To begin with, I play an ocarina.

Not many of the songs I am interested in have tabs, so I find music sheets and try to remember everything I learned in the piano class I took some years ago.

Now I think I know most basic symbols (notes, keys, ties, ext) but then I came across a little eighth note above a couple of the regular notes. They weren't connected it was just an eighth note to the left of the note, but I can't find this in my old text book.

The notes themselves are eighth notes, but the little symbol isn't next to all the eighth notes so I feel like its important. I can't really start practicing until I know what it mean, so if anyone has any clue it would be a big help.


1 Answer 1


On the assumption that if you added up the note values in the bar concerned, and they added up correctly WITHOUT the 'little notes', they will probably be grace notes. They have no value of their own, and are played sort of crushed in just before the main note that follows. You should not blow separately, but play the little note almost like it was a mistake, followed immediately by the bigger note, for its proper value.Like a slur.This is in the absence of a picture !

  • 2
    Thanks you it was a grace note. I have never heard of those. And sorry I couldn't put up a picture, I'm on my phone and away from the actual image. But when I get back I am glad I can start practicing. You guys rock for putting up with me.
    – Ron
    Commented Jun 18, 2014 at 18:35
  • As Tim says, grace notes usually borrow from the note before the one they are attached to. They don't have to, though. It was common before maybe 1800 to borrow from the note that they are attached to, as an appoggiatura. Musicologists have somewhat varying opinions on this subject, and the most important thing is to do what sounds musical to you.
    – BobRodes
    Commented Jun 19, 2014 at 3:02
  • And when you're first learning a tune, you're quite welcome to leave the grace notes out - particularly if they're graces rather than appoggiaturas, the latter tending to be more necessary to make the piece sound 'right'. Commented Jun 19, 2014 at 8:54

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