Questions tagged [sheet-music]

Musical notation in written or printed form. Questions asking people to find or transcribe (make) sheet music for a particular song are off-topic.

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100
votes
18answers
113k views

What is good software for learning how to sight-read?

I'd like to learn how to sight-read on my own, but practicing the same song over and over again just causes me to memorize it, and filling out worksheets is boring. Is there any good software for ...
68
votes
5answers
55k views

How do you draw a quarter rest with a pen/pencil?

It seems to me that the quarter rest we see everywhere was drawn with a calligraphy pen. I don't have one of those - I have a sharpened/mechanical pencil or a ball-point pen. So usually when I try to ...
67
votes
17answers
30k views

Quickly flip a page of sheet music while playing

This seems like such a silly question, but! When playing the piano, I sometimes struggle to turn the pages of my music without noticeably sacrificing the sound of the piece or making the book / ...
44
votes
10answers
36k views

As a guitarist, how can I learn to sight-read music?

I'm learning guitar right now, mostly from Justin Sandercoe's free online lessons, starting from the beginner's course. He has a lot of good tips for how to practice and drill chords, and scales, but ...
40
votes
8answers
9k views

What do 'vent holes' do on a music stand?

I was looking at music stands and a number of them do not have solid backs, rather, they have holes through them, like shown. Are these just for aesthetic purposes, or do they have a practical purpose?...
40
votes
2answers
129k 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 ...
39
votes
6answers
8k views

Why do people sometimes write notes as E♯ or C♭?

Instead of writing F or B, sometimes people use E♯ or C♭ to write these notes. Are there any advantages to this notation?
39
votes
3answers
9k 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 ...
33
votes
12answers
30k 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?
32
votes
8answers
10k views

When to use a dot or a tie in music notation?

Let's say I have the following piece in 4/4, Should it be notated as: or Are there any specific rules? From my previous experience, I believe the second one is the correct notation since it shows ...
31
votes
4answers
15k 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?
31
votes
1answer
4k views

What do the letters D and E above the staff represent here?

A mystery from a musician friend of mine: In the Alpine Symphony by Strauss, the oboe, Eflat clarinet, and bass clarinet/C clarinet have these D's and E's scattered throughout the back half of the ...
29
votes
12answers
3k views

Sites with a good selection of sheet music

When I look online for sheet music for the piano or flute, I find that a lot of the websites that promise great collections of sheet music are nothing but ad filled sites that talk about sheet music (...
29
votes
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 ...
29
votes
2answers
49k 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 ...
28
votes
3answers
2k views

What are the limitations of the ABC notation format?

This question came up in a discussion on Meta, and I thought it might be a good question to ask on the general site. ABC notation is a relatively simple text-based format for writing music scores ...
27
votes
10answers
8k views

Why are conductors required at orchestra performances?

I am not a music expert and I have always wondered why orchestra performances require a conductor to play. The musicians are presumably professionals who have had much practice at this point, so why ...
27
votes
4answers
22k views

Rest above a note in a piano piece

I am playing a piece and wondering, what the heck is the rest making there above the note? The piece is in 3/4 so I see no purpose of the 1/4 rest. I've been googling around but did not find any ...
25
votes
8answers
19k views

Why can't we play rap on piano?

In piano and any other instruments which produces musical notes, it seems the notes that matches the rap are never found. But I think it can't be true, because after all there is some voice ...
25
votes
10answers
4k views

Why is there a key signature if I never play those notes?

I'm just getting back to playing on keyboard. I'm trying to play "Ode to Joy" from the piano sheet but I have a basic question. At the beginning of some staffs, on the right of the treble clef I can ...
25
votes
6answers
6k views

Why are double staff pieces of music not properly aligned for Middle C?

I am a guitar, flute and (a long time ago) bassoon player. I can play a few things on a keyboard, badly, in short: I know how it all works. I'm trying to help teach my wife to play a harp. It has a ...
25
votes
7answers
8k views

How to handle a newly purchased score book that won't stay opened?

With some score books, if you try to open it and put it on a support, it will close itself. For the moment I have to force and fold it but it damages the spine of the book. Do you have techniques to ...
23
votes
13answers
32k views

Best ways of storing sheet music

I was wondering if anyone had a really good and practical way of storing print sheet music. If there is any specific types of folders or cabinets that they use to store their sheet music. I would like ...
22
votes
2answers
4k views

How to write “Play this line, OR this line” with conventional music symbols

In a music sheet, how could I write down "play this line OR this line, as you like". The reason is that if the player is skilled, they will choose to play the first line, but if not, they will prefer ...
22
votes
3answers
43k views

With regards to piano sheet music, when are you supposed to press the pedal(s)?

I've been playing piano for about 8 months. I have a digital weighted 88-key piano with only one pedal. My friend, who used to play piano, taught me to hold the pedal down when there is an arc in ...
21
votes
3answers
6k views

I don't understand how the notes in this picture are to be played

I'm learning how to play the piano and I don't understand the fingering of the notes in the picture below. I'm not understanding how you're supposed to use the 2nd and 3rd finger twice. I guess that's ...
21
votes
6answers
4k views

Is it ok for a choir to learn by listening?

I'm in a high school choir and we just got a new teacher. He is adamant that we don't listen to rehearsal tracks or recordings, because "real musicians don't." Is there merit to this? Is it better to ...
21
votes
6answers
14k views

If Für Elise is in Am why there is a D# in it?

Für Elise intro starts with E D♯ E D♯, Wikipedia says the key is Am. What scale does it fit? Is it like a blues scale where D♯ is a flat 5? Why D♯ is used in the sheet music? Is it easier to read ...
21
votes
3answers
1k views

Ornamentation symbol consisting of two stacked slashes //

I'm transcribing a book of 18th Century music and have come across several instances of the notation shown in the image. A few fellow musicians I've asked, and the online Dolmetsch guide to musical ...
21
votes
1answer
2k views

What does a long arrow pointing up and down mean in an organ score?

What is the meaning of this symbol (long vertical arrow) in old organ notation?
19
votes
3answers
4k views

Why is this 4th-note written as two 8th-notes tied together?

In the second measure of the first voice, the 8th notes are tied together in pairs. Why would it be notated this way instead of as fourth-notes?
19
votes
1answer
4k views

What do the smaller notes in the Treble Clef indicate?

This is piano sheet music for "I Will Follow You Into The Dark" by Death Cab for Cutie. I've been trying to search for what these notes mean. Do I play them with the left hand? Not play them? Are they ...
19
votes
3answers
8k 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?
18
votes
6answers
3k views

Why does standard notation not preserve intervals (visually)

(Disclaimer: I don't know much about music theory but ...) The notes A, B are a whole step apart, and B, C are a semitone apart, yet their distance in standard notation is the same visually (from a ...
18
votes
4answers
3k views

How should I play two notes together on lines below the staff?

How should I play two notes together on lines below the staff?
17
votes
7answers
8k views

Why aren't chord names written in classical sheet music?

When I see classical sheet music I don't see the chords named, were chords not used back then? And if they were, do the notes that are under a bass clef generally outline the shapes of chords? I only ...
17
votes
3answers
2k views

Free software to create a score from scratch

What open source softwares are available for creating a music score? I have Logic X but I don't think it's geared well for that kind of thing.
17
votes
3answers
1k views

Resource for sheet music for blind musicians

Question: Do you know any sheet music resources for blind people, i.e. sheet music in braille notation? I don't seem to find any braille files in IMSLP (the Petrucci Library at http://www.imslp.org). ...
16
votes
3answers
4k views

Small Notes in Sheet Music — NOT grace notes — written AFTER the main note and beamed with it

Can anyone explain the significance of the small notes in the following music? An otherwise identical arrangement in a different "easy" song book shows only quarter notes without the smaller notes. ...
16
votes
5answers
2k views

Basic Accidental Question

Example: You have d major scale but you make a c flat accidental, does it just naturalize c back to its basic form or make it an enharmonic b? Ive tried searching on google but found nothing. It's ...
16
votes
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 ...
16
votes
4answers
3k views

How to interpret this chord notation?

How do you interpret this couple of notations? In Bar 2, Fm / Ab, what does the slash do? Do I play either chord or both? In addition, in Bar 3, what does the /9 mean?
16
votes
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 ...
16
votes
3answers
2k views

How can I force LilyPond to repeat a chord symbol (relates to alternate endings)?

In chordmode, LilyPond chooses not to display chord symbols when they are the same as the preceding symbol, which is usually the right behavior. However, this behavior gets weird in the context of ...
15
votes
4answers
5k views

Why use odd time signatures?

I'm a beginner guitar player, and I'm trying to pick up some of the music theory behind the instrument, and one thing that I've sort of grasped is odd time signatures. I know what they are, and I can ...
15
votes
8answers
2k views

When you read sheet music do you read the notes or the intervals?

I have found myself doing both but not sure which is the right way. Sometimes I see a note then I can see the next note is a 4th above it so I play it but I actually don't know what note I just played ...
15
votes
3answers
3k views

What does a straight horizontal line above a few notes, after a changed tempo mean?

The piece is for playing guitar using plectrum: I am guessing the horizontal line represents the stretch of notes to be played at the changed tempo, and begin playing at the initial tempo after that.
15
votes
7answers
14k views

Why is it common to write tuba sheet music in concert pitch?

I play E♭ tuba in a wind orchestra, and we always get the notes written in concert pitch, and we have to logically "transpose" to the instrument key on the fly. How common is this approach? ...
15
votes
12answers
19k views

How can I learn to read bass clef score more naturally?

I hadn't read music for about 20 years, after doing a little classical guitar as a young child, and recently started learning piano. I was pleasantly surprised to find that reading music on the treble ...
15
votes
5answers
9k views

How long do you hold a fermata?

I am new to piano and just downloaded this book, it seems simple enough for a beginner like me but there is a symbol that I don't really understand, a fermata. Googling I see I am supposed to hold ...

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