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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16
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4answers
8k 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 ...
5
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1answer
7k views

What does a marking of Trio. mean on a score?

In this version of Mozart's German Dances, the third section of each dance has "Trio." engraved above the staff. What does this indicate?
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1answer
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What is the meaning of this small vertical line?

During this question about "China Gates" by John Adams another question came up: What is the meaning of the little vertical line in bass clef bar 4 in front of the C? The same mark re-appears ...
14
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4answers
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What are some interesting ways notes and chords are spelled in cultures outside of the U.S.?

I've heard that German musicians spell the seventh note of the C major scale with an "H" where an American musician would use a "B". And, for the fourth note of the F major scale, where an American ...
13
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3answers
5k views

A,B,C,D,E,F,G and H in boxes in piano sheet music, how do I play it?

Sorry I probably just too new but all of those letters are in piece I want to play. What is that letter and how should I play it?
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2answers
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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 (...
7
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3answers
482 views

Physiological basis for note durations?

For some reason (probably read something like this a long time ago), I have it in my head that there was some sort of physiological basis for some note durations. This may have been something like, a ...
7
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5answers
2k views

Notes not adding up to time signature?

First staff in 'Patterns for Jazz' (1970) by Jerry Coker+, doesn't seem to add up to the time signature. How would you interpret this? I'm just starting to learn notation, so not sure if this is ...
7
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4answers
4k views

Indicating Key Signature Change

Key of C Key Signature has no symbol, so say I was notating music in G Major then wanted to change to the Key of C, how would I show this?
6
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1answer
2k views

What is B II, followed by a dashed line, and what does it mean?

In the guitar tab of Opus 35, No 22 in B minor of Fernando Sor that I get from classical clef, there is a notation BII as shown in the above picture. What does it mean?
5
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5answers
261 views

How do I spell a note when none of the usual rules make a difference?

Let's consider the "black note" between G and A. If this note does not occur in a scale/key, but it nevertheless occurs in a composition based on that scale/key, what are the rules for rendering it G♯ ...
2
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3answers
859 views

Are tonal (sharp, flat and natural) key signatures octave specific? [duplicate]

I recently bought a piano for learning (by myself at the moment) and apart from doing basic exercises, I decided to start learning a piece to get a grip on music sheet reading as I go. On the sheet I'...
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2answers
1k 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 ...
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3answers
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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 ...
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2answers
1k views

What is this notation? Tremolo? [duplicate]

I found this odd notation in some music by Verdi. The part is 9/8, and there are several notes with four bars. In particular, there are some dotted half notes connected with four bars, and 16/th notes ...
17
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8answers
48k views

B -> C and E -> F, No Sharp?

The keyboard has these notes: A, A#, B, C, C#, D, D#, E, F, F#, G, G# Why do B and C and E and F not have a sharp note between them? If they did, the keyboard would look like this: A A# B B# C ...
43
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9answers
19k 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, ...
26
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7answers
51k views

How many (major and minor) keys are there? Why?

I am wondering about how many major and minor keys there are and why. Here are some suggestions: 24 keys One could argue that there should be one major and one relative minor key for each of the 12 ...
14
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6answers
16k views

Sound spectrum to notes software

I'm looking for software that can graphically assist in translating a sound frequency to notes. Closest example of what I had in mind is FL Studio's Wave Candy plugin: Hovering cursor above a ...
27
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10answers
12k views

Why do we use such complicated notation?

I have just started learning about music from the internet. I have learned how to play the piano, but I don't have a real piano so I am playing a virtual piano. In my opinion, the notation which is ...
26
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5answers
2k views

Why do we need note names like B♭, D♭ etc.? Why not use only A♯, C♯ and so on? [duplicate]

The very same sharp/flat tones can be written in two ways: C♯ is the same as D♭ D♯ is the same as E♭ …and so on This is so confusing. What is the reason for it? ...
29
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5answers
19k views

Is “16va” proper notation?

Is the notation "16va" or "16vb" ever used to mean to transpose what is written up or down two octaves? I cannot think of how else you would represent the highest and lowest notes on a piano without ...
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2answers
3k views

Music Notation - Little notes

Can someone please tell me what the little notes (4 bars after C) are called?
12
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4answers
3k views

Why are some instruments listed 'in F' or 'in B'?

I am looking through scores of pieces that I particularly like. I can't understand (as this is the first time I have come across it) why here, in the manuscript, some instruments are named as ...
10
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3answers
3k views

What is the clearest way to notate this rhythm?

What would be the clearest way to notate this rhythm? There are multiple ways to represent this; should I clearly represent the beat or use the least amount of rhythm notes as possible? Is this ...
8
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2answers
952 views

Understanding Time Signature: How do I identify the time signature of a song?

I have played music for years and I still don't understand what a time signature actually signifies. I understand it from a superficial sense. If given sheet music I could tell you what time ...
4
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3answers
988 views

Ornaments in J. S. Bach's 4th prelude

Inverted mordents and turns are frequently used in the prelude No.4 of J.S. Bach in C-sharp minor. In what follows I assume the key of the piece is known. My first question is related to the normal ...
18
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2answers
1k views

What did ancient cuneiform notation look like, and how did it work?

I looked at Wikipedia of course... According to Wikipedia: The earliest form of musical notation can be found in a cuneiform tablet that was created at Nippur, in Sumer (today's Iraq), in about ...
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11answers
29k views

Why does a minor sixth chord contain a major 6th interval?

This is something that has always puzzled me. Perhaps I am going about this the wrong way but when I build chords I always build them based on the scale that corresponds to the quality of the chord. ...
13
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1answer
2k views

Chord symbols for diminished and half-diminished

An augmented sign can be '+', which signifies a larger interval in an augmented chord in comparison to , say, the major. But where did the 'o' sign originate for the opposite - diminished? Is there a ...
6
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3answers
893 views

Learning standard notation without succumbing to simply remembering songs?

I'm in a tricky position. I've been playing guitar for around ten years and am fairly good at improvising and tinkering around on a piano, too. I understand sheet music, I can decipher it, but I can't ...
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5answers
8k views

What can one do to understand time signatures?

I am struggling with the basics of Time Signatures. For one, I see it as more of a 'beat' signature. Notation is old, and time signatures are of an age where there was no clock, or way of keeping time ...
14
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2answers
3k views

Do orchestral string instruments need a pause before con sordino?

I’m a self-taught wannabe composer who’s playing with strings in Sibelius and I’m trying to learn the intricacies of writing for different techniques, such as con sordino, sul pont., etc. My question ...
11
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4answers
28k views

What does an arc mean above the notes in a piano sheet music? How do I play it?

See the picture above. Is there a website where these (perhaps not so basic) notations are collected? UPDATE: I see Wikipedia has a nice collection of musical notations. How do I play the slur on ...
10
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5answers
9k views

Is there piano notation for finger sustained notes (as opposed to pedal sustain)?

In piano music how does one indicate that sequential notes in the bass clef are to be sustained with the fingers, not using the sustain pedal? For example, suppose I have the three sequential quarter ...
9
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2answers
2k views

Chopin op. 28 no. 4 - bar 16 symbols

There are two symbols I do not recognise below the stretto in this excerpt: What are these symbols? And also, form what I read the stretto here should be interpreted as an accelerando, am I correct?
8
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6answers
2k views

What are the various ways of vocalizing rhythmic figures?

I know of the standard western technique where the beats (quarter notes) are numbered and eighths are vocalized as 'and' and sixteenths are vocalized as 'ee' and 'uh' (One-ee-and-uh Two-ee-and-uh). ...
7
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5answers
3k views

If the time signature changes, does the key signature change as well?

Consider the following snippet from Where Is My Mind (arranged by Maxence Cyrin). Notice how after the first few bars there's a time signature change. Does the key signature also automatically change ...
6
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3answers
4k views

Same note in two staves [duplicate]

I have only just started to learn (on my own) to read music and play the piano at the grand old age of 64! Please can someone tell me how to play the same note on two staves? I keep being asked to ...
6
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2answers
488 views

Irrational meter - why the mark of a triplet in 4 half notes

Can someone please explain to me why the mark of a triplet in this 4 half notes? I understood how to play it but from what i read you can only write triplets on 3 notes like 3 eighths 3 quarters etc......
5
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3answers
5k views

Swing feel - are triplets and 8th note notations rhythmically the same?

I'm going through some exercises in a blues piano book[*]. I've noticed that some rhythms are written with triplets (with an 8th note (quaver) rest in the middle), and others are written using 8th ...
3
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6answers
9k views

Sharps vs Flats - Formula to determine correct sharp and flat notes in a scale

I am trying to figure out how to know if a note in a scale is a sharp or a flat. So my starting point/input are the intervals of any scale. E.g. here are the Minor pentatonic intervals Interval: 1, ...
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3answers
250 views

Meter and time signature headache

I'm having trouble understanding meter and time signatures. I want the complete logical rundown of what it means and how arrangement works, the arbitrary nature of it (some almost explain notation and ...
2
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1answer
646 views

What do these two notes together (same pitch, stems in opposite directions) mean in a piano score? [duplicate]

How should the two As be played with the left hand? Why is the second A even necessary?
16
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3answers
4k views

What are all these symbols in some old sheet music?

Looking at this sheet music of Pietro Antonio Locatelli's "L'arte del violino" Op. 3 we see that the sheet music is pretty old. I have no idea if this is perhaps the original one or not but it does ...
14
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3answers
2k views

What does a duplicated note in a chord mean?

While reading the score of Misty (Burke, Garner, arranged by Roed), I encountered the following chord notation (it's on the bass clef in bar 32, and the signature is E-flat major): What does the ...
12
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2answers
2k views

How to notate two identical notes ringing together?

In a melody I am composing, there are 4 E notes in a row, like this: ----------------- ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ----------------- ----------------- ----------------- ----------------- (the length of the ...
11
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4answers
4k views

What is a “D-10” Chord?

I found a Paul McCartney Song, "Maybe I'm Amazed" that showed a chord which still has me stumped: The name of the chord is D-10. Now, I understand that most chord names are 'even' (as opposed to ...
10
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1answer
17k views

“х” on tablature - how do I play it?

I'm learning "Last Christmas" arrangement for the acoustic guitar, and have encountered lots of notes marked as "x" in tablature. --------------------------------0---------------- -3--------3-----1---...
10
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5answers
3k views

Roman numeral chord notation in minor scale?

I need help to understand chord intervals (not single note intervals) explains what the numbers I, IV, vi, III+ usually stand for in major chord theory. But what's it like with a minor scale? What ...