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Other Types of Sheet Music

Just when you thought you had heard of every possible sheet music available (full score, short score, tablature, vocal score, etc.) along comes others, each with their individual notation and purpose. There are at least three others which we’ll explore here.

Try wrapping your mind around shorthand for instrumentation. While it is not sheet music per se it is a valuable tool for the conductor or group leader when trying to figure out if a particular piece is suitable for the orchestra or group. Shorthand gives the leader a glancing picture of what instruments are required to play a piece. For example, the shorthand notation “2d1, 2+1, 2d1es+bass, 3d1” actually lists the instruments required as follows; “two flutes one of which doubles on piccolo, 2 oboists plus cor anglais (not doubling), 2 clarinets one of which doubles on E-flat clarinet plus a bass clarinet (not doubling), 3 bassoons one of which doubles on a contra-bassoon. Any time you see this notation the order will always be the same to help you decipher the number and type of instruments required.

Another form of sheet music which is very common is of course the common hymnal. Musical notation is shown in the treble and bass clefts and is typically written for piano or simple organ. Very often the four lines of notes, two in the treble cleft and two in the bass cleft, are not only the notes played by the pianist or organist but the intended parts for vocalists. The music is usually pretty straightforward leaving little room for interpretation and although there are favorites among church communities the hymnal is not really meant as a performance collection but for corporate singing.

Finally there is a cappella sheet music. When many think of singing a cappella they think of monks singing an ancient piece from the cold, hard confines of a monastery, but in reality a cappella arrangements can be very contemporary and seem to be growing in popularity. The a cappella piece may look like a piece from a hymnal like below but the notes are solely for the purpose of song, not instrumental playing. The parts in a cappella sheet music may also be divided more finely depending on the number of vocal harmonies and therefore almost appear like full score sheet music.

... And Learn about Sheet Music Types of Sheet Music Types (Continued)
  History of Sheet Music
  Public Domain Sheet Music
  Copyright Protected Sheet Music
  Sheet Music in the Digital Age
  Full Score
  Miniature Score
  Study Score
  Piano Score
  Vocal Score
  Short Score
  Lead Sheet
  Chord Chart