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As far as I can tell there are two different types of sheet music/tablature (there are most likely a whole lot more variations, but for my purposes) where one type aims to let you play your instrument exactly as it is played in the original song. This is the most common type I find when searching on the web.

Then there is the other type, which is sheet music where it aims to let you replace the vocals of a song with your instrument. This was common back when playing an instrument in school, but it's been extremely difficult to find these types of sheets for pop songs on the web. I'm thinking I need some way to specify what type of sheet I'm looking for, and that's why I'm asking if there are any naming conventions typically used to separate the two types.

If at all relevant, I'm specifically looking for sheets for guitar and piano.

  • 1
    Lead sheets? As in Real/Fake Books. – Tim Nov 1 '18 at 10:18
  • Thank you, I will look into that as well as arrangements as answered below – user53900 Nov 1 '18 at 10:27
  • Since you could play any vocal line on your guitar, perhaps you're looking for a combination of the vocal line and the chord structure underpinning it? – Carl Witthoft Nov 1 '18 at 12:17
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I'm not sure if I have the particular term you're looking for, but two terms are definitely related:

One is what we call the instrumentation of a particular score. By instrumentation, we literally mean "what instruments are used in the score." So if you're looking for scores for just guitar and piano, you're looking only for that specific instrumentation.

Another related term is arrangement. When someone arranges a piece of music, they write the music in a slightly different way, often using a different instrumentation from the original. (Just how an arrangement is different, and how different it is, varies from arrangement to arrangement.) So when a high school band plays a piece, they often play an arrangement of something not written for high school band that has been adapted to be played by those instruments. As such, you may be looking specifically for "guitar and piano arrangements" of particular songs.

  • I think arrangement is what I might be looking for, thank you! – user53900 Nov 1 '18 at 10:25
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You are looking for an instrumental arrangement, or more specifically a solo piano arrangement. E.g. solo piano for “My Heart Will Go On”

If you’re looking for a guitar piano combo, that would be: _song_ arranged for guitar and piano.

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