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I can always play from sheet music better than I play by memory for the most part.

I'm learning "kiss the rain" by yiruma which isn't hard at all - very simple but yet it is still pretty hard to memorize. I've gotten to a point where I could literally read 70% pretty well (with little flubs and pause here and there) of the piece but I still memorized the first page (of like 5)

Here is the sheet music: https://musescore.com/messo46/kiss-the-rain-yiruma

I want to make a little one page reference notes for the whole song but I don't know how to make an effective note.

There is a lot of repetition in the piece but just the minute details like the middle voicing and the harmony, and the pattern variations.

How do I convey that those parts in a minimalist way?

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Probably there are many ways to do this, and probably none of them is strictly better than any other. I will offer just my personal experience and preference for this.

1) Counterintuitive as it may seem, writing the easy parts only, as much as possible. The tricky stuff should be in your memory/head/fingers. The easy parts will soon not be necessary and you'll know what you need to know.

2) Make a "non musical" representation. For instance just shapes, like a line or two lines going up and down, squares, triangles dots and so on. The way your intuition tells you the music "feels". Avoid notes, keys, and so on!

These both work with the idea that you want to achieve something different than memorizing the score. You'll want to memorize the music, letting go of the score. If you wanted all the info of the score: just use the score in the first place :) Musical notation is a fine and precise language!

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I wanted a song book of popular songs which was just vocal on staff with chord symbols above (basically a lead sheet) AND I wanted it to use proper repeat signs instead of writing out repeats. I wanted each song to be only one page.

Unfortunately most songbooks don't come that way.

I think part of the problem with the musescore source you linked is that it does not take advantage of repeat signs to keep the notation short.

My solution might work for you. I photocopied or printed out the songbook then cut and pasted (literally with scissors and tape!) just the parts I needed into a simple one page sheet - sometimes adding hand written notes - and then scanned that to get a clean copy.

Totally old school, but... it worked.

Something like that may work for you.

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First, have a look at the form of the piece. It's

AA' B AA' B AA' A'

where the A, A' halves of the main theme are in an antecedent-consequent relationship (only the endings are different: half cadence then full cadence). The B sections have the same harmony, just more ornamented the 2nd time around, and for the A sections, the main difference is that the first and last statements are in a higher register for the LH. The five middle A's are virtually identical.

So now you know the extent of how much material must be memorized (or written on an abbreviated score) and you can go about it any way you like. My guess is that, having played the piece a few times, your fingers know pretty well the main A section.

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I'm afraid the ever-changing 'details' (inner lines and harmony are a bit more than detail surely though?) are just what make full notation necessary. I don't think 'top line and chords' is going to adequately represent this music.

I haven't played it all the way through though. (I'm sure it's effective when played sensitively, but the MuseScore playback is merely annoying.) Is there scope for at least a D.C al Fine, or a D.C. al Coda?

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