I am trying to learn classical guitar by myself. In the tablature of Romanza, I came across a few symbols whose meaning I couldn't find. I have learned basic music theory, and I can understand the staff notation. I don't understand the top or bottom of the symbol of the staff and tablature, e.g.:

  • What is the meaning of the 3 vertical lines connected with a horizontal line over the tablature (not over the staff). Does that refer to upward pluck?
  • What is the meaning of CV 3 and CVII 6.
  • Is there a good reference resource (or book) for where I can look up these symbols and their meaning?

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  • I wonder why this music is expressed in 3/4 entirely covered in triplets, rather than being expressed in 9/8. Are there non-triplet 8th notes elsewhere in the score?
    – tremby
    Nov 10 at 23:05

The C may stand for capotasto, cejilla or cejuela depending on the language. It basically means using a single finger to hold multiple strings, the same as a barre. The V or VII are Roman numerals and refer to the fret and the 3 or 6 tell you how many strings to hold down. Sometimes the letter B for barre and a number for the fret is used, i.e. B5.

CV 3 means barre the top 3 strings at the 5th fret

CVII 6 means barre all 6 strings at the 7th fret.

As you can see, the TAB supports this.

As for the 3 vertical lines connected by a horizontal line in the TAB, those are 8th note triplets, just like in the standard notation above. Note the 3 above the horizontal lines indicating triplets instead of regular eighth notes.

Thanks to @ElementsInSpace, @Lazy and @EuroMicelli for providing info on the various terms in the comments.

  • 2
    You might want to include that the C stands for capotasto. Nov 8 at 14:17
  • 1
    Capotasto in English and various other languages refers to the device used to hold down the strings, the capo, while barre as far as I know is about the guitarist's finger holding down multiple strings. Does this notation mean "use a mechanical device on these strings" or does it mean "use your finger to hold them down"? Since you mention both capotasto and barre in the same context, assuming that the "C" does indeed refer to a finger, is it just the notation for a barre or is there a difference between the two? In short, I'm confused. Help?
    – terdon
    Nov 8 at 19:14
  • 1
    @terdon I did some searching online and found only references to a device that holds down the strings for capotasto but in this case there is clearly not a mechanical device used to hold the strings down and scores of performances available online attest to that. Here is an example at about 1:08: youtu.be/2EHW8c85i00 I’m far from an expert on classical guitar notation but in this context it refers to a barre. Nov 8 at 19:26
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    Capotasto is italian and basically translates to "head fret" and means the nut. Barré notation allows both B and C, where the C can mean "capotasto", but also "cejilla", the spanish word for barré technique. In slighly older spanish scores we do also find the notation Cª, which does not fit "capotasto".
    – Lazy
    Nov 8 at 21:27
  • 2
    Ah, I see. I had learned “C” as meaning “cejilla” which is a word in Spanish for a barre (rarely used, it might depend on country; commonly I just call it “barra”). What I didn’t know is that “cejilla” and “cejuela”, both from “little eyebrows”, are themselves synonym of “capotasto” (valid in Spanish too, of Italian origin). So, depending on where the notation originated, it probably stands for “capotasto”, “cejilla” or “cejuela”, but they all mean the same thing. Nov 8 at 21:27

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