Music: Practice & Theory Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for musicians, students, and enthusiasts. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

Take a look at the first of Tarrega's studies, which I'm trying to learn.

In this study measures 6 and 13 are marked with a roman numeral (V and I respectively), and a dashed line above a measure. What does it mean?

share|improve this question
Would help to state explicitly or tag your question to identify that this is guitar notation. As a counter-example, bowed string instrument music often uses I thru IV to indicate which string to play that measure on. – Carl Witthoft Oct 21 '13 at 19:01
up vote 11 down vote accepted

The "V" means to move your left hand hand up the neck to where your first finger is positioned at the fifth fret. The dashed line means to keep your hand in this position for the number of measures indicated by the length of the dash.

The Roman numerals are to guide you to where on the fretboard your fingers are best placed. Often a barre will help, or even a part-barre. It's not necessarily so that all of the notes will be placed exactly on that number fret, but it gives good guidance.The dotty bit shows how long the tune hovers around that fret, before being replaced with another Roman numeral.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.