The Different Types of Written Music

There are many Types of Written Music

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Music is something that has shaped our planet and continues to do so. Once solely a form of entertainment that the masses could enjoy, it has now become a true business. In fact, there are colleges offering dedicated music degree programs, where people can learn about all the different aspects of music. One of those aspects, and one that many people forget about, is written music. There are actually a number of different types of charts, and they have to be used in different circumstances. So what is out there at present?

1. Chord Charts

On a chord char, you will see the actual chords that are being played, as well as the meter, and the form of the song. This is a common type for improvised music or for songs that the player already knows very well. It is the type of chart that you glance at, rather than reed.

2. Sheet Music

Sheet music is a reproduction of a popular song, containing the form, melody, lyrics, chords, and instrumental parts. Sheet music exists for guitars and pianos, and can be written in TAB or in classical, standard notation. The piece should indicate whether it is for guitar or for piano.

3. Songbooks

A songbook is very similar to sheet music in terms of what is included in the writing. However, the details are often shortened, leaving out things like endings and introductions. Songbooks also exist for many different instruments and can be developed based on decade, themes, styles, artists, and more.

4. Lead Sheets

Here, you will find a song’s melody line, lyrics, and chords. They are often found on bandstands to be used by arrangers, accompanists, and singers. Additionally, songwriters use them as a form of copyright. It is effectively a condensed version of sheet music, covering just one or two pages. You must have a great understanding of how to read notation to be able to use this.

5. Fake Books

Fake books are terrible books for those who don’t know what they’re doing. All you get is the chords, the lyrics, and the melody line. There is no indications for the different instruments. Rather, you need to already know what your part is if you want to be able to use this. It is about having excellent ear training, something that you should learn during your degree program.

6 The Master Rhythm Chart

The master rhythm chart denotes the rhythm part of an orchestra. It includes:

  • All individual chords.

  • The main rhythms.

  • The instruments’ key melodic parts.

  • The lyrics.

  • The background vocals.

  • The song’s dynamics in terms of volume.

  • The form, with all the necessary symbols and instructions included.

These are the six main types of written music, and there are actually many more. If you want to complete a music degree program, it is likely that you will be exposed to all of these different types of written music. Which one you will end up learning depends mainly on your chosen direction.

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