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First I thought it was for some other musical instrument (guitar?) but both the title and the shopkeeper told me that the music sheet was for piano.

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Anonymous downvotes are not helping anybody. What is wrong with the question? Why the downvote? – Ali May 20 '15 at 17:12
up vote 13 down vote accepted

On certain (typically more pop-oriented) piano scores, I have seen the guitar chord diagrams like that. I believe they are present so that, if someone wants to "play along" with chords on guitar, they could do so. I see that even more on songs (that is, voice with piano) in this style.

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+1 and thanks for the prompt answer. – Ali Nov 3 '11 at 18:26

There's even a well-known abbreviation; if you see "PVG" on a book or score, it's for piano, with vocal and guitar also notated.

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The diagram shows how a guitar player of moderate skill could play the indicated chord. Many guitar players have some chords they could play given just the name (generally C, G, D, A, E, G7, Dm, D7, Am, A7, Em, E7, and B7) but would not know how the fingerings for other chords. A different voicing for the Db chord (X-4-3-1-2-1, with the index finger playing both first-fret notes) would sound better, but would be harder to play. Some chords like A7 can be played in more than one way, and some sheet music will use one or the other depending upon what will work better in a given context, but I suspect many chord diagrams simply plunk on a typical fingering for each chord without regard for what chords appear nearby.

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They're "guitar chord boxes". Remarkably useless objects. They rarely indicate anything more than the first entry for that harmony in the "book of chord shapes" with no thought of voicing appropriate to what comes before or after. But I suppose for guitarists who just want to "strum along", don't know their chords and don't have a book...

You'll find older music with 4-string shapes. These were for ukulele.

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I would say the quality of the voicings in those chord boxes is similar to the quality of the transcription of the piano and vocal parts. Some (rare) music actually has good piano and vocal transcriptions and fairly effective chord boxes. I do agree that more often than not, all three are distilled and over-simplified and sound pretty lifeless when performed as written. – Todd Wilcox Mar 31 at 16:01

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