The methods, rules, and conventions for representing music visually.

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What does Grt. and Sw. mean in this organ score?

I've come across a piece of sheet music for an organ and I was just curious what the Grt. marking above measure 1 and 17 means and what the Sw. marking above measure 9 means. I've seen it before in a ...
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2answers
4k views

What is the device used to draw 5-line staff (empty) with a pencil/pen?

I remember seeing something like that long ago but can't remember what it was called. It is basically a metal gadget that holds 5 pencils or only pencil led and you can draw by hand your own empty ...
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4answers
899 views

“Correct” notation for a minor chord?

Over my career as a musician, I have seen many different kinds of notation for a minor chord for example each of the chord symbols below represents an A minor chord: Am Amin a A- Is there a ...
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2answers
8k views

Unknown Notation - Thick Horizontal Bars Between Notes

I haven't the faintest idea of what these could mean. Some sort of run perhaps? How do you effect the dynamics/notes these bars are referring to? EDIT: For reference, this specific example is ...
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3answers
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Triangle above note, with dot in it

What does this symbol mean? I am asking about the symbol before the fermata, I found this in this publication of nuvole bianche, bar 98.
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What are all these symbols in some old sheet music?

Looking at this sheet music of Pietro Antonio Locatelli's "L'arte del violino" Op. 3 we see that the sheet music is pretty old. I have no idea if this is perhaps the original one or not but it does ...
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2answers
325 views

What did ancient cuneiform notation look like, and how did it work?

I looked at Wikipedia of course... According to Wikipedia: The earliest form of musical notation can be found in a cuneiform tablet that was created at Nippur, in Sumer (today's Iraq), in ...
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2answers
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With sheet music, what happens with sharps and double sharps that are already sharped in the key signature?

For example, let's say the key signature has an f sharp and then also an individual f note has a sharp next to it. Are they just emphasizing the f sharp or does that actually become a g? Same ...
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3answers
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How can I force LilyPond to repeat a chord symbol (relates to alternate endings)?

In chordmode, LilyPond chooses not to display chord symbols when they are the same as the preceding symbol, which is usually the right behavior. However, this behavior gets weird in the context of ...
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4answers
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What does the “+” symbol mean in a keyboard piece when attached to a note?

In a Daquin pipe organ piece, "Noël «Suisse»" from his "Livre de Noëls", I see this notation in the Right Hand system: This is notated this way in the Oxford Book of Christmas Organ Music. How ...
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3answers
625 views

How do I read this text-only musical notation from Wikipedia

I have practically no music notation experience, so please consider me a dummie when answering. I am reading this Wikipedia article, about the clave rhythm. They use a text only notation looking ...
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1answer
758 views

What does a single square bracket next to a single note mean?

I just stumbled on a bit of notation in a music score, and I'm stumped as to what it means. It's a single square bracket, spanning the whole staff, to the left of a single note. This is measure 58 ...
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503 views

Why are only even values used for note duration?

So, I was wondering why there are only even numbered notes? Like half, quarter, and eighth and so on.
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6answers
2k views

What music notation software allows you to code the notation?

I saw a recent notation software product that seemed to offer a novel and concise way to code your music notation. I can't find it so I'm reaching out for your help.
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6answers
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The same note on two staves

On rare occasions, I encounter the same note on two staves with overlapping durations. Attached is an example from an arragement of "The Long and Winding Road" by The Beatles (The note in question is ...
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2answers
2k views

C in Treble or Bass Clef

I see a 'C' like sign in the beginning of the staff. What does it mean?
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2answers
980 views

What does “gliss 2x” mean here?

What does "gliss 2x" mean here?
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3answers
807 views

What does a duplicated note in a chord mean?

While reading the score of Misty (Burke, Garner, arranged by Roed), I encountered the following chord notation (it's on the bass clef in bar 32, and the signature is E-flat major): What does the ...
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7answers
480 views

Are there some classical pieces that lend themselves well to guitar?

I would like to practice reading music on something other than notation written for guitar. Are there other pieces written for violin, for instance-or other instruments, that can be transposed easily ...
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10answers
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Should I learn to read standard notation?

I've been playing guitar for the last two years, and never came in contact with pieces in standard notation. This is probably because I never had any lessons, and am self-taught. But the thing I ...
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2answers
3k views

Why “delta” chords?

Why are major seventh chords called delta chords and written with a delta symbol, like CΔ7 or CΔ? Do engravers consistently use Δ to mean a seventh chord (such that Δ7 is redundant) or do some use Δ ...
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4answers
482 views

What does 'on' mean in chord notation?

For example, Em(onD) and Em(onC♯). I found these in a Japanese guitar tab book I bought.
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1answer
569 views

How do I read this notation?

The wikipedia article about diminished seventh chords mentions the following: Fétis tuned the chord 10:12:14:17. What does this mean? Until very recently, I had never ever seen this before, and ...
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2answers
536 views

Why is the bass clef indicated twice on the same line in this Bartok piece?

Here's an excerpt from the piece Chromatic Invention from Bartok's Mikrokosmos, volume 3, page 39. I don't get why at the end of the lower line the bass clef indication is repeated. Is this "for ...
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3answers
505 views

Odd symbol in Béla Bartók's Mikrokosmos Book 1

Today I came across an odd symbol in Béla Bartók's Microkosmos. The symbol occurs in Book 1, Score 21, Measure 8, at the end of a phrasing slur. It looks like a vertical bar that crosses only the ...
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1answer
335 views

Four dotted sixteenths in a triplet

The following excerpt is from a piece called Brincado by the Brazilian composer Alberto Nepomuceno from the collection 5 Little Pieces for the Left Hand (imslp) How should I count this?
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3answers
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How does the piano middle pedal work? Is there a standard symbol for it?

What are the mechanics behind the middle piano pedal? I have been using the middle pedal for a variety of music, it is wonderful, but I can't figure out how it works (I mean the mechanical process). ...
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2answers
462 views

Is assignment of notes to measures totally arbitrary?

I am beginning to learn piano. To pep up my practising, I downloaded some sheet music for Waltzing Matilda Then I noticed, at the same place, this: Obviously it is the same music but needs to be ...
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3answers
2k views

What is the the Nashville Numbers system?

Recently, a couple of my bandmates were talking about a technique they use called Nashville Numbers. It's similar to writing out chords, but instead uses numbers. These numbers are a pattern that ...
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1answer
225 views

What does “al primo” mean?

I' m currently playing a sonata from late baroque, which ends with two menuets, minuetto primo and minuetto secondo. Now under the closing repeat mark of menuet two "al primo" is notated. I assume, ...
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1answer
331 views

Chord symbols for diminished and half-diminished

An augmented sign can be '+', which signifies a larger interval in an augmented chord in comparison to , say, the major. But where did the 'o' sign originate for the opposite - diminished? Is there a ...
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5answers
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Lead sheets / fake sheets without score

Several of the groups of people I play music with use song sheets that are similar to lead sheets, but without the stave showing the melody line: Note that unlike many chord sheets you can find ...
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2answers
410 views

Small natural above C in G Major

Here is a picture of the sheet music (Eine Klein Nachtmusik, movement 1). The odd accidental has a red freehand circle around it. What does this natural sign mean? As you can see, the key is G ...
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A,B,C,D,E,F,G and H in boxes in piano sheet music, how do I play it?

Sorry I probably just too new but all of those letters are in piece I want to play. What is that letter and how should I play it?
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6answers
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How do I write music down from a recording?

I am a beginning piano student. I bought some sheet music to play Make Someone Happy, written by Jule Styne, and made famous by Jimmy Durante. The problem is that the sheet music starts with the ...
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3answers
878 views

What's the name, and symbol, for the “normal” dynamic volume? (between mp and mf)

Let's say I'm singing and there's no dynamic mark at the start. I'll sing at my default "normal" volume. Then there's an mp so i get a bit quieter. If there had been an mf I would have got a bit ...
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4answers
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What are some interesting ways notes and chords are spelled in cultures outside of the U.S.?

I've heard that German musicians spell the seventh note of the C major scale with an "H" where an American musician would use a "B". And, for the fourth note of the F major scale, where an American ...
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5answers
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Flat symbol in key signature and bar

If i have a flat for a note in the key signature, and then in a bar the same note with an flat symbol, does that mean the note is "double flatted"? For example in the key of D Minor with hash one ...
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2answers
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How to notate two identical notes ringing together?

In a melody I am composing, there are 4 E notes in a row, like this: ----------------- ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ----------------- ----------------- ----------------- ----------------- (the length of the ...
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3answers
1k views

Why are some measures separated by double lines?

I play piano. Sometimes, measures in pieces are separated by a double vertical line instead of a single one. What does this signify?
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356 views

Do people who read RTL languages read LTR standard notation?

I have been told that standard notation is virtually universal nowadays. Standard notation is, in my experience, read from left to right, a convention that came naturally to me because the only ...
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2answers
572 views

Where did the British names for different note lengths come from?

I was always taught to use a certain set of names for the length of a note, such as crotchet, minim, quaver, and so on. I'm aware though that those terms aren't used as much outside the UK, and that ...
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2answers
943 views

What does circled letters mean over sheet music?

I have the following music notation and I would like to know what does (A) and (A') mean.
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1answer
393 views

What do dotted stave lines mean?

I’ve seen a dotted stave lines in this piece: http://www.fullinuyasha.com/inuyasha-sheet-music-sango-theme.html What do they mean? How is this supposed to be played?
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1answer
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Different Simile Marks

In the pictures below, there are many measures with different simile marks. I know there are many different types of simile marks, varying number of lines, with or without dots, on barline or in the ...
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Tablature vs. standard music notation? (guitar)

Under what circumstances should I write down "TAB" (tablature) or just regular music notation or both? I know how to read and write both of them, but I'm not sure which I should use for my songs when ...
10
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2answers
1k views

What note values cannot be represented in conventional notation?

Using dots, ties and tuplets of standard note values (whole, half, quarter, etc.), are there values that cannot be represented? Examples: 1/8 is an eighth 7/16 is a two-dotted-quarter 15/8 is a ...
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4answers
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Is there a highest note representable on sheet music without using an octave higher notation?

Is there a highest and lowest note that can be written on sheet music without using the one or more octave higher/lower notation? In my case for the piano specifically. I want to learn to sight read ...
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3answers
588 views

Arbitrary length full-measure rests in Lilypond

In Lilypond one can make long full-measure rests with: \compressFullBarRests R1*12 which outputs: Is there an engraver I can turn off, or some other way to remove the number from above ...
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Need help with a measure within Mozart's 'Rondo alla Turca'

In the 21st measure of Mozart's Rondo alla Turca/Turkish March (3rd movement of K. 331), there's a trill in the treble clef that I can't quite get right. Would you be so kind to expand the measure as ...