13

How would sheet music be written for vocals in a right-to-left language (Hebrew or Arabic)? It seems there would be a clash between the left-to-right convention of sheet music and the right-to-left of the language.

1
  • @JacobSwanson: Ah, but surely those Yiddish versions of my favourite Lieder do?
    – user20731
    Jul 8, 2015 at 14:52

3 Answers 3

6

One possibility that is seen in Hebrew occasionally is to print a mirrored score (including all symbols) apart from the lyrics. Most of the time, however, you just get the score straight, and the lyrics left-to-right, syllable by right-to-left syllable. I would imagine that it takes some practice singing that.

1
  • 3
    Thanks for this answer. Can you show an example? I looked for one and couldn't find any.
    – LarsH
    Jan 27, 2022 at 15:48
6

Here's an image of a hymnal in St. George's Cathedral, Jerusalem. It shows Western music notation, written right-to-left, with the clefs and key sig on the right hand side, and a well-known hymn tune (Forest Green).

enter image description here

2
  • I see the music symbols are written in a right-to-left order, but the symbols themselves aren't mirrored. Interesting Jul 23, 2022 at 16:51
  • 1
    Reversed sheet music is surprisingly easy to read to me, at least compared to reversed english text (txet hsilgne desrever).
    – Edward
    Jul 23, 2022 at 20:28
0

I haven't seen many examples, but on this Persian web site, they use Roman letters for the words in the sheet music:

song with words in Roman script

Note that most of the web site uses Persian (Arabic-based) script, including the pages that show the words of songs without the melody:

song with words in Persian script

So the roman letters above are an exception, presumably used for the purpose of fitting into the left-to-right musical notation.

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.