Five Different Types of Written Music


Even though a musician knows a thousand tunes, they should possess good charts so that their songs can be played the way they wish. A musician has the responsibility of correctly using the written music type available. They can either be simple or complex depending on the music style and gig. Cover tunes can be learned traditionally from the recordings while choral and classical music is found in musical stores or music catalogs. Some themes are found in all kinds of music books; most public libraries have other written music and recordings ready for use. It is essential for one to understand a chart type to use and the tune to match with the chart.

Without getting deep into the specific music notation, written music is made of five basic types highlighted and discussed below.

  • Fake books
  • Sheet music
  • Songbooks
  • Lead sheets
  • Chord charts

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Fake books

Fake books are a big melody book that is made of lyrics chords and a tune line. It doesn’t have a piano part, bass parts or a guitar part and that’s why it is called a fake book. This means that the user has to know the region and then modify them following the tune. Many people refer to that improvisation as ‘faking it.’

Sometime back there were plenty of fake books in the market which was legal and still there were some illegal books in the streets, and the situation is the same up to now. A good musician must have excellent access to a significant number of melodies at gigs. A musician doesn’t necessarily need to have many notes written down because he can just improvise them. Most of the fake books are made by hand using a pencil or by use of pro copyist. Others are made up of cut sheet music with the piano part being removed leaving only the chords and melody – to create condensing space.

Over the years, fake legal books have been getting published, and they are perfect. It is good to have a fake book but it’s better for you if you know more tunes.

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Sheet music

Sheet music is a song version model bought from the stores to incorporate lyrics, chords, and melody, instrumental half and type. Sheet music is always written for each guitar and digital piano. It is usually a classical notation. Many people have had the frustration of having the sheet music in the mode they like hence discovering that its chords are very different from recording.  Sadly, this is the main reason why it requires complete causes.  To acquire more precise harmonies, you need a music takedown. Takedowns widely vary from the simple chords charts to complicated charts or something between.  In the effort of making good takedowns, one should have the right ears which understand and recognize the music regardless of whether it’s heard on the radio or not, heard in the head or performed by a musician.


A songbook is a compilation of many melodies. Unlike sheet music which has an introduction and full ending, the songbook melodies are typically shortened so that they can create space for other tunes. Sheet music is written so that it can be performed on the keyboard, but songbooks are made for several kinds as well as many devices. They are usually compiled depending on the type, artist, or decades and then kept in one volume for easy access.

They provide an excellent reference when the supply is different or when precise charts cannot be found. Songbooks and sheet music are not used at gigs because of their cumbersome bulkiness, and massive page turns; however one can still use them in case of an emergency. A musician should have the ability to understand the music notations or to improvise any component of the chord symbols for example entirely. A digital piano groove or a bass groove. A vocalist should sing all the phrases depending on the event that they are performing in or have the skills to understand the notated melodies if they don’t know them off head.

Lead sheets

Lead sheets are made up of the chords, melody, and lyrics and is utilized by accompanists, arrangers, and singers. Lead sheets are used by songwriters to copy write some of their songs. They don’t involve musical notations other than the chord and melodies so musicians ought to know all the methods of improvisation when studying or using one.

Lead sheets do not describe voice leading, chord voicing, bass line or any other accompaniment aspect. They are specified by the arrangers later, or given to the performer to improvise them and are therefore considered an arrangement aspect. Another name for the lead sheets is fake sheets.

Chord charts

Chord charts are made up of a meter (shows the music count inform of a waltz), chords and the track type (made of precise order depending on the number of sections). A chord chart does not involve any necessary elements during the performance. For a musician to efficiently use them, they must have enough time, perfect knowledge of the chords and improvise it no matter the model type being used. It is the most common notation method used by professional musicians who play jazz or other favourite music. However, some charts use a series of symbols to provide harmony, especially in the traditional occasions. It gives rhythmical information that can either specific or not specific. It is referred to as rhythmic notation when it is precise and referred as slash notation when it is entirely unspecific. In Nashville notations, the chart key is left unspecified by just substituting the chord numbers.


Musicians should equip themselves or be provided with the right charts to improve the sound of the music as well as the performance. This leaves both the audience and the performer satisfied. The musicians should also fully understand how to use the above discussed written music types to avoid stage disappointments. Music is also written for blind musicians in Braille.


Author Bio : Emma Alex is a freelance writer, experienced blogger and a professional social media coach.Currently She’s working with azpianonews.

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