd ed does not limit to music, but only gives music as an example.)
  • Although the OED 2nd ed. does not have an entry for cold-reading, it does have an entry for cold as an adverb meaning w/o preparation, preliminary performance, and cites a theatrical example. Please comment. Qazin (talk) 04:11, 8 July 2008 (UTC)

Seeing no objections, I have implemented this proposal: moved relevant content to Cold reading (theatrical), removed "In Drama" section, promoted remaining sections, added otheruses template to top. Qazin (talk) 19:11, 4 August 2008 (UTC)

Pedagogy External Link[edit]

My new addition to Pedagogy has a related addition to External Links. It seems to meet all the criteria in the Discuss links guidelines for acceptability and desirability. It is relevant to two references in the content, which I've marked with links to the External Links section. Please review and comment. Qazin (talk) 23:40, 6 August 2008 (UTC)


Since there has been no discussion on this in two months, I have moved it to the Resolved section. If anyone wants to discuss it in the future, please move it back to the Unresolved section. Thank you. Qazin (talk) 17:50, 7 October 2008 (UTC)


See User_talk:Aruffo#sight-reading. Qazin (talk) 21:23, 13 October 2008 (UTC)


So I didn't notice it two months ago, and it's lain dormant; I've noticed it now. (Although a delay often makes reasonable an assumption of no disagreement, I am not aware of a statute of limitations.) If this external site is a site you have a personal stake in, then it is a conflict of interest and should not be added by you. If it is a site that contains scientific information relevant to the topic, the relevant information should be included as part of the article body and referenced appropriately. If the external site expands significantly and substantially upon a relevant concept which cannot reasonably be contained within the Wiki article, then the concept should be included in the body and referenced appropriately. If, however, the link is merely provided as an afterthought-like "for more information, see..." then it can be as easily found with a Google search, and qualifies to be removed as linkspam. aruffo (talk) 23:00, 13 October 2008 (UTC)


I completely agree that delayed editing is just as valid. "... you can assume that silence implies consensus ... until someone comes along and changes the page by editing or reverting. The more visible the statement, and the longer it stands unchallenged, the stronger the implication of consensus is. ... Where a decision is based mostly on silence, it is especially important to remember that consensus can change" WP:Silence. Thanks for joining the discussion. Qazin (talk) 22:31, 15 October 2008 (UTC)


In response to Aruffo's opposition to the proposed external link to www.sightreadingpractice.com, I have reexamined the relevant guidelines. Although the guidelines otherwise imply this site should be linked, it IS a potential conflict of interest (COI) since I created the site. "You should avoid linking to a website that you own, maintain or represent, even if the guidelines otherwise imply that it should be linked" Links to Avoid.

However, this alone does not preclude including the link. "If the link is to a relevant and informative site that should otherwise be included, please consider mentioning it on the talk page and let neutral and independent Wikipedia editors decide whether to add it. ... Each link should be considered on its merits, using the following guidelines. As the number of external links in an article grows longer, assessment should become stricter. When in doubt about the appropriateness of adding new links, make a suggestion on the article's talkpage and discuss with other editors.".

  • This link meets all the guidelines under What to Link including that it is "proper in the context of the article (useful, tasteful, informative, factual, etc.)."
  • It does not violate any of the Restrictions on linking.
  • It also does not fall under any of the Links to Avoid, except the COI issue discussed above.

If this link is found to be appropriate, it should be add in an External Links section and not inline since inline external links are deprecated, even for citations WP:IC Embedded Links.

I am presenting this link for consideration by neutral and independent editors. Please comment. Thank you. Qazin (talk) 22:31, 15 October 2008 (UTC)

I wouldn't disagree that the link fails to violate most restrictions, which are written to appropriately exclude most undesirable content. However, failure to be undesirable does not automatically make something desirable, and there are also explicit restrictions specifically written to exclude this type of link. The content provided by this proposed link is neither extraordinary nor notable. Inclusion of a non-notable "example" will, by slippery slope, allow and encourage the enlistment of any and all non-notable sites who provide content which is substantially similar, if not identical. As a neutral and independent editor, I point out that Wikipedia is not a directory, and to find sites such as this proposed link, a reader is better served by a Google search, which will turn up not only that site but dozens more of the same. aruffo (talk) 02:27, 16 October 2008 (UTC)


Aruffo, I appreciate your neutral independent perspective and thoughtful arguments. I respectfully point out that the guideline addresses not only what not to link, but also What should be linked, including:

"Sites that contain neutral and accurate material that cannot be integrated into the Wikipedia article due to copyright issues, amount of detail (such as professional athlete statistics, movie or television credits, interview transcripts, or online textbooks) or other reasons. Sites with other meaningful, relevant content that is not suitable for inclusion in an article, such as reviews and interviews."

The "other reason" the proposed site cannot be integrated into the article is that it contains over 5500 flashcards and is interactive.

It is doubtful that slippery slope will allow or justify additional redundant examples. This potential problem is already anticipated and mitigated by what to link in the guidelines:

"Each link should be considered on its merits, using the following guidelines. As the number of external links in an article grows longer, assessment should become stricter. When in doubt about the appropriateness of adding new links, make a suggestion on the article's talkpage and discuss with other editors".

In other words, consideration of an additional link is on its own merits rather than precedence, stricter for subsequent links, and subject to discussion on the talk page. Following this guideline will prevent the External Links section from becoming a directory.

Moreover, we have a notice on the this talk page fashioned after the Discuss Links Here template as recommended by Project Spam that requires all links be discussed prior to addition. We should also included this comment after the External Links heading: ATTENTION! Please do not add links without discussion and consensus on the talk page. Undiscussed links will be removed.

It is also doubtful that slippery slope will encourage such redundant links, since the history shows that some previous additions of less relevant external links were made even without such encouragement, and the last addition was made only after the proposed link was up for two months. That link was added without discussion and in violation of the guideline, and therefore was properly removed without discussion or consideration of its merits.

Though I am admittedly biased, the proposed site is the best example I've found of the type of program referenced in the article. It is arguably the best site because I created it by combining and adding to all the existing sites I could find. I couldn't find a single site with all the capabilities I wanted. In fact, if another better site can be found, I wouldn't object to linking to it instead of my site.

It is true that a google search will turn up some free online sight reading practice sites, but they are buried in among hundreds of thousands of irrelevant results. It took me a long time using google to determine the best search terms and to find even a handful of applicable sites. Linking to the proposed site would save users a lot of time.Qazin (talk) 21:44, 20 October 2008 (UTC)

You seem to be offering contradictory evidence by first suggesting that a certain link is unusually meritorious but then demonstrating that it barely registers among hundreds of thousands of similar Google results. Although Google results are, themselves, assuredly not the sole measure of notability, the fact that there are hundreds of thousands of similar Google results is illustrative. Linking from Wikipedia will not make it any easier for people to find a site; it will make it easier for people to find your site, and there is little reason that can be given why yours should be favored over theirs. The fact that there of hundreds of thousands of similar pages strongly suggests that the criteria of notability applicable for arguing inclusion or exclusion of any one of them are inherently identical to that of the link you propose. That is, your site's merit as an exemplar is of questionable value placed aside its evident and demonstrated lack of notability; one's own children are always the prettiest, and you have not made us aware of any independent and objective public evaluations which testify or suggest that your site is more notable than any other, much less notable enough to be considered an encyclopedic reference. Although I might contend that slippery slope is inevitable when standards for inclusion are reduced to mere exemplars, regardless of quality, the slippery slope factor is theoretically irrelevant because the objectively observable commonality and indistinguishability (among hundreds of thousands) of the link you propose is strong argument for its exclusion. aruffo (talk) 20:12, 21 October 2008 (UTC)

Aruffo, it appears from your response that my last comment was unclear and invited misinterpretation. I apologize and will attempt to clarify.

  • You said I demonstrated that "there are hundreds of thousands of similar Google results." In fact, I said there are "hundreds of thousands of irrelevant results." By irrelevant I mean dissimilar to the point of being unrelated to the proposed site. I further stated that I was only able to find a "handful of applicable sites." By applicable, I mean similar. There are not, as you interpreted from my comment, "hundreds of thousands of similar pages," there are only a handful similar pages among 716,000 dissimilar unrelated word-search results (and among 4500 phrase-search results).
  • You said I demonstrated the proposed site "barely registers" in the google search. In fact, I said that the search yields "some free online sight reading practice sites ... buried in among" these unrelated sites, thus demonstrating the lack of precision of a google search. I didn't mention where the proposed site ranks, but it ranks very high. If you do a google search on the phrase or words "sight reading practice", you will see the proposed site ranks number three and number four respectively.
  • Of course, this invites the question, "if users can find the proposed link so easily by doing a google search, why does it need to be linked in the article?" That is answered in the end of my last comment: "It took me a long time using google to determine the best search terms and to find even a handful of applicable sites. Linking to the proposed site would save users a lot of time." This gives me an idea for an alternative to the current proposal which I may enter as a separate proposal after I've researched it in the guidelines.
  • Since there are only a few similar sites (that I've been able to find) instead of hundreds of thousands, my claim of notability is not quite as hyperbolic as you imply. However, I agree that I have presented no evidence. But, I did offer the concession that if a superior site is found subsequent to linking the proposed site, the superior site should replace it. I think this demonstrates my good faith in proposing this link to improve the article and not merely out of my admitted potential COI. The problem of comparing the few similar sites in determining which is objectively best, gives me yet another idea for an alternative, which I may also be proposing on this page after I've researched it in the guidelines. Qazin (talk) 03:58, 23 October 2008 (UTC)
Conflict of interest is not a minimal issue, it is a primary issue. This is not an issue of merit or quality, but of notability. You claim that your site is "the best". Another person could as easily, and as legitimately, claim their own site to be "superior" (or denigrate yours as "inferior"). No such personal claim makes either site an encyclopedic reference. I don't see that anyone would have reason to doubt your good faith. Choosing to dismiss explicit criteria for exclusion in favor of attending to implicit criteria for inclusion is a natural consequence of conflict of interest, because of your sincere and honest desire to find reasons to have your site included. I repeat-- including a link does not help readers find a site, but your site. It is your opinion that readers would desire to find your site, and Wikipedia's guideline that Wikipedia is not a directory. The questionable and subjective assertion that sites which offer sight reading practice are difficult to come by (the first search I attempted immediately revealed dozens of sites which seem fully related and entirely relevant, and your site came up as hit #4) is nonetheless trumped by the observation that mere exemplars are not encyclopedic. aruffo (talk) 04:28, 23 October 2008 (UTC)

Since inclusion of external links requires consensus and no consensus appears likely on this proposal, I consider it failed and am moving it to the Resolved section. Qazin (talk) 05:10, 23 October 2008 (UTC)

I second support for inclusion of sightreadingpractice.com as an important and unique resource that can aid those seeking improvement in an applicable interactive form. Erin Fogle (talk) 04:28, 12 November 2008 (UTC)

NMA External Link[edit]

This external link was added by an annoymous editor. This action violates our guidelines because: 1) it is embedded instead of in an External Links section; and 2) it was added without prior discussion here. Should this link be added?

For classical training, sites like NMA online provide a large number of public domain scores.

Qazin (talk) 20:30, 7 November 2008 (UTC)

I'd agree that it shouldn't be added. aruffo (talk) 03:25, 8 November 2008 (UTC)

Assessment and standards reference problem[edit]

In checking references, I was unable to find any of the article content on the page the reference links to. I also followed the Zoo Music link on that page and couldn't find the referenced content. Has the site changed, or is there another deeper link that we should use instead? I've left a request for help on Bachcell's talk page. Qazin (talk) 04:28, 24 October 2008 (UTC)

Updated with help from User:Bachcell. Moved to resolved section. Qazin (talk) 21:26, 3 March 2009 (UTC)

Address broken link in Hardy 1998 reference and others[edit]

The external link in reference Hardy 1998 used to go to a page with information about Dianne Hardy's masters thesis. Now it redirects to http://www.sc.edu/music/. Much of the Pedagogy section depends on this reference. Evan R. Murphy (talk) 23:57, 24 May 2013 (UTC)

I was able to salvage the pages using the Wayback Machine and set up hosting for them on my server. Updating the reference's external link to point here and moving this issue to the resolved section. Evan R. Murphy (talk) 19:50, 25 June 2013 (UTC)
Just noticed the Beauchamp and Frazier references having similar issues, so I addressed them in the same way. Evan R. Murphy (talk) 15:40, 29 October 2014 (UTC)

Other Comments[edit]

Auditory Sight Reading / Sight Transposition[edit]

Thepunisher911, thank you for your contribution. I have made the following changes to integrate your knowledge into this article and other related content:

  • Added section heading so it will appear in contents.
  • Added link to main article on transposition which includes a section on sight transposition. You might consider also contributing to that article.
  • Changed name of heading from "auditory sight reading" to "sight transposition," which is the standard term for this phenomenon and the name used in the article that discusses it in more detail. I googled "auditory sight reading" and couldn't find a single use of that term. If you are aware of uses of this term and can site them in the literature, please add the term back with a citation.

Thank you, Qazin (talk) 18:03, 2 July 2008 (UTC)

Educational Resources[edit]

Is anyone familiar with some (free?) educational resources that could be appended to this article, perhaps simply in the external links section? While this article does a great job of covering the topic it leaves a reader wanting for more information about just how such a skill is acquired. 63.215.129.140 (talk) —Preceding undated comment added 19:09, 23 February 2010 (UTC).

Please consider (and discuss) adding http://thesightreadingproject.com/ as a resource for people to see a moveable do solfege system at work in real music reading situations. It was posted as an external link and removed as link spam on November 7, 2010; however, it satisfies the preceding request. I see the point that Arrufo raises with his discussion about what is encyclopedic, but I contend links of this nature are akin to free textbooks offered as external links in other subject areas. Thanks- Albrightk (talk) 16:29, 7 November 2010 (UTC)

Backing up such a contention is simple: Which Wikipedia policies can you cite to explicitly justify its inclusion? I cite policies which explicitly and enumeratively exclude such a site. I am not aware of policies which would include a random "free textbook" as encyclopedic or notable, but I haven't scoured every available policy and guideline. aruffo (talk) 19:04, 7 November 2010 (UTC)

No problem... An official link is a link to a website or other Internet service that meets both of the following: 1) The linked content is controlled by the subject (organization or individual person) of the Wikipedia article. (check) 2) The linked content primarily covers the area for which the subject of the article is notable. (check- or arguable at least.) Meanwhile, the site does not require registration to use it, is freely available, and provides enrichment on the subject matter. I hope you will continue to consider the idea, and I do apologize for my newbish faux pas on editing before discussion. Albrightk (talk) 02:32, 8 November 2010 (UTC)

The "official links" policy does not apply to the proposed link. The subject of this Wikipedia article ("Sight reading") is a concept, and is therefore neither an organization nor an individual person, and therefore by definition cannot have an "official link". Examples of "official links" would be linking the Nintendo article to its official website, or The Doobie Brothers' article to their official website. aruffo (talk) 02:48, 8 November 2010 (UTC)

I appreciate the dialog, as I certainly am becoming more versed in Wikipedia rules, guidelines and language. Although I do not fully concede that such a link would be improper, I recognize my pursuit to share a resource which the article correctly states there is so little of (quality sight-reading materials and knowledge of a sight-reading pedagogy) does not constitute knowledge itself, just an avenue in the pursuit and application of it. Cheers, Albrightk (talk) 23:55, 8 November 2010 (UTC)

Sight transposition[edit]

it says "self taught guitar players in particular".......... why does it matter weather or not are they self taught? —Preceding unsigned comment added by 93.172.224.189 (talk) 07:02, 8 February 2011 (UTC)

External links modified[edit]

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