Piano Tablature

J.Brent©2003-2004

Explanation of Symbols:

 

VW  XYZ = the black notes

V = C# / Db
W = D# / Eb

X = F# / Gb
Y = G# / Ab
Z = A# / Bb

 

.Octave Indicator Numbers

4C = middle C

4Y = G# / Ab above middle C

5D = 9th above middle C

 

If two or more notes occuring in the same octave are played together or consecutively, the octave number only appears before the bottom note. Octave number indicators only appear when necessary.

Examples:

4CEG

C major chord with all notes sounding simultaneously.

Middle C is the lowest note fingered. The E and G above are in the same octave as the C.

 

4EG5C

A C major chord in first inversion with all notes sounding simultaneously.

The E above middle C is the lowest note fingered. The G is in the same octave as the E. The C is in the next octave up.

 

4G5CE

A C major chord in 2nd inversion with all notes sounding simultaneously.

The G above middle C is the lowest note, it's in octave 4. The C is in the octave above it (octave 5). The E is in the same octave as C.

 

Fingering Indicators Symbols

Capital letters indicate musical notes, small letters are used to indicate the five fingers.

t = thumb (finger 1)

i = index finger (finger 2)

m = middle finger (finger 3)

r = ring finger (finger 4)

p = little finger (finger 5)

In cases where the fingering is logically obvious, Fingering Indicators are often omitted.

(small "b" means "flat", of course)

 

Position Indicators

{1p} first position

{4p} 4th position

Position Indicators only appear when the position changes.

Position Indicators are often omitted.

 

Musical Note in Parentheses = grace note

example:

(Gr) = "G" crushed note (aka grace note / appoggiatura) [played by ring finger]

 

Notes not separated by a hyphen are meant to be played simultaneously.

example:

{b7p}
5(Ct)ViEr

Translated, the above means:

Put your hand in b7th position (in this case relative to C#m) in the region an octave above middle C.

Play 5C with your thumb as a crush into the 5V {aka 5C#} that you are playing with your index finger. Simultaneously you are playing 5E with your ring finger.

 

Chords

Specific voicings of chords can also be expressed very exactly in Piano Tab.

If RH and LH are sounded simultaneously, they are separated by 3 hard spaces.

 

Examples:

A rootless dominant C chord played in two hands:

3EABb4D   5DEGBb6D

 

A dominant C chord played as a left hand tenth and a rootless 9th chord in the right hand:

2CBb3E   4Bb5DEG

 

Polyphonic Examples

Ex 1
2G   5Bbi6Dr - 6CmEp - 5Bb6D -

1B   6CE - 5Bb6D - 5Gt -

2C   5FiAr - Dt - DbiGp -

2C#   5Ct - 4Bb5D - 4G


Ex 2
1Ap   7D - 6D - 7Dbr -

1Br   6Db - 7C - 6C -

2Cm   6Bbr - 5Bb - 6G -

2C#i   5G - 6F - 5F -


2Dt   6Bbr - 5Bb - 6G -

2Er   5G - 6F - 5F -

2Fm   6D - 5D - 6Dbr -

2F#i   5Db - 6C - 5C -


2Gt   5(C#i)DiGp

 

*

Typically, tab does not contain rhythmic information, although this tablature could by using specific symbols for durations.


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