Musical notation in written or printed form

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87
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17answers
50k views

What is good software for learning how to sight-read?

I'd like to learn how to sight-read on my own, but practicing the same song over and over again just causes me to memorize it, and filling out worksheets is boring. Is there any good software for ...
45
votes
16answers
8k views

Quickly flip a page of sheet music while playing

This seems like such a silly question, but! When playing the piano, I sometimes struggle to turn the pages of my music without noticeably sacrificing the sound of the piece or making the book / ...
42
votes
4answers
17k views

How do you draw a quarter rest with a pen/pencil?

It seems to me that the quarter rest we see everywhere was drawn with a calligraphy pen. I don't have one of those - I have a sharpened/mechanical pencil or a ball-point pen. So usually when I try to ...
30
votes
11answers
11k views

As a guitarist, how can I learn to sight-read music?

I'm learning guitar right now, mostly from Justin Sandercoe's free online lessons, starting from the beginner's course. He has a lot of good tips for how to practice and drill chords, and scales, but ...
27
votes
10answers
1k views

Sites with a good selection of sheet music

When I look online for sheet music for the piano or flute, I find that a lot of the websites that promise great collections of sheet music are nothing but ad filled sites that talk about sheet music ...
23
votes
2answers
971 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 ...
19
votes
7answers
2k views

How to handle a newly purchased score book that won't stay opened?

With some score books, if you try to open it and put it on a support, it will close itself. For the moment I have to force and fold it but it damages the spine of the book. Do you have techniques to ...
18
votes
2answers
1k views

Is “16va” proper notation?

Is the notation "16va" or "16vb" ever used to mean to transpose what is written up or down two octaves? I cannot think of how else you would represent the highest and lowest notes on a piano without ...
17
votes
3answers
455 views

Notation symbol I've not seen before

I'm transcribing a book of 18th Century music and have come across several instances of the notation shown in the image. A few fellow musicians I've asked, and the online Dolmetsch guide to musical ...
16
votes
4answers
3k views

If Für Elise is in Am why there is a D# in it?

Für Elise intro starts with E D♯ E D♯, Wikipedia says the key is Am. What scale does it fit? Is it like a blues scale where D♯ is a flat 5? Why D♯ is used in the sheet music? Is it easier to read ...
16
votes
2answers
2k views

Rest above a note in a piano piece

I am playing a piece and wondering, what the heck is the rest making there above the note? The piece is in 3/4 so I see no purpose of the 1/4 rest. I've been googling around but did not find any ...
15
votes
10answers
1k views

Why is there a key signature if I never play those notes?

I'm just getting back to playing on keyboard. I'm trying to play "Ode to Joy" from the piano sheet but I have a basic question. At the beginning of some staffs, on the right of the treble clef I can ...
15
votes
3answers
391 views

Resource for sheet music for blind musicians

Question: Do you know any sheet music resources for blind people, i.e. sheet music in braille notation? I don't seem to find any braille files in IMSLP (the Petrucci Library at http://www.imslp.org). ...
15
votes
3answers
369 views

What are the limitations of the ABC notation format?

This question came up in a discussion on Meta, and I thought it might be a good question to ask on the general site. ABC notation is a relatively simple text-based format for writing music scores ...
14
votes
4answers
1k views

How to interpret this chord notation?

How do you interpret this couple of notations? In Bar 2, Fm / Ab, what does the slash do? Do I play either chord or both? In addition, in Bar 3, what does the /9 mean?
13
votes
2answers
1k 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 ...
13
votes
3answers
712 views

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 ...
13
votes
2answers
757 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 ...
13
votes
4answers
792 views

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 ...
13
votes
2answers
473 views

Is reading notes without an instrument a good way to practice?

As an amateur self-learner pianist, I can't take my piano with me, but I can take the sheet music books. On my current (low) level of skill, I need substantial time to read a musical piece; for ...
12
votes
3answers
560 views

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 ...
11
votes
3answers
728 views

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 ...
11
votes
2answers
963 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
2answers
556 views

What does “TAG for Three-part voices” mean?

Reading some three-part a cappella music, I see "TAG for Three-part voices" above the staff. Any idea what that might mean? 19 is the measure number. There are 27 measures total in the song, so ...
11
votes
2answers
536 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.
11
votes
2answers
276 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 ...
10
votes
3answers
361 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?
10
votes
3answers
5k views

With regards to piano sheet music, when are you supposed to press the pedal(s)?

I've been playing piano for about 8 months. I have a digital weighted 88-key piano with only one pedal. My friend, who used to play piano, taught me to hold the pedal down when there is an arc in ...
10
votes
2answers
202 views

Dyslexia and sheet music

I was quite dyslexic as a child and struggled through elementary school where reading was concerned. However my math was pretty good so I had no trouble grasping rhythms and identifying scales as ...
9
votes
5answers
912 views

File formats for sheet music

I'm starting to learn music. Complete newbie here. There is a plethora of formats for music sheets. I don't know which one to choose. My requirements are: I must use to exchange music with friends, ...
9
votes
4answers
3k views

What are good sources for free orchestra scores?

Are there usable free sources for (symphonic) orchestra scores? I'm talking about legal sources for pieces that are now in public domain.
9
votes
3answers
610 views

What does an “L” shape mean beside a note in the lower staff?

Sorry if this is trivial but I am self taught and cannot find the meaning of this bracket on a sheet. This is taken from Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence by Ryuichi Sakamoto
9
votes
2answers
502 views

In piano music notation how are notes distributed between the staves?

I recently stumbled across a piece of music for the piano that confused me a little. The first image is how I found the score, the second is how I rearranged it myself. How I usually find ...
9
votes
3answers
488 views

Violin Sheet music - Finger 0 on non-open string note

I'm battling to understand the indicated fingering on one of the pieces of music I have for my Violin Grade 6 exam. As indicated below, the finger notation suggests that I need to play an open string ...
9
votes
2answers
753 views

How to know whether a note is to be played with the left hand or the right hand?

I stumbled upon this notation on the first page of the 3rd movement of the Beethoven Moonlight Sonata: Does the position of the note mean that it is to be played with the right hand? I can see no ...
9
votes
2answers
117 views

How to add verse-specific dynamic to sheet music

I have lyrics of two verses below the staves. Now I want the second verse to get the fortissimo (ff) dynamic. Now how do I do that? How is that written down in sheet music?
9
votes
2answers
147 views

Do some measures get no numbers, in an opera score?

I'm counting measures and confirming measure numbers in an opera score, and I've come across a discrepancy. I wonder what this means about conventions for numbering measures in opera scores in ...
8
votes
4answers
2k views

What does an arranger do?

When you see the "arranged by" attribution on a score, what did the arranger (typically) do?
8
votes
3answers
227 views

What does a circle before/between notes mean?

I have a score for a guitar music here, which has these strange hollow circles between notes; also before the first note: They don't look like notes, and playing them makes the music ugly, so they ...
8
votes
2answers
169 views

What does this split stem notation mean?

Here's sheet music for chopin's 2nd ballade. On page 6, in the 2nd measure in the 4th line of music, there's a D# and a D natural, with two lines coming out of them and connecting to the double bar ...
8
votes
2answers
316 views

How to read these notes

The below picture shoes a part of the notes from Mozart's Alla Turca. It occurs quite early on my note sheet, so it is likely to be found on the first page of whatever note sheet you may have it on. ...
8
votes
2answers
402 views

Why are these notes separated on the stave?

So I'm just learning this Coldplay piece and it has notes which are not joined but on the same stave. I'm wondering what the purpose of this is or rather what information it's trying to convey? ...
8
votes
1answer
222 views

How do you write a continuous arpeggio in sheet music?

How would you write an arpeggio that never stops the notes that are played . . . they just keep on ringing. E.g, in the example below, when the E is played in measure 1 beat 1, it continues ringing ...
8
votes
2answers
101 views

Managing page turns with a PDF file

There's a once lively discussion about page turning here which deals alot with page turns of the wood pulp variety. However, all of my music is in PDF format and I read it from a computer. I wasn't ...
7
votes
5answers
492 views

What music notation software can handle this complex beaming?

Update: It looks like the votes are clearly in favor of Lilypond. While Sibelius and Finale appear to be the "canonical" solutions, and MuseScore has a nice showing (albeit using a "development" ...
7
votes
5answers
3k views

Why is it common to write tuba sheet music in concert pitch?

I play E♭ tuba in a wind orchestra, and we always get the notes written in concert pitch, and we have to logically "transpose" to the instrument key on the fly. How common is this approach? Why is ...
7
votes
2answers
424 views

Why does this note sound like it is not played?

I've been learning the second movement of Mozart's Piano Sonata 16 for a while. While I get most of the stuff memorized, some part of it just doesn't sound right comparing to recordings on YouTube ...
7
votes
5answers
6k 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
7
votes
3answers
617 views

Why is the left hand stave missing from the piano sheet music?

Normally, I have both the right and the left hand as here The left hand stave was always missing in that book of piano sheet music I saw yesterday, however it had letters above the stave for right ...
7
votes
2answers
630 views

When was the first recorded usage of a musical score?

Music is quite universal in the sense that you can hand a musician almost anywhere in the world a piece of sheet music and they will be able to understand it. I've been wondering this for a while now; ...