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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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38 votes
4 answers
40k views

Rest above a note in a piano piece

I am playing a piece and wondering, what the heck is this rest doing here above this note? The piece is in 3/4, so I see no purpose in the 1/4 rest. I've been googling around but did not find any ...
Samuel's user avatar
  • 789
25 votes
2 answers
15k views

Why does this note have a stem pointing up and another pointing down?

What does the first note below mean? Does it need to be pressed down while playing the second notes? If not, why are there two stems, one pointing up, and one pointing down?
laurent's user avatar
  • 983
70 votes
9 answers
49k views

Why is C the base note of standard notation and keys?

Why is it that notes "start" with C? In key signatures, for example, C Major is the basis and accidentals are added for all other key signatures. I know that the musical alphabet starts with A and ...
skystar's user avatar
  • 1,091
43 votes
3 answers
12k views

How to interpret half notes combined with thirty-second stems?

I want to play Also Sprach Zarathustra (IMSLP PDF), but there is something I don't understand there. In the first few bars there are 4 half notes beamed in pairs as thirty-second notes. Because the ...
iddober's user avatar
  • 6,642
3 votes
3 answers
3k views

Too many notes in this measure [duplicate]

It seems there are too many notes in the treble clef below. The time signature is 4/4 yet there it starts with a quarter rest, then a dotted quarter, then 6 eighth notes. This adds up to more than ...
Mark's user avatar
  • 133
47 votes
9 answers
31k views

Does an accidental apply to all octaves?

I've been playing French Horn for 20 years, and thought I had most basic concepts regarding accidentals understood. But the other day I came across the following image via Wikipedia, which had me ...
Siyual's user avatar
  • 952
18 votes
6 answers
9k views

The same note on two staves

On rare occasions, I encounter the same note on two staves with overlapping durations. Attached is an example from an arragement of "The Long and Winding Road" by The Beatles (The note in ...
iddober's user avatar
  • 6,642
17 votes
6 answers
3k views

Are accidentals in the key signature and measure additive?

If I have a flat for a note in the key signature, and then in a bar the same note with an flat symbol, does that mean the note is "double flatted"? For example in the key of D Minor with ...
Luke's user avatar
  • 435
17 votes
3 answers
39k views

What exactly does a 3 mean over a quarter note and an 8th note?

There is an eighth note followed by a quarter note, and above them is a little overarching bracket with a little 3 in it. I know this has something to do with the timing, but I have no idea what. ...
temporary_user_name's user avatar
16 votes
1 answer
3k 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-...
kekulayyy's user avatar
  • 303
46 votes
11 answers
51k views

Is there any practical difference between 3/4 and 3/8 time?

Is there any practical difference between 4/4 and 8/8? regards a common and unusual time signature; both 3/4 and 3/8 time are pretty common. What difference in performance is implied in the the ...
Dave's user avatar
  • 17.8k
14 votes
2 answers
5k 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 ...
Aaron's user avatar
  • 89.4k
30 votes
3 answers
26k views

What does a straight line connecting notes on different clefs mean?

What is the meaning of the straight lines between notes in opposite staves, as shown in the picture? I keep seeing it, but Google and Wikipedia are not helping me.
user85798's user avatar
16 votes
1 answer
30k views

How can I find the length in seconds of a quarter-note (crotchet) if I have a tempo marking?

Given a tempo marking in bpm (beats-per-minute), how can I work out the length of a crotchet (quarter-note) beat?
Bob Broadley's user avatar
  • 21.4k
35 votes
2 answers
89k 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 ...
Tanaki's user avatar
  • 515
13 votes
7 answers
10k views

Same note to be played with both hands? [duplicate]

Why some notes in the piano are written the same for the left and right hand ? What is the purpose of this ? And how do we play them ? Do we just choose one hand to play them or do we play them ...
Waseem Francis's user avatar
21 votes
12 answers
22k views

Can legato notes be played staccato?

I've been working on this piece by Sousa, and I came across this oddity: Does this mean to play these notes somehow legato and staccato at the same time? If so, how would I play it? If not, what does ...
Luke_0's user avatar
  • 7,479
1 vote
5 answers
7k views

Left and right hand playing same note on piano?

Occasionally I run across sheet music that has the left and right hand playing the same note at the same time. Is this on purpose? If so... Why? And how do I play it? For example, see the first ...
B flat's user avatar
  • 158
10 votes
5 answers
4k views

Are whole notes/rests really used to signify variable lengths of time?

I saw this answer and I thought the guy was absolutely crazy for assuming that a whole note automatically equaled one measure regardless of time signature. However, there does appear to be more than ...
Warlord 099's user avatar
15 votes
4 answers
8k views

Four dots over tremolo minim (half note with slash)

I'm working on National Emblem by E. E. Bagley. In the second strain, there is a minim with the tremolo mark. Above it are four dots. What do they mean? Here is a picture. The mark in question is ...
Luke_0's user avatar
  • 7,479
1 vote
2 answers
1k views

Useless natural accidental? [duplicate]

Why is that natural accidental placed on that G? Does the slur extend the sharp on the previous measure to the next one? That wouldn't make sense for the bass though.
Eddnav's user avatar
  • 365
52 votes
3 answers
210k views

What does a small x-like symbol before a note mean?

I've been playing piano by ear for a long time and now I am trying to learn the first movement of the Moonlight Sonata. I am a little confused about the meaning of a little cross placed right before a ...
Patrick Da Silva's user avatar
33 votes
4 answers
92k views

What are the Solfège names of the semitones between the basic do, re, mi, etc?

What are the names of all the notes in a sol-fa scale, especially the chromatic notes between the basic Do, Re, Mi's.
Bob de Bruin's user avatar
33 votes
4 answers
29k views

What does it mean when two notes are stuck together?

I mean something like this: I'm guessing it means they're played together but I'm not sure. Also, does the sharp apply to both pitches or just the G?
MaTHStudent's user avatar
26 votes
2 answers
142k views

What do the terms E2 A2 D3 G3 B3 E4 actually mean?

I am attempting to learn guitar, and I keep coming across this notation in various apps that I've downloaded. I know that E2 A2 D3 G3 B3 E4 are something to do with tuning, but I'm not exactly sure ...
Rory Becker's user avatar
25 votes
10 answers
12k views

I don't understand the bottom number in a time signature

I've learned that 4/4 means 4 beats with the kind of beat being a crotchet. However, I've seen pieces with that time signature that don't just use crotchets, but minims, quavers, etc. I am still a ...
Jessica Cunningham's user avatar
20 votes
3 answers
4k views

What's the proper piano notation for adding one note at a time to a chord and holding all the notes?

I came across a bar that sounds like this while transcribing a piece for keyboard. Is there a correct/better way to write this?
spider_gem's user avatar
17 votes
5 answers
76k views

Piano music with two treble clefs, and notes between staves

I do not understand why there are two treble cleff staves and why there are music notes in the middle of the two staves. Which hand should I play those notes with and why are there two treble cleff ...
Sheela's user avatar
  • 171
11 votes
3 answers
3k views

Meaning of a box-like symbol, sometimes with a line through it

I've searched high and low for the meaning of the attached symbol but can't find the answer. Can you help me? The two horizontal Bars at the end of the line, some with a strike through.
Rafik Cezanne's user avatar
8 votes
2 answers
4k views

What are these brackets? What do they mean and what are they called?

I came across to these brackets in my music theory book of Trinity. I don't know what are these called and what they exactly do in this music?
Piyush Kumar's user avatar
3 votes
2 answers
2k views

Two adjacent notes of same pitch seemingly occupying the same beat?

What does it mean when two notes of the same pitch with different lengths occupy the same space? In this example, the F-A-C chord should take up the third beat of the measure. It seems to be tied to a ...
mankowitz's user avatar
  • 131
71 votes
6 answers
218k views

What is the relationship between "do re mi" and note letter names?

When people sing the song, they use do, re, mi, fa, sol, la, ti, (si), etc, but sometimes I hear that the music people say A, B, C, D flat, etc. Is there a relationship or are they two different ...
Ted Wong's user avatar
  • 1,467
41 votes
5 answers
91k views

Why is note B marked with H in Scandinavia and Germany?

At least in Scandinavia and Germany two notes are marked differently than in most other countries: B -> H B♭ -> B I have heard that this is due to mistake in interpreting messy sheet notes, as ♭ is ...
Skrim's user avatar
  • 521
38 votes
13 answers
43k views

What does this note - B# - mean?

I'm confused as to how I should play the second note below, B#. Does it mean it's C? It is possible? In which case, why is it written like this, and not just C? Sonata quasi una Fantasia, First ...
laurent's user avatar
  • 983
30 votes
5 answers
2k views

Where do the double accidentals go in "theoretical" key signatures?

Recent questions led me to discussions of theoretical keys, which are defined by Wikipedia as keys with at least one double accidental in the key signature. (Unfortunately, the source of that ...
Richard's user avatar
  • 84.7k
27 votes
4 answers
5k views

Piano with two treble clefs on grand staff

How do you play the notes in the red square? On the upper staff, the lower chord is G but the note in the lower section is also G. Do you just ignore it?
Zynoakib's user avatar
  • 271
23 votes
4 answers
3k views

Should one write ♯ or ♭?

In the staff, would one write enharmonic notes with # or ♭? Does it matter which you'd use and why? For example: In the key of C Major, would it be better to write this passage with an A#, as it is, ...
bzrr's user avatar
  • 595
21 votes
4 answers
13k views

Why does the pedal sign look like “Leo”?

I play piano. I took Trinity College London grade 6 practical and finished my theory course. I still don't understand why the Pedal sign looks like the word “Leo”. Could someone tell me why "Leo&...
MyMor12's user avatar
  • 235
16 votes
4 answers
10k views

What does the notation "2/3BII" mean?

What does the note "2/3BII" mean here? The notation below is a part of the piece "Canon in D", arranged in classical guitar. Update This piece is arranged by Allan Alexander. Here is his explanation....
wang zhihao's user avatar
15 votes
3 answers
4k views

What does this downward triangular arrow mean?

What does the prime symbol above the note mean? I have not seen it before. This is from Haydn's Variations in F minor (Hob. XVII/6)
user1488's user avatar
  • 253
9 votes
5 answers
10k views

What does the roman numeral notation mean for this borrowed chord?

I am working my way through Asturias (Leyenda) in E minor for classical guitar. I believe the arrangement is based on the one by Segovia. I am using this sheet music, and comparing it to the tablature ...
Tim Seguine's user avatar
6 votes
2 answers
3k views

What's this L symbol in piano notation called?

There's a symbol used in piano manuscript notation that means "play this in the other hand, even though it's written in this one". It looks like a capital L shape: As you can (maybe) see in ...
wizzwizz4's user avatar
  • 367
53 votes
12 answers
26k views

Key signature for writing in modes other than major and minor

I have trouble deciding what accidentals to put in the key signature for pieces in Dorian, Phrygian, Lydian or Mixolydian modes. There seem to be trade-offs associated with each choice. For example, ...
Gauthier's user avatar
  • 4,678
23 votes
6 answers
3k views

Notation - when to use staccato vs rests

I'm arranging a piece of music I wrote for string quartet, and I'm not sure what the most practical way of notating the following rhythm is. I'm self taught and rarely use written music, so I'm not ...
Innealtoir's user avatar
20 votes
4 answers
14k views

With sheet music, what happens with sharps and double sharps that are already sharpened 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 ...
Ryan's user avatar
  • 977
17 votes
9 answers
10k views

Do accidentals override key signature and previous accidentals?

I am wondering how the accidental in the first chord (see what is circled) is played? Does any accidental simply move the note up or down a half-step from what the note is supposed to be based on the ...
Angela's user avatar
  • 171
17 votes
6 answers
2k views

Proper symbol for this chord (1 5 b7 9 11)?

I'm a songwriter in the jazz-pop idiom, and when playing through a chart with a guitarist, he told me that, in his opinion, I had labeled a chord inaccurately / incorrectly. Here's the chord as I ...
Duncan Malashock's user avatar
15 votes
4 answers
38k views

Small notes on the staff

What are these and how do I play them on the piano?
supreme_tg's user avatar
15 votes
3 answers
3k views

What does this split stem notation mean?

Here's sheet music for chopin's 2nd ballade. On page 6, in the 2nd measure in the 4th line of music, there's a D# and a D natural, with two lines coming out of them and connecting to the double bar (...
Edward Jiang's user avatar
14 votes
2 answers
18k views

Different Simile Marks

In the pictures below, there are many measures with different simile marks. I know there are many different types of simile marks, varying number of lines, with or without dots, on barline or in the ...
vcapra1's user avatar
  • 265

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