On a score, it indicates that the song was arranged by person X, with notation by person Y. What does a notation person do that an arranger does not?

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    My guess is it may involve transcription...as in, the arranger did the creative brainwork, and the Notator just transcribed the notes, aka put it on paper. I think this may be what the answer below is talking about, but I'm not sure. – Kevin H Sep 13 '18 at 22:24

In short:

  • "Notated By" means basically that whatever person is credited with this transcribed this song (they didn't change it at all).
  • "Arranged By" means that the person credited made some artistic choices when transcribing. Usually, this notation will occur when someone takes a song and writes it for an instrument that is different from the original, and this makes they'll have to change things, for example chord voicings. The other meaning would be that the arranger has changed some aspects of the song, for example keeping the melody but changing the harmony.

In your case, I believe this means Person Y transcribed the music "note for note" or as close as possible, whereas Person X arranged it, changing the piece, either due to different orchestration or creative modification.

I like your name, by the way.


Well, notation. The graphical typesetting. What an arranger does would be audible in the produced music. What a notationist does would just be audible in the cursing from the musicians deciphering the score.

But basically the notationist is not responsible for the sound but just for the arrangement of ink on paper.

  • Or, these days, perhaps, inputting the music into a notation program such as Lilypond/Sibelius/Finale/MuseScore. While acknowledging that translating a manuscript into the software's input form needs work and knowledge of how to use the software, the software itself deserves a name check as well. This indicates that credit for "the arrangement of ink on paper" is due to whoever wrote the software's layout engine. – Rosie F Sep 14 '18 at 5:59

'Arranged by' refers to less than composing, more than transcribing or orchestrating. An existing work provides the main musical content.

'Notation by' is not generally seen. It means whatever the guy who wrote it wants it to mean! We might guess that it's about a reluctance to use 'engraved by' or 'copied by' where actual engraving or pen-and-ink aren't involved. But it might refer to transcription - creating notation from a recording - or even to changing a guitar piece from tab to notation.

So we can only make a guess at the answer to your question. Maybe the context gives more clues? What's the score?

  • Hi Laurence, it's a choir arrangement of the song "Rise Up" by Andra Day. Both the arranger and notationist are employees of the Vocal Company - so, based off of your answer and some of the other answers on this page, I'm guessing that the notationist was just responsible for inputting the score into a music notation program? – user52866 Sep 15 '18 at 1:26
  • Yes, that's a reasonable guess. But still only a guess. If it matters to you, why not ask them? thevocalcompany.com/contact – Laurence Payne Sep 15 '18 at 13:38

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