Wondering what word combines both Tabs and sheet music? I usually say Music Score. Is it correct?

  • Since a score contains all instructions for all instruments concerned (compensations for transposing instruments, mainly), then score will do the job.
    – Tim
    Jul 31, 2021 at 14:14
  • There isn’t necessarily such a word at all Aug 1, 2021 at 2:50
  • 1
    Clarification to keep this open: Do you mean a term for a piece of notation that has both tablature and sheet music side-by-side? Or perhaps a tab with rhythm slashes? Or something else?
    – user45266
    Aug 1, 2021 at 3:36
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    I take the question to be: "How do you refer to the written representation of a piece of music, whether tab or notation?" While "score" is often used this way, it also has a specific meaning that could cause confusion: for an ensemble piece, it means a copy that shows all the parts together. For me, "sheet music" encompasses staff notation, tablature, physically printed music, and digital formats. Also note, though, that different contexts have different vocabularies: in jazz, a piece and its written representation are often referred to as a "chart." Aug 1, 2021 at 19:13
  • @AndyBonner - Huh, I interpreted the question as "What word is used for a score with both tabs and sheet music (presumably for the same piece)?", then assumed that the OP guessed the answer badly.
    – Dekkadeci
    Aug 2, 2021 at 12:30

1 Answer 1


The phrase "sheet music" is fine for what you want.

What you're calling "sheet music" is stave notation.

The term "sheet music" encompasses tab as well as stave notation.

  • Most sheet music I look at has two, or three staves, and often chord boxes /symbols, but tab is rarely included. 'Sheet music' was around long before tab was invented/discovered for guitar.
    – Tim
    Aug 1, 2021 at 6:30
  • @Tim Tab has been around for a long time. I see from Wiki that around 1300 it was used to notate organ music -- though quite how tab works other than for string instruments I don't know.
    – Rosie F
    Aug 1, 2021 at 6:45
  • True, it was used for lute for one. But, I don't think it was included on printed music much back in those times, and maybe not for guitar!
    – Tim
    Aug 1, 2021 at 6:51

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