The Seven Different Types of Written Music

As a bassist, bandleader, instructor, and music copyist, I’ve worked with many artists consistently. Despite the fact that working artists know several tunes, vocalists need to have great diagrams so as to have their music played the manner in which they need. I characterize a “decent graph” as a bit of composed music that successfully mentions to the artists what they should play.

Composed music comes in seven essential structures: harmony diagrams, sheet music, songbooks, lead sheets, counterfeit books, ace musicality graphs and completely recorded parts.

As a performer has a duty to play the outline before him effectively, the provider of the graph has the obligation of giving the correct sort of diagram. Recognizing what sort of diagram to use for what sort of tune or gig is significant.

This article clarifies what the various sorts of graphs are, and under what conditions to utilize them. I trust you think that its valuable.


Outlines can be straightforward or expand as per the style of music and sort of gig. Spread tunes are customarily gained from chronicles; old style and choral music can be found in sheet music stores just as in different music lists; various tunes will be found in music books of numerous sorts; and numerous open libraries convey accounts and composed music for your utilization.

“Chart” alludes to any bit of composed music or any course of action (music that has been adjusted in a remarkable way) of a tune. Decades prior it was carefully a “cool” slang term for a tune, however any bit of music could be known as a graph nowadays, however a traditional buff probably won’t allude to a Mozart fill in as a “diagram.”

Comprehending what sort of graph to use for what sort of tune is significant. At the point when you’re playing a gig and somebody gives you a graph – what will be will be and you either read it well or not. In any case, on the off chance that you purchase outlines, have them made for you or give them yourself, you have to know which sorts to use for which circumstances. A long time back, while doing artist grandstands, artists acquired a wide range of graphs: great ones, awful ones, mistaken ones, unseemly ones, and it was a genuine agony. The vocalists who gave the correct sorts of diagrams got their music played how they would have preferred. The artists who had an inappropriate sorts of outlines didn’t, and weren’t exceptionally cheerful about it. Except if an artist definitely knows the particular parts, he can just play as indicated by what’s on the outline before him. In spite of the fact that a decent artist can extemporize a decent part in any style, if a particular melodic line should be played, it should be worked out.

As a performer has a duty to effectively play the diagram before him, the provider of the graph has the obligation of giving a proper one.

Without getting into such a large number of music documentation points of interest, here are the various types of diagrams and when they are utilized:

  1. Harmony CHARTS

A harmony outline contains the harmonies, meter (how the tune is tallied, e.g., in 4 or in 3 (like a three step dance), and the type of the tune (the specific request of the areas). This kind of outline is essentially utilized when: 1. the particular melodic parts are ad libbed or definitely known, however the structure and harmonies should be alluded to, 2. to give harmonies to ad lib finished, or 3. at the point when a very late graph should be composed, and there isn’t the ideal opportunity for much else expound.

A harmony diagram doesn’t contain the tune or a particular instrumental parts to be played. To play from straightforward harmony outlines a performer fundamentally needs to have consistent time, know the harmonies, and ad lib his part in whatever style the tune is in.


Sheet music is a locally acquired variant of a tune printed by a distributer, which contains the instrumental part, harmonies, verses, song and structure. An instrumental piece will, obviously, have recently the music. Sheet music is composed for both piano and guitar. Guitar sheet music is in standard documentation (regularly old style), just as in TAB. A decent bit of sheet music will consistently say whether it’s for piano or guitar. Most sheet music isn’t intended to be totally illustrative of the genuine chronicle, and the real course of action that you’ve heard on an account is only from time to time present.

Numerous individuals have encountered the dissatisfaction of getting the sheet music to a tune they like, playing it, and finding that the harmonies are not the same as the account, and now and then the structure is as well. Sadly that is how it is a ton, and it could be for various reasons. To get the specific game plan and harmonies, you have to do a “takedown” of the melody: learn it by ear. A takedown is the point at which you tune in to a bit of music and record it. Takedowns can go from basic harmony graphs to expand symphonic parts or anything in the middle. So as to do great takedowns, you have to have great ears, comprehend and be liquid with music documentation to the multifaceted nature of the sort of music you’re working with, and ideally get music (the more the better). Having “great ears” comprises of perceiving and understanding the music, regardless of whether heard on the radio, played by another artist, or heard in your mind.


Songbooks are aggregations of numerous tunes and regularly contain a similar data that sheet music does, alongside the harmonies and game plan being not quite the same as the chronicle more often than not. Sheet music usually has full presentations and endings, while songbook tunes are commonly abbreviated to make space in the book for more tunes. Sheet music is commonly composed to be played on a console, however songbooks come in various styles and for various instruments. They are arranged by craftsman, style, decade, and in different assortments including motion picture topics, Broadway hits, and so on.

Songbooks are a decent reference source when other, increasingly careful diagrams are inaccessible. For instance: I required two motion picture topics for a gig once (customer demand). Rather than burning through $8 for two tunes of sheet music, I purchased a book of film subjects for $16 that contained over a hundred tunes. Sheet music and songbooks are truly unusable at gigs in view of lumbering page turns and cumbersomeness; however in a crisis you use them and do what you can. In the event that utilizing sheet music or songbooks for live execution, either: 1. recopy the tune onto 1-3 pages or 2. photocopy it and tape the pages together (albeit, carefully, this might be viewed as copyright encroachment). Make a point to consistently give a duplicate to every artist.

To play from songbooks and sheet music, an artist should have the option to peruse the music documentation, or if nothing else ad lib a section from the harmony images, i.e., a guitar strum, bass furrow, piano notch, and so forth., or even better, both. A vocalist can sing the words on the off chance that they know the song, or have the option to peruse the recorded tune in the event that they don’t have any acquaintance with it.


Lead sheets contain the harmonies, verses and tune line of the tune and are principally utilized by artists, accompanists and arrangers, however they show up on the bandstand once in a while. Musicians use lead sheets to copyright their melodies, and all the time sheet music incorporates a lead sheet of the tune as a dense form to utilize. Rather than having three to six pages of sheet music to turn, a lead sheet is normally a couple of pages long. Lead sheets don’t contain any music documentation with the exception of the tune and harmonies, so an artist has to realize how to ad lib when perusing from one. A lead sheet is commonly worked out by a music copyist, who is somebody who has practical experience in getting ready composed music. Playing from lead sheets insignificantly requires playing a backup from the harmonies and understanding the structure headings and images (the markings instructing you to go to the section or the ensemble or the end, and so on.) and maximally having amazing backup aptitudes and perusing documentation smoothly.

  1. Counterfeit BOOKS

A phony book is a huge book of tunes that contain just the tune line, verses and harmonies. There’s no piano part, guitar part or bass part. That is the reason they consider it a phony book. You need to definitely know your parts, or ad lib them in the style of the tune. A few people call that “faking it.” Faking it intends to be musically capable enough to have the option to track with by ear and make sense of it as you go: that is one reason for ear preparing. At the point when an individual’s ears “get prepared”, they figure out how to perceive and comprehend the relationship of pitches and melodic components. With this understanding you can “hear” your way through tunes, regardless of whether you haven’t heard them previously, you counterfeit it. Be that as it may, when you don’t hear so well, you’re truly faking it!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *