34 votes
Accepted

How to notate time signature switching consistently every measure

Yes, one possible way is to clarify a "5+3" meter throughout. Depending on the music, this could be preferable to just writing 8/4 if the meter is clearly a 5+3 layout. As one example of how this ...
Richard's user avatar
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28 votes

Why use 5 or more ledger lines below the bass clef instead of ottava bassa lines for piano sheet music?

Let's look at your first example, the Saint-Saëns. Yes, if there was ONLY the lowest C, it would be difficult to read and an 8vab line would help. But the higher C, on just two ledger lines, is easy ...
Laurence's user avatar
  • 92.9k
25 votes

How do I notate a staccato on a unison note?

On single-stem pitches, the rule is always the same: the staccato goes on the side of the notehead that is opposite the stem. But when multiple voices are in play, the convention is typically to put ...
Richard's user avatar
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24 votes
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Anacruses, Bar Lines, and Line Breaks

It's great that you're thinking about where your line breaks should go, and putting them at natural "punctuation" points is generally a good idea. Breaking mid-measure though is pushing this too far. ...
MattPutnam's user avatar
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21 votes
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Which note goes on which side of the stem?

I've always understood that the lower pitch of the harmonic second occurs on the left side: This is also true when additional pitches are added in. On beat four, the E is now on the right because the ...
Richard's user avatar
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21 votes
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Is it okay to change the key signature in the middle of a bar?

It's not common to change key signature in the middle of a bar - my edition of Behind Bars says "change a key signature after a barline", with no qualifications, suggesting that's the usual ...
James Uffindell-Birt's user avatar
20 votes

What is the meaning of this notation that looks like a rest superimposed on a note?

It's a misprint. Both are 16th-note As, and the rests are misplaced. The rests should be placed lower on the page, level with the stems-down eighth note chords. They represent a separate "voice&...
Aaron's user avatar
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19 votes

Is there a notation for borrowing a beat from the next measure?

If possible please avoid uncommon notation! It will often not be easier to read. Maybe do something like this This is more or less how Schumann does this in Mondnacht:
Lazy's user avatar
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17 votes

How to write a score that begins with a pickup note and repeats

You can do this two ways. Do the first. It really is clearer. (How many verses are you going to make the singer(s) perform without a few bars rest though?)
Laurence's user avatar
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15 votes

How to notate time signature switching consistently every measure

One way which is possible is to show two time signatures, as here from Tchaikovsky's second String Quartet via Popflock: This warns the user that bars of each length are to be expected. You haven't ...
Andrew Leach's user avatar
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15 votes
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Time signature inconsistent

The notes in the upper staff are tuplets. As an aid towards your eventual goal, here is some sample code to create what you're looking for: \version "2.19.82" musicA = \relative c' { \key cis \...
Richard's user avatar
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15 votes
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LilyPond - how to write a basic makefile

Invocation make will search the current directory for a file named Makefile or makefile, so it's often simplest to name it one of these two choices and then invoke with the simple command: $ make ...
luser droog's user avatar
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15 votes

Why use 5 or more ledger lines below the bass clef instead of ottava bassa lines for piano sheet music?

First, musicians should learn to read lots of ledger lines. If you are frustrated by them, that’s an important thing to focus on for your studies until you can read them easily. Second, it is harder ...
Todd Wilcox's user avatar
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14 votes

Why use 5 or more ledger lines below the bass clef instead of ottava bassa lines for piano sheet music?

Read the top pitch of the bass part and then read the ledger lines below as intervals. Ex. If I know that two ledger lines under the bass is C and then the interval under that C is a sixth, then I ...
Michael Curtis's user avatar
13 votes

How to notate time signature switching consistently every measure

As a possible alterative to Richard's answer, you can write the total in the time signature and the division above the staff like this: This may be easier, depending on the capabilities of your ...
Ian Goldby's user avatar
13 votes

When should tenor clef be used?

Don't over-think this. Go into tenor clef when there's a substantial section of music that would otherwise need an annoying number of ledger lines. Note that while orchestral trombone players are ...
Laurence's user avatar
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13 votes
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Lilypond: natural+flat accidental in front of the note

This might be what you are looking for: \tweak Accidental.restore-first ##t https://lilypond.org/doc/v2.23/Documentation/snippets/pitches#pitches-force-a-cancellation-natural-before-accidentals
Elements In Space's user avatar
12 votes

How can I overcome '8va' for a few notes?

Just write them where they will be in 8va, as in an octave lower than they are right now. A reader will have more of a clue as to what's happening like that. So the G# will sit on the second line up, ...
Tim's user avatar
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12 votes

Rests in pickup measure (anacrusis)

The lower version is right, definitely. You write the pickup measure with the actual note durations, not like "read all staves and try to figure out if this is a pickup bar or not". Think about if ...
piiperi Reinstate Monica's user avatar
12 votes
Accepted

How to notate this two-voice syncopation in 12/8 time?

Yes, this is tricky. It may depend on what you have in the remaining voices/hands/parts, but one possible solution is to use stem direction to your advantage: By using stem-down notes for the held Cs ...
Richard's user avatar
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12 votes
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Partially-optimized orchestra scores?

Would such a score cause confusion or turn away conductors? Absolutely not. Especially if it's the whole movement, nobody is going to be confused. But really, it's such a common practice, as is ...
phoog's user avatar
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12 votes
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Eliminate ties via additive meter?

Firstly, it would really help if you sort out what the various voices in the bass clef are doing, (this is where the "noise" is coming from). For piano it's not really possible to re-...
Elements In Space's user avatar
12 votes

Is it okay to change the key signature in the middle of a bar?

For some reason I am not seeing some of the symbols you wrote correctly but regardless of that it is completely acceptable to modulate in the middle of a bar. It is best to just use the correct ...
John Belzaguy's user avatar
11 votes
Accepted

Are there any "good practices for sheet music writing" guidelines that are more or less universally accepted?

The go-to reference for notation is Elaine Gould's Behind Bars: The Definitive Guide to Music Notation. It's a massive book that, in addition to the standard tonal notation rules, includes examples of ...
Richard's user avatar
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11 votes

Anacruses, Bar Lines, and Line Breaks

What you're doing is doubling up on the phrase marking, which is there just for the purpose you propose. Is there any extra point in breaking up bars? Not for me. It seems an amateur thing to do, as ...
Tim's user avatar
  • 193k
11 votes
Accepted

When does bar-line go down?

Bar lines don’t connect in vocal music. This avoids bar line-lyric collisions. I notice that both appear to be vocal pieces, but I see no lyrics on the one with connecting bar lines. As a general ...
Kevin H's user avatar
  • 1,340
11 votes
Accepted

Printing all accidentals with Lilypond

Lilypond has several options to automatically display accidentals. I'm not sure which one suits you best, but perhaps one of these: teaching This rule is intended for students, and makes it easy to ...
Glorfindel's user avatar
  • 3,648
11 votes
Accepted

Multiple staccato dots on minim with tremolo repeat in Lilypond

One possible solution could be based on this snippet for multiple tonguing. \version "2.20.0" tongue = #(define-music-function (parser location dots) (integer?) #{ \tweak stencil ...
Richard's user avatar
  • 84.5k
11 votes
Accepted

Why aren't octave clefs used in piano notation?

it's easy to read and doesn't have any extra visual clutter. That's exactly why it's hard to read. With ledger lines and ottava brackets you have something there reminding you continually that you'...
phoog's user avatar
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11 votes
Accepted

8va or clef change?

As AndyB commented, this depends heavily on the instrument in question. Us cellists get quite used to jumping amongst bass, tenor, and treble, with stacks of ledger line anyway . By comparison, you ...
Carl Witthoft's user avatar

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