Questions tagged [notation]

For questions about visual representation of music and its uses. If the question is about a specific type of notation like tablature, that should also be tagged. Questions about how to input specific notation are best served with the engraving tag.

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10 votes
6 answers
22k views

Is there a definitive notation for multiple repeats?

Is there a definitive notation for repeating a section more than twice? Say you want a section to be played four times. I have mostly seen this: x4 𝄆 .... 𝄇 meaning "play four times"...
2 votes
2 answers
152 views

Notation for 8va on the repeat

In piano music sometimes there is a section that is repeated (with repeat bar lines, or with DC), but on the repeat one (or both) hands are to play an octave up (or down). Is there a common Italian ...
20 votes
1 answer
6k views

What do these square notes mean (in the left hand)?

What are these notes about? I had to learn this piece in 8-27-1963 in my first year at the music conservatory in Bern. The notes look like square notation, but the music was written in 20th. century. ...
13 votes
1 answer
692 views

Bartok - Syncopation (1): Meaning of notes in between Grand Staff

Bartok - Mikrokosmos Book 1 - 91)* Syncopation(1) What's the meaning of the notes in between the Grand Staff?
8 votes
4 answers
2k views

Note in parenthesis: optional or ghost note?

According to this answer, the following parenthesis designate an optional note: The answer currently has 20 upvotes, while another answer claiming it is a ghost note has -1. Seems pretty definitive, ...
5 votes
5 answers
135 views

What does laissez vibrer mean on a wind instrument?

I'm a bassoonist and when I play in a wind band I often get given a trombone part. Sometimes I have to transpose a score because it is in E♭𝄞. And sometimes I have to transpose passages that are too ...
5 votes
5 answers
1k views

How to play duplicated note at the same time?

I just start playing Schumann's Traumerei, but I noticed something unusual: in a 4/4 meter, the F on the bass staff counts for 5 beats in the same bar. My guess: press down the sustain pedal, play F ...
8 votes
1 answer
546 views

What are these diagonal dashes in the Schnabel Ed. Beethoven Sonatas?

I'm working on Beethoven Sonata No. 1 and have noticed these diagonal dashes in the left hand in movement 2 (see bar 3). I assume these are editorial markings as I am seeing them in other sonatas in ...
1 vote
0 answers
56 views

How to notate late attack/almost a grace note

I'm transcribing a piano piece. There is a short note that should be attacked slightly later than notated, but should not be played fully as a grace note—rather somewhere in between. (Even playing by ...
5 votes
1 answer
158 views

Best way for random (cluster) chord notation

I'm working on a piano part where the player needs to slam their fingers on the keyboard in semi-specific regions to create random cluster-like chords. What do you think would be the best way to ...
6 votes
2 answers
474 views

Which version of notating dynamics for woodwinds is more clear?

As in title - which is better (if any)? Specifically for flutes and oboes.
7 votes
2 answers
1k views

Why aren't octave clefs used in piano notation?

It's not uncommon to find piano music where the left hand plays primarily in octave 1, or the right hand in octave 6 (i.e. below the staff of a bass clef or above the staff of a treble clef). This ...
2 votes
1 answer
36 views

How to overlap notes from different voices to share note heads?

Voice 1 accentuates the melody that's woven through the 8th-note pattern. I want the notes on the top staff the 'blend' together. I remember this being possible in older Sibelius versions, but I ...
0 votes
2 answers
106 views

Notation and use of cross-staff beaming

I have been transcribing a piece in 4/4 time for the piano. There is a portion of the piece where I am unsure if cross-staff beaming should be utilized or not. I have provided two examples below for ...
7 votes
3 answers
1k views

Should pickup measures have measure numbers?

I’m in common time (4/4) and I have a pickup measure with only a quarter note in it. Should it have a measure number?
7 votes
4 answers
1k views

Notation question: Adding half a beat to a bar?

I've run into a quirk in a piece I'm writing, something I've never had to deal with—any ideas?: The piece is in 4/4. One bar has an extra half-beat (with 18 sixteenth notes rather than 16). 4.5/4 = 9/...
3 votes
2 answers
347 views

Do I need to explicitly cancel the damper pedal when switching to sostenuto?

I'm writing a piece where the beginning and end use the damper pedal only, and the middle uses sostenuto only. Currently these are notated with con ped. and con sost., but I wonder if that might ...
1 vote
0 answers
57 views

What are the piano notes of Hum Ko Tumse Ho Gaya hai pyaar kya kare? [closed]

What are the piano notes of Hum Ko Tumse Ho Gaya hai pyaar kya kare?
3 votes
1 answer
119 views

Placing rest symbols according the convention of the time signature

I am preparing for a music school entry exam and I am given following problem: "In the following example, place the missing rest symbols in the brackets. It's possible, that you have to write ...
2 votes
1 answer
46 views

Align note with grace note in different stave in LilyPond

I am trying to make something like this in LilyPond, where the note in the upper stave is aligned with the grace notes in the lower staff: Any solution should also work after a time signature change, ...
6 votes
3 answers
786 views

Instances of note beams across measures

How rare was it, in classical and romantic periods, for composers to notate eighth note and sixteenth note beams across measures? Are there examples from composers other than Schubert? In two of ...
14 votes
5 answers
1k views

Unconventional key signature: sharps on F & G only?

This is from Bartók's Mikrokosmos, piece number 44. I must have come across this a long time ago and didn't understand it, so I crossed it off. 4 years down the line and I still don't get it. What is ...
7 votes
2 answers
7k views

Understanding and distinguishing piano slurs and phrases

I'm learning piano and recently encountered slurs and phrases. I'd like clarification on the following that relate to these two ideas. The book[1] I'm using introduces the idea of phrases, then later ...
4 votes
2 answers
256 views

Note placement for beat/rhythm clarity

I have been transcribing a piece in 4/4 time for the piano. I am not fully certain as to how I should format the notes on the upper staff – as they split every beat. I have provided 3 options below ...
4 votes
2 answers
405 views

Issues with formatting multiple voices in 6/8 time signature

I have been transcribing a piece in 6/8 time which has two voices. I am worried that it is difficult to read the rhythm and was wondering if there is any other way to format this to make it clearer. ...
4 votes
1 answer
61 views

How to get Lilypond to produce a "repeat lyrics here" mark?

I'd like to get lilypond to produce the ://: mark above the stave used in hymnals (at least) to indicate "repeat the preceding line of words here" - for an example of what I mean, see the ...
13 votes
1 answer
698 views

Strange dynamic marking 'fmo' in Clementi sonata

I have come across an odd dynamics marking 'fmo' whilst studying at a copy of Clementi's Sonata in Bb major, Op. 24, No. 2, dated c1790. The below image shows mvmt. 1, mm. 90–94. Newer editions have ...
32 votes
2 answers
68k views

Unknown notation - thick horizontal bars between notes

I haven't the faintest idea of what these bars could mean. They're thick and mostly horizontal with a slight tilt. Some sort of run perhaps? How do you effect the dynamics/notes these bars are ...
25 votes
10 answers
6k views

Why don’t piano teachers teach the chord method of playing to young children and adults?

I have been playing piano since I was 10 and now I am 43. I have never really been good at sight reading sheet music. I have recently been researching alternative methods of learning songs fast as ...
3 votes
4 answers
716 views

Cannot get bar to accord with time signature [duplicate]

If you look at the image below, you'll see that the 3 treble bars and the first two bass bars accord with 3/4 time, but the last bass bar to my mind does not. I also do not understand where the rest ...
3 votes
1 answer
98 views

In David Fuentes FOM workbook 1.3, what does the arrow next to the V mean?, And the T?

I'm working through David Fuentes (Berklee College of Music) FOM workbook. In exercise 1.3, what does the arrow next to the V mean in the 3rd bar?, And also the T? I figure the T means 'Tendency Tone'...
6 votes
1 answer
379 views

How to interpret this tuning description for a kalimba? a' c" c' a' A f' e' e" b'

This is the tuning description for my kalimba, but I have no idea how to read it. I don’t know the difference between capital letters and lowercase nor the meaning of the apostrophes.
0 votes
0 answers
45 views

Is there a symbol like an "upbow" that occurs between notes in vocal and piano scores? [duplicate]

I'm looking at a hand-written score (with terrible handwriting) and I see something that looks like "upbow" (?) but it is between notes, and in a score without strings other than piano... It'...
15 votes
3 answers
4k views

Dynamic marking "f-p"

I know that: The dynamic marking f means forte, or play loud. And that p means piano, or play soft. The dynamic marking fp means fortepiano, or play this note loud, and play the following notes ...
10 votes
3 answers
443 views

How can I create a tie or slur that goes to nothing in MuseScore 3 (let ring notation)?

I am transcribing the string bass part from a piece we are playing in Concert Band. It has numerous "let ring" notes, pizzicato with ties or slurs going to open space. How can I do this in ...
3 votes
2 answers
1k views

Numbered Strum Patterns Indicated On Sheet Music

I can read music or hear music and usually come up with a strum pattern on the guitar. Usually get close enough then perfect over time. However, recently I thought that I would like to get a certain ...
9 votes
2 answers
2k views

What does the chord notation X/Y ("slash chord") mean?

Questions about slash chords are frequent enough that this question was created to answer the general concerns as well as link to related or more specific questions on the topic. Chords notated like ...
2 votes
3 answers
2k views

How to play these chords?

I'm trying to play "Sweet Home Alabama". What confuses me is when I see things like 0h2p0 and 0h2(x4). What are those, and how do you play them?
5 votes
5 answers
6k views

General questions about piano sheet music notation

This is the song I wanted to do, not on a piano but in FL Studio. But I don't play the piano so I need some help in dissecting this piece. Those ##C, what do those mean (and what are they called?) ...
11 votes
2 answers
488 views

Why do notes have stems?

How is it that stems became a part of standard music notation? I was genuinely unable to find an answer to this anywhere on the internet - I couldn't even find an instance of anyone asking the ...
19 votes
4 answers
11k views

With sheet music, what happens with sharps and double sharps that are already sharped in the key signature?

For example, let's say the key signature has an f sharp and then also an individual f note has a sharp next to it. Are they just emphasizing the f sharp or does that actually become a g? Same ...
4 votes
4 answers
6k views

Piano Sheet Music Symbols of Long Diagonal Lines

I know sometimes piano sheet music will have elongated bold lines running from a note(s) in the treble clef to a note(s) in the bass clef or vice versa, indicating that you should play the note(s) ...
5 votes
6 answers
2k views

Are there any standardized single-letter names for the flats and sharps?

The white keys on the piano have single letter names: C, D, E, F, G, A, B The black keys require a minimum of 2 letters to "spell" their names : Db, Eb, Gb, Ab, Bb or C#, D#, F#, G#, A# ...
4 votes
4 answers
757 views

Need help reading Muddy Waters's "Got my mojo working"

This is the rhythm guitar part to Muddy Waters's "Got My Mojo Working". I would like to know what beats the chords land on for this measure. I only know that the first chord lands on the and ...
7 votes
4 answers
776 views

What does the numbers mean in this guitar tab if they already gave the chords to play?

I understand E A D G B e And the meaning of the letters above. Which I can play like the c chord and em . But I don’t understand the numbers. Is it for the fret. Like where I should be playing on the ...
5 votes
4 answers
8k views

Why is there no indication of relative loudness on sheet music?

When I'm playing on a piano I can read which keys I should press and when. But there seems to be no indication how loud each sound should be in relation to another. Why? It seems to me that this ...
16 votes
1 answer
2k views

What does the L-shaped symbol attached to C5 and G4 on the top staff mean?

I am trying to learn "Kiss The Rain" by Yiruma, and I am learning from a score published on musescore. Source: https://musescore.com/user/27057308/scores/4838600 I was confused by the L-...
3 votes
2 answers
2k views

How do I notate for the sostenuto pedal?

In another part of the composition mentioned here, I want to use the sostenuto pedal: How can I notate this?
14 votes
9 answers
3k views

Do triplets always have a 3 written on top?

I was told by my teacher that a triplet will always have a three written on top. I've also seen this in theory books for graded exams which have also said that any triplet grouping will have a bracket ...
8 votes
1 answer
197 views

Meaning of left parenthesis notation on chords

As an example, in the Joseffy edition of the Chopin Nocturne op.62 no.1, there are many instances where a "left parenthesis" is used in front of a chord. I have always assumed this means a ...

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