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In France, a lot of guitar/bass (pop/jazz) musicians use a graphical way of representing a songs chord progression. It is called the "grid" ( translation of "grille"?) of a song.

It looks like this (source):

enter image description here

Edit: Each square stands for a bar (usually 4 beats but can also be 3 beats), with the chord you are supposed to play inside it (second line, first square: Dm7). When a square is split in two (say, first line, first bar), it means you have 2 beats on Am, and 2 beats on Bdim.

It is useful in the sense that it gives in a concise way the chord progression, bar by bar, for musicians that don't need/want the melody. A french-language Wikipedia page describes this.

Questions: is this type of notation used elsewhere in the world? How do you (would you) call it?

As you can see, the linked english-language wikipedia page is quite different.

I have checked also on Wikipedia's musical notation page, this notation does not seem to be mentioned. Before editing that page, I would like to have some feedback from others.

  • Would you mind explaining a bit how it works? – Richard Nov 3 '18 at 15:35
  • @Richard Sure, edited question. Feel free if still unclear. – kebs Nov 3 '18 at 16:02
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    I've been using this sort of grid for a couple of years and it's quite easy to follow. 8 squares in a line usually follows the verse/chorus, or half a verse/chorus. Can get a tad complex with 3 or 4 changes in a bar - diagonals will go perpendicular. Repeats are as normal, on the right of a box., and left for where it repeats from. Only known them as 'grids' and in France. – Tim Nov 3 '18 at 16:57
  • In France, I've only heard it called a 'grille'. Not a grid in sight, not even in the dictionnaire. – Tim Nov 13 '18 at 11:16
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It's sometimes used by jazz musicians in the UK. OK if you know the song. Not terribly helpful if you don't. I've been handed this sort of thing by a vocalist, who then expected me, on keyboard, to play a suitable introduction... I think they forget how many gigs these days are unrehearsed, pick up affairs with many of the musicians reading. We're very adaptable, but HELP us!

There's another strange thing jazzers sometimes do - a lead sheet with chord symbols in concert pitch, melody transposed for Bb instrument (Clarinet, Tenor Sax, Trumpet).

  • Thanks for answer, so UK seems to use this too. Sure, If you never heard the song, not a great help, but this is used when you kinda "know" how the thing sounds, and you are asked to provide accompaniment (rythm and harmony). – kebs Nov 3 '18 at 14:57
  • Go to intro is the last four bars (before the coda, maybe), surely? And transposition makes using the same copy for all so much easier. – Tim Nov 3 '18 at 17:00
  • Yeah. But what MELODY do you play for the intro? – Laurence Payne Nov 3 '18 at 17:28
  • Make it up as you go along! Last bar will be a flourish on V - away you go! Works/ed for me! – Tim Nov 3 '18 at 18:49
  • Yeah again. But I'd like to be able to do better. – Laurence Payne Nov 3 '18 at 18:55

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