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

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27
votes
1answer
5k views

Why is C the base note of standard notation and keys?

Why is it that notes "start" with C? In key signatures, for example, C Major is the basis and accidentals are added for all other key signatures. I know that the musical alphabet starts with A and ...
28
votes
3answers
2k views

How to interpret half notes combined with thirty-second stems?

I want to play Also Sprach Zarathustra (IMSLP PDF), but there is something I don't understand there. In the first few bars there are 4 half notes beamed in pairs as thirty-second notes. Because the ...
17
votes
4answers
908 views

Should one write # or b?

In the staff, would one write enharmonic notes with # or ♭? Does it matter which you'd use and why? For example: In the key of C Major, would it be better to write this passage with an A#, as it is, ...
11
votes
6answers
2k views

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 ...
21
votes
4answers
12k views

What are the Solfège names of the semitones between the basic do, re, mi, etc?

What are the names of all the notes in a sol-fa scale, especially the chromatic notes between the basic Do, Re, Mi's.
7
votes
1answer
4k views

How can I find the length in seconds of a quarter-note (crotchet) if I have a tempo marking?

Given a tempo marking in bpm (beats-per-minute), how can I work out the length of a crotchet (quarter-note) beat?
23
votes
4answers
3k views

Piano with two treble clefs and 8va on grand staff

How do you play the notes in the red square? On the upper staff, the lower chord is G but the note in the lower section is also G. Do you just ignore it?
13
votes
2answers
7k 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 ...
8
votes
2answers
2k views

Four dots over tremolo minim (half note with slash)

I'm working on National Emblem by E. E. Bagley. In the second strain, there is a minim with the tremolo mark. Above it are four dots. What do they mean? Here is a picture. The mark in question is ...
7
votes
4answers
7k views

What does an arc mean above the notes in a piano sheet music? How do I play it?

See the picture above. Is there a website where these (perhaps not so basic) notations are collected? UPDATE: I see Wikipedia has a nice collection of musical notations. How do I play the slur on ...
15
votes
3answers
1k views

Origin of the 'squigly line' used for quarter note rest?

This has been driving me nuts - I can't find a single thing on the net that would indicate why the quarter rest is penned the way it is. Did it evolve from some initial or abbreviation or was it ...
12
votes
7answers
451 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 ...
14
votes
4answers
10k views

Why note B is marked with H in Scandinavia and Germany?

At least in Scandinavia and Germany two notes are marked differently than in most other countries: B -> H B♭ -> B I have heard that this is due to mistake in interpreting messy sheet notes, as ♭ ...
23
votes
11answers
7k views

What does this note - B# - mean?

I'm confused as to how I should play the second note below, B#. Does it mean it's C? It is possible? In which case, why is it written like this, and not just C?
6
votes
1answer
596 views

What is B II, followed by a dashed line, and what does it mean?

In the guitar tab of Opus 35, No 22 in B minor of Fernando Sor that I get from classical clef, there is a notation BII as shown in the above picture. What does it mean?
16
votes
5answers
18k views

What is the difference between sharp note & flat note?

In guitar or generally in any musical instruments, what is the difference between sharp notes & flat notes? For example : Are A♯ & B♭ the same? And are C♯ & D♭ the same? Does that make ...
24
votes
10answers
7k views

Why do we use such complicated notation?

I have just started learning about music from the internet. I have learned how to play the piano, but I don't have a real piano so I am playing a virtual piano. In my opinion, the notation which is ...
17
votes
1answer
882 views

How do you read Graphic Scores?

I recently found out about the graphic notation. I was reading up on it on wikipedia, but there was very little information about how the scores are read besides you read them left to right. There is ...
14
votes
10answers
3k views

Can legato notes be played staccato?

I've been working on this piece by Sousa, and I came across this oddity: Does this mean to play these notes somehow legato and staccato at the same time? If so, how would I play it? If not, what ...
12
votes
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 ...
15
votes
5answers
2k views

If between E and F is a halftone, why can F not be an E♯

A ♯ raises a note by a semitone or halftone. I'm confused. If E and F are a halftone apart, why can't F be E♯?
11
votes
1answer
3k views

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 ...
8
votes
6answers
15k views

Transcribing a Standard MIDI File to sheet music

I have a couple of nice guitar midi files that I would like the scores for; is there any software out there that can do this sort of conversion, and output it as a PDF file? Thanks
13
votes
2answers
2k views

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 ...
5
votes
2answers
7k views

What exactly does a 3 mean over a quarter note and an 8th note?

There is an eighth note followed by a quarter note, and above them is a little overarching bracket with a little 3 in it. I know this has something to do with the timing, but I have no idea what. ...
14
votes
2answers
2k views

What do Four Vertical Dots mean?

I was looking through a score by Bartok (5th String Quartet) and came across a symbol I didn't recognize. There is a dot between each line in the clef. What does this mean? Edit: Here's another ...
11
votes
2answers
1k views

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 ...
11
votes
4answers
2k views

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 ...
10
votes
4answers
862 views

What is a “D-10” Chord?

I found a Paul McCartney Song, "Maybe I'm Amazed" that showed a chord which still has me stumped: The name of the chord is D-10. Now, I understand that most chord names are 'even' (as opposed to ...
9
votes
3answers
1k views

What does this note have a stem pointing up and another pointing down?

What does the first note below mean? Does it need to pressed down while playing the second notes? If not, why is there two stems, one pointing up, and one pointing down?
8
votes
9answers
3k views

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 ...
8
votes
2answers
2k views

What is this musical symbol (inverted “Z” inside a staff)

Can anyone identify the symbol circled in the image below? It's from a piece of piano music. Thank you very much :)
8
votes
3answers
1k views

What is the meaning of '/5+' in a chord?

I'm trying to learn this song in piano: http://tabs.ultimate-guitar.com/a/antonio_carlos_jobim/corcovado_crd.htm What does /5+ or /5- means? Example: Abm6/5+ Does it mean bass is the fifth ...
7
votes
2answers
296 views

Physiological basis for note durations?

For some reason (probably read something like this a long time ago), I have it in my head that there was some sort of physiological basis for some note durations. This may have been something like, a ...
5
votes
6answers
1k views

Same note to be played with both hands?

Why some notes in the piano are written the same for the left and right hand ? What is the purpose of this ? And how do we play them ? Do we just choose one hand to play them or do we play them ...
5
votes
1answer
710 views

Meaning of 1/1 and 1/2 beneath pedaling marking

Today I saw 1/1 and 1/2 written in one of my pieces beneath the pedal markings. Do these have a meaning or is it a misprint?
5
votes
3answers
925 views

What is the proper name of the dash symbol over a note and how to play it

Can anyone specify the name of the particular symbol above the crotchet? According to Wikipedia it's called a Tenuto but my teacher said it's called a "dash". Which one is correct? Or are both names ...
5
votes
5answers
2k views

What does the roman numeral notation mean for this borrowed chord?

I am working my way through Asturias (Leyenda) in E minor for classical guitar. I believe the arrangement is based on the one by Segovia. I am using this sheet music, and comparing it to the tablature ...
5
votes
1answer
198 views

String skip in tablature

How do I play this tab ? I confused since no fret number is written on the 3rd string, and I guess it's not an open string either. Do I pick those two (2 and 4) strings only? What I did is just to ...
3
votes
2answers
1k views

E chord with arc and dot symbol over it - What is this symbol in a guitar chord song book?

I have a book which has the lyrics and guitar chords for some songs. It shows the tab at the top of the page for each chord and each chord letter to be played above the lyrics. This seems simple ...
2
votes
2answers
63 views

Use of Roman Numeral Notation when a new key is introduced within original key

I would like to use Roman Numeral notation for songs and do not know what to do when the piece transitions to a new key, i.e., from C to E flat major. I know this is basic, but do I try to use the ...
2
votes
2answers
74 views

Changing Time Signature

I need to change a simple piece from 4/8 to 4/4. Do I only need to double the values for each note? (Ex. quarter to half note & eighth to quarter?)
2
votes
3answers
297 views

Are tonal (sharp, flat and natural) key signatures octave specific? [duplicate]

I recently bought a piano for learning (by myself at the moment) and apart from doing basic exercises, I decided to start learning a piece to get a grip on music sheet reading as I go. On the sheet ...
2
votes
2answers
397 views

Naming Scale Degrees

As I understand the minor pentatonic degrees are 1 b3 4 5 7b It says b3 & 7b, does it matter which side the b is on and do they both mean flat? Scale degrees are almost always based off the ...
0
votes
1answer
162 views

Need help understanding tab for ukulele. Does anyone know any good on-line resources?

Can anyone help me understand how tabs are read? I want to learn how to play the theme song of Twin Peaks on my ukulele. I found this very well detailed tab online, but I sadly don't know how to read ...
20
votes
4answers
1k views

Why do we need note names like B♭, D♭ etc.? Why not use only A♯, C♯ and so on?

The very same sharp/flat tones can be written in two ways: C♯ is the same as D♭ D♯ is the same as E♭ …and so on This is so confusing. What is the reason for it? ...
12
votes
3answers
492 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.
11
votes
6answers
1k views

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 ...
6
votes
5answers
15k views

What is the difference between swing and shuffle?

I am learning piano from a book and I can't understand the difference between swing and shuffle. I have searched, but I still can't understand the difference. Could someone please iterate the ...
18
votes
4answers
471 views

Is there a Relative Pitch Clef?

To start out: I am more-or-less familiar with all the standard musical clef notations, including F, C, and G clefs; as well as the fact that clefs can be movable (tenor clef, french violin clef...) ...