While writing out some sheet music from this video, I came across notation I have never seen before.
It is this on the lead guitar parts 1 and 2:
Strange notation
I also found it interesting that it is notated with two semibreves, yet this is a bar of 4/4 time - it doesn't fit!
What I think is being played at that point in the song is something like this, rapid arpeggios of the Cm chord:
But I cannot be sure, so what does the notation actually mean?

  • From the actual track, no, the guitars don't appear to be going through arpeggios at that point. There is some sweep picking and some tapping. The symbols don't represent that at all. Maybe the analyst couldn't figure out what they were playing - based on the rest of that video I'd be pretty certain that is the case.
    – Doktor Mayhem
    Nov 30, 2015 at 10:31
  • @DrMayhem You think so? I distinctly but faintly hear some of the lead guitar, playing pretty high pitch-wise.
    – MC ΔT
    Nov 30, 2015 at 10:35
  • Yes - it is the guitars sweep picking and tapping.
    – Doktor Mayhem
    Nov 30, 2015 at 10:35
  • @DrMayhem Right. Sorry, I don't play guitar and have little idea about their playing.
    – MC ΔT
    Nov 30, 2015 at 10:39
  • Sounds like MIDI. Probably the notation software playing back the score so in a way the sound and notation match perfectly.
    – nonpop
    Nov 30, 2015 at 11:04

2 Answers 2


It's a very poorly-notated tremolo: a rapid alternation similar to a trill between the two notes on either side of the two thick lines. In a tremolo, both notes are supposed to be written with rhythmic values as long as the tremolo lasts, which means that it always looks like twice as many beats are happening. These tremolos are shown with both notes as semibreves because the tremolo itself is four beats long.

Better notation would have the measure not be quite so long, and the two thick tremolo lines should be more slanted and less long.

So, at least according to this transcription, one guitar is rapidly alternating between G and Eb while the other guitar is rapidly alternating between Eb and C. The combination of those two things is definitely akin to a rapid, chaotic arpeggiation of a c-minor triad.

  • The measures are long because there are notes in other systems. Sep 21, 2020 at 22:46
  • @user1079505 Ah yes, those could be some beamed sixteenths or something that were cropped out in the image, thanks for pointing that out. Still the tremolo should be more slanting and shouldn’t be written to take up the whole measure. It does complicate the engraving choice however! Sep 21, 2020 at 22:55

Lead 1 plays Written out

and lead 2 similarly for G-Eb. With just one dash you would play 1/8th notes. With three dashes you'd play 1/32nd notes OR "just fast", especially if the word tremolo appears nearby. Similar notation is used for repeating single notes, like in mm. 50 in the video at around 1:00.

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