I have some music here - 'Five Australian Christmas Carols' pretty old, prior decimal currency which was about 1960.

Words and music.

Laid out in four staves. Bass and Treble Clefs. Twice.

Top pair have the words between them. Bottom pair doesn't. The parts are almost identical.

What is the purpose of this layout?

  • 1
    Can you submit a picture? My original guess was a four-hand piano score, but your description might not match that.
    – Richard
    Commented Feb 6, 2018 at 22:04
  • 2
    My guess is that the top two staves are SATB voice parts, and the bottom two are a piano arrangement to go with them. Commented Feb 6, 2018 at 22:05

1 Answer 1


My guess based on it being a carol and your description of the notation.

The words and top two staves are for 4 vocal parts (Soprano and Alto on one stave & Tenor and Bass on the other stave). The other two staves are for 1 to 4 voices played on an instrument such as a piano, church organ or played by a small group of musicians on strings capable of covering the pitch range.

That they are similar could be to help the congregation sing in tune.

  • 1
    Very sorry not to have acknowledged and/or responded to these posts. In particular I should have supplied a picture. I guess Emma has answered it fine and here's the picture: imgur.com/a/mKGQJNl
    – user577111
    Commented Dec 4, 2018 at 4:26

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