In my WIP, the first two phrases don't ask for any effects, and the third measure onwards requires a Leslie simulator to be switched on (and as to why I'm being so specific for this piece, it is because only one person, whose gear I know, will ever see this sheet). How do I notate this?

In general, has anyone in the last half-century or so had any word on what a standard for notation of use of effects units?

2 Answers 2


You just write it! It's the same as Fans on and Fans off in a vibraphone part. You can write it above the stave, or between the staves if the part is written using two. Synths usually have presets marked the same way: Preset 12, or Patch 133, or Didgeridoo patch or whatever.

I put such instructions in a box, like the one you draw around beaters in a percussion part.

You don't put senza sord. at the beginning of any orchestral part because the default state for all instruments IS unmuted. But the default state of e.g. a Hammond B3 may be Leslie on. So, as a precaution, you might put Leslie off at the start of the part.

(I don't understand what you mean about being specific btw.)

  • For a funny note, I'm actually using a Leslie sim on an electric piano. The default state is not using a Leslie :) Commented May 29, 2020 at 2:03
  • Confirm - default Leslie is off - the horn and baffle may be turning slowly, but there's no Doppler effect until it's switched on. On gtr. parts, there may be 'chorus', or 'dist.' just written in.
    – Tim
    Commented May 29, 2020 at 7:03
  • @Tim Yes, I played one quite a lot in the early 80's. Lovely things. But I still think one would write 'Leslie off' at the start. If its characteristic sound is 'Leslie on' then maybe that's its default. I suppose it depends how you define 'default state'. (Or whether you bother!) Is there a default on/off state for the vibe's fans? Its characteristic sound is 'on'. And has it got a default fan-speed? A snare drum's characteristic sound is 'snares on' but they get packed away with snares off. Hmm. I'm abandoning this :-) Commented Jun 3, 2020 at 16:52
  • My reasoning is that with a joystick on a lot of keyboards, not touchng it results in Leslie off, and moving it gives Leslie on. Same with the pedals I use with keyboards (expression, of course!). With snare drum it can't be a snare drum without the snare! So default is ON. Needs notating if it has to be off. And good drummers leave it off till playng. Bit like mics?
    – Tim
    Commented Jun 3, 2020 at 17:48

I've seen this in scores for musicals in bass or guitar parts, but it's usually very low detail. Usually there will just be a short note like "(fuzz)" or "(wah)" above or below the staff.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

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