Love Piano Sheet Music? Learn about Types of Notation!

piano-keyboardNotation is the way music is represented by written symbols. Symbols can include notes or other markings that indicate how to play your song. A few of you had asked what some of those musical symbols mean, and our production team recommended this list of modern musical symbols which includes everything from a “staff” to the “fermata” symbol, which looks like a bird’s eye.

Did you know that sheet music is a form of music notation? There are several different ways that a song can be written into sheet music. Often, the notation may change depending upon the arrangement, complexity and musicians involved in the piece. For example, our Singer Pro sheet music features an independent vocal line that is separated from the piano accompaniment. Whenever possible, our Singer Pro piano accompaniments are notated just as you hear on your favorite artists’ recordings. As another example, there are multiple ways that music notation for guitarists can be rendered, too.

Piano Music Notations

Here are some other piano sheet music notations that you might be interested in learning more about.

Typically, this notation offers the piano part, vocal line and guitar chord frames. You might also see the vocal part repeated in the piano part.


Typically, the music notation offers the piano part, vocal line and chord names above the staff. You might see the vocal part repeated in the piano part.

Piano Solo
This type of music notation doesn’t offer a vocal line, because it’s meant to be performed as a piano solo. These notations may or may not offer chord names as well.
Easy Piano
This type of music notation is geared toward casual and elementary-level piano students. Sheet music may often includes lyrics, but isn’t listed as a separate vocal line. Did you know that easy piano arrangements can almost always be performed as a piano solo? However, easy piano arrangements are “abridged” and do not always contain complete lyrics. Like the piano solo notation, you may or may not find chord names above the staff.
Lead Sheets
A valuable tool for musicians, lead sheets offer just the essential elements of a well-known song: the melody, lyrics (if applicable) and chord symbols. Sometimes a lead sheet will include the song’s structure, (repeats, codas and such) but not always.
Beginner Notes
If you’re looking for the easiest type of music notation that we sell, then you’ll want to look for Beginner Notes.  These arrangements only focus on the right hand melody of your favorite songs and include large notes with the letters printed right on the note heads.

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  1. I truly like the way you presented this information. Great Work. I have one more to add to your list that makes learning for young children fun while helping them learn to play then helps them move one to standard music notation. Hope you will take a look at the website.

    Thanks again for doing such a great job.

  2. Great. This sort of instruction takes out the mystery but leaves in the magic of music. It takes away that fear of the unknown,an imaginary ‘lock on the gate’ that prevents so many potential musicians from getting started on the road to rhythm. Thank You.

  3. laura

    Very useful article. It would be nice if all your sheet music had the option of having the fingering marked on it. Even advanced students learn the music faster when the fingering is already noted – on long scales, for example.

    Love this site!

  4. Luke

    i recently encountered a notation I’ve not seen before (F+). I was hoping someone could explain to me how the + notation works. I think it means to move up on the chord root but I’m only guessing. Can anybody help?

    • Monica

      Hi Luke, I’m going to ask one of our experts and get back to you. It’d be helpful to have an example of what you’re referring to.

    • Lance

      I think F+ is one of the ways to reference an augmented chord (you raise the fifth note of the scale by a half step)

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